The Fenian Invasion - Table of Contents

"The Fenians Invade Fort Erie, Canada"

Reprinted with permission from
Himself: A Civil War Veteran’s Struggles with Rebels, Brits and Devils

By William J. Donohue


Himself follows the lives of John and Patrick Donohue as they grow up in the Old First Ward in Buffalo, New York during the mid-1800s.

Orphaned as children, they are sent to live with their grandmother. While John finds work and helps support the family, Patrick becomes involved with a gang and runs wild. When the Civil War breaks out, the brothers join the Union army. Follow them through the deadly battles of Grant’s Virginia campaign to Appomattox, the difficulties they face holding jobs once the war is over, their relationships with wives, children, and one another, and Patrick’s lifelong battle with the bottle. A compelling tale of two Irish Catholic men, sons of immigrants, during a tumultuous period in our nation’s rich history.

Excerpts - Chapter 20

On Thursday, October 10, 1865, Pat and other members of the Buffalo Circle boarded a Delaware Lackawanna and Western train at the Erie Street Station. The day before, he had told his bosses at the Works that his grandfather had died in Philadelphia.

The DL&W was not yet a single system with one set of standard tracks. With the various transfers and changes from station to station, the trip took forty hours. Pat did not mind the long trip. The Circle members had plenty of whiskey. They played cards, told stories, and flirted with young women. He slept fitfully, when at all. Meals were catch as catch can in depots along the way. Pat was groggy when he arrived.

Surrounded by 600 Fenian [pron. FEEN ee in] delegates, Pat experienced a rush of emotion at the very first session when they shouted for a new constitution like the American Constitution, and with little opposition, passed it by voice vote. When O’Mahony insisted on a narrow focus of invading Britain from Ireland with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, they booed him off the stage. In his place, they elected William Randall Roberts, a New York City dry goods merchant. With little urging from him, they drafted a new platform whose main plank was the capture of a region of Canada. Canada was a British colony and capturing a section of it would give them leverage to trade for Irish independence. ...

In an emergency meeting of the Fenian senate in New York that December, Roberts had O’Mahony impeached and deposed. O’Mahony organized a second Fenian Brotherhood with its own governing body. "How very Irish!" remarked the New York Times.

President Roberts called a fourth Fenian Convention to be held in Pittsburgh in February 1866. Pat drummed up another excuse for his bosses at the Iron Works. He had to meet cousins coming in from Ireland, he told them…in New York.

The trip to Pittsburgh with two other Circle members took the better part of two days over railroads of different gauges. Pat and the others from Buffalo were a day late, but arrived in time to shout their votes for Roberts’ proposition: "Men of Action will seize Canadian land and trade it for Ireland’s freedom." ...

O’Mahony beat his rival Roberts to the punch. In April 1866, he led 100 armed Fenians, nearly all Union veterans, to the banks of the St. Croix River in Maine. From there he attacked Campobello Island, claimed by both New Brunswick and Maine, hoping by logic unique to him to touch off a war between England and America and free Ireland as a corollary.

Both the United States and Britain dispatched gunboats and scattered the Fenians across the New England countryside. Fenian leadership had made no provision for food or transportation for their members’ return home. Caricatures of ragged Fenians begging in village centers throughout eastern Canada and northeastern United States filled newspapers around the world, mocking the Fenian movement and embarrassing every person of Irish blood, no matter how distant from Ireland. In May 1866, Roberts made his move. With Fenian Brotherhood dues, he purchased 15,000 surplus rifles in Baltimore, loaded them onto boxcars, and shipped them to Cleveland.

Pat walked to Aunt Theresa’s and made a last attempt to entice his brother into the ranks of the Brotherhood. "John, I know you think Roberts and O’Mahoney and Stephens are daffy, but you agree with every Irishman that Ireland should be free of the British yoke."

"Pat, the Fenians are not the boys to do it. They mean well, but they’re poorly led."

"Maybe so, but they have a lot on their side. Thousands of Irish veterans are out of work. They’re angry at fighting a war for the Abolitionist Know Nothings who hate our guts the same way the British do."

"They’re not prepared to fight the British army in Canada," replied John.

"I think we are. We could see 20,000 men ready to invade Canada. And we’ve got the arms: thousands of Enfields and Springfields waiting for us in Cleveland."

"Well and good! But where’s your leaders? Where were they at Campobello?"

