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The Booker Investigation
The Booker Investigation--Result of the Finding of
the Court of Inquiry Regarding the Cause of the Retreat at Ridgeway.
The following is a report of the proceedings of the
Court of Inquiry held at Hamilton on Tuesday, July 3rd, 1866, by
order of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, on the application
of Lieut.-Col. Booker, to examine and report on the circumstances
connected with the engagement at Lime Ridge (or Ridgeway) on June
The following officers composed the Court: President, Col. George T.
Denison, Commandant Volunteer Militia, Toronto; members--Lieut.-Col.
James Shanly, London; Lieut.-Col. G. K. Chisholm, Commanding
Oakville Rifle Company, Oakville.
The letter of instructions from Col. P. L. Macdougall, the
Adjutant-General of Militia, for the guidance of the Court,
addressed to Col. Denison (the President), and also the letter from
Lieut.-Col. Durie, by the authority of the Adjutant-General, on the
same subject (also addressed to the President) were both read and
duly considered by the Court previous to their entering upon the
subject of inquiry.
Lieut.-Col. Booker having previously received due notice of the
sitting of the Court and of the object of the inquiry, was permitted
to be present, and he desired liberty of the Court to put in a
written narrative of events as they occurred from the time he left
Hamilton until he returned from Lime Ridge to Port Colborne.
The orders for the assembling of the Court were then produced and
read, as follows:--
On application of Lieut.-Col. Booker, the
Commander-in-Chief directs the assembly of a Court of Inquiry at
Hamilton, on Tuesday, the 3rd of July, 1866, to examine witnesses
and report on the circumstances connected with the late engagement
at Lime Ridge. President, Col. G. T. Denison; members, Lieut.-Col.
James Shanly, and Lieut.-Col. G. K. Chisholm.
(Signed) P. L.
Wm. L. Durie,
Ottawa, 24th June, 1866.
[A true copy].
Toronto, 2nd July, 1866.
Sir,--In reply to your inquiries on Saturday last, I am directed to
inform you that "the Court of Inquiry is to be closed," and that
Col. Booker can produce any evidence he thinks proper. If the Court
requires further evidence it may produce witnesses.
I beg to remain,
Wm. L. Durie,
Col. Denison, President Court of Inquiry.
Ottawa, June 23rd, 1866.
Sir,--I have the honor to instruct you that the Court of Inquiry of
which you are named President, is ordered on the application of
Lieut.-Col. Booker, in order to give that officer the opportunity of
disproving the unfavorable imputations which have been cast upon him
in the public prints. You will therefore be pleased to take all
evidence which may be produced before the Court by Lieut.-Col.
Booker, and you will also endeavor to procure all other evidence
which may tend to elucidate the truth.
The opinion of the Court of Inquiry must, of course, be based on and
sustained by such evidence only as is embodied in the written
proceedings. I have the honor to be, sir,
Your very obedient
P. L. MacDougall,
Col. G. T. Denison,
President Court of Inquiry, Toronto.
The Court then considered the application of Lieut.-Col. Booker to
put in his narrative, and after due deliberation came to the
conclusion that they should comply with his request, and accordingly
gave him permission to put in his written statement.
Lieut.-Col. Booker then read and afterwards handed in to the Court
the following statement of his connection with the operations of the
troops under his command in the engagement at Lime Ridge:
On the morning of the 1st of June, 1866, at the hour
of 5.30, I received the following telegraphic message from
Lieut.-Col. Durie, A.A.G.M.:
Toronto, June 1st, 1866.
To Lieut.-Col. Booker, Commandant:
Call out your regiment for active service at once, and proceed by
special train to Dunnville via Paris immediately. Complete your men
to sixty rounds per man. Take spare ammunition with you. Ascertain
enemy's position as you progress, who are reported to have landed at
Fort Erie. In proceeding to Dunnville stop at Caledonia Station and
take command of two volunteer companies (Caledonia and York) in
readiness there. Better take cars with you for their transport.
If Port Colborne is occupied by the enemy, secure yourself at
Dunnville and report to me.
(Signed) Wm. L. Durie,
And I proceeded to warn the Thirteenth Battalion, under my command,
for immediate active service. The members mustered rapidly at the
rendezvous, but as many came without overcoats or breakfasts, I
caused them to return home for breakfast and report again within the
hour, instructing them to bring their overcoats, and those who had
them, their haversacks with food. I cautioned them that I could not
tell when nor where they would have the next opportunity for a meal.
