Break of Dromore
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|Break of Dromore|
|Part of the Williamite War in Ireland|
|Jacobite Forces - Irish Catholic troops||Williamite Forces - irregular Ulster Protestant troops|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Richard Hamilton||Lord Mount Alexander|
|Casualties and losses|
|~low||~400 killed, the rest scattered|
The Break of Dromore is a name given to a battle fought during the Williamite War in Ireland on 14 March 1689. The battle was fought between Catholic Jacobite troops of the Royal Irish Army under Richard Hamilton and Protestant Williamites of the Army of the North.
The engagement, fought near Dromore, County Down resulted in the rout of the Williamites and the Jacobite's securing of eastern Ulster. It is known as a "Break", because the Williamites put up little resistance, being put to flight after only a short fight.
While much of the Protestant population of east Ulster supported the claim of William III to thrones of Ireland, England and Scotland, the rest of Ireland, including the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell and the army, supported James II. As a result, war broke out in Ireland after James was deposed in the Glorious Revolution. At the start of the conflict, the Jacobites were left in control of two fortified positions at Carrickfergus and Charlemont in territory which was predominantly Williamite in sympathy. The local Williamites raised a militia and met in a council at Hillsborough. They made an ineffective assault on Carrickfergus. However, this was easily beaten off and a local Catholic cleric named O'Hegarty reported that the Williamite were badly armed and trained.
Richard Hamilton, the Jacobite commander, was dispatched from Drogheda on 8 March with 2,000 men, in order to pacify the north east of Ireland. Hamilton sent a Presbyterian clergyman, Alexander Osbourne to offer the Hillsborough council a pardon in return for their surrender. However the council, reportedly with Osbourne's encouragement, refused. Hamilton therefore marched north to subdue the Williamites by force.
On 14 March he crossed the river Bann and attacked a 3,000 strong Williamite force under Lord Mount Alexander at Dromore. Alexander's cavalry fell back in disorder following a charge by the Jacobite dragoons. Seeing this, Hamilton ordered a general advance of his infantry and the Williamite foot fled towards Dromore itself. They were overtaken in the village by the Jacobite cavalry and slaughtered, roughly 400 being killed and the rest fleeing for their lives.
In the aftermath of the engagement, Alexander rode to Donaghadee and from there took ship to England. Hamilton's men looted and sacked Dromore. The following day, he took Hillsborough and Williamite council dissolved. Thousands of Protestants, fearing Jacobite and Catholic retribution, fled either to Coleraine in the west of Ulster, or to the ports and from there to England or Scotland. A number of survivors including Henry Baker went to Derry, where they took part in the successful defence of the city.