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Evidence of George Arthurs
Evidence of George Arthurs.
The third witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
Mr. George Allan Arthurs.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Were you at Ridgeway on the 2nd of
June, and what did you see there?
Answer--I was there, and was at Ridgeway when the army was
retreating. I there saw the bugler come from the field on
Lieut.-Col. Booker's horse. My brother (Lieutenant Arthurs, of the
Queen's Own) mounted the Colonel's horse and drew his pistol, and
threatened to shoot the first man that did not do his duty.
Lieut.-Col. Booker came up as my brother was checking the retreat.
He mounted his own horse and rode back towards the field to consult
with his officers. The retreat was checked so far by my brother that
he "told off" a company of men composed of red coats and green
coats. I did not see any exhibition on the part of Lieut.-Col.
Booker of either cowardice or fear.
Evidence of John Douglas.
The fourth witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
John Douglas, Captain of No. 4 Company of the Queen's Own Rifles.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you, on the 2nd of June last,
see me at Lime Ridge?
Answer--Yes, in front of your command, under fire.
Question from the Court--Did his conduct on this occasion attract
Answer--Yes. It struck me that he was not very careful of his own
safety, he being in front of the column of the Queen's Own, and
clothed in scarlet. He was directing the movements, with a
field-glass in his hands. This was when the Queen's Own were in
column, after part of the Thirteenth had gone out in skirmishing
order. I saw no hanging back on the part of any officer or man up to
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--How did Col. Booker go from
Ridgeway to Port Colborne?
Answer--I found Lieut.-Col. Booker on the last train going into Port
Colborne. Major Gillmor and several officers of both regiments, with
men of both regiments, were in the same train. The great bulk of the
force had preceded them.
Evidence of Lieutenant Arthurs.
The fifth witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
Lieut. William Arthurs, of No. 4 Company of the Queen's Own.
Question by Lieut.-Col. Booker--Were you at Ridgeway as Lieut.-Col.
Booker arrived there during the retreat on the 2nd of June, and what
did you see?
Answer--Yes. I saw Col. Booker on the retreat, and he seemed no way
flurried or excited, but quite cool and collected. He spoke to the
men. He asked them to form on their coverers. Several companies were
formed up and retreated in order.
Evidence of Francis Clarke.
The sixth witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
Francis Clark. Bugle-Major of the Queen's Own Rifles.
Question from the Court--Did you sound the "halt" on the 2nd of
June, by order of Lieut.-Col. Booker during the retreat?
Answer--Yes, repeatedly. He used his best endeavors to halt the men,
and then he went forward amongst the men and asked them to halt and
front and form. It had no effect, and he said, "Oh, God! what is
this?" They still moved on. They retreated, red and green mixed
together, as far as I could see, to the turn of the road.
Evidence of Alexander Muir.
The seventh witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
Alexander Muir, a private in the Highland Company of the Queen's
Own, a Lieutenant of Militia, and President of the Highland Company
at that time in its civil organization.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Were you at Lime Ridge on the 2nd
of June, and will you recite what you saw there?
Answer--After leaving the cars at Ridgeway, before marching, the
whole force received orders. "With ball cartridge--load!" The column
then advanced. After proceeding about two and a half miles. I
perceived a number of horses (between twelve and fifteen in number)
loose in an open near the corner of a bush, about three-quarters of
a mile in front of the left side of the road. These having attracted
my attention, I also perceived a number of men flitting among the
trees, near to the horses. I cried out. "I see the Fenians--there
are the Fenians!" My discovery was made known to Col. Booker, who,
perhaps, from hearing my cry, came up to me. I was the left hand
front rank man of the Highland Company, the rear company of the
battalion. He gave the order to halt. He then asked me, "Where?" I
pointed out to him where I saw the men and the horses. He had a
field-glass which he then used. He tried to use it on horseback, but
his horse was so restive that he could not use the glass. He then
dismounted by my side. At this moment Major Gillmor came up. I
directed him to the proper point to see them. Both Col. Booker and
Major Gillmor seemed convinced that all was not right in the bush.
