For the duration of an early autumn motorcycle trip out to the Niagara Parkway I stumbled onto the Ridgeway Battlefield Web-site.
Nowadays, it is a National Historic Web-site of Canada and one particular of the a lot more exceptional military attractions close to Niagara Falls.
Personally, I’m a fan of the War of 1812 and all of the history surrounding that. Of course I was interested in the Battle of Ridgeway Park when I passed by.
At initial I was shocked by the good quality and detail place into the signage and facilities right here at the park.
In this post we’ll take a appear at what you can count on going to the Ridgeway Battlefield Web-site and a swift primer on the Fenian history right here in Ontario.
Who Are the Fenians?
The Fenians have been members of various Irish nationalist organizations in the UK, Canada, and the United States.
The group became well-liked with the rise of the push for Irish independence from the British.
They didn’t hold any grudges against Canadians personally and their aim was to push Britain into granting Ireland their personal independence.
The name “Fenian” was coined by their personal founder, John O’Mahony, just after the ancient Irish warriors recognized as the “Fianna Eirionn”.
For the most element, the Fenian’s have been produced up of veterans and young Irishman with an intense sense of nationalist pride.
Along with Ontario, this group also raided New Brunswick, Quebec, and Manitoba.
The outcome of the Fenian raids in Canada lead to the provinces joining with each other in a confederation. This would lead to forming the Dominion of Canada in 1867.
What Occurred at the Battle of Ridgeway?
The Battle of Ridgeway is an exciting and crucial element of Canadian history.
On June 1st 1866, a group of Fenian raiders crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo.
These have been largely Irish-American veterans of the U.S. Civil War and had the practical experience to launch a compact-scale attack on Canada.
Their target was to force Britain to give Ireland its independence. The Fenians weren’t interested in capturing Canada.
As an alternative they have been hoping to succeed by inciting violence and scaring the neighborhood population.
There was no resistance as they crossed the Niagara River with a lot more than 1,300 males landing close to Fort Erie.
At this point the Canadians have been conscious of the invasion. A couple of militias have been immediately place with each other to defend against the Fenians.
On the morning of June 2nd the Fenians assumed a defensive position on a Limestone Ridge, close to the compact town of Ridgeway.
Practically nine hundred Canadian militia from Toronto, Hamilton, Caledonia, and York marched against the Fenians to commence the battle.
All through the day skirmishes have been fought in the location with cavalry charges, riflemen attacks, and hand-to-hand guerrilla combat taking spot.
Sadly, the Canadian militia was poorly educated. Important blunders have been produced that lead to the Fenians capturing the compact town of Ridgeway.
Expecting British reinforcements to arrive shortly, the Fenians gave up Ridgeway just after a couple of hours and retreated back to Fort Erie.
One more battle took spot, the Battle of Fort Erie, with the compact group of Canadian militiamen holding the town against the Fenians.
In spite of their swift victories and overwhelming force at the starting of the battles, the Fenian’s have been left with no decision but to return back to the United States. A bigger force of British and Canadian’s have been immediately approaching.
Upon arriving back in the US a lot more than 850 Fenians have been arrested by the American authorities.
The Canadians and British Army have been prevented by American gunboats from retaliating.
The Outcome of the Battle of Ridgeway
If it weren’t for the Fenians it is doubtful that Canada would have develop into a confederation just more than a year later.
Politicians and neighborhood newspapers considerably exaggerated the Canadian defeat at Ridgeway.
There have been numerous claims that Canadians or unable to defend themselves devoid of relying heavily on the British army for assistance.
The uncomplicated Canadian defeat at Ridgeway added a fantastic quantity of shame to Canadian national military heritage. It took pretty much 25 years for the Canadian government to recognize the veterans of the battle and praise them for so graciously defending the nation.
The instant require for neighborhood defense and enhanced Canadian nationalism lead to the Confederation be negotiated.
The outcomes? The Dominion of Canada getting made on July 1st, 1867 – unity amongst all of the provinces for the initial time in Canadian history.
The Battle of Ridgeway is one particular of the most crucial components of Canadian history. This occasion actually defined the path for Canada to take moving forward in the future.
Ridgeway Park and the Ridgeway Battlefield National Historical Web-site
You can obtain the Ridgeway Battlefield Web-site on Highway three just outdoors of Fort Erie.
The park is situated in Ridgeway, Ontario on Garrison Road.
Going to the park you will obtain a quantity of outside interpretive panels that share the history of the Fenian Raids.
These panels clarify the factors of the raids, the various government responses, and the final outcome that these raids had on Canada.
To be truthful, I had not even heard about the Fenian’s till I occurred on this park.
It is extraordinary to me that such a essential piece of Canadian history can go unnoticed and unheard of by so several Canadians.
Some of the other highlights of the park contain:
- A commemorative cairn with data about the raids and a plaque devoted to the soldiers that perished in the course of the attack
- A series of period paintings that give a visual account of the battle
- Interpretive indicators and a covered gazebo for picnics and relaxing
Suggestions for Going to + Extra Data
These of you interested in mastering a lot more about the Battle of Ridgeway will want to spend a stop by to the neighborhood historical Museum.
The museum is situated at 402 Ridge Road and supplies a lot a lot more insight into the Fenian Raids.
The impressive historic Fort Erie is situated nearby – absolutely worth a stop by as nicely if you are interested in War of 1812 history.
Parking at the web site is free of charge though you will want to be cautious turning off of the highway into the park (there is higher-speed visitors going by).
Do not overlook to verify out the massive mausoleum subsequent door. This mausoleum is devoted to the soldiers and veterans from the battle.
There are not any facilities nearby though Fort Erie and Niagara Falls are a brief drive away.