|Battle of Belfast|
|Part of British Civil War of 1867|
Drawing of Beauregard's Charge against the Irish Defences.
|Irish Rebels||Confederate States|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Richard Withham|| P.G.T. Beauregard †|
|12,000 Militia|| 6 Infantry Regiments|
3 Cavalry Regiments
|Casualties and losses|
| 1,643 Killed|
| 228 Killed|
The Battle of Belfast began in the afternoon of December 17th, when the Confederates were given orders by the British High Command to take Belfast from the Irish. Fighting for the first day consisted of cannon fire between the two forces. The second day encompassed infantry assaults against the fortified position of the Irish. On the final day, a Cavalry Charge was made by the Confederate forces, which routed the Irish from their positions, and ultimately, Belfast.
Confederate forces arrived within artillery distance of the Irish Troops around noon on December 17th. After regrouping, the Confederates positioned the 18th Virginia, 79th Virginia, and 2nd Texas at the front line, with the 3rd and 8th Virginia Cavalry on hold. The rest of the regiments were in reserve. At 3:46 PM, the Irish batteries opened fire upon the open Confederates. They quickly brought their guns up, and by 4:19, they were firing back. This cannon fire continued until about 6 PM, when the Irish became dangerously low on ammo. With little light left, the two forces dig in for the night.
By 8AM, both sides were gearing up for an infantry battle. The order was given by General Beauregard to advance across a large field into the town itself, and straight into the Irish Garrison. Leading this charge was General Beauregard himself. Right before he left to lead the charge he was have said to have shouted, "Virginians! Texans! Ya'll come with me now and stay together!". This then created what is now infamously known as "Beauregard's Charge". Shortly before 10AM, the three regiments of Infantry slowly started to walk towards the town, 1200 metres away. Under constant cannon fire, the regiments had to move carefully, but they still received heavy losses just getting to the town. By 10:30, they reached the Irish lines, and had just broken through one of the many stonewalls defending the town. However, a few regiments of Irish reserve infantry poured in from the town, and quickly drove the Confederates back. With Confederate troops still pouring over into the stonewall, General Beauregard jumps over to place his hand on a cannon, to try and capture it and turn it around. While half-way turned, and Irish soldier shoot him in the chest. With all cohesion lost, the troops start to run back away from the town, to try and get to the safety of the camp. General Beauregard was found alive, but dying, by Irish troops. Records show that the Irish colonel gave him his flask of stout, and some soda bread, to which he greatly appreciated.
Seeing the failure of the infantry charge, and defeat near certain, Colonel George Custer, who was now in charge, ordered a Cavalry Charge to be made at daylight against the positions. At 7:38, the 3rd and 8th Virginia Cavalry roared forward towards Belfast. The surprised Irish didn't have much time to react, the cannon were set up and fired a few rounds before they were overtaken. The defenders at the stonewall were quickly routed, with most of the infantry falling back into the city. This resulted in the cavalry following them into the city, and ousted them from Belfast.