The leading company of the column was then sent out to reconnoitre
to the left in the direction of these horses, in skirmishing order,
supported by the next company. The column remained at the halt.
After the skirmishers had advanced to within a short distance of
where the horses were, the bugle sounded the "retire" or the
"incline" to the skirmishers, and the column was advanced. The near
party of the advance guard halted at the same time the column
halted, and just after the column was again put in motion, I saw
several of them, if not all of them, with their hats on their rifles
raised in the air and moving them, indicating thereby that the enemy
was in sight. The column was again halted. At that moment a bullet
came whistling from the direction of an orchard on our right front.
This was the first shot, and came close to Capt. Gardner and myself.
Here the Queen's Own were ordered to skirmish, and our company
furnished the right company of the line of skirmishers, and in this
order we advanced in a northerly direction. The firing commenced
opposite the centre of the line of skirmishers immediately upon
their advancing. We continued advancing and firing for some
distance, perhaps three hundred yards at that time, when the order
came for the Queen's Own to fall back on its supports. We had then
been under fire for three-quarters of an hour. I distinctly heard
Col. Booker's words of command, given with coolness and
deliberation, as we were going into action. The Queen's Own were
then relieved by the Thirteenth. The Thirteenth advanced in
skirmishing order, appearing to take the ground which had previously
been occupied by the Queen's Own, the enemy continuing their fire
during the advance of the Thirteenth. The enemy had evidently been
previously driven back by the Queen's Own. An order from Col. Booker
now came to our company, which was then under cover of the
school-house, acting in reserve, directing our company to take
possession of the road to the right which led in the direction of
Fort Erie, because the enemy was manoeuvring to outflank our right.
Capt. Gardner was told it was an important position, and he then
advanced our company till we came opposite a bush north of the road.
He then ordered us to advance in skirmishing order through that
bush, which we did. After passing through the bush we came to a
wheat-field, on the opposite side of which we found the Fenians
thickly posted opposite our front and to our right. When we entered
the bush they had evidently been in the same bush at the farther
side of it, and had retreated on our advance to the other side of
the wheat field. We had reason to know this, because we found
quantities of their ammunition, a company sheet roll, and a blank
book, a roll book, also a Fenian drill book with the name of "Capt.
George Sweeny, Company B, 19th Regiment, Irish Republic Volunteers,
Cincinnati, Ohio." The roll book contained about 120 names, with the
trades, residences and callings of the men. I have seen the list of
Fenian prisoners captured and now in Toronto Jail, and I believe
that some of the names are the same as those in the roll book. We
commenced firing upon the enemy as soon as we saw them, and they
began to retreat. They were about 200 yards from us. We fired here
for some time, until an order came to advance from Capt. Gardner,
and we leaped over the fence and entered the wheat field. We fired
from this wheat field for some time. After entering the wheat field
I saw the line of the Thirteenth Battalion to my left, below me, in
skirmishing order, advancing towards the enemy. While they were thus
advancing I distinctly saw the enemy retreating a long distance
before them towards a bush in the rear. Suddenly they seemed to
rally, and came down upon the line of the Thirteenth, yelling. At
this moment I saw a wavering in the line of the Thirteenth. The
Fenians advanced in a loose manner, but in great strength. Here the
Thirteenth retreated at the double, but I did not hear the "retire"
sounded for that purpose. As the Fenians rushed upon the Thirteenth,
we from our positions gave them two or three volleys, which seemed
to check them, and their left swerved inwards from us towards their
own centre. While we were here in this position, Sergeant Bain, of
our company, called out, "Retire, retire!" We then retired firing. I
heard the bugle call to retire. When I came to the school-house I
was surprised to see our forces marching back again towards
Ridgeway. I turned round and saw the Fenians advancing from the
orchard on the road at the same place where I saw our advance guard
give the signal before the action commenced. I thought there were as
many as 600 or 700 on the road, and more moving out of the orchard.
