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The Canadian Volunteers Receive the Thanks of the Government
The Canadian Volunteers Released from Duty at the
Front and Returned to Their Homes--They Earned the Gratitude of
Their Country and Received it.
After about three weeks of active service, the
Canadian volunteers who were on duty at the front were relieved and
sent home. Although matters were still in an unsettled state among
the Fenians in the United States, and threats were constantly being
made of more trouble, yet the occasion was not considered of
sufficient serious importance to require the services of the force
posted on the frontier for a longer period. The Government was well
aware that when occasion demanded the same troops would again take
up arms as promptly and cheerfully as on previous occasions, and
relied on their patriotic service being immediately available
whenever required. In relieving the troops from further duty, the
Commander-in-Chief promulgated the following order:--
Ottawa, June 23rd, 1866.
In relieving the volunteers, for the present, from active duty, the
Commander-in-Chief desires to make known to the officers and
non-commissioned officers and men of the force, the pride and
satisfaction with which he has witnessed the patriotism and energy
displayed by them in their instantaneous response to the call to
arms. The Commander-in-Chief wishes to express his admiration of the
promptitude with which, on the only occasion when an opportunity was
afforded them of meeting the enemy, the volunteers went under fire,
and his deep sympathy with the friends and relations of those who
there met a soldier's death. The discipline and good conduct of the
force while on service has secured the approbation of their military
commanders, and has been most favorably reported on to the
Commander-in-Chief. The Commander-in-Chief wishes to impress on the
minds of the volunteers that, though the late attack on the Province
has proved a failure, the organization by means of which it was
attempted still exists, and that its leaders do not hesitate to
declare publicly that they meditate a renewal of the invasion. Under
these circumstances, the Commander-in-Chief trusts that the
volunteer force generally will continue at all convenient times to
perfect themselves in drill and discipline, so that they may be able
successfully to repel any future aggression that may be attempted.
Major-General Napier's Order.
Major-Gen. Napier, who commanded the troops in
Canada West, returned thanks, in appreciation of their services, by
issuing the following:--
Brigade Office, Toronto, June 18th, 1866.
Major-General Napier, C.B., Commanding the First Military District,
Canada West, cannot allow the volunteers under his command to return
home without tendering them his best thanks for the patriotic way
they responded to the Governor-General's call for further services,
as well as for their general good conduct whilst in the field.
Although only a few were fortunate enough to be engaged with the
enemy, the whole force were equally ready and anxious to meet him.
The Major-General feels sure that should their services be again
required, they will show the same fine spirit, and turn out to a man
in the defence of their country. The Major-General, in bidding them
farewell for the present, trusts that they will keep up their
present efficient state, which can only be done by constantly
attending to their drill whenever they have an opportunity of doing
(Signed) H. Nangle.
Captain and Brigade
Major-General Lindsay's Order.
Major-Gen. Lindsay also commended the volunteers for
their prompt response to the call of duty, and their valued and
faithful service in the field, in the language contained in the
Brigade Office, Montreal. 23rd June. 1866. District Order.
The emergency which has caused the Volunteer Militia Force of Canada
to spring to arms, having passed by, the Major-General commanding
the District acknowledges the important services they have rendered.
The patriotic spirit, exhibited both by employers and the employed,
placed at the service of the Crown, in a few hours, a force of
upwards of 22,000 men in the two Canadas, which, if the occasion had
been of more serious character, could have been augmented to such
numbers as the Government might have required.
The various corps sent out to the front have shown a zeal and
aptitude in the performance of their duties as soldiers, which is
calculated to inspire the greatest confidence; while some of the
battalions have had severe and difficult marches to perform, all
have undergone considerable hardships in most unfavourable weather.
While the good faith and firmness of the General Commanding the U.S.
troops on the frontier had the effect of preventing larger
assemblies of armed men, and while in the end the long-threatened
attempt at invasion proved a miserable failure, the Major-General
feels confident that the volunteer force have only one regret, that
they have not had the opportunity of driving from the soil of Canada
those misguided men, who, under the flimsy veil of so-called
patriotic feeling, would have carried war into a country with which
they have no pretence of quarrel.
The Major-General feels convinced that, shoulder to shoulder with
the regular troops of Her Majesty, the volunteer militia force of
this Province would, if they had been brought in contact with an
enemy, have proved themselves worthy of the approbation of their
fellow-countrymen, and that they would, as their predecessors had
done in times long past, have successfully defended their country,
and kept it against all aggressors.
