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"Does anybody game the Irish Rebellion of 1798?" Topic

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Historydude1801 Nov 2019 11:44 a.m. PST

I've been interested in this war for years and want to game it but don't know if there is any market for that. Can I buy Irish rebels online anywhere and I know in the real war the rebels used a lot of pikes but did any of them carry muskets? I'd like both pikemen and men with muskets and as for the British soldiers would they have worn the same hats and uniforms they wore during the AWI? If they did I can save money since I can just use my AWI British soldiers for Ireland 1798.

mghFond01 Nov 2019 12:31 p.m. PST

There is a UK company which makes figures for the Irish rebels in that war. Right now it's on the tip of my tongue but can't be certain. Trent Miniatures?

I know too I have seen pics of convention games doing the 1798 Rebellion. My guess would be UK conventions.

Sorry I can't be of more help. Hopefully someone who is into that time period will chime in.

bruntonboy01 Nov 2019 12:32 p.m. PST

Trent miniatures in 28 and Irregular in 15mm have good ranges. British AWI figures would just about do at a push.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2019 12:58 p.m. PST

Irregular has a nice line. I think Trent does too, but I've actually got the Irregulars. There was a nice 28mm game at one of the HMGS East conventions a few years ago, and I took part in a smaller one--"Ballyrunamuckamuck" last year, I think.

Irish. Mostly pikes with a thin smattering of "gunmen," many of them armed with punt guns, so you've got a little firepower, but mostly skirmishers or such, and few or no bayonets, so nothing that looks or fights like a British regiment of foot unless you wait for the French to arrive or play "what if?" scenarios.

Technically, most of the British should look as though they're fighting the French and not the American Revolution, but I gave up some time back and settled on one 18th Century British Army in 15mm whether it's fighting Jacobites, American or Irish. You can get so careful about just the right troops you don't get the games fought--or can't find room in the house. Troops at Saratoga didn't look like troops at Bunker Hill anyway.

wakenney01 Nov 2019 1:23 p.m. PST

Someone at Historicon in 2014 did a beautiful looking game for it.


BillyNM01 Nov 2019 2:46 p.m. PST

Khurusan have a 15/18mm range in the works but I don't know what the release date is.

Basha Felika01 Nov 2019 3:54 p.m. PST

Trent Miniatures do a lovely range in 28mm and there are force lists for Sharp Practice on the TFL website.

I've wanted to do it in 15mm – wish Khurasan would release the range they previewed several years ago, those pike blocks would look really impressive.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2019 5:46 p.m. PST

I have a nice sized collection.

The trick is some figures come from other ranges, such as Foundry's "Raw Pikemen" from the ECW.

I bought three packs or so, found, say, 15 figures that worked.

You look at the clothing of the period, match up different ranges to that. I've got Old Glory, Trent, Essex, Warfare, and God knows what else tucked into my United Irishmen.

For my Oppression… er, Opposition. Old Glory Wayne's Legion figures work for Foot Yeo and maybe militia. Trent, of course, with their dedicated range. I have King's Mountain Miniatures Highlanders in trews for one of my Fencible regiments.

Should you desire Les Crapauds and M. Humbert, then Eureka's French Revolution line does the trick.

I've run it at Cold Wars and had lots of fun with it.

Sadly, I'll be playing Modern Army in 1800mm next CW, but maybe I'll trot them out when I get back for Historicon..,

But, poke around, take a look, keep an open mind. It's worth it.


dibble01 Nov 2019 7:11 p.m. PST

Have you got this tome?


If you haven't I can assure you that it's an absolute little 'emerald' gem.

I posted this review:

"I thought that well! it's going cheap £6.38 GBPp so I'll buy it as it may have a few bits of useful titbits I could use.

Well, I can honestly say that I haven't had such good value for money for a long time. The Illustrations though naive, show good details of uniforms and equipment of all the combatants, some are very obscure and also, there are a fair smattering of flags and standards too. Even the text is well written and the research is very good indeed. It's a landscape formatted, 20-year-old little gem."


Lieutenant Lockwood02 Nov 2019 5:54 p.m. PST

I am planning on developing an historically accurate campaign of the '98, but getting a detailed OB is a problem. I've been talking to some of the guys over at the Napoleon Series, and while they have been very helpful there appears to be no one document that contains the units, strength, and location of the Crown forces.

Short of a trip to Kew to search the originals, it looks like I'll have to work up the Ob unit by unit.

I'll need to work up a good campaign map as well; the Valuation Maps of 1842 are super detailed if I have the patience to plow through the details.

