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Title: A Soldier's Life - Being the Personal Reminiscences of Edwin G. Rundle
Author: Rundle, Edwin George, 1838-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Soldier's Life - Being the Personal Reminiscences of Edwin G. Rundle" ***



[Illustration: COLOR-SERGT. EDWIN G. RUNDLE. Age, 28 Years.]

A Soldier's Life

Being the Personal Reminiscences of


Late Sergeant-Major in Her Majesty's Leicestershire
Regiment of Foot, Instructor and Lecturer to the
Military School, Toronto, 1866-1868.
Member of the Red River Expedition.

With Introduction by

Author's Edition



Of recent years we have had many books on military history, most of
them chiefly devoted to the wars which have marked the extension of
the British Empire.

In Sergeant-Major Rundle's narrative we have the interesting story of
how an honest English boy became attracted to the colors; how the
British army lives, moves and has its being in the British Isles and
in the Dominions beyond the seas; how that boy rose by honest effort
to the highest non-commissioned position in that army; and most
interesting of all, his experience on foreign service when his
regiment took part in the _Trent_ affair and Fenian raids, following
the close of the American civil war.

Later, Sergeant Rundle became instructor at the Toronto Military
School, where he trained some men now very prominent in Canadian
affairs. He also was a member of the Red River expedition, which
helped very much to open up and develop that western empire whose
golden tide of grain is now flowing into the wheat bins of the British

Scattered through the story are many interesting reminiscences and
incidents. The actors in these dramas of a young nation's birth are
falling by the wayside, and few have left a record of their
adventures. It is from such that history is written.

In revising the manuscript, "by order" of my truest of Klondike
friends, Colonel S. B. Steele, C.B., M.V.O. (the lion of the Yukon),
I have endeavored to interfere as little as possible with Sergeant
Rundle's pleasant and simple style of narrative, and it has been a
pleasure to assist one whose record and character are without stain,
and whose loyalty to sovereign and country is without blemish.


Ottawa, Ont., August 9, 1909.



I was born September 17th, 1838, in the town of Penryn, County of
Cornwall, England, and was educated at the national and private
schools. When my education was sufficiently advanced, I was apprenticed
to learn the trade of carpenter and joiner. My father was a
paper-maker, and lived all his lifetime in the town. He was a strict
teetotaler, and brought up his family, four boys and one girl, on the
principles of temperance, which he assured us would form the basis of
our future prosperity and happiness.

There are but two of our family living--my eldest brother, now in his
eightieth year, and the writer. My brother is able to attend to his
business at the factory where he has worked all his lifetime, and we
bless our father's memory.

It was at the age of fifteen that I began to learn my trade, my
master's name being Samuel Rogers, builder and contractor. I entered
upon my duties full of life and ambition, determined to become a good
mechanic, and at the end of five years my progress toward that end was
quite satisfactory.

However, a change was to take place. On a beautiful summer morning I
bought a ticket for Plymouth, and took passage on a small steamer that
plied between Falmouth and that port. My friends were not aware of my
intention not to return again, but understood I was visiting. It did
not take long for me to get in touch with the military stationed in the
garrison. The parade marching past and the bands playing filled me with
admiration, and finally I made up my mind to enlist in one of the

After the Crimean war the 17th Leicestershire Regiment was quartered in
Quebec, and early in 1858 the Horse Guards ordered the raising of a
second battalion. The nucleus was supplied by the first battalion, sent
to England and quartered on Maker Heights, in the Plymouth district.
Having heard of the formation of this battalion, I went to its
headquarters and offered myself for enlistment to Sergeant-Major Monk.
This was the beginning of a lasting friendship.

The sergeant-major acted in a kind and fatherly manner toward me,
explaining the soldier's life, and gave me sound advice, and when we
were satisfied with this part, the following question was asked: "Are
you free, willing, able to serve in H.M. 2nd Battalion, 17th Regiment,
for ten years, not exceeding twelve, if Her Majesty so long requires
your services?"

I answered: "I am." Then the sergeant-major placed a shilling in my

This took place on the 15th of July, 1858. The next day I was inspected
by the surgeon and was declared medically fit. The following day a
Justice of the Peace swore me in, and signed my attestation, and I was
then posted to No. 2 Company, my regimental number being 404.

A new life was now before me, and I am glad to say my desires were not
altered; that I wished to be loyal to my Queen, dutiful to my country,
obedient and courteous to my superiors, which in after years I found to
be an important factor in a soldier's life.

With other recruits, I was marched to the quartermaster's stores to
receive my kit and clothing. These consisted of a knapsack, two shirts,
two towels, two pairs of socks, one pair of boots, knife, fork and
spoon, one razor, one shaving brush, two shoe brushes, box of blacking,
one comb, one sponge, one button brush, one button holder, one tunic,
one shell jacket, two pairs trousers. The above were issued with
instructions that they be kept in repair, and replaced if lost or worn

I was placed in a squad with ten others for drill. The stock then used
around the neck was made of thick heavy leather about two inches high,
with large brass fasteners behind, and at times this was quite painful
for want of ventilation, and it was difficult to lower the head without
bending the body from the hips. We had to endure this four hours a day,
but after a while we got accustomed to it and did not mind.

The worst part to contend with was the food; there was not sufficient
for the hungry recruit, and had it not been for the $15.00 bounty
placed to our credit, we should soon have become shadows of our former
selves. The pay after deduction was eight cents, issued daily, so we
could not have many extras but for the bounty. The following is a bill
of fare for a day: One and one-half pounds of bread, three-quarter
pound of meat, one pound of potatoes, pint of coffee, pint of tea and
pint of soup. After being dismissed from drill we had to visit the
canteen and buy bread and cheese, or whatever else we could get, at our
own expense, for I can assure the reader we were a hungry crowd.

I became fond of the drill and exercises and soon passed into a higher
squad, and I also made good progress towards an inspection that was
about to be made as to fitness for the first squad. We had an
excellent, good-natured instructor, Color-Sergeant Summers, who had
served in the Crimea. He used to say to the squad, while at bayonet
drill, when our thrusts did not please him, "You could not make a hole
in a lump of butter, much less in a man."

He would also insist that our heads be held up as high as was
practicable without breaking our necks. On one occasion a recruit
thought it was impossible for him to look down again, and therefore bid
the sergeant good-bye, which brought a hearty laugh from the veteran.

In the fall of that year we moved over to Plymouth and occupied the
Citadel and Millbay barracks. During the Crimean war the Russian
prisoners were sent to several parts of England. Some four hundred,
with several officers, were confined in the Millbay barracks, and it
was a considerable time after the war ended when they were sent back to
Russia. While in England they were well cared for, the rations were
excellent, and visitors were allowed to see them once a week.