I leaned my rifle over a fence and took my last shot at them with
one arm (having previously sustained an injury in my shoulder while
getting over a fence). Several of my comrades fired also. This drew
fire upon us from them, and it was here that McHardy and White were
wounded. On my return to the cross-road at the hotel nine-tenths of
our force had passed on towards Ridgeway. I then saw Col. Booker and
spoke to him. He was on foot. I heard "Halt! halt!" called, but no
one seemed to notice it.
Question by Lieut.-Col. Booker--Are you satisfied we were outflanked
on our right?
Question by Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you see Col. Booker after this?
Answer--I saw him at Ridgeway.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--What was he doing?
Answer--He was standing in conversation with some one on the road.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--Did you see him afterwards, and
Answer--I saw him afterwards on the march to Port Colborne, after
Question--Did you see him afterwards, and where?
Answer--I saw him afterwards on the march to Port Colborne, after
leaving Ridgeway. I became weak and exhausted and was taken into a
house about 250 yards south by two of my comrades, where Dr. Neff,
assisted by two others, set my left arm and left me alone. I became
insensible, and in that state had lost all recollection of the
fight. After I came to myself I heard a volley and ran to the door.
I saw the Fenians surround the village. I ran to try to catch up to
our force, which had all left, and they fired upon me. I had my arm
in a sling, and my tunic flying from my right shoulder. I overtook
the force after running for some distance (nearly a mile), and there
again I saw Col. Booker in rear of the force. He offered me his
horse. I declined the offer, because I thought it would pain me more
to ride than to walk. Where the main road crosses the railway he
dismounted and gave his horse to some one of the Thirteenth, with
some orders to take to Port Colborne. He then took my arm and
assisted me along the track until we got into the last train and
went into Port Colborne.
Question from Lieut.-Col. Booker--How many rounds of ammunition had
been issued to you previous to the engagement, and where issued?
Answer--I received five rounds at Toronto before leaving and thirty
at Port Colborne--that was, I had thirty-five rounds.
Ronald McKinnon's Testimony.
The eighth witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
Ronald Archibald McKinnon, at that time a cadet in the Military
School at Toronto.
Question--Were you present at Lime Ridge on the 2nd of June last,
and in what capacity did you act?
Answer--I was present at the engagement at Lime Ridge, and acted as
a volunteer officer with the Caledonia Rifle Company, though not
regularly attached to that company.
Question--Did you see Lieut. Arthurs mounted on Lieut.-Col. Booker's
Question--Were you with Lieut. Arthurs, endeavoring to rally the men
Question--Were you there when Lieut.-Col. Booker arrived from the
field at Lime Ridge?
Question--Was Lieut.-Col. Booker mounted when he returned from Lime
Ridge to Ridgeway?
Question--Were you with the rear guard of the column before the
Question--When you saw Lieut. Arthurs mounted on Lieut.-Col.
Booker's horse, was it previous to the arrival of Lieut.-Col. Booker
mounted on his return from Lime Ridge?
Answer--I cannot say. But I know that after I saw Lieut. Arthurs on
Lieut.-Col. Booker's horse I saw Lieut.-Col Booker ride back towards
Robert Benham's Testimony.
Robert Benham, a private in the Thirteenth Battalion
(Major Skinner's groom), was the ninth witness called by Lieut.-Col.
Question--Did Lieut.-Col. Booker's orderly bring you back the horse
which Col. Booker rode at Lime Ridge before the firing commenced?
Question--During the retreat what became of the horse?
Answer--I was leading him away to Ridgeway when Quartermaster
Stoneman said, "Get on the horse." I then mounted and rode him to
Ridgeway, and there watered him. While I was watering him one of the
officers of the Queen's Own Rifles came and asked me who owned the
horse. I told him that the horse belonged to Major Skinner, but that
Col. Booker had been using him. The officer then took the horse from
me and mounted him. I saw him, while mounted, draw a pistol and
endeavor to stop the men by threatening to shoot if they did not
stop. I saw Col. Booker on the horse afterwards.
