Gunner E. Armstrong - Welland Canal Field Battery
This is a rare Fenian Raid medal group that includes the CGS Fenian Raid medal with 1866 bar and the silver Welland County medal named in the recipients honor. The grouping includes copies of news paper clippings, the original box for the CGS medal, a veterans medal and a funeral ribbon worn for one of the Gunner's comrades.
Gunner Edward Armstrong served under Maj RS King March to June 1866 at Fort Erie. He was in battle at Fort Erie and was taken Prisoner by the Fenians. His medal #14147 was sent to his Address in Port Colbourne June 19, 1902. Includes his Commemorative Veterans medal.
Everyone looks for the Ridgeway medals, but few know about the Fort Erie engagement. During the raid the Fenians set up base camp and HQs in what is today Fort Erie. From there the main column marched Northeast and ran into the Canadian Militia Column at Ridgeway. Along the Niagara River a gunboat manned by the Dunnville Naval Company and members of the Welland Battery travelled to Fort Erie gathering POWs along the banks. The little force of 77 soldiers and sailors had captured about 54 and soon entered Fort Erie running right into the retreating Fenian Column from Ridgeway. A massive firefight ensued and the little force found itself up against 400 plus Fenians. After making a controlled withdrawal from the town into a small wooden building they fought off the Fenians until they ran out of ammunition and were taken prisoner. The small force suffered 4 dead, 16 wounded and 54 were captured.
The Fenian were soon routed by Peackocks Column coming from the East, with the Fenians scrambling across the river, only to be arrested on the opposing shore by US authorities. Those captured by the Canadian Militia were sent to Toronto and put on trial. The Veteran Fenian leadership latter praised the Welland and Dunnville force for the stellar stand they made being out numbered by close to 800 Fenians.
The local community was so proud of the little force, they commissioned a silver medal under the Welland County name for presentation to all 73 survivors. They were issued as medals with red ribbons. This example offered here was converted into a broach.
The CGS is a fine example, with good patina, the Welland silver medal broach pin is broken, but the medal is named. A rare find for a very hard fought engagement by a brave little force of Canadian Militia from the local area.