Rebellion, 1885 - List of forces participating in the Fenian Raids, 1866 and 1870.

List of Canadian forces that took part in the "fights" during the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870, listing names and numbers of men in each unit. Item found within folder 1 of file Rebellion, 1885.

Historical note:

Fenians, members of a movement initiated in 1857 by Irish-Americans to secure Irish independence from Britain. Their titular chief, James Stephens, organized an underground movement in Ireland with the aid of funds collected by his American deputy, John O'Mahony. The American wing emerged as a powerful force, and by the end of 1865 the Fenians had nearly $500,000 and about 10,000 American Civil War veterans organized in military clubs. At this time they split into 2 factions, one led by O'Mahony, favouring an uprising in Ireland, and another led by William Roberts, intent on invading Canada.A small group of Canadian Fenians was headed initially by Michael Murphy of Toronto, who supported the O'Mahony wing. When it became obvious that there was to be no immediate uprising in Ireland, O'Mahony launched a raid against the New Brunswick frontier in April 1866. Murphy was summoned to join O'Mahony's forces by cipher telegram, but the telegram was intercepted and deciphered, bringing about his arrest in Cornwall. The raid collapsed and its only lasting consequence was to turn opinion in the Maritimes in favour of Confederation. The Roberts wing crossed the Niagara frontier on June 1, defeated Canadian militiamen at Ridgeway, and withdrew. A second group crossed the Québec frontier at Missisquoi Bay on June 7, and remained 48 hours. After the failure of an Irish uprising in 1867, the movement fragmented. Yet a Fenian apparently assassinated Thomas D'Arcy McGee in 1868, and in 1870 the faction led by "General" John O'Neill launched 2 small raids over the Québec frontier. O'Neill attempted one more raid in the fall of 1871, this time against Manitoba, hoping to receive support from Louis Riel and the Métis. This was checked by American authorities before it reached the Canadian border. Instead of supporting O'Neill, Riel raised loyalist volunteers to defend the frontier. After 1871, some sections of the fragmented Fenian movement carried on and were still in being at the time of the Easter 1916 uprising in Dublin, Ireland. Fenianism added a page to Irish folklore and helped to unite Canadians by providing an external threat during the period of Confederation.
Open Access
Primary Source
[University of Saskatchewan Archives]
Publication Date
University of Saskatchewan Archives, J.E. Murray fonds, MG60_E-IV-A-17 (Vol. 58); records from Our Legacy site,
Resource Type
Documents & Presentations
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