September 19, 2012

Black Stump Brigade

During the War of 1812, every colony in North America was required to raise at least one regiment for its defence. In Upper Canada, modern-day Ontario, the Glengarry Light Infantry was raised to defend the colony.

Glengarry private
In February 1812, Governor General Prévost ordered Colonel Baynes to recruit a small battalion of infantry from Glengarry County in Upper Canada. Glengarry country had been settled by a number of men who were in the Glengarry Fencibles, which was a regiment raised by the British army and disbanded in 1804. However, recruiting was not limited to the Glengarry County but was expanded to include all of Canada. Men who signed up were promised four pounds bounty and 100 acres of land at the end of their service. Many of the men who signed up were veterans of previous military service and the majority of the men were Catholics.

Glengarry officer
The Glengarries served as a fencible regiment, which meant that they were similar to regular British regiments but they were only required to serve in Canada. The regiment fought as light infantry in that they were the advance guard on the march and rearguard in retreat. They covered line infantry in battle by protecting the flanks and by harassing the enemy. They often performed reconnaissance duty and fought in the woods alongside native allies. The natives admirably called the Glengarries the “Black Stump Brigade” for their dark uniforms and their skill in forest warfare.
The Glengarry Light Infantry served extensively throughout Canada and fought in many engagements. They fought at the Battle of Fort George, Lundy’s Lane, and the Siege of Fort Erie, to name a few. For their service, the regiment was permitted to have the battle honour ‘Niagara’ on their colours. By 1816 the regiment was disbanded, but this unit, along with other Canadian units, served as the forerunners for the modern-day Canadian forces. If you want to learn more about this regiment, and the group of re-enactors who portray them, you can visit their website.

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