The rebellion took place in
the year following John Cunningham’s enlistment in the 9
LightDragoons in Ireland: it was his baptism of fire. The 9
, then consisting of nine Troops (around 1000men), became fully engaged in putting down the rebellion in the south-east of Ireland between Mayand July of 1798.
The Regiment’s headquarters w
as at Carlow with the Troops spread throughoutLeinster, and we know that
John was in Captain Campbell’s Troop
although neither names arementioned in the summary of the 9
military actions, locations and casualties quoted below. Inaddition, Irish rebel accounts also mention actions by unspecified cavalry near Ferns in Wexford on27 May and at Arklow in Wicklow on 9 June.
Night 23/24 May
Capt Beevor's Troop was attacked at Kilcullen in Kildare. Quartermaster King &8 men killed.
Capt Erskine's Troop engaged at Ballymore Eustace, Wicklow. Capt Erskine & 9 menkilled. Cornet Love & 20 men fought action against 3-400 rebels near Stratford, west Wicklow.'Several men wounded'.
HQ at Carlow (CO - Lt Col Mahon) attacked by 3000 rebels (Irish account says1000). 2 men killed, 10 wounded.
Capt Wilkins' Troop with a Royal Irish Squadron, helped to hold the town of New Ross inWexford against major rebel assaults. 4 men killed, Capt Wilkins & 10 men wounded. Rebel recordsquote British garrison numbered 2000 and lost 200 while rebels had 2000 killed.
18 & 19 June
Four Troops engaged rebels at Castle Comer in north Kilkenny driving them out of the
town and fought an action at Kilcomney Hill on the following day. On these two days “the Regt lost
many men and horses”.
[This is the only operation for which the Regiment has described its casualtyfigures like this. It suggests its losses were very severe.]
Capt Martin with two Troops was part of a force which attacked 15,000 rebels in their mainstronghold on Vinegar Hill near Enniscorthy in Wexford. 3 men killed, 11 men wounded.
23 & 24 June
Lieut Higgins and a party from the Regiment with some Yeomanry engaged rebels atLeighlin in Carlow on the 23rd, and Major Donaldson's Squadron fought a sharp action nearSharkhill(?) on the following day. Losses on both days were 3 men killed, 11 wounded.
Operations in South America 1806-07
John Cunningham rejoined his Regiment in September 1804 in England where they remained until1806 when their numbers were increased to ten Troops, giving the 9
a total strength of 1,100 men.They then became part of an ill-fated force which was ordered to recapture the city of Buenos Aires(Argentina). They sailed (
) in November, but due to the vagaries of weather andshipping did not land at Montevideo (Uruguay) until 3
February having been at sea for nearly threemonths.After receiving reinforcements from South Africa, the British force, including the 9
Dragoons whowere still without horses as were much of the cavalry, crossed the mouth of the River Plate on 28
June to make a landing at Ensenada, fifty miles south-east of Buenos Aires. They were sufferingheavy losses from the swamp fever that was rife in the Delta region and, despite much of the cavalryhaving to fight on foot, they succeeded in entering the city on 5