Charles Edward Jennings
General Charles Edward Saul Jennings (19 October 1751 – 11 December 1799), sometimes romanticised as Brave Kilmaine, was an Irish soldier and revolutionary who served France in the eighteenth century. He was committed to the cause of Irish independence and an active supporter of the French Revolution. Jennings is known to have been an associate of Theobald Wolfe Tone and served as a brigade and division commander under Napoleon I.
Charles Edward Jennings
General Charles Edward Saul Jennings
|Born||19 October 1751|
Sauls Court, Dublin, Ireland
|Died||11 December 1799 (aged 48)|
|Allegiance|| United Irishmen|
First French Republic
|Years of service||1765-1799|
|Battles/wars||Campagne au Sénégal |
American war of Independence
French Revolutionary Wars
Jennings served in the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars. He played a minor role in the Irish independence movement. Jennings was known for his personal reserve and as one of the most charismatic Irish generals of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period. Though he was not ennobled, he is sometimes referred to as de Kilmaine and Baron de Kilmaine in reference to the Jennings' ancestral home in Kilmaine, County Mayo.
Jennings was born on 19 October 1751 at Saul's Court, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland. His father, Dr. Theobald Jennings, of Polaniran (Ironpool), Tuam, County Galway (see Soraca Jonin) was a prominent physician who married a cousin, Eleanor Saul, daughter of Laurence Saul, a wealthy Dublin distiller. In 1738, Dr. Jennings and Eleanor left Ireland and settled in Tonnay-Charente in south-west France. In 1751, when Eleanor became pregnant, she left France for Dublin in order that her child might be born in Ireland. Jennings spent his early boyhood in Saul's Court with his relatives. When he was 11 years old, he left Ireland and joined his father in France. Jennings was educated in Tonnay-Charente and quickly became proficient in French.
Jennings began his military career in 1764 at the age of 14 when he entered the Austrian army. After seven years' service as a junior officer in Austria, he entered the French army in 1774. In September, 1778 Kilmaine was appointed adjutant of the Volontaires-étrangers de Lauzun (Lauzun's Legion), a mercenary unit owned and commanded by the Duc de Lauzun, Armand Louis de Gontaut. He served with this unit in Senegal in 1779 and in America under Rochambeau (1780–83), and remained after it was reorganized as a hussar regiment.
American War of IndependenceEdit
In 1780, Jennings was appointed sous-lieutenant of Lauzun's Legion. He served under Rochambeau and the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Revolutionary War. He was deeply affected by his experiences in America. This, combined with the impressions made upon him during his youth in Ireland and the teachings of his father, caused Jennings to imbibe strongly the revolutionary ideals of the era. He developed strong republican principles and upon his return to France he became an energetic supporter of the French Revolution.
In 1786, he was awarded the title lieutenant in command, and took control of the regiment of Hussars of Duc de Lauzun. Two years later he attained the rank of captain. A growing military reputation brought him further promotion to chef d'escadron.
On 21 March 1791, seven months shy of his 40th birthday, he honorably retired from the army, was given the title of Baron and took the civic oath, sworn by all persons as a pre-condition for French citizenship. This was especially important leading up to and during the French revolution, particularly among foreigners and nobility. For almost a year he pursued family life and philanthropic interests. In 1792, by personal invitation of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, Jennings rejoined the French Army when war broke out between France and monarchic Europe.
Reinstated as a chef d'escadron, Jennings served in the French Revolutionary Wars. He was a Corps Commander under Charles François Dumouriez and Lafayette. He performed with great valor at the Battle of Valmy in September 1792, when a unit of hussars under his command saved a whole French division from annihilation. In November 1792 at the Battle of Jemappes, he fought with remarkable bravery. When that battle seemed lost, Kilmaine and the Duke of Chartres (Louis Philippe) turned apparent defeat into victory. On the field he was raised to the rank of Chief Colonel, and from that day was ever afterwards known as "le brillant et courageux Kilmaine".