"I say the Brotherhood is organized and ready. It’s learned its lesson. Generals like Sweeney and Lynch, who were heroes in battles in the South, have taken over. Join us, John!"

"You’ve got a lot on your side, I grant you, but I’ve got a tender’s post on the Michigan Avenue Bridge and am about to marry. I don’t see Johanna sitting around knitting while I play soldier once again. No, Pat, I’ll not be invading Canada this year." ...

In late May, Fenians by the thousands from all over the United States swarmed toward Cleveland, where they hoped to cross Lake Erie and invade upper Canada. They disguised themselves as railroad laborers. General Tom Sweeney, their commander, sent a message to the Cleveland Fenian Circle that General William Francis Lynch, who had commanded the 58th Illinois Volunteers under Sweeney, would meet them in Cleveland. Lynch was to rent boats to cross Lake Erie and attack Canada.

Incapacitated by his war wounds, General Lynch never showed up, nor had he secured boats.

The night of May 30, the Fenians slept in warehouses and whatever accommodations they could find. Sweeney sent word by an adjutant that they were to proceed to Buffalo. Fenians headed out in all directions from Cleveland to confuse police and federal military agents. By 10 a.m., the majority were on eastbound New York Central trains. In ten hours, the trains approached farmlands a few miles south of Buffalo and Fenians jumped off to avoid authorities waiting at the Exchange Street Station to arrest them. Small groups walked into South Buffalo throughout the afternoon and evening and were billeted in homes, barns, halls, and warehouses secured by the Buffalo Circle, many in the First Ward. At the same time, under orders from General Grant, the frigate USS Michigan steamed into Buffalo with a contingent of marines.

Buffalo Circle members unloaded boxcars of rifles in a freight yard east of Buffalo and carried them in wagons to a Black Rock jump-off point on the Niagara River.

In the course of May 31, 1866, the Fenian plan became clear to American and Canadian authorities. Fenians were massing in Malone, New York; St. Albans, Vermont; and Buffalo for invasions across the border. American and Canadian authorities alerted military units to move by train and boat to those points. Militias at Toronto and on the Niagara Peninsula were ordered to Port Colborne.

Some 16,800 Fenians were gathering in St. Albans under the command of General Samuel P. Spear. The invasion of Fort Erie by 5,000 Fenians was to be but a diversion.

Captain O’Neill, age thirty-two, had come up from Tennessee with a small regiment of 200 men. In Cleveland, he received word that General Sweeney had promoted him to colonel and made him commander of the Fort Erie invasion force. In Buffalo, Colonel O’Neill met with the Buffalo Circle’s 7th IRA Regiment commander, Captain Bailey. He was impressed with the tactical information garnered by the regiment’s advance group in Canada a week before he arrived.

The night of Thursday, May 31, 1,000 men proceeded north over Buffalo’s radial street system without being stopped by Buffalo police and assembled by 5 a.m. at the Pratt Blast Furnace Landing in Black Rock. A second, larger group numbering 4,000 was to follow the next day.

Pat had sailed as a member of the 7th Regiment’s advance scouting party from the foot of Main Street across to Fort Erie on May 24. The day had dawned bright, clear, and calm. Along with three other members of the 7th, he rode a ferry that sailed daily from Fort Erie, carrying passengers, fish, and British finished goods to Buffalo.

Fort Erie was a small southern Ontario village of fewer than 1,000 residents spread along the shoreline at the eastern end of Lake Erie and the mouth of the Niagara River.

On arrival, the four Fenians split up. Pat climbed from a pier in the village to a high point where he could see most of the area. Ruins of a fort, captured by Americans in 1814, spread out to the south. Along the shore were piers as far north as he could see. A variety of fishing and freight boats lay at anchor, some propelled by large white sails, others by steam and sail. A line of pubs and inns extended from the village’s lakefront harbor north along the Niagara River, broken only by a beach where children were running and playing ball. A few boys were diving off a pier, unfazed by the chilly spring water. Just beyond the village limits to the west, farms with green grain fields and fruit orchards in full bloom fell away to the horizon. The view mesmerized Pat. He wished he could stay right where he was for the rest of the day or, better still, join men he saw lounging in an outdoor café.

Captain Bailey had given Pat a generous allowance of British sterling, enough for him to move about and sustain himself for a few days in southern Ontario. Pat had never felt so carefree. He headed south and roamed through the ruins of the old fort, noting there were still a half dozen British soldiers lazing about.