While anxious for peace, Canada is showing herself prepared for war;
and the Major-General is gratified in bearing his testimony to the
noble and independent spirit, which proves that Canada has reason to
be proud of her citizen soldiers.
H. C. HEALEY,
Major of Brigade.
Special Thanks to the Queen's Own.
The splendid services of the Queen's Own Rifles in
the campaign were officially recognized by the General Commanding in
the promulgation of the following order:--
Assist. Adj.-.General's Office, Toronto, June 8, 1860.
Sir,--I am directed by Major-General Napier, C.B., commanding 1st
Military Division, C.W., to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of
your despatch dated Stratford. June 6th, 1866, addressed to
Lieut.-Col. Lowry, 47th Regiment, detailing the operations of the
Volunteer force on the morning of the 2nd, in which the Queen's Own
were engaged with the enemy.
It is now my gratifying duty to convey to you not only the
approbation but the very great pleasure the Major-General
experienced in hearing from you of the good conduct of the officers,
non-commissioned officers and men of the regiment under your command
on that occasion.
That they fully confirmed and justified the good opinion that the
Major-General always entertained of them, by their conduct in
meeting for the first time the enemies of their Queen and country.
The Major-General feels quite sure that the regiment will always
cherish and sustain the character now so nobly won by the Queen's
I have also to express to you, by the Major-General's desire, his
entire approbation of the very able and gallant manner in which you
commanded the Queen's Own under very trying circumstances, and it
will give him much pleasure in bringing before His Excellency the
Commander-in-Chief, the gallant service rendered by the Queen's Own
on the occasion, which you will be good enough to convey to the
officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the regiment under
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
W. S. DURIE,
Major Charles T. Gilmor.
Queen's Own Rifles.
Lord Monck's communication to the Imperial Secretary
of State may also be quoted as showing his views concerning the
patriotic conduct of Canadians who were at the time residing in the
Ottawa, June 14, 1866.
Sir,--I have had the satisfaction in other communications to report
to you the excellent spirit evinced by the resident population of
Canada in connection with the late Fenian attack on the Province.
There has been in addition an exhibition of patriotism and devotion
on the part of Canadians who happened to be domiciled at the time of
the disturbance outside of the Province, which deserves, I think,
special mention and praise. Immediately after the news of the inroad
on the Province reached Chicago, sixty young Canadians who were
resident there engaged in various employments gave up their
situations and repaired by railroad to Canada to give their aid in
defending the land of their birth. These young men have been formed
into a Volunteer Company and are now doing duty at Toronto.
I had also a communication from Her Majesty's Consul at New York to
the effect that a large number of Canadians, resident there, were
prepared to abandon their occupations and come to assist in the
repulse of the invaders of Canada if I considered their services
necessary. I informed Mr. Archibald by telegraph that I did not
require their aid, but begged him to express to them my gratitude
for the exhibition of their loyalty. Such conduct speaks for itself,
and I would not weaken the effect of the bare relation of the facts
by any attempts at eulogy on my part.
I have, etc.
The Right Hon. Edward
Cardwell, Secretary of State.
From the Imperial Government.
The following General Order, contained in a letter
communicated through the regular official channel to His Excellency
the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief (Right Hon. Viscount
Monck), was duly promulgated through the Department of Militia of
Horse Guards, July 21st, 1866.
The Under-Secretary of State for War:--
Sir,--With reference to the several reports which have been received
from the General Officer Commanding in Canada relative to the Fenian
movement in that Province, and to the measures taken by the
colonists for repelling any Fenian attack, I am directed by the
Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief to request that you will acquaint
the Secretary of State for War that His Royal Highness, having
observed the alacrity, loyalty and zeal shown by the volunteers and
militia forces of Canada in having come forward for the defence of
the colony on the late trying occasion, in support of the troops, is
very desirous of expressing to the force his full appreciation of
their gallant and energetic behavior, and the very great
gratification and satisfaction he has thereby experienced. And His
Royal Highness trusts, therefore, that Lieut.-General Peel will see
no objection to the necessary communication being made by him to the
Colonial Office, with the view to His Royal Highness' sentiments, as
above expressed, being made known through the proper channel to the
volunteers and militia of Canada, lately employed against the
I am, etc.,
W. F. Foster.
Lord Monck's Acknowledgment of American
In acknowledgment of the service rendered by the
United States Government in checking the invasion, Lord Monck, the
Governor-General of Canada, sent the following despatch to Sir
Frederick Bruce, the British Minister at Washington, for
presentation to Secretary of State Seward:--
Ottawa, June 11th, 1866.