Brigade and Division CommandEdit
Kilmaine continued to serve with the Army of the North, and proved to be one of its ablest officers. Following the victory at Jemappes, the Army of the North comprised 48 infantry battalions and 3,200 cavalrymen. By December, 1792, thanks to the neglect of the Revolutionary Government, these troops were shirtless, shoeless, starving and in rags. Fifteen hundred men deserted. Kilmaine's cavalry were critically short of boots, saddles, weapons and horses. Nearly 6,000 troop and baggage horses died at Lisle and Tongres for want of forage. Honourable testimony has been given to the unceasing efforts of Kilmaine to preserve order among his soldiers amid these horrors. He frequently endeavoured by private contribution to provide subsistence for his men, who roved about in bands, robbing the villages around their cantonments at Aix-la-Chapelle. Many of Kilmaine's soldiers were murdered by vengeful peasants when found straggling alone away from their billets. Kilmaine was named general of brigade on 8 March 1793.
After the defection and flight of Dumouriez in April 1793, Kilmaine adhered to the National Convention, and was rewarded with a promotion to general of division on 15 May 1793. He now redoubled his energies to restore order in the army, which by the defection of its leader was almost disbanded. Auguste Marie Henri Picot de Dampierre took command. He was so ably seconded by Kilmaine, that within one month after he assumed command discipline was completely restored.
Battle of Raismes and Retreat to CondeEdit
Kilmaine commanded Dampierre's advance-guard in the campaign against the allied powers after the failure of the Congress of Antwerp on 8 April 1793. Dispatches testified to Kilmaine's gallantry during the "murderous affairs of the 1st and 2nd May" in which, according to the official report, he had two chargers killed from under him as he managed to fight off a determined attack. Six days of incessant skirmishing followed. Kilmaine displayed extraordinary valour on 8 May during the Battle of Raismes, fought by Dampierre to deliver Condé-sur-l'Escaut. The French were defeated with heavy losses. Dampierre was slain, and Kilmaine was ordered to fight a rearguard action to cover the retreat. The infuriated and disorderly army fell back to the barrier town of Condé, which was at that time under the nominal lordship of the unfortunate Duke d'Enghien.
François Joseph Drouot de Lamarche succeeded Dampierre and sent Kilmaine with his division to the Army of Ardennes. He remained there only a short time before being recalled to the main army, which he found in the most critical circumstances.
The fall of de Dampierre and the arrest of Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine acted fatally on the Army of the North. It was now reduced to about thirty thousand rank and file soldiers. These men remained in a disorderly state, without a proper chief, and without aim or object. The Army's manoeuvrings were committed to chance or directed by ignorance, for, with the exception of Kilmaine, its leaders were destitute of skill, experience, and energy. Quitting the camp of Caesar, they returned to their fortified position at Famars, three miles distant from Valenciennes, the approach to which it covered. Here they were attacked on 23 May, driven back, and obliged to abandon the city to its own garrison under Jean Henri Becays Ferrand.
Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the NorthEdit
Kilmaine was named Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the North on 17 July 1793. He rejoined the army with his division from the Army of Ardennes, and his position became almost desperate. Kilmaine's presence for a time appeased the disorder in the army. The Army of the North occupied positions on the banks of the Scheldt, facing a much larger opposing force jointly commanded by the Duke of York and Albany and the Prince of Coburg. Kilmaine, with only 24,000 ill-appointed troops, dared not attack them. Only 40 leagues lay between Kilmaine's position and Paris. If he fought and lost the day, he could thereafter assume no position of sufficient strength to prevent the allies from penetrating to Paris and crushing the Convention. Kilmaine's position was untenable. He dared not abandon the capital or retire beyond the Loire, as the tides of war and politics were setting in against him. Kilmaine was forced to withdraw. Although he carried out a masterly retreat, the Convention styled it (at the time) "completely mutinous."