The prisoners would make fancy articles, such as rings, pins, slippers,
etc., and sell them to the visitors. Of course, the officers were
paroled; the men were allowed out twice a week. They would enjoy the
concert given by the military bands during the summer season, and when
the time came for them to leave, if they had their choice they would
rather remain than return to their native country. I was present and
saw them embark.

In October, 1858, I was promoted to the rank of lance-corporal. Now my
responsibilities began. Instead of doing sentry-go when on guard, I was
second in command and posted the sentries. I was also relieved from
fatigue duties and other work the private has to do. I drew the Company
B rations and acted as orderly to the company officers. Here was a time
for a young N.C.O. to show to all concerned his tact, consistency and
all the business capabilities he possessed. Although my promotion
carried no extra pay, I was proud of it, with my eyes keenly open for
the next stripe.

Although I had received invitations to return home and continue my
trade, I did not do so, but instead commenced to study and become
acquainted with the several departments, in view of promotion and also
of becoming an instructor.

The battalion on its formation was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh
D. Crofton, formerly of the 20th Regiment, who was with this regiment
in the Crimea and commanded a wing at the battle of the Alma. The
adjutant was Lieutenant A. A. Ross, who rose from the ranks and some
years later became our paymaster. The sergeant-major was W. W. Monk
(who subsequently became the quartermaster), and Faulkner was the
quartermaster. The officers I have mentioned were those I had to do the
most business with.

We had now settled down for the winter. I was very fond of outdoor
sports, and when I contested anything it would be running, especially
long distances, and I generally won prizes. I encouraged it among the
men, as I thought good runners would be good marchers, which in after
years proved true.

The winter was long and tedious, and those who enjoyed the game of
cricket were deprived of any other sport to take its place. We had some
very fine players from the Midland Counties. Our small library
contained about two or three hundred books, and it was well patronized.
We asked for more books and a reading room, to which I shall refer
again. Our battalion had recruited to its full strength, viz., the full
complement of officers and 800 rank and file. The average age in the
regiment was twenty, physique all that could be desired, and with
careful and progressive training, we hoped to be amongst the finest
regiments in H.M. service. Having no gymnasium, the only means of
training was the usual drill. The sport season opened with spring, and
we commenced playing cricket on Good Friday on the Plymouth Hoe.

By good conduct and attention to duty I was again promoted. The
following appeared in daily orders: "The commanding officer has been
pleased to make the following promotion: No. 404, Lance-Corporal E. G.
Rundle, No. 2. Company, to be corporal in No. 6 Company, _vice_ Jones,
promoted." I now became an effective N.C.O. with additional pay, the
duties being the same as before explained. I was transferred to No. 6
Company. Lieutenant Moss was appointed musketry instructor, and J.
Smith, from the school of musketry, sergeant-instructor. This was a
change, but we all knew we must be taught to shoot and understand
everything in connection with the rifle. A lecture-room was fitted up
and furnished, and two companies were struck off duty in order to take
the course.

We had a very funny, good-natured Irishman in my company. His name was
John Deegan. The company was attending a lecture. Mr. Moss had just
finished explaining the three kinds of sights that could be taken, when
he asked the funny man, "What is a fine sight?" and Deegan answered,
"It's a good roast of beef coming from the cookhouse, sir." The company
was then dismissed amid roars of laughter.

In July one year of my service was completed, and we received orders to
be held in readiness to proceed to Aldershot. The men were fond of
moving from one station to another. I soon adapted myself to it, and in
this way I saw what an opportunity I should have in being educated in
all the departments of military service, not thinking that some day I
would be one of the organizers of the splendid forces in our fair

We received our route and entrained at the Plymouth station. It must be
remembered that 75 per cent. of the regiment had only one year's
service to their credit. On the morning we paraded in complete marching
order. The three regiments in garrison sent their bands to help our
send-off. A very striking feature of our departure was the presence of
a large number of fair maidens. Handkerchiefs were very much in
evidence, and by the appearance of things much weeping was going on.
The bands were playing the familiar tunes of "Good-bye, sweetheart,"
and "The girl I left behind me." The train moved out amid much cheering
and bands playing, and we were on our way to the great camp at
Aldershot, where we were to take part with 40,000 men during the drill
season, little dreaming after many roving years to return to Plymouth
again. The conduct of the regiment during its stay in Plymouth was
excellent, and we received many expressions of regret from the citizens
on our departure.


Arriving at Aldershot the next morning, the regiment paraded at
Farnboro station, Aldershot, some three miles from the camp, and
marched to Cove Common and immediately went under canvas. We were
attached to the reserve brigade commanded by Major-General Gordon, and
consisting of the 12th and 21st regiments of infantry, 1st battalion of
Coldstream Guards, a regiment of dragoons, a battery of artillery,
together with transport and medical departments. Two days after our
arrival we had a field day. We marched to the Long Valley, where we
were drilled for several hours, and when we returned to camp it was
difficult to tell who was who. It was an extremely hot day, and the
dust stuck to our faces and made us look like negroes.

During the summer I was detailed to escort a deserter to Plymouth. The
sergeant-major gave me an opportunity to see my relatives there. The
prisoner was a deserter from H.M.S. _Implacable_, stationed in
Plymouth Sound. He had been a few months in the regiment and it was
not to his liking. He surrendered, and I handed him over to the
commanding officer of his ship. If I failed to do this I would be
tried by court-martial and sentenced to be reduced to the rank and pay
of a private. The court is also empowered to add imprisonment with
hard labor not exceeding 42 days. The charge would be neglect of duty
in allowing a prisoner to escape from custody. So it was with much
solicitude that I took over my prisoner. Private Peter Coady of my own
company was my escort. When we paraded with the prisoner handcuffed,
the sergeant-major handed me my instructions and money to defray
expenses. The prisoner was allowed 12-1/2 cents per day. We then
loaded our rifles, fixed bayonets, and marched off to Farnboro station
en route to Southampton.

After we were comfortably seated in the coach, I did not like to see
the prisoner handcuffed, so removed the shackles. He entered into
conversation with a passenger, which for a while made me suspicious.
However, that passed away, and in a few hours we arrived at
Southampton. It was my duty to take the prisoner to the lock-up and
provide him with refreshments, and take him over again when the steamer
was ready to sail for Plymouth. Instead of that, I allowed him to go
with us and have dinner at our hotel. After the meal we sat conversing,
when, without warning, the prisoner left the room and tried to make his
escape. Coady was too smart for him, and pulled him down off the wall
and secured him. We found out the passenger he met on the train had
something to do with it. After that the prisoner was kept handcuffed.

We arrived at Millbay the next morning, took the prisoner to his ship,
handed him over and got a receipt and expenses incurred during the
trip, for which the naval authorities were responsible, and then
reported at military headquarters, Mount Wise. We were attached to the
10th Regiment, just returned from China. We remained in Plymouth three
days, which gave me an opportunity to visit my friends.

