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Battle of Eccles Hill
Part of the Fenian Raids
Battle of Eccles Hill.jpg
The Battle of Eccles Hill. Contemporary illustration.
DateMay 25, 1870
Locationnear Frelighsburg and Saint-Armand, Quebec
Result Canadian victory
Fenian Brotherhood Canada
Commanders and leaders
Samuel B. Spiers William Osborne Smith
600 militia
1 cannon
680 militia
Casualties and losses
5 dead
18 wounded
National Historic Site of Canada
Official name Battle of Eccles Hill National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 1923

The Battle of Eccles Hill was part of a raid into Canadian territory from the United States led by John O'Neill and Samuel Spiers of the Fenian Brotherhood. The army of the Fenian Brotherhood was defeated by local militia units based in Huntingdon on May 25, 1870.

Prelude[edit | edit source]

Canadian Home-Guard defending against Fenians in 1870

Fenian militants, operating from Vermont, assembled on May 25 to orchestrate a second invasion of the Montreal region (a similar expedition under Spiers had met with defeat near the same site at the Battle of Pigeon Hill of 1866). Although O'Neill was arrested at the border crossing by an American police patrol, Spiers and the main body of Fenians slipped across the border intact and entered the province of Quebec.

Battle[edit | edit source]

Partisans and government scouts spotted the invaders almost immediately. A force of militia (amongst which was Queen Victoria's son and a future Governor General of Canada, Prince Arthur[1]) awaiting the Fenians at Eccles Hill put up resistance, resulting in firefights and skirmishing. Lieutenant-Colonel William Smith hurried to the field with a battalion of volunteer cavalry and charged the Fenian positions. The Fenians fled, leaving behind their artillery and their dead. The Canadians sustained no casualties during the engagement because of the information supplied by Thomas Billis Beach, a double agent working against the Fenians from within their own organization.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

The site of the battle was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923.[2]

See also[edit | edit source]

List of conflicts in Canada

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Senior, H. (1996). The last invasion of Canada: The Fenian raids, 1866–1870. Dundurn Press. ISBN 1-55002-085-4

External links[edit | edit source]

Monument erected in 1902 by the federal government under the supervision of the Missisquoi Historical Society

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Gary (2010). Home to Canada: Royal Tours 1786–2010. Tonawanda: Dundurn Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-55488-800-9. 
  2. Battle of Eccles Hill. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 4 March 2012.

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