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"Why were there so few casualties at Peterloo?" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 3:53 p.m. PST

"A public meeting had been called to demand political reform and was led by the famous radical speaker Henry Hunt. At 1pm the chief magistrate, William Hulton, sent for military assistance to arrest Hunt and break up the crowd of 80,000 people.

The amateur Manchester and Salford Yeomanry arrived first, urged their horses into the crowd, and began hitting people with the flats of their blades. This provoked the crowd to throw stones, which in turn enraged the Yeomanry and at one point some of them began using the edges of their weapons.

By the time the regulars of the 15th Hussars arrived at 2pm the situation was out of control. Led by Colonel L'Estrange they charged the crowd, but he soon realised that the exits from the field were so narrow that the crowd could not disperse. He called off his men and shouted at the Yeomanry: "For shame, for shame. The people cannot get away." After 10 minutes the fighting had stopped, the crowd dispersed and Hunt had been arrested…"
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Old Peculiar08 Sep 2017 6:13 a.m. PST

So few? Between 5 and 700 injured, while the 15th Hussars seem to have stayed in control and been reluctant in their duty, whilst the Tory Yeomanry went to town hacking right and left. If it happened today there would be uproar.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 11:43 a.m. PST

I believe there was uproar back then! It's why we still remember it today.

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