On embarking at Millbay wharf, it being a very dark night, my escort,
Private Coady, missed his footing on the gang plank and fell overboard
between the steamer and the wharf. With much difficulty he was rescued,
having had a narrow escape from drowning. We missed the train at
Southampton, but the chief of police billeted us at the Queen's Hotel.
The following day we reported at Aldershot.

We had very few sham fights during the summer, but field days were
frequent. A divisional order would issue that "H.R.H. Duke of
Cambridge, commander-in-chief, would visit the camp, and all brigades
would parade and form in the Long Valley to-morrow at 9 a.m." We knew
that meant a hard field day. The Duke was a great soldier and would
have things done right, and always gave credit where it was due. On one
occasion he was heard to say: "What regiment is that?" One of the field
officers replied: "It's the 17th, your Highness." "It's steady, and
their marching is excellent." When the commander-in-chief or any of the
Royal family visited the camp the Royal Standard was hoisted at

Orders were issued on one occasion that we leave camp for seven days
and become a flying column. Then the whole brigade struck tents at
daybreak, and marched the first day to Walmer forest and remained there
two days. This is a distance of 16 miles, and to do this in heavy
marching order was a good test of the marching powers of our young
battalion; but the men were equal to the occasion and did the march in
excellent form.

When the reveille sounded the next morning we were leaving camp. A
severe thunderstorm came up and we were obliged to strike and pack
tents during the storm. A young private did not fall in when his
company was parading, and one of the officers asked him the reason he
was not doing so. He replied that he did not have his breakfast and
would not fall in till he had. He was at once made a prisoner and
marched as such to Walmer forest, when the commanding officer applied
for a drumhead court-martial. In consequence of the prisoner's previous
good character, the general directed the colonel to deal with the case,
and he was sentenced to seven days' cells.

When we arrived we found our arms, accoutrements and kit in a bad
state, so the troops were kept busy for some time spreading their
clothing in the sun to dry and cleaning their belongings in general;
but soon the camp began to look cheerful, the flags were hoisted on
headquarters and other tents, the bands were playing, and everything
forgotten except sore feet. Having enjoyed a day's rest, we marched to
Cæsar's Hill, about the same distance as the previous march.

The mimic warfare commenced. We threw out an outlying picket with
supports and reserve, and the whole camp was placed in a state of
defence against a supposed enemy in the distance.

Parties were sent out, skirmishing extended and trenches dug. This was
quite exciting and gave us an idea of what we should have to confront
during our later service. The commissariat department supplied all
rations on the spot. They killed and baked on the camp grounds, and
issued groceries and vegetables every morning.

We remained two days in this camp. Our next march was to Sandhurst. We
were to be near the great military college whose cadet corps would take
part in the brigade drill. A regiment of hussars attached to our
brigade formed the advance guard, preceded us several miles, and on
their arrival accidentally set the heather on fire, so when the troops
arrived they were put to work. After some hard fighting and exciting
incidents we extinguished it. We remained here two days, continuing
camp life and field work, finally returning to our camp grounds, Cove

As the fall set in camp was broken up, and my regiment was to occupy
the west block of the permanent barracks, and my reward for the part I
had taken during the drill season was promotion to the rank of
lance-sergeant, and to my great delight I was occasionally called upon
to instruct a squad of recruits.

A very important factor in our training, one of the finest gymnasiums
in the world, was near completion and would be ready to receive squads
for instruction in a short time. Eventually we were ordered to prepare
squads for gymnastic work, and those who had the privilege of attending
it liked it very much. I was very fond of fencing, single stick and
sword drill. This gymnasium was built and equipped, and the exercises,
systematized and progressive, were the same as those at Oxford
University. They were under the supervision of Professor McLaren, and
in after years were introduced and used in the French and German

At Christmas I obtained a furlough to visit my people at Penryn. The
next day after arrival, in my sergeant's uniform with silk sash and
gold stripes, I visited my friends and my former companions. I was the
only soldier in the town.

During Christmas day two regiments--2nd battalion 25th, and Tower
Hamlets Militia--quartered in the east block, were disputing as to
which had the best dinner. The dispute became so hot that the men ran
to their barrack rooms and opened fire on each other. The space between
the barracks was covered with glass. Every man had possession of ten
rounds of ball cartridge, which he kept in his pouch. Every reasonable
means was used to stop the firing, but they still kept it up. At last
it was found necessary to bring up a battery of artillery, and the
rioters were warned that if they did not cease firing the battery would
open fire upon them. In a short time they ceased and the rioters were
made prisoners, later tried by court-martial and sentenced to long
terms of imprisonment. Fortunately no one was killed, and the only
casualty was a drummer slightly wounded. The next day both regiments
returned their ammunition into the magazine. The Tower Hamlets were
ordered to their headquarters, London, and disbanded. The 25th were
sent to Spike Island, a convict settlement near Queenstown, Ireland.

We had now a very nice reading-room, also a library. A regimental
school was opened and the children attended. Any man who could not read
or write must attend school until he obtained a fourth-class
certificate, but that did not prevent him from advancing. If he wished
promotion he must obtain a third-class for corporal, second-class for
sergeant, and a first-class certificate would be an important factor if
he were looking toward a commission.

Being musical, I took a great interest in our band, which by this time
had become a fairly good one. Our bandmaster, Mr. John Holt, was
transferred from the Stafford Militia and was a most genial and
courteous gentleman. Our band-sergeant was Charles Fitzpatrick, son of
the sergeant-major of the South Devon Militia, and, like the master, he
was a fine fellow. In 1868 he was appointed bandmaster of the 18th
Royal Irish. There were some good voices in the band, and in rendering
programmes there would generally be a chorus which we enjoyed. The only
drill during the winter was route marching; we also had gymnastics and
an occasional lecture from adjutant, sergeant-major or musketry

The spring drill of 1860 commenced, and every man must have a month's
setting up. This means lots of work for the instructors; every
regimental parade ground for three hours daily is covered with squads,
commencing with section one, doing squad drill till they reach
battalion drill, when the companies amalgamate and drill together.

During the summer Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince Consort and members
of the Royal family visited the camp. The Queen and her escort came
into our block, and entered one of our barrack rooms to see a soldier's
cot. We used to make up the bed, drawing the paillasse to the front,
but by keeping it against the back it gave a space in the front, then
the man, folding his rug neatly and placing it in the space, made a
comfortable seat for himself, his back resting against the paillasse.
There are no chairs in a barrack room. Her Majesty sat on one of the
cots and expressed her satisfaction at the new arrangement. Another
incident occurred while the Queen and party were approaching the centre
block, occupied by the 21st Regiment. The sentry would not allow the
carriages to pass through the block; those were the orders. Although an
A.D.C. drew the soldier's attention to the fact that it was the Queen,
it did not matter. He said he would not be doing his duty by allowing
it. The adjutant was sent for and took the responsibility. The sentry
was commended for doing his duty and was promoted for it.

