Helmet and sword worn in Irish Rebellion, 1798, in County Wexford during the Battle of New Ross, brass helmet with white horse hair plume along top brass comb, with helmet plate secured at sides with rosettes and with motto, 'EVEHIT AD THERA VIRTUS' and George III cypher below, fitted with black puggaree and this secured by brass brackets with copper securing rivets at sides, inside helmet painted black and with re-lined leather, sword is a 1796 pattern British light cavalry trooper's sword marked with maker's name, 'DAWES BIRMm', blade stamped with a crown over 1 being military acceptance mark, with leather and metal covered handle and metal hand guard, in metal scabbard. Helmet with bumps and cracks and some repairs, sword with a few edge nicks along cutting edge, very good. (2)
Together with a statutory declaration form descendents of Michael McCormick attesting that the above helmet and sword were worn by Michael McCormick and have been passed down through his line of descendents and are now the lawful property of the present ancestor who has legal title to sell them.
The above helmet and sword were worn and used by Yeoman Michael McCormick who was aide de camp to Major-General Henry Johnson, an Anglo-Irish general in the British Army and during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 he was detached with three thousand men to occupy New Ross, Wexford. When the rebels attacked New Ross on 5 June 1798 his force defeated the rebels in what was the hardest fight of the rebellion.
The 1798 uprising in Wexford was an event of great savagery and cruelty, mostly by the ill-disciplined forces of the State. It was undoubtedly the most, bloody episode in modern Irish history.
Michael McCormick is mentioned in at least five history books for his part in the battle. In 'The Year of Liberty, The Great Irish Rebellion of 1798' by Thomas Pakenham, p202, 'Johnson sent off his acting aide, a yeoman in a brass helmet called McCormick, to bring up reinforcements to seal the gap in the town's defenses.' Then again on pp204-5, 'His aide, McCormick, the man in the brass helmet, lad a charmed life that day; finding himself alone, he cut his way to freedom through a hundred men. He was sent back once again to find Reinforcements. But neither of the officers he met - one with a cannon, the other with a troop of cavalrymen were prepared to join their general. At McCormick's news they fled rapidly back across the bridge.'
Another mention is in 'Ireland 1798, The Battles' by Art Kavanagh, p153, 'Another man of note in Johnson's retinue was a temporary aide de camp, a yeoman called McCormick. It was said that McCormick in the height of the battle got cut off and though surrounded by a hundred rebels he managed to fight his way out of the tight corner.'
In 'The People's Rising, Wexford 1798' by Daniel Gahan it states on p127, 'A detachment of troops was trapped in the lane for a short while by this movement, but they eventually escaped through a connecting alley, partly through the efforts of a flamboyant local yeoman in a brass helmet named McCormick.'
Then again in 'A Little History of St Mary's and its Memorials' by Joe Doran, p78, 'General Johnson's aide at the Battle of Ross was a man named McCormick in a brass helmet "worth 40 brave soldiers".'
Finally, in 'History of the Rebellion in Ireland in the year 1798' by Rev. James Gordon (1801), p119, '...while Major-General Johnson, the commander, a man of consummate courage and fervent exertions, aided by those of an extraordinary gentleman, an inhabitant of Ross, named McCormick, labouring to rally the discomfited soldiery.'
Note: Licence to own required in State of Victoria, Australia.