All the best…….Mark Bois

Prince Alberts Revenge04 Nov 2019 9:47 p.m. PST

I'd like to do it in 10mm but it might be tough to find figs.

Arcane Steve05 Nov 2019 5:20 a.m. PST

Trent miniatures do indeed make a superb range of 28mm scale figures for the Irish uprising. They are available from both Northstar or post free from Arcane scenery here:


there are about 50 different packs available, covering both sides of the conflict, including some really nice personality figures. Here is General Wolf Tone:


Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 9:32 a.m. PST

Have a look for "History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798" and "The History of the Irish Rebellion: In the Year 1798" in Google Books. There are some interesting contemporary titles with a fair bit of what you are looking for, although usually not conveniently tabulated.

For example the latter, published in 1813, tells us that

…on the morning of the 27th, 200 of the Donegal militia, commanded by lieutenant-colonel Maxwell, and a six-pounder, arrived in Wexford…for the purposes of strengthening the garrison, consisting of the remains of the North Cork militia, about 300 men; the Healthfield and Enniscorthy cavalry, captain Ogle's infantry, the Enniscorthy infantry, the Wexford infantry commanded by Dr. Jacob, the Scarawalsh infantry, and the Wexford and Taghmon cavalry.

It's not an orbat, but if you have a Google ID you can download the books and perhaps they will join some of the dots for you.

Another title, "The British Armed Nation, 1793-1815", mentions that "until [the rebellion of 1798] the Irish militia had constituted over half of the Irish garrison" and elsewhere he gives the Irish militia numbers as 28,500 by the end of the Revolutionary War. Another snippet.

There is an absolute goldmine of a document on there on the forces in Great Britain link but no equivalent title covering Ireland that I know of.

Lieutenant Lockwood05 Nov 2019 5:15 p.m. PST

Some great suggestions, thank you, 4th Cuirassier. I hadn't seen that summary of forces in Great Britain before; wow, if they had that for Ireland in 1798 I would be one happy rabbit.
As you say, it looks like it will be piecing together fragments of data for me; now, all I need is a year to do it.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2019 5:54 a.m. PST

A similar document for Ireland must exist, because why wouldn't it, I guess. But it's a question of finding it without, as you noted before, making a personal visit to the National Archive to find it.

As the GB information was collated for the House of Commons, which has recently (2006?) republished some of this stuff, I wonder if you could ask the Commons Library what else they've got? They might have an index of titles of papers in which case that would tell you if an Ireland version even exists.

Another roundabout way of finding stuff out is to Google the key names. I was interested in the volunteer unit uniforms, and while information is scarce, you do sometimes strike gold, eg you get a hit that's a portrait of a yeomanry unit commanding officer, or you find out where one lived and the house is still there, etc.

coopman06 Nov 2019 5:02 p.m. PST

This is something that I know nothing about. Did the Irish have any decent troops or were they mostly armed militia types?

Basha Felika07 Nov 2019 9:53 a.m. PST

Do you mean the rebels or the local militia/yeomanry units that were the majority of Government forces. If the former, there was a small force of French allies, mainly of dubious quality, but otherwise entirely irregular rebels, principally armed with pikes and other improvised weapons rather than firearms – probably generous to even describe them as militia!

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 11:04 a.m. PST

There is actually a searchable text of "History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798" online


and it suggests a significant degree of organisation, perhaps equivalent to Britain's volunteer units:

A body of men have associated themselves in Dublin, under the title of the First National Battalion. Their uniform is copied from the French green turned up with white, white waistcoat, and striped trowsers, gilt buttons impressed with a harp and letters importing 'First National Battalion': no crown, but a device on the harp, of a cap of liberty upon a pike. Several bodies of men have been collected in different parts of the north, armed and disciplined under officers chosen by themselves, and composed mostly of the lowest classes of the people…They have exerted their best endeavours to procure military men of experience to act as their officers, some of them having expressly stated that there were men enough to be had, but that officers were what they wanted. Stands of arms and gunpowder, to a very large amount, much above the common consumption, have been sent within these few months past, to Belfast and Newry, and orders given for a much greater quantity, which it appears could be wanted only for military operations. At Belfast bodies of men in arms are drilled and exercised for several hours almost every night, by candlelight; and attempts have been made to seduce the soldiery, which, much to the honour of the King's forces, have proved ineffectual.