He walked a few hundred yards into the village, a pleasant stroll over the grassy knolls of a waterfront park overlooking the Canadian shore. Buffalo lay clearly visible to the east, beyond green waters. He exchanged pleasantries with a group of old men and asked about establishing an Irish pub in the area. He told them he had migrated from Ireland to Niagara, a town thirty miles north at Lake Ontario, a week prior and made his way to Fort Erie on the train that ran along the Niagara River.

Indeed, now he took that trip in reverse from Fort Erie to Chippewa, about ten miles to the north adjacent to Niagara Falls, where, on foot, he scouted the British soldiers billeted there. He estimated that there were at least 3,000 and noted that they had heavy artillery. From there, he hitched rides on farm wagons and horse cars to Niagara. He sensed no air of impending danger, in fact, quite the opposite. The natives were tending their business as usual. He enjoyed his conversations with them, weaving in seemingly innocuous questions about the military and geography. These were people like his own in the Ward, good God-fearing, down-to-earth folks.

He stopped in a pub just up the street from St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church and talked to the Irish proprietor about finding work. He was told portions of the Welland Canal were being trenched along a new route, mainly with Irish labor from Cork. He made a mental note that the canal in such a state could be quite vulnerable. Seeding the canal with a half dozen mines that sank a ship or blew up a lock would put a real dent into British trade. He knew from friends in the convalescent camp that the rebels had done just that in Southern ports during the war. He thought to himself there might be among the Confederate Fenian members one who knew how to turn an artillery shell into a mine. Some of those butternuts were clever bastards.

He hiked toward Port Colborne, sixteen miles from Fort Erie. Detouring into Stevensville, he found a market in the center of town and bought lettuce, horseradish, sausage, and bread. He chatted with Canadian Irish, who were well established in southern Ontario with their own farms and had long since made their peace with Canadians and British alike. If the Fenians were counting on Canadian Irish to join them in capturing a slice of Ontario or Quebec, what Pat learned would give them pause.

He caught a train from Stevensville to Port Colborne, surveyed Welland Canal locks, and ate a tasty dinner of fresh walleye at an outdoor café alongside the canal. He conversed with wealthy farmers, a sea captain, and English immigrants on their way to establish a business in Windsor. Then Pat walked to a nearby elevator and hitched a ride working as a deck hand on a steam freighter loaded with Canadian grain bound on Lake Erie for Buffalo. It was clear to him from his conversations that Canadians were proud of their country and their British heritage and would fight hard to protect it from another American invasion. They were still smarting from the invasions of the War of 1812.

In Buffalo a week later, he joined the rest of the squad and briefed Colonel O’Neill about the people and the terrain he had just observed. O’Neill silently noted the natural way Pat had been able to blend in with the local population and secure vital information across the whole area. Pat had also sketched a rough map with details of military significance.

"This is exactly what I need," said O’Neill as Pat beamed.

On May 31, Pat and a small group walked the five miles from downtown Buffalo to Pratt Landing in Black Rock. Along with a few hundred others, he labored through the early morning hours unloading and loading guns and supplies.

Under orders from General Grant, the U.S. District Attorney for Western New York had ordered the USS Michigan, an iron-hulled gunboat out of Erie, Pennsylvania, to head off the Fenians. It arrived too late to stop the first group.

A thousand men, the size of a Civil War regiment, had crowded onto barges in the early morning of June 1 and were towed across the narrow expanse of the Niagara River without being intercepted. Many were dressed in Union blue blouses and kepi caps, several in Confederate grey, the rest in work clothes and slouch hats. Some wore green shirts over their blouses. Five Civil War regimental banners flew among them. The men were excited and noisy. They sang Union and Confederate songs together. O’Neill had to quiet them several times, warning that their loud voices carried clearly across the river. If the British were waiting on shore, their artillery would blow up the barges and British riflemen would shoot them like ducks bobbing about helplessly in the water.

The USS Michigan steamed downriver at sun-up, eight of its guns—including a thirty-pound parrot rifle—pointed menacingly ashore, and prevented 4,000 Fenians waiting at Pratt Landing from crossing.

O’Neill had conceived a robust strategy with information from Buffalo IRA scouts. His plan was to establish a bridgehead interior to a line running from the Niagara River along Black Creek north of Fort Erie to the Welland Canal, and from Chippewa on the Welland Canal to Port Colborne. To achieve this, he needed all 5,000 of his men.

