June 1, 1866

Renegade Irish American Fenians invade Ontario, Canada from the U.S. and successfully capture Fort Erie. Their purpose was to disrupt the transportation network in Canada until Britain would recognize Ireland’s freedom. Approximately 1,000 Fenian brothers, under the command of Colonel John O’Neill, crossed the Niagara River. They defeated the inexperienced Canadian militia at Ridgeway. U.S. forces intervened a few days later, forcing a surrender. Authorities arrested the men and confiscated their weapons, however, it is believed that the U.S. government had prior knowledge of plans for a Fenian invasion and instead of intervening immediately, waited to act due to anger at the British for aiding the Confederacy during the Civil War.

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