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3-092 (Original)

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addressee author,male,Broadside,un
Newspaper Article
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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by which the Queen's Forces have successfully terminated the State of Insurrection, existing in that District.
Wednesday, 6th December, 1854
We hasten to give the people of Melbourne, an accurate account of last Sunday's proceedings at Ballaarat, together with the actual narratives of eye-witnesses, who were present at the tragic scene at the time of the affray.
Before daylight, last Sunday, 3rd December, the Government force mustered quietly and left the camp with the purpose of attacking the Stockade. The attacking party under the command of Captain Thomas, assisted by Captain Pasley, R.E., and Mr. Commissioner Amos, consisted of 276 men, including 100 mounted, as follows: - 30 mounted men of H.M. 40th Regt., Lieuts. Hall & Gardyne.
70 mounted police, Sub-Inspectors Furnell, Langley & Chomley.
65 men of H.M. 12th Regt., Capt. Queade, Lieut. Paul.
87 men of H.M. 40th Regt., Capt. Wise, Lieuts. Bowdier & Richards.
24 foot police, Sub-Inspector Carter.
At early dawn they reached the neighbourhood of the positions sought, and the advanced files were fired at by a sentinel posted within the Stockade.
One of the digger captains within the Stockade has obliged us with this eye-witness account of the beginning of the affray.
"I was on guard," he said, "and saw the military at the same time that the alarm was given by a digger working on a brace hard by. They were then at the point where the gully, running down from the Stockade, joins the head of Specimen Gully. I called out to Vern, and Vern called Lalor. We got under arms immediately, some 200 about."
The order of attack was now given by Captain Thomas, who led the detachment of the 40th Regiment, which made a quick advance upon the double breast-work, - a barrier of ropes, slabs, and overturned carts - which formed the stronghold of the insurgents and diggers.
"The first shot was fired by our party," our eye-witness continued. "The military answered with a volley at 100 paces, the bullets whistled through the tents, and then there was a volley from the Stockade. The military sent out scouts on foot, and the troopers surrounded the Stockade, the party on foot being covered by the fire from a force posted on the high ground in the rear of the Free Trade hotel."
Captain Wise led the scouts on foot, and after a couple of vollies on both sides, the barrier was broken into on the side fronting to Specimen Gully, where the insurgent's leader, Peter Lalor held a strong party.
The foot police were first over the barricade, and one, climbing the flagstaff under heavy fire, secured the "Southern Cross" standard, which the diggers had hoisted with pride but a few days before.
"They got in," said our eye-witness, "but the firing, and piking, and bayonetting went on."
The defenders of the Stockade would not stand, and were either driven out to the waiting troopers, or into the shallow holes with which the place was spotted, and in which many were barbarously put to death in the first heat of the conflict, either by bullet or by bayonet thrusts. [252]
The sun had now risen, and about twenty minutes had passed since the first shot was fired.
"The disordered diggers," continued our eyewitness, "rushed into some tents and a blacksmith's shop on one side of the Stockade, The troopers fired the tents and the rest of the military now came up. Soon the tents, slabs, Stockade and all were on fire."
"'I'm off!' said I, and wheeled round to go out of the Stockade, but met some troopers and retreated, and ran into a butcher's shop close by. I climbed up into the chimney and so escaped, as the red-coats did not search."
The loss to the Queen's force was considerable, some dead and many wounded, including Captain Wise, who in leading his men in the attack was severely wounded and is in great danger of dying. Lieutenant Paul was also wounded.
The loss amongst the diggers is variously estimated, but there could not have been fewer than thirty killed on the spot, and a great many wounded. There were 125 prisoners taken in the Stockade.
Another eye-witness has given us an account of the tragic picture presented to him, as he reached the Stockade towards the conclusion of the affray.
"The first thing I saw," he said, "was a number of diggers enclosed in a sort of hollow square, many of them were wounded, the blood dripping from them as they walked; some were walking lame, pricked on by the bayonets of the soldiers bringing up the rear."
"The soldiers were much excited, and the troopers madly so, flourishing their swords, and shouting out - 'We have waked up Joe!' and others replied, 'And sent Joe to sleep again!'"
"The diggers' Standard was carried in triumph to the Military Camp, waved about in the air, then pitched from one to another, thrown down and trampled upon."
"The Scene was awful, when the soldiers came with carts to take away the bodies. I counted fifteen dead, one Green, a fine well-educated man, and a great favourite. I recognised two others, but the spectacle was so ghastly that I feel a loathing at the remembrance. They all lay in a small space with their faces upwards, looking like lead; several of them were still heaving, and at every rise of their breasts, blood spurted out of their wounds, or just bubbled out and trickled away."
"One man, a stout-chested fine fellow, apparently about forty years old, lay with a pike beside him; he had three contusions in the head, three strokes across the brow, a bayonet wound in the throat under the ear, and other wounds in the body - I counted fifteen wounds in that single carcase."
"O God! sir, it was a sight for a Sabbath morn that, I humbly implore Heaven, may never be seen again."
"A little terrier sat on the breast of the man I just spoke of, and kept up a continuous howl; it was removed, but always returned to the same spot; and when his master's body was huddled with the other corpses, into the cart, the little dog jumped in after him, and lying again on his master's breast, began howling again."
"What a horrible sight! Old acquaintances crippled with shots, the gore protruding from the bayonet wounds, their clothes and flesh burning all the while. Poor Thonen, the lemonade man, had his mouth literally choked with bullets; my neighbour and mate Teddy More, stretched on the ground, both his thighs shot, asked me for a drop of water."
The insurgents' leaders, Black, Vern and Lalor have escaped. Peter Lalor, it is known, has been severely wounded and in the agony of death. Most of the insurgents were Irishmen.
It is with much satisfaction to know that this terrible affray has ended in a complete rout of the insurgents, who had not contemplated any active measures by the Queen's forces on that Sabbath morn, but expected instead that the gallant Captain Thomas would wait until the main body of troops then on their way from Melbourne, had arrived. In consequence many of the diggers were away from the Stockade, and of those that remained, some had dined late and no doubt drank deep.
They were thus completely surprised by the active commander of the Queen's troops, who resolved to seize the favourable opportunity of delivering the most effective blow to restore law and order again.
In spite of its strong position, the Stockade was much too large for successful defense, a military officer in Ballaarat has informed us, and it was not protected by proper bastions or outworks to aid the defenders in a general assault. Very fortunately so, indeed, or else the tragic affray in Ballaarat may have assumed far, far bloodier consequences. Even so, the high casualties amongst the insurgents, as well as the troops, are most lamentable, and the indignation of the Victorian citizens, must condemn the whole policy of the Government, and declare that, while disapproving of the physical resistance offered by the diggers, the strong coercive measures adopted by the military and the police, are against all standards of liberty, to which British subjects are entitled.