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Adam Murray (soldier)

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Subject: Irish soldiers, Siege of Derry, Conrad von Rosen, Year of birth unknown
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Adam Murray (soldier)

Adam Murray was an Irish soldier known for his service during the War of the Two Kings (1689-1691). He is particularly known for his participation at the 1689 Siege of Derry where he was one of the most active officers in defence of the city.

Murray was a Protestant farmer from County Londonderry in Ulster. There is no record of his having served in the Irish Army before 1688, but he may have been in the militia. When a rebellion broke out in 1689 amongst the Protestants of Ireland against the rule of the Catholic James II, Murray joined the forces of the Protestant Association as a cavalry officer. He took part in the unsuccessful attempt to block the advancing Jacobite army of King James at the Battle of Cladyford.[1] Murray's mounted troops were noted for their courage during the fight, only retiring when they had exhausted their ammunition.[2]

After the battle Murray led a number of survivors to the closed gates of the city of Derry, by this point one of the few surviving Protestant positions. Murray's arrival was a crucial tipping-point, coming at a time when a number of city leaders wished to agree terms with King James. Murray's men strengthened the garrison, and led to the withdrawal of less resolute figures such as the Governor Robert Lundy and their replacement by more determined officers such as Henry Baker and John Mitchelburne. Many of the inhabitants and soldiers wanted Murray to be made Governor, but he declined and Baker and then Mitchelburne served in the position. Instead Murray took command of the city's cavalry regiment.

Throughout the siege, Murray led a series of sorties against the besiegers, which boosted the morale of the city's defenders, However, in one such raid in July Murray was wounded in both thighs, and his cousin James Murray was killed.[3] Despite heavy losses amongst the garrison and inhabitants, Derry was able to successfully hold out until its relief by General Percy Kirke in late July.

Murray's conduct during the siege made him a popular hero amongst Irish Protestants. It is unknown when Murray died, but he was buried at Old Glendermott alongside his former commander at Derry John Mitchelburne.[4]


  1. ^ Doherty p.242
  2. ^ Doherty p.67
  3. ^ Doherty p.188
  4. ^ Doherty p.243


  • Childs, John. The Williamite War in Ireland, 1688-1691. Continuum, 2007.
  • Doherty, Richard. The Siege of Derry: The Military History. Spellmount, 2010.
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