About this time I had some trouble with a man in my company. His
general conduct was such as required watching; he was constantly being
punished. He would desert and be brought back, tried by district
court-martial, sentenced to be flogged and imprisoned for perhaps 112
days. One night I called the roll at tattoo and found him wanting. I
reported that night Private James Watson absent, took an inventory of
his effects and hoped he would not return. Some few days after I was
called to the guard room to identify a man of my company, whom I found
to be Watson; but such a sight I never looked upon. It appears he
wandered into the country and saw in the middle of a field a scarecrow.
The clothes were all in rags, but that did not matter to Watson. He
exchanged with the scarecrow, and placing his uniform in its stead,
dressed himself in the tattered suit and continued his journey, only to
be arrested and brought back to the barracks. The end of poor Watson
will be learned later.

Colonel Crofton, not wishing, for private reasons, to go on foreign
service at present, made an exchange with Colonel Franklin, who
commanded a depot battalion quartered at Colchester, and previous to
his departure he was pleased to promote me to the rank of sergeant. I
was now on the effective list. Personally I was extremely sorry to
lose Colonel Crofton. He had always taken an interest in my welfare
and never refused me any reasonable privilege. Colonel Franklin, who
took command, was an old soldier and an old man. He was not the
disciplinarian his predecessor was--very quiet, and more like a father
to the boys than the fiery warrior before him. We knew that Colonel
Franklin's command would be short, as he would not take the battalion
on foreign service, and that Major McKinstry would succeed him. Our
sergeant-major was promoted to the rank of quartermaster, _vice_
Faulkner, retired, and Color-Sergeant George Jackson promoted to
sergeant-major, _vice_ Monk, promoted.

We received orders to proceed to Shorncliffe Camp in the county of
Kent, a few miles from Folkstone. Major-General Carey having inspected
the battalion, we entrained at Farnboro Station. The bands of several
regiments in camp came to play us off, and we bid good-bye to
Aldershot. That afternoon we arrived at our new station, where we
met the 16th Bedfordshires and 18th Royal Irish. We were royally
entertained by our new comrades and soon became great friends.
Shorncliffe is situated on a high hill just over the town of Sandgate
and about two miles from the school of musketry at Hythe. We were
quartered in huts, which were very comfortable but not to be compared
with our last quarters.

We have our reading room and school, and they are well attended, but we
miss the gymnasium, for as yet none has been built outside Aldershot,
nor will there be until qualified instructors are forthcoming to take
charge of them.

We have four prisoners confined in the headquarters guard room awaiting
sentence. One of the prisoners is Private Watson, mentioned before in
connection with the scarecrow. These four men had been tried by general
court-martial on serious charges--two for striking officers, the other
two for desertion and making away with their kits. As a matter of fact
they were incorrigible. The evening orders announced that the brigade
would parade at 9 a.m. the following day, when the proceedings of the
court-martial would be read to the troops and the prisoners. There had
been a slight snow-fall during the night and the morning was quite
cold. The brigade was formed in the square, the general and his staff
in the centre. The prisoners were marched from the guard room under a
strong escort, and when everything was in readiness the brigade-major,
who had charge of the proceedings, commenced to read. Calling one of
the prisoners by name, he stepped to the front, took off his cap and
listened to the reading of the proceedings of the court that tried him
and which found him guilty. Then followed the sentence in this form:
"The court, having found the prisoner guilty of all the charges
preferred against him, and in consequence of his previous very bad
character, do now sentence the prisoner to be shot to death by
musketry." Here the officer paused; the prisoner was very pale and
trembling. Continuing, the brigade-major read: "But in consideration of
the prisoner's youth Her Majesty has been pleased to commute the
sentence to penal servitude for life." The other prisoner for the same
offences received the same sentence and commutation. The other two
prisoners were sentenced to fifty lashes, which they received that cold
morning on the spot, and to be imprisoned with hard labor for ten

Our social intercourse with our comrades in the camp was all that could
be desired. Entertainments of various kinds were given and a pleasant
winter spent. During our stay at Shorncliffe I was sent to musketry


In the spring we received orders to hold ourselves in readiness to
embark for Dublin. This pleased us very much, for we were anxious to
see old Ireland. We were conveyed to Bristol by train and then embarked
for Dublin. Arriving without incident, we disembarked. Eight companies
marched to and took up quarters at Richmond barracks. The other two
companies, which included my own, occupied Linen Hall barracks.

We found quite a difference in the general routine of a soldier's life
in Dublin. There were 5,000 troops in garrison, including a battalion
of Grenadier Guards, and ceremonial parades were in evidence. The
trooping of the colors at guard mounting on the esplanade was one of
the most spectacular. The marching past in slow time to the music of
massed bands, together with the other beautiful movements attached to
this grand old practice, drew thousands of citizens to witness it.
Those grand displays were no doubt the means of establishing a
friendship between soldiers and citizens. This was a very proud
garrison, and the men vied with each other in dress and general
appearance on the streets and public thoroughfares of the city. It was
commanded by General Sir George Brown.

We said good-bye to Colonel Franklin, and Major McKinstry was gazetted
lieutenant-colonel and to command the battalion. The colonel was well
liked by all ranks. He was with the 1st Battalion during the Crimean
war, and was an officer who studied the individual soldier and attended
to his welfare. He had a keen memory. We had a transfer from the 1st
Battalion who had also been in the Crimea. He was brought up for being
drunk. I do not know whether the colonel intended to bring his previous
conduct against him, but in his admonition and advice reminded him that
one night in the trenches before Sebastopol he was drunk.

Next we marched to the Curragh camp to be quartered there during the
balance of the drill season. The distance is about 25 miles. We left
Richmond barracks about 9 a.m. It was a very hard hot day's work that
we had before us. We carried a lunch in our haversacks, and when we got
into the country we received humorous and good-natured replies to
questions we asked those we met. For instance, I was in charge of a
section of the advance guard, and I asked a native how far we were from
Naas. He answered: "Three miles and a wee bit, sur." We would about
cover that distance and ask another native, receiving the same answer.
So we trudged on looking anxiously for church spires and chimney tops.
At last we saw the long-looked-for halting place, and Naas with all the
Irish beauties it contained was near. The band, that had been silent a
considerable distance, struck up "Garry own to glory."

After supper the men cleaned up, went into the village, and were most
cordially greeted, especially by the fair sex, who indeed were Irish
beauties. We marched out of the village amidst cheering and the playing
of Irish airs by the band. In two hours the camp was in sight, and when
about a mile from it we were met by two bands, belonging to 11th and
86th regiments, with whom we were to brigade, and also an invitation
from the sergeants of the 11th regiment to lunch at their mess after
our immediate duties had been performed. We took up our quarters in "F"
square and were again in huts, but everything for the comfort of the
regiment was at hand. The commanding officer was pleased to appoint me
battalion drill instructor, and about this time Ensign Mogg Rolph, a
Canadian, was gazetted and posted to the regiment, and I had the honor
and pleasure of being his instructor for some time. The present
Lieutenant-Colonel Rolph will always have a place amongst my best and
happiest thoughts. H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, was in
camp and attached to the 39th Regiment for the drill season. He was
doing captain's duty and attended battalion, brigade and divisional
drills; we saw H.R.H. quite frequently. Her Majesty the Queen visited
the camp that summer. It rained the day of review, but that did not
matter; thousands were present to greet the Queen and shouted
themselves hoarse.