Sir,--I have learned from the public press the terms of the
Proclamation which the President of the United States of America has
promulgated against the hostile designs of the Fenians on the
Province, the Government of which I have the honor to administer. I
have also, by the same means, been made acquainted with the orders
issued by the Attorney-General of the United States and other
officers of the Administration of that country for the apprehension
of the persons of Fenian conspirators and the stoppage and seizure
of arms and other supplies intended to be used by them against
Canada. As these proceedings of the Government of the United States
have materially tended to defeat the hostile purposes of the Fenians
against this Province, I shall feel much obliged if you will convey
to the Secretary of State for the United States my acknowledgments
of the course which has been adopted by that Government in reference
to this matter.
I have, etc...
Lord Monck's Report to the Imperial Government.
In presenting his report to the Right Hon. E.
Cardwell, Secretary of State of the British Government, Lord Monck
sent the following despatch, which was accompanied by the reports of
the Lieutenant-General and other officers who were in command of
troops during the campaign:--
Ottawa. June 14th, 1866.
Sir,--I have the honor to transmit for your information, the reports
to the Lieutenant-General commanding Her Majesty's forces of the
several officers, relating to the proceedings connected with the
late Fenian invasion at Fort Erie, Canada West. I think these
documents substantially corroborate the account which I gave you
from telegraphic and other information in my despatches of the 1st,
4th and 8th instant.
From all the information I have received, I am now satisfied that a
very large and comprehensive plan of attack had been arranged by the
party which is popularly known as the Sweeny-Roberts section of the
The plan of invasion, in addition to the attempt on the Niagara
frontier--the only one which actually occurred--appears to have
embraced attacks on the line of the Richelieu and Lake Champlain,
and also on the frontier in the neighborhood of Prescott and
Cornwall, where I have reason to think the principal demonstration
For the latter object, large bodies of men, sent by railroad from
almost all parts of the United States, were assembled at a place
called Malone, in the State of New York, and at Potsdam, also in the
State of New York, and with a view to the former, St. Albans and its
neighborhood in the State of Vermont was selected as the place of
Large supplies of arms, accoutrements and ammunition were also
attempted to be forwarded by railroad to these points, but owing to
the active intervention of the authorities of the United States--as
soon as it became apparent that a breach of international law had
been committed by these persons--a very large portion of these
supplies never reached their destination.
It is not easy to arrive at a trustworthy estimate of the number of
men who actually arrived at their different points of rendezvous. It
has been reported at times that there were at Potsdam, Malone, and
the intervening country, as many as ten thousand men, and similar
rumors have been from time to time circulated of the force at St.
Albans and its neighborhood. From the best opinion I can form,
however, I shall be inclined to think that the number of Fenians in
the vicinity of St. Albans never exceeded two thousand men, and that
three thousand would be a fair allowance for those assembled at
Potsdam, Malone, and the surrounding counties. The men have been
represented to me as having, many of them, served in the late Civil
War in the United States--to have had a considerable amount of small
arms of a good and efficient description. I have not heard of their
possessing any artillery, and I am informed that they were deficient
in the supplies of ammunition and totally destitute of all the other
equipments of an organized force. They appear to have relied very
much on assistance from the inhabitants of the Province, as the
force which invaded Fort Erie brought with them--as I am told--a
large quantity of spare arms to put in the hands of their
sympathizers whom they expected to join them. I have in my former
despatches noticed the measures which were adopted by the Provincial
Government in order to place at the disposal of the
Lieutenant-General commanding Her Majesty's forces, the Provincial
resources available for defence, both by land and water. The reports
of the officers of the army and volunteers, which I transmit, will
acquaint you with the manner in which these means were used by the
officers in command. I am happy to be able to bear my tribute to the
energy and good faith exhibited by the American Government and its
officials in checking all infractions of international obligations
on the part of any portion of its citizens from the moment that it
became evident that an invasion of the Province by the Fenians had
actually taken place. The determination of the Government of the
United States to stop the transportation of men and supplies to the
places of assembly, rendered even the temporary success on the part
of the Fenians impossible; while the large forces which the
Lieutenant-General commanding was able to concentrate at each of the
points threatened, had the effect of deterring from an attack the
portion of the conspirators who had already arrived at their places
of rendezvous. No invasion in force occurred except at Fort Erie. A
slight incursion took place at a place called St. Armand, about
thirteen miles from St. John's, on the borders of the County of
Missisquoi, which ended in the capture of about sixteen prisoners,
without any loss on our side.
