Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/234

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destruction. As Lieutenant Gudgeon truly remarks in his history of the war, the narrow escapes of that dreadful night would fill a volume. One Irishwoman, whose husband happened to be away from home, whilst lying awake in bed, fancied she heard the firing of guns. Her suspicions being aroused, she immediately got up, and one glance at the horizon, glowing with the reflection of the incendiary fires, was sufficient to convince her of the imminent danger in which she stood. Hastily collecting her children, she slipped over the steep bank of an adjacent river, and literally crawled for miles under the shadow of the precipitous cliffs until she arrived with her children in safety at the nearest town, where she was the first to give the alarm. Many other anecdotes of that terrible time might be narrated from contemporary evidence. This massacre, it is needless to say, sent a thrill of horror through the community. Operations directed by English military officers, and supported by the colonial militia, were commenced against Te Kooti, who, during several engagements, displayed a surprising natural knowledge of military science. He understood thoroughly the advantages to be gained by rapid movement and sudden surprise, and it was on this principle that he invariably acted. No part of the northern island felt safe from a sudden attack, and every settlement was required to look to its defences. But, however successful Te Kooti might be in prosecuting this guerrilla sort of warfare, he was occasionally brought face to face with the British trained soldiers, and compelled to fight a pitched battle. Though manifesting the same stubborn and fanatical courage, he was on most of these occasions under the necessity of retreating before the steady battalions of disciplined men arrayed against him. In these engagements