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244 MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

 

but this handful of men. That night, however, Colonel Brown Chamberlin reached Stanbridge, and sent reinforcements to Eccles Hill. All that he had available was a single company of the 60th, and with these and the Home Guard, altogether two officers and seventy-one men, he prepared on the morning of the 25th to hold the frontier against the Army of the Irish Republic.

Shortly after noon the enemy appeared, crossed the boundary at the double, and attacked Eccles Hill. They were met with such a determined and well-directed fire that they immediately broke and sought cover behind buildings and stone fences and in a neighbouring wood. One of the Fenian advance guard was killed in the first volley and several wounded. For some time fire was kept up on both sides. The Canadians were determined to hold their position at all cost, and the Fenians, despite their overwhelming superiority, apparently lacked the courage to make a serious attack on the hill.

Some time after the first assault of the Fenians, Colonel Osborne Smith reached Eccles Hill, and, about half-past two, the defending force was reinforced by a company of the Victoria Rifles and twenty additional men of the 60th. Toward evening the Fenians brought up a field-gun and were about to open fire, when Colonel Smith ordered the advance. The little Canadian force moved forward with such resolution and steadiness that the enemy broke in all directions and were soon in full flight back across the boundary. They lost altogether four or five men killed and about eighteen wounded. Through-out the engagement not a single Canadian was even wounded. As he reached the boundary, O'Neil was arrested and sent to St. Albans. The following day large reinforcements of Fenians arrived at Franklin, but too late to retrieve the situation. The Canadian side was now guarded by a strong force of militia; American troops were on the other side determined to maintain order; the Fenian general had been arrested, and the Army of the Irish Republic melted away.


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