Fenian Raids 1870

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 25 May 1870 to 28 May 1870
Location: North Americamap
Surnames/tags: Fenian Canada Irish
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Fenian Raids 1870

Despite facing a number of setbacks, in 1870 the Fenians made a new attempt at invading Canada. In the meantime Confederation had taken place, and the new Canadian government was able to call up 13,000 volunteers to secure the frontier of Ontario and Québec.

On 25 May 1870, John O’Neill (who had been proclaimed a hero after Ridgeway and appointed inspector-general of the Fenian forces) with some 600 Fenians, left Vermont for Québec. At Eccles Hill, just north of the border, they were met by a detachment of the 60th Missisquoi Battalion and elements of the Dunham Volunteers and another volunteer unit known as the Home Guard, commanded by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel Brown Chamberlain. The Fenians were defeated in a short, sharp action, losing 5 men killed and 18 wounded. There were no losses to the Canadians.

Two days later, another group of Fenians crossed the border into Québec at Trout River, west of Eccles Hill. The 50th Canadian Battalion, the Montreal Volunteer Artillery, and the British 69th Regiment swiftly dealt with this invasion, and the Fenians fled back across the border. Again, there were no Canadian casualties.

The Fenians abandoned their camp, leaving large quantities of arms, ammunition and clothing, which were seized by the United States Government. Their rifles were the best obtainable at that time, being breech-loading Springfields and Spencers of the latest pattern. Their field-piece (which was a breech-loading rifled steel gun) was captured on Canadian soil, and is one of the trophies held by the Missisquoi Home Guard in memory of O'Neil's dismal failure to capture Canada in 1870.


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