Capt. Henery's Evidence.
The tenth witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker was
Capt. Henery, Adjutant of the Thirteenth Battalion (formerly a
Sergeant-Major of the Coldstream Guards).
Question--Will you recite what from your own knowledge occurred from
the time the Thirteenth were engaged at Lime Ridge until they
retired, and how long they were in action?
Answer--At the commencement of the action, or rather just previously
to the action, the Queen's Own were thrown out to skirmish, the
reserve being composed of the Thirteenth Battalion, with the York
and Caledonia Rifle Companies. Soon afterward the action commenced.
The whole force continued to advance in this order. The reserve then
halted, the skirmishers and supports continuing their advance. We
remained halted only about three minutes before an officer of the
Queen's Own came up and shouted, "Surgeons to the front." I then saw
two officers in green running to the front. I then heard Major
Gillmor tell Col. Booker to deploy the right wing of the Thirteenth
Battalion and relieve the Queen's Own, because their ammunition had
been expended. Col. Booker then gave the command to the Thirteenth
Battalion to deploy the right wing on No. 3 Company, which was
executed after advancing a few yards to enable them to deploy and
avoid an obstacle in its way. This wing was then extended to
skirmish and relieve the Queen's Own, from its left towards the
right side of the road. The whole wing and supports were on the
right side of the road. While this deployment was being executed,
several companies of the Queen's Own came and formed in quarter
distance column in rear, forming the reserve. The right wing then
advanced and relieved the Queen's Own in a very steady manner, their
supports being regularly posted. Then I advanced between the
supports and skirmishers. I was not mounted. The support laid down
after arriving at the orchard, under cover. I then left the supports
and joined the skirmishers. They continued firing for some time,
receiving the fire of the enemy. There was then a cry of "Cavalry!"
from my right rear. I was on the road with the left of No. 2 Company
on the line of skirmishers. I looked and saw two or three horses,
and cried out that there was no cavalry. I heard no bugle blow the
"retire." When I looked around I saw both red and green coats
running to the rear from the line of skirmishers, in order, but not
firing. I think this retreat was about one hour after the Thirteenth
took the field. I think those of the Queen's Own who formed the
reserve as we were deploying, came in about ten minutes after the
Robert Maun's Testimony.
Robert Maun, a private in the 13th Battalion, was
the eleventh witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker.
Question--Will you state what you saw at Lime Ridge on the 2nd of
Answer--I was on duty on the field hospital staff. There was a cry
for the doctor from one of the companies of the Thirteenth, acting
as a support in the orchard. I was sent to find the man, and did so.
He had been wounded in the wrist. He was a rifleman, not one of the
Thirteenth. I saw no other "green" soldier there. Just as we had
finished dressing the man's hand I heard a cry of "Cavalry, cavalry!
Look out for cavalry!" coming from the direction of the right of the
skirmish line. I saw a company of Rifles in line with the
skirmishers of the Thirteenth. I suppose they were the York Rifles.
