St. Patrick’s Day: Memorial at Fenian Raid site

Here’s a little news item for your St. Patrick’s Day reading, with a bit of Irish and Civil War mix:

New Memorial to Fenian Invasion of Canada

BUFFALO, NY – In the roar of the river and the cries of the gulls you can almost hear the echoes of history and an event, that after 166 years, is finally memorialized by a simple black granite marker.

“This is an incredibly significant episode in the history of, not only the United States, but also Canada, Ireland and Great Britain,” says New York State Senator Tim Kennedy.

And on this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, local leaders are remembering an incredible act of heroic patriotism that happened at the foot of Hertel Avenue on the Niagara River.

In the years following the Civil War, thousands of Irish ex-pats who had come over to earn money in the U.S. military found themselves in a foreign land, now trying to do what they could to help their home country. They were known as the Fenian Brotherhood and, in 1866, they devised a plan to drive the English out of Ireland.

Kennedy says they were, “Civil War veterans, American veterans, but Irish nationalists who felt so strongly that the British needed to get out of their country 3,000 miles away that they crossed the river here and invaded Canada to hold it hostage until Britain left their country.”…

(read more and see video)

I do think Senator Kennedy overplays the role of Generals Grant and Meade as he went on to suggest the Irish nationalists later obeyed orders to withdraw.  Perhaps a better way to put it, the Generals simply enforced President Andrew Johnson’s declaration of neutrality and closed the border.  Sort of clipped any subsequent action by the nationalists.

At any rate, I suggest you wear green today… lest you get pinched, and barred from enjoying those tasty green beverages!