Upon embarking, officers had supplied the first group of 1,000 men with forty rounds of ammunition each. As the men disembarked on the Canadian side a mile south of Frenchman’s Creek, they were handed rifles.

O’Neill ordered Captain Owen Starr, commanding Indiana, New York, and Kentucky regiments, to march along the Niagara River and its adjacent rail track, capture rolling stock, cut telegraph lines, and occupy the village of Fort Erie. Starr, in turn, was to have Captain John Geary lead his New York unit further west and disrupt the railroad running between Fort Erie and Ridgeway.

The New York, Ohio, and Tennessee regiments overwhelmed local militia with few casualties on either side, occupied the village, and posted pickets around it. Starr then brazenly ordered Dr. Kempson, the village council president, to prepare breakfast for his men.

Geary captured the fort and its complement of six British soldiers. By 7 a.m., the green Fenian colors flew over the fort. He then advanced west from Six Mile Creek toward Port Colborne, ripped up rail and telegraph lines, and destroyed the Sauerwein Bridge on his way back.

O’Neill ordered three scouts, including Pat, to commandeer horses and procure information from the locals about troop movements. This they attempted to do at farms near Fort Erie. The population relinquished horses only at the point of a rifle. A few shouted epithets about the invaders’ original and current countries. Pat, with two horses in hand, turned his horse back toward these English Canadians.

The other two scouts shouted at him that he was under orders to continue back to Colonel O’Neill, who needed the horses immediately. He pulled on the horse’s reins and did as ordered, although with a few well-phrased statements about the farmers’ colonial heritage and sexual proclivities. In all, the scouts returned with nine well-bred horses.

Colonel O’Neill ordered two scouts to ride along the Niagara River toward Niagara Falls and another pair west toward Port Colborne. Two hours later, they returned with word that three thousand British and militia troops were massing in Chippewa and two thousand Canadian militia in Port Colborne.
O’Neill marched the bulk of his army, about 800 men, north along the Niagara River five miles to the Newbigging Farm and set up bullet screens made from fence rails. O’Neill assumed correctly from scouting reports that British troops would, within the day, move south along the river from their encampment near Niagara Falls.

In the meantime, Pat returned to the village on horseback and joined members of the Buffalo IRA Regiment. One Buffalo Fenian joked, nodding toward the Michigan, a three-masted gunboat offshore, "No more of us will be coming across the Niagara, that’s for sure."

"You’re right," said Pat. "We shan’t see another Fenian unless he swims across from the Ward." His brother’s warnings about Fenian leadership and President Andrew Johnson’s likely intentions flashed through Pat’s head. He returned to the main force at the Newbigging Farm and repeated to Colonel O’Neill that the men he had were all he would ever have.

They walked together away from the body of soldiers. "Pat, I need someone to scout the Lake Erie shore for militia coming from Port Colborne by ship, rail, or foot to block off our escape route. If the scouting reports are accurate, over 5,000 local militia and British regulars could be after us by day’s end. Ride along the shoreline a few miles toward Port Colborne. See what you can learn from the locals." With those simple instructions, he returned to address his soldiers.

O’Neill shouted to his men, who now numbered about 700. "We’re outnumbered twenty to one. I find that encouraging. Scouts tell us the Redcoats will be marching from Chippewa ten miles north of here."

He pointed to a hand-drawn but accurate map. "They have scouts out and will know the instant we begin marching north along the river. Once they start moving upriver, turning that crowd around will be more difficult than reversing Lady Johnson’s corset." The men laughed.

"As soon as we’re sure British scouts see us, we’ll swing inland at Black Creek and march straight for Limestone Ridge, which is no more than five miles distant. We will form a smaller perimeter than I originally intended, bounded by Black Creek and the Limestone Ridge running from Black Creek to Lake Erie.

"Should the British arrive unexpectedly, we will not advance to Port Colborne, but to a defensible position in the old fort. From there, we should be able to escape to Buffalo, if we have to."

Simple enough, thought Pat, but where is he going to get the barges to get us home? There are a dozen tied up in Port Colborne, but I saw none in Fort Erie. He gave it no more thought. Maybe some would tie up there later. O’Neill was his kind of leader. He’d get the barges somehow.