Imprisonment and releaseEdit
Even at this epoch of deception and duplicity, and when political insanity and revenge were rampant, Kilmaine, who had rendered such gallant services to that new and most faithless Republic, had by a judicious retreat (executed against the advice of the meddling and presumptuous representatives of the people, and in consequence thereof perilled his life), preserved to France her most important Army. Some say that it was precisely for this reason he was denounced to the Convention. It didn't help that he had also become the object of suspicion on account of his foreign birth and his relations abroad. He was immediately relieved of his command, discharged from the army and sent into exile to Luxembourg. He accepted it all with calm dignity, saying, "I am ready, to serve the cause of the Republic in whatever rank I am placed, and wherever set I shall do my duty."
In a short time, Kilmaine returned to Paris under cover, and retired with his wife to the Parisian suburb of Passy. There they lived quietly for some months. When the Reign of Terror began, he and his wife were arrested and imprisoned. One would think that being imprisoned as a foreigner was an act of injustice which would weigh heavily on an officer who had given 30 years of unselfish devotion to France, served gallantly in 9 campaigns, fought in 46 battles. However, in the obscurity of his dungeon, Kilmaine got his reward, however strange, in that he had not perished on the scaffold like the gallant Custine, his predecessor in the command, like his old colonel and protector Biron, and like Jean Nicolas Houchard, who for the brief period of fifteen days had been his successor, and who, after winning a signal and decided victory over the Duke of York and Albany, was nevertheless executed. Kilmaine narrowly escaped the guillotine and recovered his liberty after the fall of Robespierre in July, 1794. He and his wife were released on an order signed personally by Lazare Carnot and remained for some time in Paris.
Kilmaine was involved in quelling the Jacobin Uprising in May, 1795. He assisted Jean-Charles Pichegru in the defense of the National Convention against excited mobs of Parisian faubourgs. Kilmaine continued to fight for the Convention until the 13th Vendemiaire, 1796, actively co-operating with Napoleon Bonaparte and the Revolutionary Party.
Early in 1796 he set out with Bonaparte on the Italian Campaign. He fought at the Battle of Lodi on 10 May and contributed to the victory by leading a cavalry charge. In September, he was appointed Commander of Northern Italy. This campaign significantly increased his reputation throughout Europe as a truly brilliant officer.
In October, Kilmaine was one of Napoleon's subordinate commanders during the Siege of Mantua. The Austrians, who were commanded by Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser, attempted to breakout and were repulsed with the loss of 1,100 men and five pieces of cannon. Kilmaine played a key role in repulsing them. Bonaparte, in his dispatch to the Directory on 1 October 1796 wrote:
General Kilmaine, who commands the two divisions which press the siege of Mantua, remained on the 29th ultimo in his former position, and was still in hopes that the enemy would attempt a sortie to carry forage into the place, but instead they took up a position before the gate of Pradello, near the Carthusian convent and the chapel of Cerese. The brave General Kilmaine made his arrangements for an attack, and advanced in two columns against these two points, but he had scarcely begun to march when the enemy evacuated their camps, their rear having fired only a few musket-shots at him. The advanced posts of General Vaubois have come up with the Austrian division which defends the Tyrol, and made one hundred and ten prisoners"
Early in December, Wurmser attempted another breakout. The Austrians began their operation just before dawn advancing under a furious cannonade. However, as Bonaparte noted, "Kilmaine made him return, as usual, faster than he came out, and took from him two hundred men, one howitzer, and two pieces of cannon. This is his third unsuccessful attempt."
Kilmaine energetically and ably commanded troops involved in the Siege of Mantua for over 5 months. Wurmser finally surrendered on 3 February 1797. In a dispatch notifying the Minister of War about this important victory Kilmaine wrote:
"Kilmaine, General de Division and Commandant of Lombardy, to the Minister of War. Milan, 17 Pluviose, 1797
I avail myself of a courier which general Bonaparte sends from Romagna (in order to announce to the Directory the defeat of the Papal troops), to acquaint you with the capture of Mantua, the news of which I received yesterday evening by a courier from Mantua itself I thought it necessary to announce this circumstance, because General Bonaparte, who is occupied in Romagna annihilating the troops of his Holiness, may probably have been ignorant of this fact when his courier departed. Tho garrison are our prisoners of war, and are to be sent into Germany in order to be exchanged. I have not yet received the articles of capitulation, but the commander-in-chief will not fail to send them by the first courier.
