Records of the Royal Downshire Militia, 1793-1855, comprising a Courts Martial Book, October 1793-September 1796, three correspondence and order books, October 1799-September 1812, and some loose army circulars and memoranda, 1855. The Courts Martial Book contains summaries of the evidence, etc., at courts-martial of non-commissioned officers and men of the Downshire regiment. The other three contain copies of circulars and letters to and from officers at headquarters in Dublin and elsewhere, as well as reports of courts-martial of commissioned officers in militia regiments and in line regiments at home and abroad. In the volume for 1793-6, a portion of which is missing, there are recorded 228 courts-martial. There are a few instances of something like an under court-martial, or Court of Enquiry, composed of non-commissioned officers and men, trying a private. The reactions at home to the Napoleonic War, then in progress, are reflected in these volumes. Bounties were given to militia soldiers enlisting in line regiments for 'service in Europe only', while strenuous efforts were made to keep the militia regiments at full strength for home defence. In 1801, the Downshire Regiment, among others, volunteered to serve in England and received the thanks of the Commander-in-Chief. Bad harvests in 1799 and 1800 led to the issue of orders permitting the employment of militiamen to assist farmers in digging potatoes. But the action of several corps in intercepting potatoes on the way to market caused a shortage in Dublin. Other references to current events include a mutiny at Gibraltar in 1803, the Battle of Copenhagen, 1807, and trouble at Kilrea, Co. Londonderry in 1811 arising out of a militia soldier's 'unwarrantable language to an Orangeman'
Although quite a small collection, the volumes contain a wealth of information about the militia, not only relating to the Downshire regiment but to regiments throughout Ireland and events abroad.
4 volumes and c.20 documents, 1793-1855, occupying 2 PRONI boxes.
See PRONI reference D/374 for catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.