General Sir George Brown was in command. The Curragh is a beautiful
spot, there being such a large area for sham fights, field days and
drills in general. The rifle ranges are adjacent to the camp, each
regiment having its own range. The routine of camp life is the same as
in the other camps we have been quartered in. There is a small theatre
in the camp where the troops give performances weekly. Each corps has
its own amateurs and takes turns to furnish programmes, theatrical,
literary, vocal and musical. There was good talent to be found in the
camp. The Prince would occasionally attend a performance, and no doubt
enjoyed it.

We were shown a monument erected to the memory of a captain who was
accidentally shot. It appears his company, which he was in charge of at
the time, had completed their firing and were returning to camp by a
circuitous route. Other corps were firing at the time, when a ricochet
bullet struck the captain and killed him.

About this time we received extremely sad news to the effect that
Lieutenant-Colonel Crofton, who so recently left us, had been
assassinated on the barrack-square in Colchester. It appears that a
private had neglected his duty when on picket sentry, and the adjutant
brought him before the colonel and reported his neglect, and he was
sentenced to an extra duty. It being Saturday, the men of his company
were all assembled in an upper room for medical inspection. He took
advantage of this and went to a room on the ground floor, and procuring
a rifle, loaded it. During this time the two officers had left the
orderly room and were walking arm in arm up the barrack square, the
adjutant being nearest. The assassin fired, the bullet going through
the body of the adjutant and entering the colonel's, and both were
killed. The man was tried and hanged. The sergeants of my regiment made
an application to wear mourning for four successive Sundays, as a mark
of respect toward our late commanding officer. The commander-in-chief
granted it.

The furlough season was near and I was to leave for six weeks,
commencing at Christmas, but there was something not very pleasant
going on between the United States and England over the _Trent_
affair. It looked so serious that some 25,000 troops were placed under
orders to proceed to North America, and the "Tigers," our battalion,
was among them. We had received orders to the effect that as soon as
the hired transport steamships _Cleopatra_ and _Mauritius_ were ready,
we would embark for Halifax, Nova Scotia. The commanding officer
informed me that I could not have my leave, and those already on leave
would be recalled immediately. In this case the company owning these
ships was responsible only for the conveyance; the military
authorities were to make all other arrangements.

The commanding officer selected me to superintend the shipping and
stowing away of provisions and clothing, which was to be done at Haul
Bowlin, where the regiment was to embark, and I left at once to perform
this duty. Arriving in Cork, I reported at the quartermaster-general's
department and was attached to the 12th Regiment. Christmas was near
and the steamer had not arrived. On Christmas the regiment arrived at
Cork station. I went down to meet them and returned to the barracks,
where the right wing remained till they embarked. Not a drum was heard,
in consequence of the death of H.R.H. the Prince Consort. The battalion
marched to barracks in death-like silence, with colors draped and other
signs of mourning visible. The sergeants of my regiment were invited to
dine with their old comrades of the 12th on Christmas Day. We were
enjoying our dinner when an orderly summoned me to the orderly room.
When I reported I found the Q.M.G., colonel, quartermaster, adjutant
and others assembled. I was ordered to at once prepare to accompany
them to Haul Bowlin. That stopped my Christmas festivities, but the
12th boys filled my haversack with good things.

On arrival my duties were at once explained to me. I was to make notes
of the disposition of all packages, barrels, bales, etc., of provision
and clothing, so they could be found without difficulty during the
voyage. A winter campaign was expected, and we had considerable furs
and clothing to meet it. Not far from Haul Bowlin is Spike Island, a
convict settlement, and the convicts were brought over to put the goods
on board. It was difficult to have them do as I desired, but the guards
with loaded carbines soon brought them to time, and in a few days my
work was completed, and on the 1st of January, 1862, the wing embarked
and sailed for Halifax.

When the battalion paraded in Cork barracks the morning they were
leaving, General Blood addressed them, giving some good advice to this
young regiment, warning them against drinking rum, but instead to drink

The first thing we had to face was seasickness, and very few escaped
it. The voyage was a tempestuous one. We met a heavy gale when out
several days, but no damage was done; the ship was intact at the end of
the passage and the men in the best of health and spirits. Arriving at
Newfoundland we took on a pilot. The colonel asked him how the trouble
between the two countries was progressing. He assured us that it had
been amicably settled. That meant no fighting. The men were


We arrived in Halifax, N.S., on January 11th, and quartered in
Wellington barracks. We were now waiting the arrival of the left wing,
which sailed a few days later but did not reach Halifax till the 10th
of February. The gale we encountered spent itself on the _Mauritius_.
She came into port with masts and bulwarks carried away. No one was
drowned or injured in the storm. They immediately disembarked and took
up their quarters in Wellington barracks.

The left wing of the 2nd Battalion (17th) sailed from Cork on the 9th
of January, 1862, having Major Colthurst in command, and, together
with some batteries of the Royal Artillery, embarked on the troopship
_Mauritius_. Every possible arrangement had been made by the War
Office for the care of these soldiers, and, having regard to the time,
they were well provided for. Almost the first thing furnished after
the men got on board was a plentiful supply of tobacco; this was
followed by kit-bags and warm underclothing, calculated to meet the
then severity of the Canadian climate. The men were allotted each a
hammock, and the color-sergeants were given a comfortable cabin with
six sleeping berths in it and three blankets each; but mattresses and
pillows were the result of artistic kit supply arrangements.

The officers had fairly good staterooms, but necessarily were a good
deal crowded together. The men's food was hard tack, salt pork (with
salt beef on two days of each week), good tea and sugar (no milk, bread
or butter), and potatoes and cabbage. A lot of good rum was served out
to all twice a day. As both the artillery and infantry had been over
six months together in three-piece shelters or bivouacs at Aldershot,
with only one blanket each, this ship-board treatment was thought a
great luxury. It was at the period just after the Opposition to the
English Government had said that the British navy could not sail and
the British soldier could not march.

General Pennefather undertook to qualify the army in marching by
keeping about fifty thousand of them on their legs to the extent of at
least twenty miles per day, often thirty, and as there was no end piece
to the shelter tents, most of us were seldom dry, and rarely took off
our boots. This resulted in about one-fourth of the command being
weeded out, but those left were men such as the Duke of Wellington
praised when he said, "He could take his Peninsular Army anywhere and
do anything with it." It is true that when Wellington's veterans did
get back to barracks their bodies had to have insect lotion and their
clothing had to be burnt, but they were all men the Empire could be
proud of.

