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THE STORY OF FAUGHT-A-BALLAGH

(Contributed to tbe "Irish Weekly Times."

Not veiy long ago I heard a very good aneodote of a brave Irish horse Faugh-a-ballflgh (01-ar tho way), for su«h was hia name, was no beauty to look at, for he had a tail etnok up so that you could hang your h t upon it, legs which lot a good deal of daylight through them, and a dirty white' colour which did not add to his attractions However he mainly contributed to one of Wellington's groatest vJctoriep, namely, the Battle of Talavera, which I v hall prooeed to describe. Faugh-a-ballagh was i tbe favorite charger of Colonel Blakt, of the'gnllmt 88th, the Oonnnught Bangers, who declared he could do anything but read th-a newspap r a ellington once B»id to Colonel Blake — "Blake, I think tbat horee of yours would charge a battery witl out you on his buck." Little he thought his assertion would come true whether tbe bravo old Colonel bestrode him or cot. As day dawned on the 28th of July, 1809, "Battle's magnificently stern array," met the gnze. Tbe whole of the enemy were m view. On the brink of the river Alberohe was a solid column of the French with reiervoa m its rear, and field batteries on both flanks. The report of a single cannon put tbe Frenoh columns m motion, and at once a furious cannonade opened on their opponents. So destruolive was their fire that the 80th wero ordered to lie down m their ranks, so that the balls of the enemy flew over them. Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterwards Welling, ton, said to Colonel Blake—" That Infernal battery must be silenoed. Find the Faugh-a-ballagh boys and take It with the bayon9fc " The Colonel bowed and the 88 h, with a oheor, began the perUouß advance*. Grape and canister swept from the guns, but, owing to th*lr elevated position they fortunately passed over the heads of the 88'h. It was heartrending to see the hillside strewn with tbe dead and dying As the woondftd saw old Colonel Blake riding at the head of tbe reglmant they tried to cheer, for he was troll liked throughout tho camp. The 88ih still marched on, though the canon roar was desfenlbg. A canon ball suddonly Btruok tha colonel. He fell from his horse and the men raised him m their arms and bore him to the surgeon's tent. Tbon what was dreaded ensued. The men who feared no danger where he led, were now unwilling to proceed. In vain the bogle sounded the charge. It was at this critical moment (hat an Incident took place that no doabt helped to win the battle of Talavera. Faugh-a ballagh, with snorting nostrils was still at the head of the regiment, although riderless. As if reproaching the men, he gave a loud neigh that was heard above the roar of tho artillery. The sound recalled the men's senses. In a moment the horse, an if impelled by animal sagacity, continued to proceed. It was seen by the men. Would they not follow and revenge tbe death of Colonel Blake ? Tee 1 With a cheer every man grasped his rifle. No need now for buries to sound the charge. No call for offioero to lead the men. In a short time after Fangb-a-ballagh's steady advance the task was accomplished, the gunners slain, the cannons taken and turned against the enemy. What became of the colonel* horse may naturally be asked ? He was retained m the regiment for the adjutant's use and was present at various battlas. At Salamanca he waa lamed through falling over a broken gun carriage. The beet veterinary surgoons failed to restore his injured log, bo he w.is sent home to Ireland to finish his days on the estate of Mr Blake, of Ballinafad. His portrait was painted by an eminent Spanish artist m memory of hia achievements. Like Nelson of oil, at the battle of Trafalgar, this brave Irish horse d.id his dqty,

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THE STORY OF FAUGHT-ABALLAGH Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2104, 12 April 1889

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