When I heard the cry of "Cavalry!" I was near the support of one of
the companies, and then I also heard an order given to the reserve
to "Form square!" I suggested to the doctor that we should go to the
square formed on the road by the reserve. He came with me toward the
square, but I cannot tell whether he got into the square or not. I
was too late to get in. I threw myself under the bayonets of the
front face of the square. This square was composed of the Queen's
Own, and the color party of the Thirteenth was with them. A company
of the Thirteenth came up at a steady "double." most of them at "the
trail." but some of them at "the slope," and passing the right face
of the square formed in rear of the Queen's Own. I then, finding a
company of my own corps at hand, jumped up, fixed my bayonet, and
joined them. It was then that I saw a few straggling men of the
Thirteenth, mixed up with some Rifles, retiring from the direction
of the skirmish line towards us. An order was then given by a voice,
which I took to be Col. Booker's, to "Reform column," which was
done. At this moment a rather too sharp fire came upon us, but it
was rather high to do us much damage. I then heard an order to
"Deploy on the rear company" in the same voice, which I took to be
that of Col. Booker. At this time there was a company of the
Thirteenth which formed the rear company of the reserve, the rest of
the reserve being composed of the Queen's Own. When the order to
deploy was given a heavy volley struck the column, and I heard a
sound which I took to be that of men falling. The column swayed
backwards, as I supposed, from the effects of the fire. The column
broke immediately and commenced a retreat down the road. The main
body of the Thirteenth were at this time in the field, and firing
was going on more to the right. I went down the road with the
retreat and felt a heavy fire from a wood on the left as we retired.
I saw several of the enemy jumping a fence, as if they were
intending to pursue the retreating column. I fired at them, and
several others of our men also fired at them. After I had loaded my
rifle I returned from the direction in which we had just come and
met Col. Booker with the Thirteenth following the Queen's Own, or
the retreating column. The Thirteenth were in a confused mass, and I
heard several officers say to Col. Booker. "Let us stop them," or
words to that effect, and prevent a rout. Col. Booker then said he
would go on to the front and stop the men of the retreating column,
and then ran out "at the double" and got in front of nearly all of
the Thirteenth. He then faced about and, flashing his sword about,
said. "For God's sake, men, don't make cowards of yourselves." I had
followed him in search of the doctor, and so had the opportunity of
witnessing this on the part of Col. Booker. I do not know the names
of the officers who said to Col. Booker, "Let us try and stop them
and prevent a rout." The men seemed to pay no attention to Col.
Booker's entreaties for them to stop, but continued the retreat. A
man of No. 1 Company, of the Thirteenth, who was shot through the
thigh, demanded my attention, and I went to him. Dr. Ryall was with
him attending to him. We got him on a waggon and took him down the
road to Ridgeway. While going with this man I heard several officers
(Col. Booker of the number) urging the men to stop and take to the
woods, as there was good cover there. I think that Adjutant Henery
was one of the officers who urged the men to do this. At this time I
saw a number of the York Rifles obeying the order to take to the
woods. They cried out, "Hurrah for old York! Let us take to the
woods and we will give them hell." There was only about a dozen of
them. I passed on with the waggon, and saw no more.
Question--Did you hear Lieut.-Col. Booker, when under fire,
encouraging the reserves?
Answer--I heard him joking them about their politeness in bowing to
the bullets that passed over their heads.
Major Gillmor Recalled.
Question from the Court--Major Gillmor, state the
companies of the Queen's Own who were first advanced as skirmishers,
how armed, and the amount of ammunition issued to each man.
Answer--No. 5 Company were the entire skirmishers. There were about
forty of them armed with Spencer rifles, and had under thirty rounds
for each man. The remainder of the company were armed with the long
Enfield rifle. Nos. 1 and 2 Companies were the other skirmishers.
They were armed with the long Enfield. The whole regiment had an
average of forty rounds of ammunition per man.
Question--How long were they under fire when the right wing of the
Thirteenth were advanced to their relief?
Answer--I could not form any idea as to the time. The men armed with
the Spencer rifles were relieved by another company long before the
Thirteenth Battalion went out to skirmish.
Question--Who gave the order to "Form square"?
Answer--Lieut.-Col. Booker gave the caution to "Look out for
cavalry!" and I gave the command to "Form square."
Question--Can you state what portion of the Queen's Own were
Answer--They were, as a rule, partially drilled, some men undrilled.
Recruits were joining every week, and all the available men, drilled
and undrilled, were in the field.
Question--What proportion of the whole battalion had not been
exercised with blank cartridge?
Answer--With the exception of one or two days in May, when the whole
battalion were out skirmishing, I am satisfied that half of the men
had never fired a shot.