The capture of Mantua was celebrated in Paris by the firing of cannon and the erection of arches in honour of Bonaparte and Kilmaine 'the Irish Commandant of Lombardy', and a grand joy was diffused through every heart in the city on the fall of what they styled the Gibraltar of Italy, while Bonaparte, loaded with the diamonds of the vanquished corrupt Pope, and the spoils of our Lady of Loretto, pushed on to seek fresh conquests and new laurels. Kilmaine briefly remained in command in Mantua after its capitulation. Upon returning to Paris, he was awarded the title Baron de Kilmaine.
Commander-in-chief of the Armée d'AngleterreEdit
In the spring of 1798, the French were preparing to invade Britain and Ireland. In the February of that year, a grand march to the coast of the Channel took place. The invasion force consisted of forty demi-brigades of infantry, thirty-four regiments of cavalry, two regiments of horse artillery, two regiments of foot artillery, six companies of sappers and pioneers, and six battalions of miners and pontooniers. This task force was led by eighteen distinguished generals of division, and forty-seven generals of brigade the most brave and able in France. Among the former were Kilmaine, Louis Alexandre Berthier, Jean Baptiste Kléber, André Masséna, Jacques MacDonald, Michel Ney, Claude Perrin Victor, and others whose names were to become famous in future wars as the marshals of the empire. Headed by bands blaring martial music, the soldiers marched through Paris, displaying black banners inscribed with slogans such as
"Descent upon England, long live the Republic! May Britain perish"
On St. Patrick's Day, Kilmaine hosted a great banquet in Paris. Along with many Irish generals, O'Cher, Colonel O'Shee, and all the Irishmen in Paris. Other guests in attendance were Irish rebels James Bartholomew Blackwell, William Corbet and Napper Tandy, also there was the notorious American radical and intellectual Thomas Paine (then a political fugitive and pseudo-anarchist, who had been invited to attend by Kimaine). Irish republican Wolfe Tone had not been present at the banquet. He was hiding in Paris around this time and had been holding secret meetings with Napoleon (set up through Kilmaine) to discuss an Irish Revolution, as he detested many of the Irishmen in Paris, describing them as "sad, vulgar wretches, and I have been used to rather better company in all respects" he stayed well away. However, all the corresponding members of the Irish clubs and malcontent party at home were also present. Many fierce end stirring political toasts were drunk, amid vociferous enthusiasm, among these, one in particular,
"Long live the Irish Republic, long live the Republic"
Speeches were made expressive of the rapid progress which republicanism had made in their native country, and of the strong desire of the Catholics and Dissenters to throw off the yoke of England, (that yoke which Kilmaine in his boyhood had been taught by his father to abhor and to hate). Irish rebel leader Napper Tandy, was in the chair for most of the night, on his left sat none other than Thomas Paine, and on his right sat Kilmaine, who, immediately after the banquet, had to leave Paris to rejoin his column of the army on the coast.
The future Irish Republic was enthusiastically saluted by Kilmaine that night, and every confidence (though merry) expressed in the accomplishment of his most ardent desire for the magnificent emancipation of Ireland.
Within days hundreds of gunboats were ordered to be prepared, and transports were to be collected at Dunkirk, to be protected from the British fleet by a Dutch squadron then at the mouth of the Scheldt. All of Britain was up in arms on hearing of an armament so formidable.
Meanwhile, the condition of France was then absolutely desperate and wild. In April, Kilmaine returned to Paris, after having executed, by order of the government, a survey of all the coasts of France and Holland (then reduced to a province of the former). He was promptly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armée dAngleterre destined for the invasion of British Isles. The position of which had been meant for Louis Desaix, the hero of Marengo, was now bestowed upon him. As the supreme chief of command of this famous militia force, the eyes of all Europe were now fixed firmly on him.
