Native American Veteran and Canadian aboriginal veteran List.

raid of the Fenians

1866 - 1871



Uscw title drawing




Fenian raids were carried out between 1866 and 1871 by the Fenian fraternity, a group of North Americans of Irish origin based in the United States, targeting British settlements based in Canada. These raids, also known as the Irish invasion of Canada, were intended to force the then British government to withdraw from Ireland. These actions led to dissension within the community of Irish Canadians, divided between their loyalty to their new homeland and their sympathy with the Fenian cause. Irish Protestants, mostly loyal to the crown, fought the Fenians. There were in all five Fenian raids.


The rare fighting took place on open ground, in a sort of parody of the "White War", and the existence of railways and steamboats made it possible to do without the skills of Aboriginal people in transportation in the forest or by the rivers.

The Delaware and Cayuga bands organized territorial defense groups, but did not succeed until the 1890s to be recognized as

an official voluntary company.

Several Indians joined the volunteer units, including the Mohawk Oronhyatekha, also known as Peter Martin. Born in the Grand River territories in 1841, he began studying medicine at Oxford University in 1860, sponsored by an influential Englishman. Returning to Canada three years later to continue his studies at the University of Toronto, he enlisted in 1864 in Toronto's 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own Rifles. He probably accompanied his regiment during the Ridgeway fiasco, while a few thousand militiamen suffered defeat in front of eight hundred Féniens. Despite this tactical victory, the latter, numerically too weak and deprived of the local support they had expected, soon retreated to the American side of the Niagara River.

There is also help from the Métis, the Manitoba Act having been passed in 1870, the Métis formally offered, under the political direction of Louis Riel and after much deliberation, to help counter the Fenian threat.

Irregular units of Métis horsemen were to be mobilized and divided into platoons of about ten men who were followers of tactics derived from the buffalo hunt and led by an elected "captain".

On 5 October, a group of about 75 men crossed the border and occupied a customs post and a HBC store. The next day, a militia force that included a company of French Canadians and Métis was organized in Fort Garry and rushed to the border. She did not have to fight, however.