At about 7 a.m. the Commandant (Col. Peacocke) informed me that he
also was under orders to leave. Shortly afterwards the manager of
the Great Western Railway notified me that the cars were ready for
The 13th Battalion, say 265 of all ranks, embarked at 9.30 a.m., and
proceeded by way of Paris to Dunnville, taking up the York and
Caledonia Companies (Captains Davis and Jackson), who reported 95 of
On arrival at Dunnville, where we expected to remain during the
night, we were met by the Reeve of the town, who provided the men
with billets, and I reported our arrival to Col. Peacocke by
telegraph. We were at dinner when I received the following telegram:
By Telegraph from Clifton, June 1st.
To Commander Hamilton Volunteers, Dunnville:
Go on to Port Colborne at once.
(Signed) G. PEACOCKE.
A few minutes sufficed to see all on the cars (which had been
retained at Dunnville for orders) en route for our destination,
which we reached at about 11 o'clock p.m. We found the Queen's Own
of Toronto had preceded us during the afternoon (say 480 of all
ranks). The Queen's Own had secured all the billets, and the command
with me endeavored to settle themselves as best they could in the
cars for the night.
During the night, at my request, Major Skinner endeavored to secure
a bread ration for the men: Some biscuits and bread were obtained,
and that officer reported to me that the baker would prepare a batch
of bread to be ready at 3 a.m. of the 2nd June.
I may now mention that, being the senior officer present, the entire
command of the force at Port Colborne devolved on me. About midnight
I received the following despatch by telegraph:
By Telegraph from Chippawa, 2nd June, 1866.
To Officer Commanding at Port Colborne:
I have sent Captain Akers to communicate with you. He will be with
you at about half-past one. Send back the Great Western cars, if,
after seeing Captain Akers, you think they are not wanted. If you
get the ferry boat, send a detachment to patrol the river.
(Signed) G. Peacocke, Colonel.
Capt. Akers arrived punctually. On his arrival it appeared that
Lieut.-Col. Dennis and myself were in possession of later and more
reliable information of the position of the enemy than Colonel
Peacocke seemed to have had when Captain Akers had left him at
midnight. It then seemed necessary to inquire whether the original
plan for a junction at Stevensville, to attack the enemy, supposed
to be encamped near Black Creek, should be adhered to, when it
appeared they were encamped much higher up the river, and nearer to
It was therefore proposed that the tug boat "W. T. Robb," whose
Captain had expressed a desire to be of service, should patrol the
shore of the lake as far as Fort Erie, and endeavor to communicate
with Col. Peacocke's command. It was at the same time suggested that
I should take my command down by rail to the railroad buildings at
Fort Erie, and occupy and hold them until 7 a.m. If not communicated
with before 7 a.m., to proceed to Frenchman's Creek, on the north
side of which, it had been reported to me by an officer of Her
Majesty's Customs at Fort Erie, that the Fenians were encamped not
more than 450 strong; that they had during the day stolen 45 or 50
horses, and were drinking freely.
It was also suggested that in the event of my not being communicated
with before 7 a.m. (and then being at Fort Erie), I should proceed
to Frenchman's Creek and attack the enemy, if still there. This
command, however, was to depend upon the approval of Colonel
In the meantime, and before I had received the telegram (No. 4)
Lieut.-Col. Dennis and Captain Akers had left in the tug (in company
with the Welland Field Battery, armed with short Enfields, under the
command of Captain King) for Fort Erie, Captain Akers, at the last
moment, leaving the final arrangement with me, which I took down as
"Memo.--Move at not later than 5.30; 5 o'clock if bread be
ready. Move to depot at Fort Erie and wait till 7. If not
communicated with before 7, move to Frenchman's Creek. If 'No' by
telegraph, disembark at Ridgeway and move to Stevensville at 9 to
9.30 a.m. Send pilot engine to communicate with Lieut.-Col. Dennis
at Erie and with telegrams."
Soon after their departure I received Col. Peacocke's telegraph, as
By Telegraph from Chippawa, June 2nd, 3.50 a.m.
To Commanding Officer, Port Colborne:
Have received your message of 3 a.m. I do not approve of it. Follow
original plan. Acknowledge receipt of this.
(Signed) G. Peacocke.
This negatived our proposed change of plan, and left me to follow
the instructions which I had received from Colonel Peacocke through
Captain Akers, namely:
"Move at not later than 5.30; 5 o'clock if bread be ready. * * *
Disembark at Ridgeway and march to Stevensville at 9 to 9.30 a.m."