French whispers throughout Europe at the time asserts that this expedition was destined, not for Britain, but in fact for Egypt, and that Kilmaine received the command of it, not so much for his great military skill, but as to deceive the ministry, supposing that the name of an Irishman would cause them to believe that the armament was destined for Ireland and so they named him General in Chief of the Armee d'Angleterre, which never existed at all. Even if this was the case Kilmaine didn't know it. The number of transports was soon increased to over a thousand, and all the naval and military resources of Holland were pressed into the French service and managed by Kilmaine.
Colonel Shee, Wolfe Tone, General Clarke, General Humbert and Kilmaine, were by this time hard at work planning an Irish invasion. They were well acquainted with the extent of the military organization of the United Irishmen, and knew that by the close of the preceding year the people were well provided with arms, and knew the use of them. In the beginning of 1797, great quantities were discovered and seized by the British Government, who, in Leinster and Ulster alone, captured 70,630 pikes, with 48,109 muskets. If the Irish managed their projected rising, one cannot for a moment doubt what the result would be, once Kilmaine's formidable expedition landed in Ireland.
Meanwhile, Kilmaine's health was slowly declining. The duties of a 47-year-old Kilmaine were alike harassing and arduous, as he had to superintend the equipment and organization of this vast force, composed of men of all arms and several nations, and he was repeatedly summoned to Paris, even in the middle of the night, by couriers who overtook him in his progresses, thus, though suffering under severe ill health. The Directory once brought him on the spur from Bruges early in July, and again from Brest about the end of the same month only to bring him back a few days later.
During the summer of 1798, the European press were full of words expressing admiration for Kilmaine.
Citizen d'Arbois, an officer on Kilmaine's staff, sent a glowing account of Kilmaine's mission to the Paris newspapers, where it was published on 7 August 1798. He wrote:
"The eagerness with which our troops, both by sea and land, await the moment when, under the brave and brilliant warrior Kilmaine, they will engage the English, is the best pledge of our approaching success, and the defeat of our enemies."
Around this time too, a Brussels newspaper stated,
"We are assured that the French republicans shall be able to make a successful descent upon Ireland, the Belgian youth will be employed in that country under General Kilmaine, who, being a native of it, will there have the command of the French and Irish forces."
Doubts hovered in the minds of the Directory, even if there were none in the hearts of their soldiers and generals, and long delays ensued. General Hoche, who was the mainspring of the projected movement in favor of Ireland, died. And Bonaparte, to whom Kilmaine, Tone, Shee, and others of the Irish patriots turned, no longer had any sympathy for their cause, as all his efforts were now focused on war in the East.
In 1798 the Directory began breaking up the Armee d'Angleterre, and withdrew Kilmaine's troops. Kilmaine went to Paris to plead with the government and the Minister of Marine concerning the embarkation of the troops and departure of the fleet. His questions were waived, or left unanswered. They had more important plans for him.
The fate of Chef-commander Kilmaine's forces that 'independently' sailed to Ireland was sealed from the onset.
The first attempt, from Brest on 22 August, initially got off to a good start. Approximately 1,000 French soldiers under General Humbert landed in the north-west of the country, at Kilcummin in County Mayo. They joined up to 5,000 local rebels and drove the British from Castlebar, setting up a short-lived "Republic of Connaught". They were defeated at the battle of Ballinamuck, in County Longford, on 8 September 1798. The French troops who surrendered were repatriated to France in exchange for British prisoners of war, but hundreds of captured Irish rebels were executed.
A second attempt in September, accompanied by Napper Tandy, came to disaster on the coast of Donegal and was unable to land, before eventually returning to France.
The third and final attempt, on 12 October 1798, under Admiral Bompard, with General Hardy in command of a larger force of about 3000 men, including Wolfe Tone himself, never had a chance. They attempted to land in County Donegal near Lough Swilly, but were intercepted by a bigger Royal Navy squadron, and eventually surrendered after a three-hour battle without ever landing in Ireland. Tone was captured, taken prisoner and was tried in court-martial.
For some time all of Britain supposed the troops were led by the commander-in-chief in person and all the press of England and Scotland teemed with blustering or scurrilous remarks on "Paddy Kilmaine and his gang". In truth General Kilamine never embarked, although he certainly wanted to, as commander in Chef, a master tactician and without the blessing of his commander Napoleon, he superintended the departure of 6,000 of his troops from Rochfort and Brest.