The latest accounts I have received announced that the men who had
congregated at the different points of assembly were being
transmitted to their homes at the expense of the Government of the
United States, most of the leaders having been arrested and held to
bail to answer for their conduct.
Although I deplore the loss which the Volunteer Force suffered when
engaged on the 2nd of June at Lime Ridge, amounting to six killed
and thirty-one wounded. I think it is a matter for congratulation
that a movement which might have been so formidable has collapsed
with so small an amount of loss, either of life or property. I think
it is also a source of satisfaction that such strong proofs have
been afforded of the spirit which animates the Canadian people, of
their loyalty to the throne, of their appreciation of the free
institutions under which they live, and of their readiness at all
times to prove their sense of the value of these institutions by
incurring expense and personal risk in the defence of them. The
period of the year at which the people have been called on to make
these sacrifices of timely serving in the volunteer ranks has been
the most inconvenient that could have been selected, yet I have
never heard a murmur from any quarter at the necessity of suspending
industrial occupation involving the risk of a whole year's
production, while I have received information of a good deal of
discontent on the part of those who were anxious to give their
services, but whose presence in the ranks was not considered
I have to express my very high sense of the services performed by
Lieutenant-General Sir J. Michel and the officers under his command
in the able disposition of troops, both regulars and volunteers. The
officers of the Royal Navy stationed at Quebec and Montreal deserve
the highest credit for the rapidity with which they extemporized
gunboats for the defence of the St. Lawrence and the Lakes. I have
already spoken of the admirable spirit displayed by the Volunteer
Force, both officers and men. I have every reason to believe that
their conduct as regards discipline and order has entitled them to
as much commendation as does their spirit of patriotism and
I desire particularly to bring before your notice the ability and
energy exhibited by Colonel Macdougall, A.G.M., with a view to
having his services specially mentioned to His Royal Highness, the
Commander-in-Chief. This officer has not yet been one year in
Canada, yet so admirable is the system of organization which he has
established that he is able within a few hours to assemble on any
given point over a line of more than 1,000 miles, masses of
volunteers who at the time the order was given were scattered over
the country pursuing their ordinary avocations. While I attribute
full credit to the excellent spirit of the people for its share in
this effect, I think the administrative ability which has given
practical operation to this good feeling of the population ought to
have its meed of praise and in the interests of the public service
on some possible future emergency ought not to be left without
There are prisoners in our hands to the number of about one hundred
and fifty. (I have not yet received official returns of them), whose
trial will be proceeded with at an early day.
I confidently expect within a few days to be able to dismiss to
their homes the great majority of the Volunteers, and my firm
conviction is, that this disturbance will produce beneficial effects
by discrediting Fenian enterprises, exhibiting the futility of any
attempt at invasion of the Province, and showing the absence of all
disaffection amongst any portion of the people of Canada.
I have, etc.,
The Right Honorable E.
Welland County Honors the Brave.
The services of the officers and men of the Welland
Canal Field Battery and the Dunnville Naval Brigade--for their
gallantry in the fight at Fort Erie--were recognized by the
Municipal Council of the County of Welland by the public
presentation to each of them of a handsome silver medal,
commemorative of the occasion. In addition, Capt. King and Capt.
McCallum were each presented with handsome swords of honor by the
County Council, as special marks of appreciation of their bravery by
the people of the county. To each of the wounded a grant of 100
acres of the lands owned by the county in the Cranberry Marsh was
given. In addition to the above honors the Corporation of the
Village of Fort Erie presented Capt. King with a valuable sword as a
testimonial of their recognition of his services at that place on
the 2nd of June.
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Troublous Times in Canada, A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870
Fenian Raids of 1866 - 1870