The Battle of Tullamore

In the beginning years of the last century as stated in Tullamore, were stationed a battalion of Hanoverian Dragoons, a regiment of infantry known as the Light Bobs, a militia corps, as well as some foreign infantry, whom George the Third had brought over from Hanover to this country to quell the insurrection which took place in the closing years of the eighteenth century with such disastrous results. In or about the year 1808 a serious conflict is said to have taken place between the foreign troopers and the local militia, who were stationed in the barracks occupied presently by the police, the Hanoverians having their barrack where Messrs. Egan’s malting stores are in Tanyard Lane. The fracas had its origin in a dispute between two boys at Kilbeggan bridge, one of whom had a “switch” in his hand with which he was endeavouring to belabour his companion. A Hanoverian trooper coming along, and seeing the boys quarrelling over the switch, took it from them, and proceeded to thrash one of them with it. One of the “Light Bobs” then appeared on the scene, and knowing the boys took their part. The Hanoverian soldier and the Light Bob engaged in a fierce combat, and soon there was a crowd of spectators. Other soldiers of the Hanoverian troop came along and also some of the Light Bobs, who, seeing their comrade and the German encountering each other, interfered, and the fracas soon developed into a serious fight between Light Bobs and Germans. A little trumpeter of the Light Bobs appeared on the scene, and he sounded the call “to arms”. The Light Bobs rushed back to their barracks and returned to the affray with arms. Meanwhile, the German cavalry were apprised of the occurrences, and they, mounting their horses, rushed out of barracks and attacked the Light Bobs. The German cavalry charged through the streets, which were soon cleared of the people, who ran into gateways and everywhere which offered a place of safety. The Light Bobs ran into the houses and commenced firing on the Germans from the upper windows, many of the foreigners being wounded, while it is also related that several of them were killed.

The German Dragoons barracks in the tanyard was also attacked , and the sentries shot. The Dragoons fired from the river at the Light Bobs, some of whom were in Old Shamble Lane. Baron Oldenhausen, who was the Captain of the German Dragoons and General Baron Bock appeared at the scene when the conflict was raging fiercest. Baron Oldenhausen was killed in what may be described his efforts to restore peace. His friend Baron Bock, who was mounted on his charger, valiantly rode between the conflicting soldiers and, hat in hand appealed to them to desist. It was only after a desperate struggle and when several had been killed and wounded on both sides, that the conflict ended. Baron Oldenhausen and a number of his German soldiers are buried in Kilcruttin, and, as already stated, the resting-place of the Baron is marked by a pillar monument which is in a splendid state of preservation and which is the principal object of interest in the old cemetery. The “fight” has, no doubt, been exaggerated, and may have been nothing more than a street scuffle between a few soldiers, but the story of it is given above for what it is worth. In Beamish’s “History of the German Legion”, no mention is made of Baron Oldenhausen having lost his life in the melee, and it contains the rather far-fetched assertion that the battle only resulted in the death of one individual, that being one of the local militia-men, but an old resident gives quite a different version. His father told him of the fight in which Baron Oldenhausen, who, though only engaged as a peacemaker, met his death. Somewhere in the vicinity of the site of the present Methodist Church building where at that time the river was spanned by a bridge, the remains of which are still to be seen at the rere of Mr. John Tarleton’s house. The King’s County Infirmary records contain no reference as to the admission of gunshot wounds on the day of the battle, or on those following, but it is quite possible the wounded may have been treated elsewhere. Baron Oldenhausen’s monument is inscribed as follows:-
Sacred to the Memory of Frederick William Baron Oldenhausen, Late a Captain of His Majesty’s 1st German Dragoons, born the 13th March, 1776, at Verden in the Electorate of Hanover, and departed this life at Tullamore, the 22nd day of December, 1808. By His Brother Officers.

There is also the following inscription in German:-
Des Gatten Vatiers Freundes Baude Sind Feuh Gelost im Freinden Laude Schlafst du dem Cristen Todesschaff Dies monument Spricht Keine Luge Der Wahr heit Griffel Grub die Zuge De Warst Tren Edel Bieder Bray.