Question--What proportion of the men had never practised with ball
Answer--The proportion was about the same, about half.
Question--What proportion of the regiment was composed of lads under
twenty years of age?
Answer--I should say more than half of the regiment.
Question--Did you observe any difference in the demeanor of the lads
and the other soldiers going into action?
Answer--No. Each were equally cool. I particularly noticed the
companies that morning as they marched out to the skirmish, and all
were equally cool. I may state here that this was the first occasion
on which the whole regiment had an opportunity to skirmish as a
battalion. I also wish to state that I saw the right wing of the
Thirteenth extend and advance in skirmishing order, and that nothing
could exceed the steadiness and regularity with which they advanced.
Evidence of W. T. Urquhart.
The thirteenth witness called by Lieut.-Col. Booker
was Wm. T. Urquhart, assistant editor of the Hamilton Spectator,
who was a private in No. 4 Company. Thirteenth Battalion.
Question--Do you recollect seeing Lieut.-Col. Booker after the fight
at Lime Ridge, and where?
Answer--I do. I saw him on the rising ground immediately in rear of
where the action took place.
Question--Were you exposed to a heavy fire?
Question--Were you one of the retreating column?
Answer--In the rear.
Question by the Court--What was Lieut.-Col. Booker doing at the time
you noticed him?
Answer--He was trying to restore order.
Question--Where were you when the right wing went out to skirmish?
And did your skirmishers relieve those in front of you?
Answer--We were on the right. I was in the company forming the
support of the skirmishers on the right, and the skirmishers of our
company in front relieved those of the Rifles in front of them. The
Rifles retired in good order to the reserves. I certainly saw two
companies come in, but I cannot speak as to the whole line.
Question--From the time your skirmishers were posted until the
retreat, how much time elapsed?
Answer--I should think about an hour.
Question--What caused the retreat, in your opinion, and what
Answer--We retreated because the bugle sounded "the retreat," and we
were also ordered by Lieut. Routh, the officer in command of our
company, who said shortly afterward that it was a mistake, as it
should have been "the advance," and ordered us to "halt" and
"front," and we did so accordingly. The skirmishers immediately came
down upon us, who were all men of our battalion, and we all
retreated together to the cross-road, near the place where we first
deployed. Two or three companies of Rifles came down this cross-road
from the right of the attack at this moment, and the whole became
mingled together and the formation was immediately destroyed.
Several attempts by officers of the Thirteenth and the Rifles were
made to rally or re-form the men. I noticed Col. Booker and Adjutant
Henery do this, and also Ensign Armstrong, who carried the colors. I
saw Lieut. Arthurs endeavoring to stop the men, and also other Rifle
officers whose names I am not acquainted with.
Adjutant Henery Recalled.
Question--State the names of the officers of the
right wing of the Thirteenth Battalion who were present when that
wing was ordered to skirmish?
Answer--Major Skinner. Capt. Grant. Lieut. Gibson, and Ensign
McKenzie, of No. 1 Company; Capt. Watson and Lieut. Sewell, of No. 2
Company; and Lieut. Ferguson, of No. 3 Company.
Question--How long have you been connected with the regiment, and in
Answer--As Drill Instructor and Adjutant, about four years.
Question--About what proportion of the Thirteenth Regiment was
wholly undrilled at the time of the affair at Lime Ridge?
Answer--One man only, and the others were all drilled men.
Question--Had the whole battalion previously been exercised with
Answer--Yes, but not frequently.
Question--Had they any practice with ball cartridge?
Answer--I think 180 men had previously had ball practice.
Question--Was a large proportion of the regiment composed of boys
Answer--I think that about 120 were under twenty, and a large
proportion of these were between the ages of 19 and 20 years of age.
Question--Did you observe any difference in the demeanor of the men
when under fire?
Answer--No difference--all seemed equally steady.
Question--What number of rounds had the men of the Thirteenth when
going into action?
