Battle of the Diamond
For many years prior to 1795 there had been attacks on the Protestants of Armagh by various secretive and violent organisations. William Blacker recorded that as early as 1759 one such group, known as the White Boys Association was in existence. This organisation later became the Defenders, a group which terrorised isolated settlements of Protestants throughout County Armagh. In 1783 the Defenders attempted to prevent the celebration of 12 July at Lisnagade Fort near Scarva. Later, attacks on Protestants became so commonplace, that few dared travel alone, particularly at night. In one notably savage incident the Forkhill home of a schoolmaster, named Barclay, was attacked and he, his wife and her teenage brother had their tongues cut out.

By 1795 the Defenders had become so bold that a force of 300 openly attacked a 20-strong detachment of the Clare Militia, who were transporting ammunition from Armagh to Tandragee, in broad daylight. This attack was beaten off, but it was only a prelude to what was to come. The Defenders had set their sights on the strategic little hamlet of the Diamond, midway between Portadown and Loughgall. Alerted to the Defenders' plans, Protestants rallied from several areas Loughgall, Richhill, the Dyan and Portadown - to resist the impending assault. William Blacker spent many hours in the company of a carpenter called Macan, making ammunition from the lead on Carrickblacker House from where he conveyed it to the Diamond.

The victory at the Diamond was not in itself any more significant than earlier defeats of Defender attacks. The significance of the Diamond lay in what followed the battle, namely the birth of the Orange Institution. Following the rout of the Defenders the victorious Protestants agreed on the need for a defensive organisation. Over a period of two centuries this has grown to the point where some claim that the Orange Institution was formed outside the smouldering remains of Dan Winter's cottage in the space of a few hours! This would of course have been impossible. Given the complexity of the organisation that eventually emerged, it is more plausible to suggest that on that night the formation of an association was agreed upon and the detail of the association's creation was passed to those who would be regarded as the natural leaders. Both the Colonel Wallace and William Blacker papers support this interpretation. Blacker noted:

Immediately after the battle and on the field of action measures were adopted for the formation of a defensive association of Protestants, and these were carried into effect as far as commencement in the house of James Sloan, in the village of Loughgall, about three miles from the Diamond. Sloan acted as Secretary and issued what were called 'numbers', a kind of rude warrant for holding lodges.