By the end of 1798, the army of England and its expedition were alike completely dissolved, and The Directory turned their ambition totally eastwards and to the middle East. Napoleon now wished to give Kilmaine command of the forces assembled for the great war in Egypt. But for the present his career finished on the coasts of France and Holland, looking out toward fighting Ireland.
The Directory's outright decision to abandon the project completely shattered all of Kilmaine's hopes of helping to achieve the independence of his native land. For some years an intimate friendship had existed between him and fellow Irishman Wolfe Tone (while the latter lived in Paris) and upon hearing of his friends arrest in Ireland, he strongly urged the French government to intervene in his case and to hold for Tones safety, hostages of equal rank chosen from the British military prisoners then in France. He assembled a petition and wrote a brilliant letter to the President of the Executive Directory, it reads,
Head-Quarters at Rouen 27th Brumaire, 7th year of the Republic. Kilmaine, General in Chief of the Army of England to the President of the Executive Directory
From the assurances which the executive Directory has given, that the Adjudant General Smith, taken on board the Hoche, shall be claimed in a peremptory manner, it would be superfluous in me to request your interference a second time. But, as Commander in Chief of the Army, in which he served with such distinction, I consider myself as in duty bound to acquaint the Directory more particularly with that officer. His real name is Tone; that of Smith was assumed to conceal from the English Government his residence in France, and spare to his family in Ireland those persecutions which would infallibly inflicted upon them. Obliged, as he had been one of the most zealous and respectable apostles of the cause of liberty in his country, to seek a refuge from its tyrants in North America, he was called from thence, on the demand of the French Government, to co-operate with General Hoche in his first expedition to Ireland. He was then promoted to the rank of Adjutant General, and served the Republic in that capacity in the Army of England, where he was known to me in the most advantageous light, and had acquired, by his talents and social qualities, the esteem and friendship of all the Generals with whom he served. He was employed in the expedition of General Hardy, merely as a French officer, and ought to be acknowledged in that character; he had adopted France as his country; his right to be considered as a French prisoner of war is undoubted, and no one can regard him in any other light. I know not what treatment the British Government may reserve for him, but if it were other than such as any French officer, in a similar situation, has a claim to expect, I am clearly of the opinion that the Directory should designate some British prisoner of superior rank to serve as a hostage, and to undergo precisely the same treatment that Adjutant General Smith may suffer from the British Government. By this measure you may save to the Republic one of its most distinguished officers; to liberty, one of her most zealous and most enlightened defenders, and a father to one of the most interesting families which I have ever known.
Health and respect, Kilmaine.
Even though he garnered much support from prominent Frenchmen and even Napoleon, his appeal was strangely ignored, much to Kilmane's profound disapproval. Subsequently Tone was found guilty and was sentenced to be hanged. He pleaded in virtue of his status as a French officer to die by the musket instead of the rope. Denied his wish, and before the sentence was carried out, he cheated and attempted suicide by slitting his own throat and died of his severe wounds days later.
Generalissimo of the Army of SwitzerlandEdit
At the beginning of 1799, Kilmaine's health was now further deteriorating. He also had become greatly saddened by his friend, Wolfe Tone's death. In the spring of that year, the Directory appointed him supreme generalissimo of the army of Helvetii, as they chose to designate Switzerland, thus reviving the ancient name of the people whom Julius Caesar conquered. The French troops already occupied Lombardy on one side, and the Rhenish provinces on the other. Thus they never doubted their ability to conquer the Swiss and remodel the Helvetic constitution.
The 48-year-old Kilmaine accepted the command, and ignored his condition for quite some time, until his rapidly failing health forced him to give up his baton to Massena, and he was compelled to retire from active service for good.
With a sorrow which he could not conceal, he saw that army march which penetrated into the heart of the Swiss mountains, and imposed on their hardy inhabitants a constitution in which Bonaparte, under the plausible title of Mediator, secured the co-operation of the valiant descendants of the Celtic tribe of Helvetii in his further schemes of conquest and ambition.
