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104th Regiment of Foot (New Brunswick's Finest)

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The French Revolution burst upon Europe in 1789. By 1793, Britain was at war with France, and had to defend her North American colonies against raids from bases in the United States.

     Three of the four regiments of British regulars stationed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were posted to the West Indies; to fill the gap created by their departure authority was granted to raise four provincial regiments of infantry, one in Nova Scotia, one in Newfoundland, one in Canada, and one in New Brunswick. These regiments were to serve only in their respective provinces, and were not part of the regular British establishment.

     In 1799, the status of the provincial regiments was cbanged to that of fencibles, so they could be committed to serve anywhere in North America. However, they were not called upon to do so, and with the Peace of Amiens in 1802 the regiments were disbanded.

     Peace was short-lived, and hostilities recommenced early in 1803. Once again, the shortage of regular British regiments left British North America in a difficult situation, and authority was granted to raise four fencible units, one each in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada.

     On 6 July 1803, Brigadier-General Martin Hunter was granted a letter of service authorizing him to raise a corps to be known as His Majesty's New Brunswick Regiment of Fencible Infantry. Unlike the previous unit, the new regiment of fencibles was to be part of the regular establishment of the British Army, although its service was restricted to North America.

     In 1808, the regiment volunteered for general service. The offer was rejected; but when it was renewed in 1810, the British authorities accepted, and the fencibles were elevated to an infantry regiment of the line. As the 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment of Foot, the unit could be moved to any British garrison or theatre of operations.

     When war with the United States broke out in June 1812, detachments of the 104th were posted throughout New Brunswick. The buildup of American troops in the Sackets Harbor area during the winter of 1812-13 implied that an invasion of Upper Canada would rake place in the spring. To strengthen the defences of Upper Canada, Sir George Prevost instructed Sir John Sherbrooke, commanding in Nova Scotia, to send six companies of the 104th overland to Quebec, and then on to Kingston.

   The headquarters and grenadier companies set out on snowshoes from Fredericton on 16 February 1813; one battalion company followed each succeeding day, with the light company bringing up the rear. In spite of temperatures of -310C (-250F) the detachments arrived in Quebec in mid-March, travelling 550km (350 mi.) in twenty-four days. After two weeks in garrison at Quebec, the 104th set out for Kingston; they arrived on 12 April having covered a total distance of 1125km (700 mi.).

     In the spring of 1813, the remaining companies sailed to Upper Canada, where the regiment remained for the duration of the war, participating in the battles of Sackets Harbor, Beaver Dam, and Lundy's Lane, the blockade of Fort George, and the assault on Fort Erie.

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All Rights Reserved,104th Regiment of Foot
The 104th Gladly invites you !


god save the king!

disclaimer: we aren't officially using this name as of yet

J. Campbell:
Reform of the 104th


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