The Fenian Uprising - 1867
The arrests and convictions of the key Fenian leaders threw American and Irish IRB circles into chaos. In America, John O'Mahoney
was deposed from his position as leader of the US Fenians and a split in the organisation occurred gradually. The majority of the American Fenians fell under inexperienced and unwise leadership and wasted their resources on a pointless and badly timed invasions of Canada.
remained in Ireland until John Devoy was captured. This event signalled to Stephens that it was a prime time to flee. He landed in America in March of 1866 and made an attempt to heal the rift in Fenian Brotherhood abroad. He promised action by the end of the year and when nothing happened, the split re-ensued.
The date for the looming Rising was fixed for Februrary 11th, 1867, but as this date approached leadership decided to push it further to March 5th. Two large contingents of armed Fenians failed to received this second notice and attacked on the 11th of February. In Kerry, Fenians captured police barracks and a coast guard station. They found transmissions of intercepted telegraph messages setting the rising date on the 5th. The men were then ordered to disperse back to their homes. In the North of England, near Chester, John McCafferty led a sizable number of Fenians to launch a surprise attack on a large arms store in Chester Castle. If it were not for a last-minute informer, this attack would have been brutally effective; instead it was shamefully abortive.
These events mixed with other informers and blunders doomed the rising planned for March 5th to failure. The British forces were on full alert and the weather was not on the Rebels side as a blizzard set in. Many men turned out for the rising (many thousands across the island and in England), but were forced to turn back home because they were not prepared to face the weather. A large amount of these men were arrested as they made their way home and remanded without charge or trial.
The failure was sealed when General Massey of the Fenians was captured at Limerick Junction, after an informer supplied the British Army with information about the Rising. Massey too spilled his guts about everything he knew, and the day was lost.
*Soon: Tallaght, Manchester, Clerkenwell, and the aftermath of revolt.
Rising in Limerick
Rising in Cork
Rising in Kilbaha