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Towns & Industry (1860-1880)

John Moore Wallace's Fenian Medal

Fenian Medal

1870 campaign medal awarded to Napanee's John Moore Wallace

The Fenians, named after the old Irish National Militia, were members of an Irish liberation movement established in 1858 by Irish-Americans intent on securing Ireland's independence from Britain. The goal of the Fenian Brotherhood was to invade Canada, and ransom the Canadian territories back to Britain in exchange for Irish independence. After the American Civil War ended, the Fenian ranks were bolstered by Civil War mercenaries. A series of cross border raids were launched over a period of five years, although the threat of invasion remained for decades. The threat played a major role in Canadian Confederation, encouraging New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to join with Ontario and Quebec, and also spurred development of an organized military defence force. DISCOVER MOREReadmore Arrow

As rumors of a Fenian threat grew, on March 13, 1866, Napanee called an emergency town meeting to consider raising recruits. Two companies of militia volunteers, the 1st Infantry Company, Napanee and the 2nd Infantry Company, Napanee, were raised, serving under Captains Campbell and Fraser. These Companies were re-designated No. 3 Company and No. 4 Company of the 48th Lennox and Addington Battalion of Infantry. Other villages began their own initiatives, and two companies were formed at Tamworth, one at Bath, and one at Enterprise and later, Odessa, which were also re-designated the 48th Lennox and Addington Battalion of Infantry. These Companies of the 48th were re-enrolled under the 1868 Militia Act.

A garrison artillery company was also formed in Napanee later in the summer of 1866, serving under Edmund Hooper, practising drills three times a week by the Town Hall on the grounds of the County Jail. Edmund Hooper was Captain of the Napanee Battery of Garrison Artillery from 1866-1881, and also was in charge of the Rescue, a gunboat, which operated out of Kingston. Despite local enthusiasm, none of the newly formed companies successfully trained in time to see active service. The Napanee Garrison Battery of Artillery was re-enrolled under the 1868 Militia Act.

In 1870 a second Fenian threat developed. The Fenians were expected to cross the St. Lawrence River. John Wallace, a plasterer by trade, son of William and Eliza Wallace, served as a Private with the Napanee Battery of Garrison Artillery, in the Fenian Raid of 1870. He was on duty with the Napanee Battery at Kingston and on the Gunboat. He is shown in his artillery uniform in a photograph taken about 1870. The sabre at his side survives today, complete with blade, and leather scabbard.

A late Victorian military campaign medal was awarded to Napanee's John Moore Wallace for his services defending Canada during the 1870 Fenian Invasion. His medal is stamped, "Fenian Invasion 1870." The circular medal is composed of heavy silver, with an attached bar and a striped red, white, red ribbon. The obverse shows a diademed and veiled effigy of Queen Victoria wearing the Order of the Garter facing the left, beneath the legend, "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix." The reverse displayed the Red Ensign of Canada, surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves surmounted by the word "Canada."

To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, a Toronto citizens group collected a large number of petitions to recognize the service of the Canadian Militia who defended the fledgling Country during the 1837 rebellions, and the 1866 and 1870 Fenian Raids. The Canadian Government granted the petition and medals were awarded in 1899. The medal was only awarded when applied for, and the applicant must have either been active in the field; served as a guard at any point where an attack from an enemy was expected; or been detailed for some specific service duty.

The Companies of the 48th Lennox and Addington Battalion of Infantry were renumbered and re-localized in 1871. The Battalion was disbanded in 1880 following transfer of companies to the 47th Frontenac Battalion of Infantry. The Napanee Garrison Battery of Artillery was disbanded in 1881.

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