The Massacre of Peterloo, Manchester, 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919

Page 38

description. The multitude pressed one another down, and in many places they lay in masses, piled body upon body. The cries and mingled shouts with the galloping of the horses were shocking. Many of the most respectable gentlemen of the town were thrown down, ridden over and trampled upon. One special constable was killed on the spot; another was borne home dreadfully hurt. The whole of this serious affray lasted not many minutes. The ground was cleared as if by magic".

Bamford`s account runs: "On the breaking of the crowd the yeomanry wheeled, and dashing wherever there was an opening, they followed, pressing and wounding. Many females and striplings appeared as the crowd opened; their cries were piteous and heartrending. ln ten minutes from the commencement of the havoc, the field was an open and almost deserted space." Mr. B. Smith`s report of what he saw from the window in Mount Street corresponds.

Exactly how, we may be inclined to ask, was the charge of the Hussars made? Lieutenant Jolliffe, who took part in it, shall answer the question. We must premise, however, that he has his cardinal points wrong. For "south-west" we must read "south-east," and for "south" we must read "east". There is no doubt that the Hussars lined up in Mount Street, and swept the square from Mount Street to Deansgate. This is clear, not only from Stanleyis plan, but also from Jolliffe`s own statement that his troopers found themselves in Byrom Street after crossing the square. He writes: "Some one who had been sent from the place of meeting to bring us, led the way through a number of narrow streets by a circuitous route to (what l will call) the south-west corner of St. Peter`s fields. We advanced along the south side of this space of ground, without a halt or pause even; the words "Front!" and "Forward!" were given, and the trumpet sounded the charge, at the very moment the threes wheeled up. When fronted, our line extended quite across the ground, which in all parts was so filled with people that their hats seemed to touch." When the square was cleared, Lieutenant Jolliffe was sent by his commander to find a trumpeter, in order that he might sound the "Rally" or "Retreat". "This sent me down the street l had first been in [i.e. Byrom Street, or possibly St. John Street] after the pursuing men of my troop."

There are four other points touched upon in Lieutenant Jolliffe`s narrative, which should not be omitted if the story is to be complete.


'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919
Written for the Centenary, August 16th, 1919'.by F.A. Bruton, M.A.(of the Manchester Grammar School.
Download .pdf copy from the Internet Archive HERE

Transcribed here by Sheila Goodyear 2019

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