By Eamonn Duggan
As the Civil War entered its third full month there were clear indications it was about to become an even bloodier one. By early September the conventional stage of the war had come to an end as the anti-Treaty leadership changed its fighting strategy to one based on the concept of guerrilla warfare.
Liam Lynch and his fellow officers took the view that their chances of securing an overall victory were receding fast in the face of a far superior National Army, which was not only better equipped and led, but could also boast a greater sense of morale.
In an attempt to regain lost ground, the anti-Treaty leadership decided to abandon the conventional approach to warfare and resorted to the guerrilla warfare tactics employed by the IRA against the forces of the Crown during the War of Independence.
The spiral of violence continued on the first day of the month when a civilian by the name of Livingstone Cooke was shot dead by anti-Treaty men on the Old Blackrock Road in Cork city.
The following day saw anti-Treaty forces stage an attack on Macroom in Cork, during which, they managed to capture an armoured car. The fire-fight lasted for about seven hours before the anti-Treaty men withdrew from the town.
That same day, other anti-Treaty men, travelling in a lorry, opened fire with a machine gun on a number of National Army troops as they drilled in Cork city. Two national Army men died in the attack while six others were wounded.
Not far away, in Watergrasshill, two National Army soldiers were killed in an ambush carried out by anti-Treaty forces. Meanwhile, on that same day anti-Treaty forces staged a number attacks in Dublin, during which, a civilian died and a number of National Army soldiers were wounded.
That same day in Dublin three detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department were shot in Deans Grange and one of the men later died of his injuries. In what was most likely a revenge shooting carried out by Criminal Investigation personnel, two anti-Treaty men, Leo Murray and Rodney Murphy, both from Deans Grange, were shot dead in Stillorgan.
Another anti-Treaty man, John Joe Stephens, was taken from his place of residence in Gardiner Place and shot dead on the Naas Road. Two days later, on 4 September, the capital saw further violence as a civilian was shot dead by National Army troops when they raided a shop on Capel Street.
That same day in Kerry two National Army men died in an anti-Treaty ambush near Aughatubrid while one anti-Treaty man was wounded and captured. In Ballina the country house belonging to the Earl of Arran was burnt down by anti-Treaty men and it is believed some 350 pieces of priceless art were destroyed in the fire.
On 5 September Richard Mulcahy and Éamon de Valera met in an effort to arrange a cessation of the fighting but they could not find common ground. That same day a National Army soldier was shot dead in Cork’s Barrack Street as he visited his family.