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December 21, 1796

A French fleet under General Hoche with Theobald Wolfe Tone aboard, 43 vessels and 14,500 men ran into significantly bad weather on this day in December 1796, causing the failure of an anticipated United Irishmen rebellion. Also known as the “Expedition d’Irlande,” the French fleet set sail from Brest on December 16. The goal was to assist the outlawed Society of the United Irishmen in their effort to stage a revolution to drive the English out of Ireland. After running into Atlantic gale force winds, the fleet was forced to land in Bantry Bay. Much of the fleet was dispersed and after being taken off course, the French made their way back to Brest.

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