1855, Canada passed a Militia Act creating
cavalry, infantry, and artillery units,
made up of volunteer, part-time soldiers.
Strained Anglo-American relations during
the American Civil War (1861-65) led
Britain to send 11,000 troops to protect
its North American colonies.
the Civil War, the Fenian Brotherhood,
largely composed of Irish-American veterans,
sought to achieve Ireland’s independence
from Britain by capturing Canada as a
hostage. Between 1866 and 1871, they
raided Canadian territory from New Brunswick
to Manitoba. During the largest raid,
in June 1866 along the Niagara frontier,
the Fenians defeated a small Canadian
force at Ridgeway. The Fenians returned
to the United States before Canadian
and British reinforcements arrived. Every
other Fenian raid ended in failure, and
the movement collapsed after 1871.