The bread ration having been secured, the train left Port Colborne
soon after 5 a.m. en route for Stevensville. The only horse on the
cars belonged to Major Skinner, 13th Battalion, who had kindly
offered him for my service. I expressed a desire that the field
officers of the Queen's Own would take their horses, but was met by
the reply that they would be of no use in the woods where we should
likely be, and that it was thought best not to take them.
I sent a pilot engine in advance of the train some ten or fifteen
minutes, and instructed its driver, if possible, to communicate with
Fort Erie. The train with the volunteers proceeded very slowly and
cautiously, and arrived at Ridgeway without a sign of obstruction,
after more than an hour from its departure from Port Colborne. At
Ridgeway we formed battalions in column of companies, right in
Means of conveyance for my stores not being at hand. I thought best
to distribute as much spare ammunition amongst the men as possible,
and requested those who could do so to carry an extra ten rounds in
their pockets. At this time it was reported to me that the Caledonia
Rifle Company had no percussion caps, and but few rounds of
cartridge. I supplied them from the spare ammunition of the 13th
Battalion. I endeavored to procure a horse or team for my medical
officers' stores, but without success, and failing means of
transport, I returned tents and blankets to Port Colborne, relieving
the cars from further waiting at Ridgeway.
After a little delay I requested Major Gillmor (as the Queen's Own
was the senior battalion) to take the lead of the column, and as one
of his companies was armed with the Spencer repeating rifle, that it
should form the advance guard.
When the battalions were proved, and before forming the advance
guard. I gave the order to the column, "With ball cartridge--load."
I made inquiries from the inhabitants as to their knowledge of the
whereabouts of the enemy. The reports were contradictory and
evidently unreliable. To take proper precaution and keep my
appointment at Stevensville was my obvious duty.
The column of route was formed as follows: Advance guard of Queen's
Own; remainder of the battalion, Major Gillmor commanding; York
Rifles. Captain Davis; the 13th Battalion, Major Skinner in command;
the Caledonia Rifles (Captain Jackson), forming the rear guard. On
the advance I was in the centre of the column, looking out for signs
of the enemy. After proceeding about two miles the advance guard
signalled indications of men moving in our front. The column (say
840 of all ranks) was hereupon halted on the road. I gave the horse
on which I rode to the Orderly, in order that I might carefully
examine with my field glass the country over which we were
advancing. Soon after I observed loose horses moving about in the
woods to our left front, but saw no men.
Before ordering the advance, flanking parties were thrown out to
scour the woods, right and left. This duty was performed by
companies of the Queen's Own. Proceeding in this order for some
distance, a volley was fired upon our advancing men from behind the
zig-zag fences in the open. Our volunteers accepted the challenge.
The affair had commenced.
The Queen's Own, as skirmishers and supports, slowly advanced,
pushing back the enemy. We were gradually changing our front to the
right, when Major Gillmor wished me to relieve the Queen's Own and
send out the reserves, as his men were falling short of ammunition,
and that one company (No. 5) had none for their Spencer rifles. I at
once directed the right wing of the reserve to deploy on the rear
company to the right and to extend. Major Skinner commanded the 13th
Battalion, and acted throughout out very gallantly. The movement was
admirably executed. The York Rifles were on the left and No. 1
Company of the 13th Battalion on the right of the line. A hearty
cheer was given by the Queen's Own when they saw the 13th advancing,
who, with the company named, relieved the Queen's Own, supported by
the left wing of the reserve, which was composed of the 13th
Battalion. The Queen's Own then became the reserve. The 13th and
York Rifles in advance, driving the enemy before them to the woods,
cheered heartily and were answered by the yells of the Fenians. I
felt anxious about our right flank, as with my glass I noticed the
enemy throwing back his right into the woods. I requested Major
Gillmor, who was in command of the reserve, to keep a sharp look-out
for the cross roads on which the reserve rested, and to send two
companies from the reserve to occupy and hold the woods on the hill
to our right. He sent the Highland Company of the Queen's Own to
perform that duty.
At this time (nearly 9.30 a.m.) two telegrams were brought to me by
a gentleman from Port Colborne, one informing me that the column
under Col. Peacocke could not move until 7 o'clock, and the other in
the following words:
Chippawa, June 2, 5.30 a.m.
To the Officer Commanding, Port Colborne:
Be cautious in feeling your way, for fear obstacles should prevent a
junction. If possible open communication with me, and I will do the
(Signed) G. Peacocke.