Answer--Sixty rounds per man, with caps in proportion.
Major Skinner's Testimony.
Major Skinner, of the Thirteenth Battalion, was the
next witness examined.
Question--Were you present at Lime Ridge on the 2nd of June last,
when the right wing of the Thirteenth Battalion was sent out to
Question--State the orders given and by whom given for the movement,
and what took place under your observation.
Answer--Col. Hooker said to me at some distance (about ten yards):
"Major Skinner, you will skirmish with the right wing." I then
advanced with the skirmishers. We went over a fence and across a
field and over another fence into an orchard on the right side of
the road. We went through that orchard up to another fence, and
there remained for some time. While approaching this fence the
enemy's shots passed over our heads. After remaining some time at
this fence we found their shot getting closer. We then crossed that
fence and passed over a field to another fence, where we halted and
remained for some time. I passed to the right of the skirmishers of
our battalion. I went there because I saw a number of men in green
uniform on our extreme right towards our front, and knowing they
were some of our men, told my men not to fire upon them. I cannot
say that I saw any of the enemy. They fired upon us from under
cover. We met a few skirmishers in green in the orchard. We passed
Question--Before you deployed, what was the position of your
regiment as regards the Queen's Own?
Answer--The Queen's Own were all away in front, and the York Rifles
Question--How long after the first shot was tired by the enemy was
it until the Thirteenth were ordered to skirmish?
Answer--About ten minutes elapsed from the time the first shot was
fired until some men of the Queen's Own came in, and we were ordered
to relieve the skirmishers. I heard a call for the surgeon to go to
the front about seven minutes before we were ordered to skirmish. At
the same time Ensign McEachren was carried to the rear. After going
to the right of our skirmishers and cautioning the men not to fire
upon the men in green on our right. I went back again to the centre
of our men. We remained there at this fence about a quarter of an
hour, and the enemy getting our range, it became so hot that we
again advanced. We ran across a field this time. The whole of No. 3
Company must have been on the left of the road. I was on the right
of the road. We found a brick house, with a wooden addition to it.
It was locked up with a padlock, and one of our men opened it. We
went in, and opening the front door, used the house for cover,
firing through the doorway. We were about 150 yards from the woods
occupied by the enemy. Some one on the left of the road called out,
"Don't you hear the bugle?" I said, "No. What does it say?" The
reply I got was, "Retreat." I then looked around to the rear for the
first time since we came out, and I saw our men at the right running
in. I then heard some one on my left say, "Why, they are preparing
to receive cavalry." I looked around and said, "Where is the
cavalry?" implying that I saw none. I then ran across the road to
the left and saw that the men were all running as fast as they could
to the rear. I ran for a barn and remained there a few moments to
get breath, and then ran for another fence. I saw a few of our men
behind me, and the enemy pursuing them. Two of our men were shot
here--Stewart and Powell. I then made for the road where we had
previously deployed, expecting to find the reserve there. I found
none. Our skirmishers were then comprising men of all of our
companies, mixed with those in green. I suppose there were about 150
red coats and about 30 or 40 in green. I then asked for the
commanding officer, but got no answer. I then asked for Col. Booker,
and one man in the crowd cried out, "He is off, three miles ahead."
I do not know who it was that said so. I then called for Major
Gillmor, and got no reply. I then thought that I should do
something, and I ran to the front of the retreating men on the road
and told them to halt. They paid no attention to me. I called upon
an officer of our battalion, who was on the right of the men
retreating, to draw his sword and see if we could not stop them. We
then again went to the front of our men, retreating backwards for a
few minutes, when we got them to halt. A couple of boys of our
regiment had their bayonets fixed, endeavoring to stop them, and
before I could do further a number of men in green rushed past on
the left and one of the boys disappeared, and then commenced, a
further retreat of all present. No companies were formed for the
retreat. I assisted to carry two boys who were wounded by getting
doors and carrying them to Ridgeway. They were Rifles. When we
reached Ridgeway there were about 150 of us, mixed red and green. We
found no one of the force in Ridgeway when we arrived. It was
half-past 10 o'clock when we reached Ridgeway. I remained there
about three-quarters of an hour, the men continually leaving and
going on towards Port Colborne. I left the village just as the
Fenians were coming down the hill. I had about 50 men and officers
with me. We took the road towards Port Colborne. At the turn of the
road we halted and looked back, and saw a large column of about 400
of the enemy marching down the hill into Ridgeway. I wish to state
that the whole regiment (Thirteenth) had sixty rounds each, and when
the order to retreat was given we had not expended half of our
Question--Is there anything of your own knowledge that you wish to
state that it is important this Court should hear?
