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List of Events for 2018
Ancestors in the Canadian Fencibles Regiment?
We do not hold any information about soldiers of the original regiment. We present several sources of information
Sir John Johnson War of 1812 Plaque Dedicated
On Thursday, 23 June 2016 a Colour Party of the Canadian Fencibles participated in the unveiling and dedication of a plaque recognizing the service of Sir John Johnson during the War of 1812-1814.
Canadian Fencibles and the Loyalist Fifes and Drums appearance
Canadian Fencibles and the Loyalist Fifes and Drums appearance at the Army Ball in Gatineau, QC in 2013.
Robin Morris, founding member passed away
Robin Morris, a founding member of the Canadian Fencibles, passed away on 9 December 2014
Welcome to the Canadian Fencibles Web Site!
Welcome to the site for news and information about the Canadian Fencibles Regiment.

News - Burning of Washington DC

On the weekend of 23-24 August 2014, members of the Canadian Fencibles participated in the Battle of Bladensburg and burning of Washington. They were proud to have been selected to represent the British troops at the commemoration of several 200th anniversary events.

Things were different for us from when the British troops 'visited' Washington 200 years ago in August 1814.

The first and most obvious difference was that we were not professional soldiers paid by the King. We are hobbyists and didn't have any contract with the reigning monarch of Britain for any form of compensation. We wore our uniforms and carried our own equipment we had paid for as part of our love for the hobby and Canadian history.

Another difference was we didn't spend a lengthy period of time traveling by ship and then marching inland after landing, fighting our way to the White House. We drove our personal vehicles from Canada and stayed in hotels in the downtown. On Saturday, we drove northeast to Bladensburg, Maryland to engage the defending Americans in a recreation of the original battle and to drive them off the field.

We were about three dozen troops and followers, while the original British force numbered around 4,500. However, we still felt we could win the battle and carry the day.

Many hours of planning and discussions were involved in the 2014 visit and the welcome was much warmer than 200 years earlier. The city, roads, building, and much more had changed dramatically so it was much easier for us to move about.

The members of the Canadian Fencibles historical reenactment regiment arrived on Thursday and Friday and checked in to their hotel rooms. Those who arrived a day early enjoyed playing tourist and seeing sights in and around Washington. Saturday was our main day of activities with a full schedule.

Saturday started with most of the members of the Canadian Fencibles meeting at the Canadian embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue. There we were greeted by Niall, our volunteer host who accompanied us at all events in Washington. We marched from the Canadian Embassy along Pennsylvania Avenue to the United States Capitol building.

Photo by Keith Lindsey

At the Capitol Building we met the remainder of our group. Niall had advised us in advance that for some reason we would not be allowed to bring any arms or equipment into the building. The security staff at the electronic detector devices ensured we carried none of those items.

Photo by Keith Lindsey

We were very fortunate to have pre-arranged a tour of the building with a focus on the War of 1812-1814 period. It was a superb tour with a knowledgeable guide who was able to answer all our questions. We took many photographs of the interesting displays and architecture. We walked into the same room through the same doors as the British troops used and saw the same columns and walls as they saw.

Photo by Keith Lindsey

Photo by Keith Lindsey

Following the Capitol Building tour, we walked back to the Canadian Embassy for a brief tour of the building.

Photo by Keith Lindsey

Photo by Keith Lindsey

Then it was off to the Bladensburg battlefield site. The weather was threatening rain and it held off until the start of the battle. The battle finished with wet soldiers returning to cars with their wet equipment.

We returned to Washington for an appearance at the National American History Museum. There we spoke with many visitors before heading off to Freedom Plaza where Major Moore spoke to the assembled crowd of locals and visitors.

Photo by Keith Lindsey

At Freedom Plaza, Major Moore did an excellent job of giving a brief history of the regiment, setting the scene of 200 years earlier, explaining the different ranks of members of the regiment and followers including differences in uniform elements. To commemorate the anniversary, several torches were lit and photographs taken with the Capitol Building in the background.

Photo by Keith Lindsey

Photo by Keith Lindsey

With the help of our volunteer guide Niall, we marched to Pennsylvania Avenue overlooking the north lawn of the White House. The gates were locked and there was no hot food waiting for us as happened 200 years earlier. As with 200 years earlier, the President was nowhere to be found.

Photo by Niall

We relaxed that evening enjoying dinner and settling in for a good sleep in preparation for Sunday activities and the long drive home.

Sunday we marched to Freedom Plaza for a repeat performance of our presentation for visitors, then back to the hotel for check out and our drive home. A handful of members stayed over Monday to attend a reception held by the Canadian Embassy.

Everyone had a great time. We enjoyed marching around Washington, taking part in the Battle of Bladensburg, interacting with visitors at Freedom Plaza to educate them on their history, seeing the White House, touring the Capitol Building, and lighting our torches on Freedom Plaza to recreate and commemorate a special part of our history.

We appreciated very much
- the assistance and work of our guide from the Canadian Embassy, Niall,
- the organizers of the Battle of Bladensburg who welcomed us warmly and took into account our schedule of other commitments,
- the folks at the Canadian Embassy,
- personnel from the National Park Service for their help with our Freedom Plaza drill demonstration and formal program,
- the people at the National American History Museum for allowing us to appear and integrate into part of their entrance exhibit,
- the Capitol Building organization for their knowledgeable staff and marvelous exhibits,
- the commitment of our members to make the drive and turn out, and
- our Major Moore for all the hours and telephone calls it took to organize these activities for us to enjoy the weekend with minimal worries.

We thank them all for a weekend to remember for a lifetime.

Here are a few related links to the Burning of Washington:

An American made video about the event

From the US Capitol Visitor Centre web site, videos of The British Burn the Capitol




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