After dark, 700 Fenians broke camp, leaving their fires burning, and marched north on the river road. The crew of the USS Michigan continued to observe Fenian movements through field glasses. At 9 p.m., the captain on the bridge yelled that Frenchman Creek Bridge was on fire. O’Neill had stacked 300 rifles, for which he had no men, on the bridge and set them ablaze to attract attention. It did. The British in Chippewa got the news from their scouts shortly afterward.

An hour after starting up the Niagara River shore, O’Neill and his troops turned west at Black Creek. They did a forced march of four miles, occupied the only rise in the area—Limestone Ridge, a mile north of the Village of Ridgeway - and erected light defenses. He then strung out pickets 500 yards south at Ridge and Garrison Roads, directly in the path of the anticipated Port Colborne militia.

At dusk, 1,000 volunteer militia under Colonel J. Stoughton Dennis gathered at Port Colborne. Canadian authorities had ordered the militia to march toward Stevensville and catch the Fenians between them and Colonel Peacocke’s British soldiers marching from Chippewa. Instead, Dennis decided to block a probable Fenian escape route. At 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, he led 80 men from the Dunnville Naval Company militia onto the tug, the W.T. Robb, and steamed off to Fort Erie two hours later. The bulk of his militia, 900 men, Dennis left in Port Colborne.

Pat was driving a wagon he had commandeered in Fort Erie up the Lake Erie shore at sun-up, when he sighted the tug racing at full speed toward Fort Erie, loaded with red-uniformed men hanging on the rails. He unhitched the horse from the wagon and rode bareback to alert Captain Starr in the village that the Canadians were opening up a third front, probably from Fort Erie by ship. Starr ordered Pat to the Lake Erie shore to determine size and direction of the new force.

Pat watched about twenty militiamen disembark from the tug. They proceeded into the Village of Fort Erie and took fifty-six Fenian stragglers prisoner. Pat returned to Starr and relayed what he had seen. Ordered back to Fort Erie by Starr, Pat planted himself behind a giant maple, from which point much of the village center was visible.

After numerous delays, Peacocke finally ordered his mostly British army of 4,000 infantry and artillery from Chippewa south along the river to Black Creek. The Fenians were nowhere to be found. An hour or so later, he turned the column right toward Ridgeway and Stevensville.

The militia in Port Colborne boarded a train to Ridgeway. There they met up with Major James A. Skinner, who assumed charge from Booker, who was absent anyway. The militia had armed themselves with what was thought to be adequate ammunition, forty to sixty rounds per company, and sent the rest back on the train. One company took no ammunition at all and had to be supplied by the rest when fighting broke out. The Queen’s Own Rifles Company, in brilliant red, white, and blue dress uniforms, carried breech-loading, lever-action Spencers and forty rounds each.

The Canadians marched from the Ridgeway Rail Station to a point a mile east on Ridge Road. As they crossed Garrison Road, Fenian skirmishers opened fire on the lead company, the Queen’s Own, who rapid-fired their carbines and exhausted nearly all their ammunition within minutes. The Queen’s Own skirmishers advanced until they ran into a second line of Fenian skirmishers behind bullet screens at Bertie Road, about 800 yards north of Garrison Road. The Canadians charged and drove the Fenian skirmishers back into the main Fenian line.

Somewhere a bugle sounded an enemy cavalry charge, or a retreat, the Canadians knew not which. Some ran back from where they had come. Others backed around into a square, a strategic maneuver used to deal with swirling cavalry assaults. Seeing the confusion, O’Neill ordered an attack. Retreating Canadians and charging Fenians slammed into the square and started a rout of militia all the way back to Port Colborne.

O’Neill’s men pursued the Canadians 1,000 yards, then halted. He ordered a forced march into Fort Erie. The W.T. Robb was cruising just offshore, a floating jail for fifty-six Fenian stragglers captured by the Dunnville militia. The Fenians fired on the Robb, which quickly steamed out into the river, leaving seventy-six militiamen stranded on shore. Some escaped overland into farms. The Buffalo 7th IRA Regiment, which O’Neill had used to garrison the village, captured the rest. During the brief battle, a militia soldier shot his ramrod, knocking 7th commander Captain Michael Bailey from his horse and seriously wounding him in the abdomen.

Colonel John O’Neill was victorious in both encounters with Canadian militia, but the same good sense he showed leading his men in battle told him his victories were over. In only a matter of hours, twin columns with many times his force would attack - the British army descending from Chippewa and the reorganized Canadian militia from Port Colborne. The USS Michigan, with her picket tugs Harrison and Farrar and the US revenue cutter, The Fessenden, were patrolling the Niagara River and Lake Erie, watching his every move. With no reinforcements or additional supplies, his choices were few.