The voyage lasted thirty-one days and was a very rough one. The
beautiful horses of the artillery suffered greatly, although they were
all strung up in slings. After the first few days five or six were
found to be dead each morning, and it was pitiful to see their carcases
being thrown overboard. Owing to the length of the voyage, the nice
food provided for the officers ran out, and they cheerfully put up with
the hard tack and salted meats served to the men. We seldom got on
deck, but were a most happy family, excepting those who were seasick,
and with few exceptions these were all out of their hammocks after the
second week. One poor chap, Sergeant Regan, never got over his
sea-sickness, and swore he would never go to sea again. Strange to say,
he was the very first man to be ordered home to England again as drill
instructor for the Depot, so that he was scarcely on land three months
before he had to take his medicine again.

Owing to the very bad weather, the waves got into the habit of breaking
over the funnel of the steamer and thereby causing a steam explosion
down below. This so worked on the nerves of the stokers that they got
up a mutiny, in which the other sailors joined, the object being to
force the captain to return the steamer to England. They thought that
if this was not done they would share the fate of the horses, and the
daily sight of the dead animals was certainly not very encouraging.
However, the mutiny was the most absurd undertaking ever attempted by
sailors, as we soldiers were nearly all qualified and willing to take
their places, which was quite unnecessary, as one or two quick military
court-martials took all thoughts of mutiny out of their minds.

When we got to St. John's, Nfld., where we put in for coal, we were all
astounded at the amount of snow and ice, and what struck us as funny
were the shingled roofs on the houses. But a very short time in Canada
taught us that the Canadians knew more about how to live and do in
their country than we did.

What we wondered at most when we reached Halifax was, who were those
swell-looking soldiers on the wharf with white facings on their
overcoats and long swagger leather boots with queer-looking spurs on
them. To our surprise and delight, on nearing the dock, we found they
were the right wing of our own regiment, newly clothed, and the
supposed spurs were only military ice-creepers.

We settled down and anticipated a long stay in this garrison. The 62nd
and 63rd were in quarters here when we arrived, but left for St. John,
N.B., thus making room for the 16th Bedfordshire. We were quite pleased
to meet with our old friends and comrades again, and our social
intercourse was extremely pleasant. The city was crowded with all arms
of the service which happened to be on the water when the United States
yielded to Britain's demands. They were waiting orders to proceed to
their destination, which they received, and moved to points in Quebec
and Ontario, leaving a sufficient force necessary to garrison and
defend Halifax.

We were glad to find a splendid gymnasium, with library, reading and
refreshment rooms, which were thoroughly appreciated and patronized.
The weather was extremely cold, or we thought so. The "Bluenoses" would
only smile when we complained of it, so we thought it advisable to
become acclimatized as soon as possible. We formed skating clubs, and
on the little lakes and any frozen space outside the city could be seen
soldiers trying their best to keep their equilibrium, but they became
fairly good acrobats before this was accomplished. Later we took to the
North West Arm, where cricket and other games were played. We found
this most invigorating and splendid pastime. During the winter we
formed a society for the purpose of improving ourselves in literature.
We had in the regiment John Smith, musketry instructor, and Sergeant
George Smith. These were two educated and capable men, and offered to
do all in their power for the advancement of this class. These brothers
were also good actors, and trained us in theatricals, which became part
of our lives.

The married women and children were now on passage to join the
battalion. In view of the reception for them the writer was appointed
chairman of a committee to make arrangements and provide refreshments
for their reception. Those who are interested are watching the signal
station at the Citadel. The ship will be signaled at least two hours
before she comes up the harbor. At last we are notified that the
steamer with her precious cargo is in sight, the banqueting room is
prepared and everything they could wish for is ready. All the cabs,
hacks, etc., have been hired to convey the loved ones to their new
home. They arrive in good health and spirits. The reception, which was
a great success, was soon over, and the families repaired to their
respective quarters. I received the thanks and best wishes of the
ladies, who hoped I would have one of the best wives when I married.

In the spring we prepared for our course of musketry, when the
following paragraph appeared in regimental orders: "The commanding
officer has been pleased to make the following promotions and
appointments: Color-Sergeant Robert Gilbert to be quarter-master-sergeant,
_vice_ Draycott, discharged. Sergeant E. G. Rundle to be color-sergeant,
_vice_ Gilbert, promoted." I did not expect this promotion, for there
were several sergeants my senior, and I would rather one of them were
promoted, but I had no say in the matter. The commanding officer had
made his choice and that ended it. The ordeal of meeting my comrades
in the mess-room that night put me to the blush, and I will with all
modesty repeat what was said on my meeting them: "Hurrah for Teddy!
Here is our new color-sergeant. We are glad you got it, Teddy; you
deserve it. For he's a jolly good fellow," etc.

The rifle ranges are fourteen miles east of Dartmouth, a town opposite
Halifax. We marched to Chobham camp, where the ranges are located, and
spent two weeks to complete our course. We found the eastern passage a
very pleasant part of Nova Scotia. After our duties were ended each
day, we went boating, fishing, lobster catching and swimming.

Our course was a decided success, and we returned to Halifax and
resumed our usual duties. The American civil war was still in progress,
and the city was generally in a state of excitement. There was much
anxiety as to the battles being fought and the news that would be
received for the next bulletin. Of course, both sides had their
friends, and there were a great many Americans sojourning in the city.

For many years outposts were established at points easily reached and
accessible to the United States, to prevent deserters entering that
country. The troops in garrison furnished the men to occupy these
posts, and many a would-be deserter had been captured and returned to
their respective corps. Our band, now among the best in H. M. service,
gave concerts in the Horticultural Gardens, which were highly
appreciated. We had an occasional field day, our strength being
augmented by the addition of the two militia battalions and the naval
brigade from the warships in the harbor. These parades were always
enjoyed by the citizens.

With extreme regret I had to part with my captain; he had received an
appointment as staff officer of pensioners in Australia. I must inform
the reader that the captain and color-sergeant are closely allied. The
sergeant is the captain's secretary, and they confer when necessary on
matters pertaining to the company's standing, etc. Captain John Hunter
was succeeded by Captain William Robinson, who came to us from the 1st
Battalion; he was a very young captain and also a handsome soldier. He
served with his battalion in the Crimea. At the age of seventeen he was
gazetted ensign and went to the front almost immediately. I said
good-bye to Captain Hunter, and Lieutenant Gamble (who, I believe, was
born and educated in the city of Toronto) took command of the company
until the arrival of the new captain.

