In the early 1860s, Irish immigrants in the United States were eager to help the Fenian brotherhood overthrow the British in Ireland. The American Fenians' mission: to invade British North America and hold it hostage. New Brunswick, with its large Irish population and undefended frontier, was a perfect target. The book tells how, in the spring of 1866, a thousand Fenians massed along the St. Croix River and spread terror among New Brunswickers. When the lieutenant-governor called in British soldiers and a squadron of warships, the Fenians saw that New Brunswick was no longer an easy target, and they turned their efforts against central Canada. The Fenian "attacks" and the demand for home defence fanned the already red-hot political debate, and a year later, in July 1867, New Brunswick joined Confederation.
Turning Back the Fenians is volume 8 in the New Brunswick Military Heritage Series.
"A recommended read."
"Robert L. Dallison's Turning Back the Fenians: New Brunswick's Last Colonial Campaign makes a significant contribution to this part of our history by shedding light on the motivations, maneuvers, and organization of New Brunswick's militias in their fight against Fenian invasion. . . . provides valuable insight into the events surrounding the Fenian crisis in New Brunswick and elucidates the experiences of the local militiamen charged with defending their homeland. Rather than simply using this work to give a general overview of the military tactics involved in the crisis, Dallison is able to breathe new life into this oft-neglected aspect of pre-Confederation history."