Back to top

M.L. Burns to the Officers and Soldiers of the Irish Army in Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, June 14, 1866.

"The Fenian Expedition," cartoon, Harper's Weekly Magazine, June 23, 1866.

Irish nationalists of the Fenian Brotherhood had assembled an "Irish Army" in upstate New York and had launched on June 1, 1866 an invasion of Canada with a force of more than a thousand men, including Union veterans.  Immediate clashes with Canadian militia and swift British reinforcements had necessitated a retreat and this, along with the vigorous United States enforcement of the Neutrality Act, brought a swift end to the incursion.  Here, Brigadier General M.W. Burns of the "Irish Army" relays Fenian leadership orders to disperse and, unusually for Irish-American nationalists, place the blame for their failure squarely on the shoulders of the United States Government and their lack of support. He does offer his thanks, however, to the local U.S. Army commander for his courtesy. He then goes on to encourage his men to "be patient," "bide your time" and "organize your strength." (By John Osborne)

Tabs