Fenian raids

Irish military campaign in Canada in between 1866–1871 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Fenian raids were a series of incursions carried out by the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish republican organization based in the United States, on military fortifications, customs posts and other targets in Canada (then part of British North America) in 1866, and again from 1870 to 1871. A number of separate incursions by the Fenian Brotherhood into Canada were undertaken to bring pressure on the British government to withdraw from Ireland, although none of these raids achieved their aims.

Fenian Raids
Depiction of the Fenian charge during the Battle of Ridgeway
DateApril 1866 – October 1871
Result British Empire/Canadian victory[1]
Flag_of_Canada_%281868%E2%80%931921%29.svg Canada[lower-alpha 1]
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Green_harp_flag_of_Ireland.svg Fenian Brotherhood
Commanders and leaders
Canada John A. Macdonald
Canada George-Étienne Cartier
Canada J. Stoughton Dennis
Canada William O. Smith
Green_harp_flag_of_Ireland.svg John O'Mahony
Green_harp_flag_of_Ireland.svg Thomas Sweeny
Green_harp_flag_of_Ireland.svg John O'Neill
Green_harp_flag_of_Ireland.svg Samuel P. Spear
Green_harp_flag_of_Ireland.svg Owen Starr

Prior to invasion:
10,000-14,000 local volunteers (March 1866)[2]
Start of war: Canada

Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg United Kingdom

In 1870:

Start of war:Green_harp_flag_of_Ireland.svg
850+ (May 1866)[2]
In 1870:

In 1871:

Casualties and losses
13 killed in action
53 wounded
54 captured
22 died of wounds
142[citation needed]
24 killed in action
48 wounded
59 captured
1 cannon seized
131[citation needed]
  1. Raids that were carried out in 1866 took place in the Province of Canada and the colony of New Brunswick; prior to Confederation in 1867.

In Canada, the incursions divided its burgeoning Irish-Canadian population, many of whom were torn between loyalty to their new home and sympathy for the aims of the Fenians. Protestant Irish immigrants were generally loyal to the British and fought with the pro-Union Orange Order against the Fenians.

While authorities in the United States arrested the men and confiscated the arms of the Fenian Brotherhood, there was speculation that some in the U.S. government had ignored the preparations undertaken by the Fenians because of anger over British actions that were construed by some as assistance to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, most notably British blockade runners carrying arms supplies, the construction of commerce raider CSS Alabama, and tolerating the presence of Confederate Secret Service activities in the UK and its colonies in Canada and the Bahamas. The Fenian raids were one of the factors that led to Canadian Confederation, as the provinces united to face the threat of the Fenian invasions.