Isaac Ryall's Evidence.
Dr. Isaac Ryall, Surgeon of the Thirteenth
Battalion, was the next witness examined.
Question--Were you present at Lime Ridge on the 2nd of June last,
and in what capacity?
Answer--Yes, as Surgeon of the Thirteenth Battalion Question--State
your position during the action, and what occurred under your
Answer--I remained with my own battalion until the order was given
by Col. Booker to skirmish and relieve the Queen's Own. The regiment
at this time was standing on the road beyond the tavern. I followed
the line of skirmishers behind No. 4 Company, which passed along the
road to the schoolhouse and then advanced to a fence near an
orchard. While here a man who was wounded came from the front. He
was a rifleman, but I cannot say what corps he belonged to. I
examined him and sent him to the rear. I then returned to my post. A
few moments afterwards No. 4 Company were ordered to advance, and
they went over the fence into the orchard. I then went down to the
fence, with the orderlies to assist, and then passed down the fence
until coming near the end of it. I cut across the angle to the main
road, and there I saw Col. Booker with his bugler and an orderly.
The Rifles in reserve were behind Col. Booker, who was between them
and the line of skirmishers on the road. Immediately on reaching
Col. Booker I heard an order or a cry (which was not from Col.
Booker) to "Prepare for cavalry!" I looked around and could not see
any cavalry. I then walked to the rear. I am quite positive that the
first order to "Prepare for cavalry!" was not given by Col. Booker,
because I was quite close to him at the time, and the word came from
the front. An order was then given by Col. Booker to "Form square."
which was done. I am not positive that this order was given by Col.
Booker, but I think so. They did not seem to properly "form square."
and in a few seconds they commenced retreating. The square I have
referred to was composed of Rifles and the color party of the
Thirteenth. My orderly (Robert Maun) was with me at this time. I did
not see any of the Thirteenth come up and form in rear of the
square. I was going to the rear and saw them commence running. I
walked down the road, and the men passed me running. About a quarter
of a mile from where the square was formed. I heard Col. Booker give
an order, which I repeated twice, for the men to go into a wood on
the left-hand side of the road. The order did not seem to be obeyed.
I spoke to one man of the Thirteenth, and asked him why he did not
obey the orders. He said he would go in if the others did, but he
would not go in by himself. Immediately after I saw a man named
Powell, of the Thirteenth, who had been wounded and was being
assisted by two men. I examined him and found there was no necessity
for immediate action, and then got him into a waggon and took him to
a farmer's house beyond Ridgeway. I did not see Col. Booker again
until I got about a mile or more from the Ridgeway Station, on the
road south of the railway, he had been giving some stimulants to a
sick soldier of the Thirteenth, who was mounted on his horse. The
man 's name was Daniel Laker. I went on with the men. I saw the
Rifles resting themselves by the roadside, and the Thirteenth
passing them after leaving Ridge way. When we arrived at the point
where the railway track crossed the main road, some of the men took
the railway track and some followed the road. Col. Booker and I both
followed the track, and a train shortly afterwards came up, upon
which a number of men got; as many as it would carry. Col. Booker
walked on or remained behind. It was only an engine and a baggage
car. There were no passenger cars.
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Troublous Times in Canada, A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870
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