At this unexpected information I was much disappointed. Major
Gillmor was then with me, and I showed it to him. I at once realized
that the force which I had expected about this hour at Stevensville
could not now render me assistance, and turning to Detective
Armstrong (who had accompanied us from Hamilton and obtained a horse
at Ridgeway), I desired him to convey to Col. Peacocke a message I
wrote on the telegram I had just received, to the effect that the
enemy had attacked us in force at 7.30, three miles south of
Immediately afterwards Major Gillmor reported that the Highland
Company had been compelled to leave the woods on our right, as they
had found the woods occupied by Fenians. Almost simultaneously cries
of "Cavalry" and "Look out for cavalry" came down the road. I then
observed men doubling down the hill. In the next few moments events
succeeded each other very rapidly. As the cry came down the road,
directions were given the reserves on the road to "Form square." At
this crisis the fire of the enemy came heavily to our right flank,
as well as into the front and rear of our force in advance. I saw
nothing to justify the first impression that we were to be attacked
by cavalry. I gave the word to "Re-form column," with the view of
deploying, when to my surprise I found the rear of the reserve which
had formed part of the square had dissipated, and moving down the
road. Major Gillmor came and reported to me that the enemy was
bringing up his reserves. I asked him how he knew. He replied that
he saw them himself. I then inquired, "In what shape?" when he
replied, "In column--in mass of column." I then ordered to retire.
But the confusion had become a panic. The Thirteenth did all that
men could do under the circumstances, and were the last in the
retreat, which became general.
Many men were trodden down. I endeavored to rally the retreating
mass, and gave orders to hold the woods on either side, and some
little distance down the road was assisted by Surgeon Ryall (of the
Thirteenth) and several men, but all of no avail. Bugler Clarke (of
the Queen's Own) sounded "the halt" at my request several times. The
horse was brought to me and I mounted and rode amongst the men. I
entreated them to rally, and implored them to halt, but without
effect. If I could form at Ridgeway I might refrain order. I there
found Lieutenant Arthurs, of the Queen's Own, and other officers,
attempting to rally and form companies. I called for "coverers" for
the men to form. I was answered that the men could not find their
officers. I then ordered the men to fall in so as to show a good
front. The attempt was made, but without success, and I ordered the
retreat upon Port Colborne, towards which place many had previously
turned their steps. I requested a gentleman from Toronto (Mr. George
Arthurs), who was present at Ridgeway, and mounted, to ride forward
to Port Colborne and report that we were retiring, and to send help
down the road for the stragglers. I saw that the colors of the
Thirteenth were safe, and I moved off with the column. A short
distance from Ridgeway I dismounted and walked with a member of the
Queen's Own who was wounded, and kept the road afterwards for some
time with him. A volunteer rode the horse into Port Colborne, where
we arrived, much fatigued and distressed, at about 3 p.m. Nearly two
miles from Port Colborne I was, with others, taken up by the second
train which came down the road to meet us. The train took up several
officers of the 13th and the Queen's Own.
At Port Colborne, through the kindness of Mr. Pring, the Collector
of Customs, I was provided with the requisites for writing my
despatches to the Major-General Commanding and to Colonel Peacocke.
The drafts were perused by Major Gillmor; and one despatch was
copied by Major Cattley of the Thirteenth and the other by a
non-commissioned officer of the Queen's Own.
Shortly after returning to Port Colborne I received advice of ten
companies of volunteers from Paris. Others arrived during the
evening. Among the latter were the Home Guard of St. Catharines,
under Lieut.-Col. McGiverin. I beg leave especially to thank that
officer for the assistance he afforded, and for very generously
dividing with my command the provisions lie had brought from St.
Catharines with him for his own men.
Prisoners were being brought in in numbers, and every question was
referred to me personally. I had no Major of Brigade, no aide, no
staff, not even an office clerk of whose services I could at the
moment avail myself, while farmers as scouts were coming in with
their varied reports. I felt it due to the large force of volunteers
under my command to request the Major-General Commanding to relieve
me and send a professional soldier (one from whom I might take my
orders) to assume the command.
When at Port Colborne I reported that the Thirteenth and Queen's Own
were alike tired and hungry, and that if it were possible they
should have a day's rest, and that those volunteers who had arrived
during the day of the 2nd of June at Port Colborne should be sent
I pointed out that uncooked rations, which it was intended to serve
out to the Queen's Own and the Thirteenth, would not benefit them,
as they were without the necessary appliances to cook and make use
of them. But it was not by my wish that the Thirteenth were detained
at Port Colborne on the morning of the 3rd June, while the Queen's
Own were ordered to march on to Fort Erie. I was anxious that both
should be thoroughly refreshed, and I felt regret that the
companions of the day previous should be separated, as they were
equally able to proceed.