As the winter approaches, drill ceases and we become active in the
theatrical line. There has been added to the gymnasium a small theatre,
where we shall hold our entertainments. The garrison is commanded by
Major-General Sir Charles Hastings Doyle. He is a great friend of the
soldier, and is always ready to do anything in his power for the
enjoyment and pleasure of the troops. Captain Robinson arrives, and I
meet one of the handsomest soldiers I have yet seen. He is young and
fair, tall and commanding, and his unassumed dignity is in keeping with
his handsome physique. He extends his hand and gives me a cordial
greeting, saying he is pleased to meet me, and from what he has heard
of me is glad that I am his color-sergeant.

There were many entertainments given during the winter, which were
often patronized by the general and his staff. Quadrille parties were
held weekly by the regiments and corps in garrison. Invitations for
these parties were general. These were delightful gatherings. We always
had the best music, and the ladies of the city who attended were
pleased at all times to be in the whirl with the gay young warriors.
Our drills outside the gymnasium were bayonet, sword and route
marching. The bandmaster during the winter organized an orchestra which
was a great help to our entertainments.

The summer of 1863 arrived and the usual set up drill, musketry course
and other exercises were engaged in. George Island is situated in
Halifax Harbor, and the fortifications were not in good shape if it
were attacked. In order to place them in an absolute state of defence,
the Royal Engineers were repairing and rebuilding the forts. To
expedite the work, two companies of "G" and "H" were detailed to move
to the island, the men to be employed on its work with extra pay. Being
the senior sergeant, I acted as sergeant-major.

The Fenians, it was said, were raising a fleet to bombard Halifax. The
other ports received the same attention and were ready to receive these
men and their fleet, but they did not come. In the summer of 1864 the
two regiments exchanged quarters, the 16th moving from the Citadel to
Wellington Barracks, and the 17th from Wellington to the Citadel. The
anniversary of the tercentenary of Shakespeare was to be celebrated in
this city on St. George's day. The St. George's Society prepared a
public meeting in the afternoon, when an oration was given in honor of
the great writer. A committee prepared a programme to be rendered by
our society on the evening of the 23rd. We obtained permission from the
general, and we did our best to head the list of the military
contributions towards the monumental fund in London, England. The
theatre being too small for this undertaking, we leased the Temperance
Hall, largest in the city, and built our own stage. The programme was
soon ready and contained the following, which was purely Shakespearean.
An orchestra of thirty pieces played the overture and accompanied the
several numbers. The Rialto, Bargain, and Trial scenes from the
Merchant of Venice, four glees, a reading, and Locke's music to
Macbeth's witches in character. Sergeant-Instructor Smith and his
brother conducted the programme. No ladies took part. The characters
were all male, John Smith taking the part of Portia, and his brother
that of Shylock. Schoolmaster Ward made a good Antonio, Color-Sergeant
Pix made a splendid Duke, while the writer took the part of Salarino.
All the parts were well taken, being thoroughly rehearsed. A dancing
master in the city loaned us all the costumes necessary. The oration of
the St. George's Society was given at noon. Our entertainment was under
the patronage of the lieutenant-governor and the general, who, with
their respective staffs, were all present the night of the performance.
The hall, which was a very large one, was filled to the doors. The
performance commenced and continued to the end without a hitch. So well
did it turn out we were obliged, by special request, to repeat it the
following night, which was again a decided success. It was most
gratifying to us that we headed the list of the military subscriptions.
We found, after all expenses had been paid, five hundred dollars ($500)
was available for the fund, which was immediately remitted to the
secretary, and acknowledged by him through the London _Times_.

It goes without saying that after our grand success in playing before
the public such a programme that required the talent of old actors, we
felt that we were a regiment of intelligence and culture, and we also
considered that we had acquired a high state of proficiency in every
department, that we were an important unit in H.M. vast army.

I cannot proceed further without telling the reader that Colonel
McKinstry and officers appreciated all we did and helped us in every
possible way. The general was so much interested that he presented the
sergeants with his likeness, with the inscription, "From your friend
and general," and it was hung in a conspicuous place in the mess-room.
I hope it is still to be seen in the sergeants' mess of the dear old
regiment. It now fell to the lot of Sergeant-Instructor Smith to be
honored. He was clever and took great pains, and was always delighted
to have our social gatherings of the highest standard, and no doubt he
took notice of the beauties of nature in this, to us, new country, and
watched the coming forth and maturing of Nova Scotia's idol, the
mayflower. He wrote a poem on this pretty little flower, and it was set
to music by Drum-Major Gurney, and a quartette sang it before a large
audience, who expressed themselves delighted with it. I can only
remember two verses, which are as follows:

    "Ere rude winter's crust of rime
      Milder spring can soften;
    Ere to greet the blither time
      Robins warble often;
    O'er the undulating wild,
      Rising like a hardy child,
    There the Mayflower sweet, unseen,
    Spreads its leaves of glossy green.

    "'Neath the lee of rubbly rocks
      Snowy fragments linger,
    Shedding tears that Phoebus mocks
      With his fiery finger.
    Tears that act as cheering showers,
      Tears that cherish sweet mayflowers,
    Till each little lilac bell
    Breaks in beauty o'er the dell."

This was another triumph for us. The Premier, Hon. Jos. Howe,
complimented the writer, and added some graceful remarks. The general,
too, and all friends of the regiment complimented Sergeant Smith on his
beautiful poem.

One of our best and most genial color-sergeants deserted. It was a
great surprise to us to learn of Sergeant Josh. Topham's departure. It
was said that he was disappointed in not having to fight the Yankees,
for which purpose he was sent out, and thought he would step over and
help the Confederates. He left the barracks, went into the city,
changed his clothing, wearing a clergyman's suit and carrying a
suitcase. He had to exercise great care to hide his identity. If
detected, it would have been ten years' penal servitude. He took
passage in a schooner which carried him to Boston, and when he wrote
and told us all about it, he said his anxiety was relieved when the
harbor was cleared. We often heard from our old comrade; he got along
splendidly and was soon promoted to the rank of quartermaster.

The battalion at this time was in a state of much anxiety; Captain
Robinson was dangerously ill, and suffering from internal troubles. His
death, which soon followed, was a great blow to me, as our relations
were of the most pleasant character. His remains were interred in Point
Pleasant Cemetery with full military honors, and the regiment mourned
the loss of a good officer and soldier's friend. I was appointed
assistant clerk in the brigade office. Sergeant-Major Forbes, late of
the 62nd Regiment, was the senior clerk, but before I entered upon my
duties I acted as secretary to a committee of officers who had charge
of the late Captain Robinson's effects. Some of these were sent to his
friends in England, the balance were sold.

I found my work brought me in touch with the Horse Guards and War
Office, which proved to be of much service to me in after years.


