Friday, 23 March 2012

Ridgeway -- Battle of Ridgeway

Location:  N 42° 54.249 W 079° 02.509  On the north side of Highway 3, about 5 kilometres west of Fort Erie, just east of Ridge Road.

Ridgeway Battlefield was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1921 because:
- the Queen’s Own Rifles, 13th Hamilton Battalion, Caledonia and York Rifle Companies of Haldimand fought here, in defence of their country, against Fenian raiders, on 2 June 1866.

The Battle of Ridgeway was fought between the Canadian Volunteer Militia and about 500 to 800 Fenian invaders on 2 June 1866, just north of what was then the town of Ridgeway. Skirmishing began between the Militia and the Fenians near the intersection of Ridge Road and Garrison Road, but most of the fighting occurred on or near Lime Ridge, an elevated terrain that ran almost parallel to Ridge Road. The Canadian Volunteer Militia, led by Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Booker initially made a strong stance against the Fenian invaders led by Colonel John O’Neil. Although the Militia outnumbered the Fenians, they were unable to repel the invaders due to lack of experience and training, and supply issues. After a valiant stand, the Canadian Volunteer Militia was forced to retreat to the nearby village of Stevensville. The Fenian raiders returned to the United States the following day, fearful of Militia reinforcements being sent from Chippawa, near Niagara Falls.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, October 2008; Plaque Text, May 1929.

Plaque Text

In abiding memory of the officers and men of the Queen's Own Rifles, 13th Hamilton Battalion, Caledonia and York Rifle Companies of Haldimand who fought here in defence of their country against Fenian Raiders, on 2nd June, 1866."

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