In a fragile condition Kilmaine left Switzerland and returned to Passy in Paris, where his domestic griefs and chagrins added to the poignancy of his bodily sufferings, for his constitution was now completely broken up.
He died of dysentery on 11 December 1799, at the age of 48.
He was interred with all the honors due to his rank and immense bravery, and a noble monument was erected in his memory. He had surely been the greatest of officers of all The Wild Geese.
Kilmaine is historically honored at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where his name can be seen on the inside triumphal arch, on the Northern pillar, Column 05. Underneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (World War I).
In the memoirs of Captain Landrieux, his aide-de-camp, Kilmaine is described as
"the only officer in whom Napoleon ever placed complete and utter confidence."
A generous man, he frequently supplemented out of his own private means the rations of his men, who with difficulty were prevented from deserting and more importantly kept alive.
In the Memoirs published by General Charles Tristan, Marquis de Montholon, he wrote of Jennings,
"Brave and noble Kilmaine, being an excellent cavalry officer, had coolness and foresight, he was well fitted to command a corps of observation, detached upon those arduous or delicate commissions which require spirit, discernment, and sound judgment. He rendered important services to the army, of which he was one of the principal generals notwithstanding the delicacy of his health. He had a great knowledge of the Austrian troops, familiar with their tactiques, he did not allow himself to be imposed upon by those rumors which they were in the habit of spreading in the rear of an army, nor to be dismayed by those heads of columns which they were wont to display in every direction, to deceive as to the real strength of their forces. His political opinions were brilliantly moderate."
Wolfe Tone wrote of Kilmaine in his private journal. One of his diary entries read,
"Clarke then said there were some Irish officers yet remaining in France, who might go, and he mentioned Jennings, who used to call himself Baron de Kilmaine, God knows why. I answered, that in Ireland we had no great confidence in the officers of the old Irish Brigade, so many of them had either deserted, or betrayed the French cause, that, as to Jennings, he had had the unfortunate misfortune to command after Custine, and had been obliged to break up the famous "Camp de Caesar", that, though this might probably have been no fault of his, it had made an impression, and, as he was at any rate not a fortunate general but a typical Irish soldier of fortune, I thought it would maybe better to have a Frenchman."
There is a personal portrait of General Kilmaine in the 'Hotel de Ville' (City Hall) at Tonnay-Charente, where his father Dr. Theobald Jennings practiced as a physician.
A monument was erected in his memory in Tonnay-Charente in the 19th century.
Rue du Général Kilmaine, a street in Tonnay-Charente, was named in his honor in the 19th century.
Kilmaine married when he was relatively young and had at least one child. There is reason to believe that his wife 'Baroness de Kilmaine' died a few years before he did. There are likely numerous descendants of Jennings in Ireland, and as the pseudo-surname "de Kilmaine" (minus Jennings) survives to this day, also too in France.
- Chuquet, Arthur (1896). Les guerres de la Révolution (in French). Léon Chailley. p. 57. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
- Clark, George B. (2010). Irish Soldiers in Europe, 17th-19th Century. Mercier Press Ltd. p. 106. ISBN 9781856356626. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
- "Charles de Kilmaine". www.oxforddnb.com. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Stephen McGarry, Irish Brigades Abroad (Dublin 2013).
- Richard Hayes, "Charles Edward Jennings (Kilmaine)", A Biographical Dictionary of Irishmen in France, Dublin, MH Gill, 1949.
- Samuel F. Scott, "Kilmaine, Charles Edward Saul Jennings de (1751–1799)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 18 Feb 2008.
- Thomas Fisher, Assistant Librarian of Trinity College, Dublin, "library ireland", The library of Ireland biography of Charles Jennings Kilmaine, Dublin, 116. Dublin University Magazine (47). Dublin, 1833-'77.
- Richard Hayes, "General Charles Jennings Kilmaine 1751-1799" Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. 23, No. 90 (Jun., 1934), pp. 301–312
- James Grant, "THE CAVALIERS OF FORTUNE", GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS. THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE, NEW YORK: 416 BROOME STREET