2016 marked the 150th anniversary of the Fenian Raids. In early June of 1866 a long-simmering feud, largely between the American-based Fenian Brotherhood (an organization sympathetic to Catholic Ireland and the Irish Republic) and the British Crown erupted. The Fenian Brotherhood, long agitating for action and not without supporters in Canada, proceeded to invade Canada in April and June of 1866. While the invasions did not come as a complete surprise, and they rarely accomplished its goals, the British forces in what would become Canada, along with the civilian militia, were undermanned and poorly organized to face experienced Fenian soldiers, who were largely veterans of the American Civil War.
Many militia volunteers from historic Mississauga served in many fashions during the raids, principally leading up to and in the aftermath of battles at Ridgeway and Fort Erie in June of 1866. Local militia infantry companies consisting of some 50 men each were formed at Derry West and Grahamsville; Brampton was home to one infantry company and one rifle company; Streetsville formed a half-company of 21 men, and also provided men for a mounted company; volunteers from Port Credit joined with the militia in Oakville.
Below is a list of known veterans of the Fenian Raids who have connections to historic Mississauga. While we have not identified any casualties, we have documented 58 individuals who volunteered to repel this invasion of Canada. We remember their brave service:
William Calvert Armstrong
William Thomas Brown
Joshua Pollard Jr.
John Christopher Rutledge
Joseph Jabez Rutledge