Then, either from misunderstanding, or perhaps that I was not
sufficiently explicit, I found that I had been relieved from the
command of my own battalion, and not of the general command only, as
I had expected. I immediately communicated with Majors Skinner and
Cattley that I had been relieved.
The history of my connection with the campaign, which resulted in
the expulsion of the Fenians from the Niagara District, has now been
detailed, from the moment I received orders until I was relieved
from command. I submit to those to whom the inquiry of my conduct on
the occasion may be entrusted, that the state of affairs which
existed at Port Colborne on my arrival at 11 o'clock p.m. on Friday.
1st of June, will be better understood if the communications which
previously passed between Colonel Peacocke and the officer
commanding at Port Colborne were obtained. I have reason to believe
that they will bear materially in explaining the plans proposed and
under consideration before Captain Akers' arrival, and the propriety
of the modification which, if Colonel Peacocke's approval were
obtained, was to have been pursued.
I further submit the official despatches connected with the affair
at Lime Ridge, published by authority in the Canada Gazette
of Saturday, 23rd June, 1866. Upon two points I expect inquiry will
be directed, namely, to the capacity and care shown by me for the
command entrusted to me, and my personal conduct on the field. On
this latter point I ask for the evidence of those who are present.
That every precaution and every consideration for the comfort and
advantage of my battalion which the circumstances did permit, I
confidently assert were taken.
The volunteer force from Hamilton answered to the call for service
with alacrity. The entire force which I had the honor to command was
animated with the highest feelings of patriotism and zeal. All
personal considerations gave way, all hardships were borne
cheerfully and without a murmur. We had but one wish--to meet the
enemy; and but one hope, to aid in his discomfiture; and if under
the trying circumstances in which we were placed the result was not
so triumphant as the devotion and heroism of the volunteers
deserved, I trust that as their conduct cannot be impugned, the
Court of Inquiry will, on appreciation of the facts, exonerate their
commanding officer from the complete want of success of an attack
which undoubtedly caused the enemy to abandon their plans of
invasion and commence their retreat.
The Court then proceeded to the examination of witnesses.
The first witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was Major Chas. T.
Gillmor, commanding the Second Battalion, or Queen's Own Rifles.
Major Gillmor's Evidence.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--When I relieved
the Queen's Own and advanced the Thirteenth, did you report to me
that your men were becoming short of ammunition?
Major Gillmor--On some one occasion I mentioned that one or two
companies stated to me that they were short of ammunition.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--When the Thirteenth were in
action, did you send out the Highland Company, at my request, to
hold the woods to our right, and the road, from the reserve?
Answer--I did send out the Highland Company with orders as
described, but I cannot say if it was before or after the Thirteenth
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--What did they report on their
Answer--I don't recollect their return. I believe them to be the
last to leave the field.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you hear the cry of "Cavalry"?
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you see the Fenian reserves
advancing after the cry of "Cavalry'"?
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you see that we were
outflanked to the right?
Answer--No, I believe it was the reserve. I could not see the
Question from the Court--On what do you ground your belief that they
were not outflanked on the right?
Answer--Principally on the statements of the officers and men who
were out skirmishing on the right.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you notice men coming down the
hill to our front at a double, in front of the reserves, crying
Question from the Court--When three companies of the Thirteenth were
sent out to relieve the Queen's Own, had the movement been executed
before the retreat was sounded?
Answer--No, so far as my knowledge extends. Both lines of
skirmishers, Rifles and Thirteenth, came in together.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Was the endeavor made to bring the
men out of square into column?
Answer--Yes. They did re-form column.
Question--Was the rear of the column or square now in retreat?
Answer--No. Not at that time.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Do you consider there was a panic
when the retreat commenced?
Answer--I think the retreat was caused by a panic. After the column
was re-formed I ordered the two leading companies again to extend
and skirmish. They did so. I ordered the rest of the column, which
at that time was composed of Queen's Own and Thirteenth mixed
together, to retire, as they were exposed to a heavy fire on the
front and right from the enemy's front and left. This order was
being obeyed by the men with reasonable steadiness, when as I was
standing in rear of the retiring column, I heard them cheer loudly
and call out "reinforcements." I then saw some men in red, whom I
believe were the left wing of the Thirteenth, and whom these men, I
suppose, took to be reinforcements. When these men in red heard the
cheer they broke and retired. Then the whole column became
disorganized. This was about 9 o'clock a.m. The first shot was fired
about half-past seven a.m.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you believe, when you saw my
despatches to Col. Peacocke and Gen. Napier, that they were correct,
and did you concur in the correctness of them when you were with me
in the customs office at Port Colborne?
