Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/251

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Prussian exercises. At the peace he became a major-general and was appointed governor of Havana, which was then restored to Spain, and where he rebuilt the fortifications. Subsequently be was sent to take possession of Louisiana, where his severities the inhabitants of New Orleans renderedi him unpopular. On his return to Spain he was made inspector-general of infantry and governor of Madrid. He headed troops that rallied round Charles III after his escape from the city during the terrible emeute of 1765. He remained in high favour with the king, and was selected to command the Spanish expedition against Algiers in 1776.

The selection of a foreigner for the command provoked much jealousy among the Spanish officers. O'Reilly had under his orders forty ships of the line and 350 other vessels, carrying a force of thirty thousand troops of all arms. The ships, however, did not all arrive at once ; and the flat-bottomed for landing the troops had been forgotten. In the end, fearing that his ships would run aground, O'Reilly prepared to and put on shore a force of ten thousand troops, under the Marquis de la Romana, to cover the landing of the rest. The Spaniards fought bravely against the Algerines, entrenched behind the hedges of prickly and aloes, but lost four thousand men, it is said, and their leader, Romana (father of the Spanish commander of that name in Napoleonic epoch). Unable to carry out his plans, which had received general approval, O'Reilly returned sadly to Barcelona on 24 Aug. 1775. His failure at Algiers detracted much from his military reputation, but did not influence his relations with the king, who put him at the head of the military school, established first at Avila and afterwards at Port Sta. Marie, and subsequently made him commander-in-chief in Andalusia and governor of Cadiz. After the death of Charles III in 1788, O'Reilly fell into disgrace, was deprived of his military emoluments, and retired to Galicia on a small pension. But, despite his advancing years and his many enemies, he was thought the only man fit to lead the Spanish armies, after the death of General Ricardos, when the French National Convention declared against Spain in 1793. He was appointed to command the army in the Eastern Pyrenees, and was on his way thither when he died, rather suddenly, at a small village in Murcia, on 23 March 1794.

[Nouv. Biogr. Gén. vol. xxxviii., and Spanish American references there given ; Dict. Univers. vol. xxxi.]

H. M. C.

O'REILLY, ANDREW (1742–1832), Austrian general of cavalry, was born of Roman catholic parents at Ballinlough, co. Limerick, on 3 Aug. 1742, and entered the Austrian service in 1763, at the end of the seven years' war. He became a lieutenant in 1778, and was ober-lieutenant and captain of the infantry regiment of Calenberg in 1778-9. While major and adjutant of the 1st carabineer regiment in 1780-4, he served in the Bavarian succession war. In 1784-8 he was lieutenant-colonel of the 8th Hohenzollern cuirassiers, and in 1789 became colonel of the light horse regiment of Modena, which was made the 5th light dragoons in 1798, and was disbanded in 1801. He fought against the Turks in 1789, when the Austrians retook Belgrade ; and as a major-general in the Low Countries in 1792-4. When the French, under Moreau, crossed the Rhine in 1796, O'Reilly's skill as a cavalry commander could not save the Austrians from defeat, and he was himself wounded and made prisoner. He was soon after exchanged, and given a command in the interior.

In 1799 O'Reilly was in command at Zurich, and afterwards, as field-marshal-lieutenant (lieutenant-general), at Piacenza. He distinguished himself in the Italian campaign of 1800, at Montebello, Marengo, the Mincio, and other engagements, and received the grand cross of the Maria Theresa order. In 1805 he again distinguished himself at the head of the cavalry at Coldrerio, where the French, under Massena, were defeated after two days' hard fighting. When the war with France was renewed in 1809, O'Reilly was placed under the orders of the Archduke Maximilian, and when the archduke abandoned the defence of Vienna, which was attacked by an overwhelming force, O'Reilly was appointed governor. Deeming further resistance useless, and a conflagration of the city being feared, O'Reilly arranged for a surrender. The burgomaster presented himself before Napoleon, and terms were agreed to for a capitulation, by the fourteenth article of which the governor was to be permitted to bear the news to the Emperor Francis and explain the position of the monarchy. Old and worn out, O'Reilly took no part in the later campaigns of 1813-15. A general of cavalry and colonel-proprietor of the 3rd light horse regiment (since the 8th uhlans), O'Reilly died at Vienna, 5 July 1832, at the age of 90.

O'Reilly married, in 1784, Maria Barbara, countess of Sweerts and Spork; but, having no issue, adopted as his heir the son of his kinsman, Hugh O'Reilly of Ballinlough.

[Neue Deutsche Biographie and authorities there referred to.]

H. M. C.