In the aftermath of the American Civil War, Irish-American veterans joined together to form the Fenian Brotherhood. Their plan was to march north and capture key points in Canada, with the intent of using the captured territory as leverage to force the British out of Ireland.
Between 1866 and 1870, the Fenians made several raids into Canada, from New Brunswick through Canada East and Canada West and even as far west as a Hudson’s Bay Company outpost in a disputed territory between modern-day North Dakota and Manitoba.
Although the Fenians could boast a victory over British regulars and Canadian militia at the Battle of Ridgeway (Ontario) on June 2, 1866, they were driven back across the U.S./Canadian border on every occasion. The raids, did succeed in provoking a martial spirit among Canadians, which resulted in a great rise of interest and participation in local militia units.
Researched and written by John Milner.