Answer--Yes, the general tenor of the report was correct, and I
assented to it.
Question from the Court--Is there anything in Lieut.-Col. Booker's
report, just read to you, that places the Thirteenth Battalion in a
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Do you think the men could have
been rallied after they had commenced the retreat?
Answer--The whole force could not have been, but I could have
rallied two or three hundred men around me at any time during the
retreat, had I been disposed to do so. Officers of both the Queen's
Own and the Thirteenth were frantically exerting themselves to rally
their men, but, knowing that I could not be relieved by Col.
Peacocke, and fearing that the enemy might pass to our rear, I
thought it wiser to conduct the retreat in as orderly a manner as I
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Were you satisfied with my conduct
on the field?
Answer--Col. Booker asked me the same question in Port Colborne, and
I now give him the same answer that I did then, which was, that I
could see nothing in his conduct to disapprove of, except with
regard to the formation of the squares, which I thought at that time
was a mistake, and I think so still.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--As you were not mounted, would you
explain the reason why you did not take your horse with, you when
you left Port Colborne?
Answer--I had my horse at the station at Port Colborne, when Mr.
Magrath, the manager, told me that I could not get him off the cars
at Ridgeway without breaking his legs, there being no platforms.
Evidence of Charles Clarke.
The second witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
Charles Clarke, a Government detective officer, by commission from
Mr. G. McMicken, the stipendiary Magistrate at Windsor.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Were you with the volunteers in
the affair at Lime Ridge on the 2nd June?
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you see the square disperse?
Answer--Yes. I was with the reserve in the ranks when the square was
formed. A number of men, as they were coming in as the reserve,
cried out, "Prepare to receive cavalry!" I should say it came from
as many as fifty men. I saw the column re-formed. At this time a
body of red-coats were coming around a curve in the road about two
hundred yards in rear of the square. The Queen's Own and those of
the Thirteenth began to cheer, supposing them to belong to the 47th
Regiment coming to their relief. As soon as we ascertained that they
were not the 47th, we supposed that they were two companies of the
Thirteenth who had been driven in by main force, and the result was
that we became panic-stricken, and we all broke. I saw several
officers belonging to the Queen's Own and the Thirteenth attempting
to rally the men. I saw Lieut.-Col. Booker attempting to rally the
men, telling them to get into the bush on each side of the road,
about four or six hundred yards from where they commenced to
retreat. He got the bugler to sound the "halt" several times, and I
heard the bugler say he was tired sounding the "halt." The men
continued to retreat, except sixteen or seventeen of us, who got
over the fence into the bush on our left, but had to leave because
the main body continued their retreat towards Ridgeway. At Ridgeway
I saw Lieut.-Col. Booker with four officers of the Thirteenth and
one of the Queen's Own, each with a revolver in his hand, and
Lieut.-Col. Booker had his sword, threatening to shoot the men if
they did not stop. They broke through the line of these officers.
Question from the Court--When Lieut.-Col. Booker ordered the
battalions that were retreating to get into the woods on each side
of the road, what was your impression of his object?
Answer--He wanted to make a stand by getting-into the bush to
repulse the Fenians, and it was a splendid opportunity, from the
country being so open in front of the bush. I served nearly six
years in India in the 40th Regiment, and during the affair in
Question from the Court--Did you see Lieut.-Col. Booker on the field
before and during the retreat?
Answer--Yes, several times.
Question from the Court--Did you observe anything in his conduct
which appeared to you like shirking his duties?
Answer--No. On the contrary, I saw him urging on a company of the
Thirteenth, which appeared to be dilatory.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Do you recollect the fact of our
force being outflanked to our right?
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Was the firing from the Fenians
more rapid than from our men?
Answer--Yes, much more so. Part of the time it was like file firing.
I am since aware that they used both the Sharpe and Spencer rifles.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you receive a letter from
Major Gillmor and other officers of the Queen's Own, complimenting
you for your coolness and conduct at Lime Ridge?
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Troublous Times in Canada, A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870
Fenian Raids of 1866 - 1870