Late in the evening, O’Neill released his prisoners and moved his troops to the ruins of old Fort Erie to wage a last stand. Not only did the advancing enemy boast superior numbers - about 5,000 - but they had artillery that could destroy his force from a mile away. Fortunately, a bit of Irish good luck appeared at this moment in the person of Fenian Captain Hamilton, who crossed from Buffalo to Fort Erie in a small boat. He informed O’Neill that a large barge, the AP Waite, was being towed across the short expanse of Lake Erie between Buffalo and Fort Erie by a tug commanded by Hugh Mooney. To both men’s amazement, it evaded four US Navy ships and arrived just offshore. Within less than an hour, by 2  a.m. on Sunday, June 3, O’Neill loaded 500 of his men on this scow, all who could fit, and started back across the Niagara. In midstream, the USS Harrison fired a shot across the tug’s bow and took it in tow.

Pat had joined O’Neill and his men in the Fort Erie ruins and spent the night with them, but did not leave with them. He decided he would wait for the ferry in a pub he knew from his scouting excursion on the north side of the village. He hid his rifle, his kepi, and blue blouse in the crawl space beneath the pub and went in. In his best brogue, he told the locals he was immigrating to Canada through Buffalo. For the rest of the day, he drank whiskey and told stories about Half Night O’Toole and other Cork characters. He had the locals in gales of laughter. He became quite drunk.

British soldiers appeared later that afternoon from Chippewa. The locals, who by now suspected Pat’s true identity, told him they were most sorry to have to hand him over. Like any of the good men of Fort Erie, they would just as soon ignore the shouting and shooting going on around town and continue drinking. The soldiers put Pat on a train under guard on June 4 and sent him to Toronto.

Fenian infantry spent an exposed and cool night on the windswept barge docked near Fort Porter in Buffalo harbor. Officers appeared before a U.S. magistrate on Monday morning. A sympathetic federal court judge in Buffalo released all men below officer rank outright and released officers on their own recognizance, which was about the same thing.

One hundred seventeen Fenians surrendered to Canadian militia in various places around Fort Erie and were shipped by train to Toronto, courtesy of Her Majesty the Queen. There they were paraded down city streets before an outraged public who threw garbage at them. Pat spent the night incarcerated in a makeshift jail in the basement of a municipal building and appeared before a judge the next day.

No one had located Pat’s kepi, blouse, and musket, so there was no evidence to counter his statement that he was simply enjoying a pleasant afternoon in one of Fort Erie’s finest establishments. The Canadian judge found him not guilty for lack of evidence that he was, indeed, a Fenian soldier. The Crown fed him lunch and once again put him on a train without handcuffs or guard. He returned to Fort Erie that same afternoon; from there he hitched a ride to Buffalo with a Canadian fisherman delivering yellow pike.

The Fenian invasion of Fort Erie had been brilliantly conceived by General Sweeney and intelligently led by Colonel O’Neill. With only 800 to 1,000 men, however, the Fenian foray was doomed. Even had all 5,000 troops been able to cross the Niagara, the Fenian generals had made no provisions with which to resupply them. They had also misgauged the willingness of Canadian Irish to support their forces once they landed on Canadian shores. Even with 5,000 men, O’Neill’s army would have been outgunned and forced to surrender or face massacre at the hands of British regulars and Canadian militia.

Twenty-two Fenians were tried by the Crown in Toronto in the fall of 1866, found guilty of high treason, and by February 1867 sentenced to be hanged. All twenty-two eventually had their sentences reduced to twenty years' hard labor. Twenty Fenians were acquitted, forty-nine released for lack of evidence, thirteen released on bail, three held for trial, and six disappeared without a court appearance. The fate of four others is unknown. US Secretary of State Seward and the US Congress sought the release of those still in prison.

Pat met his grandmother on the stoop of her cottage on Louisiana Street. She cried and hugged him. "Oh, Pat, no more wars for you, please, lad!"

Pat told neither his grandmother nor another soul how he was captured. It was the type of uncourageous act that, if known, would get him labeled throughout the taverns of the Ward. He’d never shake it. It would shame him and his family for life. No man would work with him, if any boss would hire him.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2015
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