the society of United Irishmen, from a civil, became a military organisation ; the association of political agitators and schemers drilled itself into a rebel army. …The secretary of the society of twelve was easily convertible into a serjeant or corporal; the delegate of five societies to a lower baronial was a captain, with sixty men under his command; and the delegate of ten baronials to a county committee became a colonel, at the head of a battalion of six hundred….The business of organisation being thus completed, the arming and drilling were next attended to. Every man who could afford it was directed to provide himself with a musket, bayonet, and as much ammunition as he could procure; every other man with a pike, and, if possible, a case of pistols.

and as regards the British strength there is this:

The effective strength of the army in Ireland, exclusive of yeomanry, according to an official return quoted by the author of the Strictures on Plowden's History, on the 1st of August, 1798, was 52,247: cavalry, 7,041, infantry, 45,206. The yeomanry force, by the Commons' Secret Report of 1798, exceeded 50,000. So that the total force exceeded 100,000. The loss on the part of the king's troops, regulars, militia, and yeomanry, is estimated by Plowden, Barrington, Curran, and Moore at 20,000; and the loss on the side of the people at 60,000. Total loss, 70,000. Madden, Second Series, Vol ii., p. 531.

Elsewhere, this 1844 title says the United Irish numbered 500,000 to 800,000.

It's really a question of picking through it for bits and bobs:

The peasantry of the metropolitan district, without leaders, with little ammunition, with no other arms than clumsy pikes and a few guns in bad order, rose on the night of the 23rd, stopped the northern, southern, and Connaught mails, and so far acted on the original scheme as to attempt, by separate but simultaneous onsets, the surprisal of military posts and the hemming-in of the capital from external succours. That night, and the following day, there was much skirmishing with small parties of the royal troops…The war may be said to have broken out at Naas, in Kildare, about fourteen miles from Dublin. On the morning of the 24th, a body of about a thousand insurgents, led by one Michael Reynolds, made an attempt to surprise that town…The alarm was given by a shout that the town was their own, and by shots fired into the apartments of Lord Gosford, who commanded in the place with three hundred of the Armagh militia and some cavalry…the rebels were quickly repulsed, and pursued with slaughter…A similar result attended an attack on the town of Carlow, in the course of the following night. A body of insurgents, amounting to a thousand or fifteen hundred…marched in at two o'clock in the morning of the 25th…but the garrison (four hundred and fifty men, under Colonel Mahon) were prepared and posted to receive them…A destructive fire was opened on the intruders; they recoiled, and attempted a retreat, but their flight was cut off by troops posted in their rear…the insurgents, with great numerical superiority and abundance of bravery, were easily and utterly defeated by the better arms, discipline and organisation of the King's troops. In some instances the issue was different. At Dunboyne and Barretstown small parties of fencibles were routed. At the little town of Prosperous…a party of insurgents surprised a few military who garrisoned it, fired the barracks, burned or piked the soldiers together with their commander, and took temporary possession of the place.

Of more moment and interest was the action of Kilcullen, a few hours later, which had peculiar significance, as affording the first practical demonstration of the power and value of the pike. A division of three hundred pikemen was thrice furiously charged by a body of British dragoons, under the command of General Dundas, and the dragoons were thrice repulsed with great slaughter…The people began to learn where their real strength lay not in any humble imitation of the equipment and discipline of the enemy, but in their own physical force wielding their national weapon and soon came to fear not the face of British dragoons.

The want of able and experienced leaders was the occasion, on the 26th of May, of a more serious defeat than any which the popular troops had yet sustained. A body of about four thousand insurgents, admirably posted on the Hill of Tara, in Meath, with everything to ensure a cheap and easy victory except an officer who knew the military value of the position…hastily quitted their ground on the approach of some four hundred royalist troops, and rushed down on their assailants in the plain below. The British infantry fled from the charge of the pike; but
the phalanx of pikemen was speedily broken by the enemy's artillery. The result was a complete rout.


The pike, at the commencement, very frequently succeeded against the regular, and always against the Yeomanry cavalry; and in close combat with even the infantry, it proved in some instances irresistible. The extreme expertness with which the Irish handled the pike was surprising. By withdrawing, they could shorten it to little more than the length of a dagger, and in a second dart it out to its full extent. At Old Kilcullen they entirely repulsed General Dundas and the heavy cavalry in a regular charge, killing two captains and many soldiers ; the General escaped with great difficulty by the fleetness of his horse. At New Ross they entirely broke the heavy horse by their pikes. A solid mass or deep column of determined pikemen could only be broken by artillery, or a heavy fire of musketry. Well served artillery they could not withstand, if not close enough to be rushed upon. Colonel Foot's detachment of infantry was nearly annihilated by the pike at Oulard; only the Major and two others escaped.

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