Previous Index Next

 

240   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

ably due to Carter's lack of confidence in the steadiness of his raw volunteers against such odds.

General Spier waited at Pigeon Hill for several days for the reinforcements and arms promised by General Sweeny, but as the former did not arrive and the latter were promptly seized by the United States authorities, he decided that there was nothing for it but to return the way he had come. Probably he was helped to this humiliating decision by the fact that his small army was rapidly disintegrating, and that if he did not promptly lead the remnant back across the border, they would leave him to defend Pigeon Hill alone. Finally, to heap insult upon injury, the Fenian general and his staff were promptly arrested by an officer of the United States Army as they re-entered Vermont.

The only actual encounter between the Fenians and Canadian troops during the course of this extraordinary invasion, occurred a few miles from Pigeon Hill, where a party of forty Montreal Guides attacked a body of Fenians, killed several, and carried sixteen prisoners to Montreal, without a single casualty on their own side. Toward the end of June a remnant of Spier's army, which had remained behind when the rest scattered to their homes, made a little raid of their own on Pigeon Hill, then defended by a detachment of the Richelieu Light Infantry. After exchanging a few shots, the British force attempted to cut off the retreat of the Fenians and capture the entire party, but without success. There were no casualties on either side.

At Ogdensburg, Watertown, Malone, and Potsdam, on the St. Lawrence, the main body of the Irish Republican Army gathered under General Sweeny for an invasion in force, which would lead, as they hoped, to the capture of all the frontier towns from Kingston to Corn-wall, and ultimately of Ottawa and Montreal. They found, however, that the Canadians were fully prepared for them in front; and General Meade, of the United States Army, was behind them, determined to prevent a


Previous Index Next