Battle of Eccles Hill

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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
Result Canadian victory
Fenian Brotherhood Canada
Commanders and leaders
William Osborne Smith
600 militia
1 cannon
680 militia
Casualties and losses
2 dead
18 wounded
1 cannon captured


Official nameBattle of Eccles Hill National Historic Site of Canada

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


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 Fenian expedition under Samuel Spear had invaded Canadian territory in 1866). O'Neill was arrested near the border by a United States Marshall and, after a lengthy firefight, the Fenian force disbanded.


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

A force of Canadian militia and armed citizens awaited the Fenians at the summit of Eccles Hill. The Canadians opened a withering fire when the Fenian force reached the border, resulting in the death of a Fenian soldier. This halted the advance of the Irish-Americans, who took cover and returned fire. Lieutenant-Colonel William Osborne Smith hurried to the field with a force of militia volunteers. Together with the armed citizens, the Canadian militia charged the Fenian positions. The Fenians retreated, leaving behind their artillery and two men dead. The Canadians suffered a number of casualties during the engagement but none were fatal. Information provided by Thomas Billis Beach, a double agent also known as Henri Le Caron, was instrumental in ensuring that the Canadians were prepared for the Fenian assault.


The site of the battle was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923.[1]

See also[edit]

List of conflicts in Canada


Further reading[edit]

  • Senior, Hereward (1991). The Last Invasion of Canada: The Fenian Raids, 1866–1870. Dundurn. ISBN 978-1-77070-064-2.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°01′12″N 72°54′16″W / 45.0199°N 72.9044°W / 45.0199; -72.9044