A negro rebellion had broken out in Jamaica; many had been killed and
much property destroyed. The 6th Regiment was quartered at Newcastle,
and one of the West India regiments at Port Royal, but these were
unable to restore order. General Doyle received a telegram asking for
a regiment to be dispatched at once to assist in quelling the
rebellion. The 17th was immediately placed under orders to proceed to
Port Royal. It was arranged that we go in two ships, the right to
embark on H.M.S. _Duncan_, under the command of Colonel McKinstry; the
left wing in H.M.S. _Sphinx_, a gun-boat.

The morning for the embarking of the right wing had arrived and the
scene on the wharf at the dockyard was painful. The wives and children
of the departing troops were present, as was the general and staff.
The brigade-major (Captain Stokes, 16th Bedfordshires) read aloud the
latest dispatches from Jamaica, which caused much anxiety as to
whether all would return again. The embarking of the troops completed
and good-byes exchanged, the _Duncan_ left for her destination. The
left wing of the regiment, under command of Major Colthurst, embarked
on the _Sphinx_.

A fatal accident occurred as our ship was clearing the harbor. Peter
Jackson, "B" Company, venturing too far out on the bulkhead, was washed
overboard. There was a heavy sea running at the time, and poor Jackson
was soon lost sight of; there was no chance of saving him.

Lieutenant Rolph was appointed adjutant, and the writer orderly room
clerk. It was October and the weather was beautiful. We found we were
handicapped regarding quarters. The ship was so small we could not find
sufficient room in which to swing our hammocks. When we arrived in a
warmer climate we took our blankets on deck and slept there, but the
men were not allowed on the quarter-deck.

Captain Hamilton was commanding the ship, and I asked his permission
for the men to occupy the quarter-deck. He referred me to Major
Colthurst. I saw him and promised that for the privilege we would sing
glees, part songs, etc., while the officers were at mess each evening.
We had the use of the deck during the remainder of the voyage. We had a
very pleasant run for three days, when we reached Bermuda.

The steamer went to her dock at Boaz Island for the purpose of coaling,
and remained three days. We enjoyed the opportunity of visiting the
several islands and places of interest. On resuming our voyage we
arrived at Port Royal about midnight--four days later. It was a
magnificent night as we steamed in under the lofty Blue Mountains. We
anchored, and were soon visited by a lieutenant and boat's crew from
the guard ship, who reported that quiet had been restored and in all
probability our fighting services would not be required. Our men were
quite disappointed in not having an opportunity of chastising the
negroes for their insolence.

There was no barrack accommodation at Port Royal and we were
transferred to the receiving ship _Aboukir_, and awaited a transport
to take us back to Halifax. The weather was very hot, but we had
plenty of room under the great awning that covered the upper deck. We
were taken to the bathing grounds twice a week at 5 a.m. They supplied
us with coffee and light lunch. We enjoyed the gentle breeze that came
up generally in the afternoon. When the ripple on the water was
observed the men shouted, "The doctor is coming!" and the boatswain's
whistle was heard calling the hands to the capstan to swing the ship
broadside to get the zephyr as much as possible to enter the
port-holes of the monster. Commodore Smyth read the prayers on Sunday.
The services were held on the quarter-deck with good singing.

The crew of H.M.S. _Bulldog_ had been added to the already large
family of the _Aboukir_, but there was plenty of accommodation for

I must inform the reader of the experience of this crew. It appears
that while a mail steamer carrying the British flag was passing a
Haytian fort she was fired upon. On arriving at Port Royal the captain
reported the circumstance to Commodore Smyth, who immediately ordered
the _Bulldog_ to go down and investigate. The captain informed the
authorities of his business, but they would not confer with him or any
of his officers, and instead fired on the ship. The _Bulldog_ at once
opened fire on the forts, but it was soon discovered that the
navigating lieutenant had run the ship on a sand bar, at once becoming
a target for the Haytians. Captain Wake took in the situation and
concluded that his charge was lost, and in order to save his crew
summoned them to the quarter-deck, where he proposed that they abandon
the ship and blow her up. This was agreed to. Boats were lowered and
supplied with provisions, etc., and a train laid and connected with
the magazine. When all was ready the train was ignited; the boats
moved away and were out of danger when the explosion took place. The
men saw their ship sink, and all they had to remind them of the
circumstances was a bulldog's head, the same being the figurehead of
the ship. The boatswain and several seamen were killed by the Haytian
fire. The lost vessel was a gunboat, and her crew would not be more
than 150. These were not long in their boats, but were rescued by
passing ships and brought to Port Royal and placed on board the
_Aboukir_. The captain, navigating lieutenant and paymaster were
placed under arrest.

The frigate _Galatea_, Captain McGuire, arrived at the port. This was
the ship that H.R.H. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh went around the
world in. She was to take us back to Halifax. Previous to that she
went to Hayti to see what could be done with these people for
insulting the British flag. She soon destroyed the batteries,
returning to Port Royal, and after coaling embarked us for Halifax.

After the arrival of the crew of the _Bulldog_, Major Colthurst
permitted me to assist the paymaster in preparing the evidence,
statements, and other documents in connection with the loss of the
_Bulldog_ for transmission to England.


After this we were transferred to the _Galatea_ and sailed for
Halifax. The right wing left a few days before us on H.M.S. _Aurora_.

We had on board as prisoners the captain and two officers of the
_Bulldog_ en route for England, where they were to be tried by
court-martial for the loss of their ship. After a seven days' voyage
we arrived in Halifax a few days before Christmas and found the
temperature below zero, after leaving one 95 degrees above. However,
we had smiling faces to meet us, and the band was down to welcome us
back to our old quarters again. No casualties occurred while we were
absent except poor Jackson's drowning.

After handing over the books and papers in connection with the orderly
room, I resumed my duties at the brigade office. We intended to present
Dickens' Christmas Carol, Scrooge and Marley, but in consequence of our
trip to the West Indies it was postponed until the coming Easter. The
play was dramatized by Sergeant Smith; the characters had been cast and
rehearsed before we left. The general inspected the regiment and found
it in the very best condition; the drill was excellent, and the
interior economy all that could be desired. Sir Charles complimented
the battalion on their conduct and the manner in which the expedition
was carried out.

About this time Sergeant Roe, of "K" Company, a most intelligent
N.C.O., was calling the roll at tattoo. Pte. E. Welsh had answered his
name, and being under the influence of liquor, was creating a
disturbance. The sergeant ordered him to bed, but he did not obey.
Again he was ordered to do so. Instead he drew his bayonet and made a
dash for the sergeant, who escaped to the corridor, followed by Welsh.
He overtook the sergeant at the end of the passage and thrust the
bayonet into his side. Welsh was immediately overpowered and taken to
the cells. Sergeant Roe was taken to his room, and a surgeon was soon
on the spot, dressed the wound and had the patient removed to hospital.
The wound was not a serious one. The next day the prisoner Welsh was
arraigned before the commanding officer for wounding with intent to
kill. The colonel could not deal with the case, only to make
application for a general court-martial, which was immediately done.

I will describe in detail the court that tried this case. The
application, which was sent direct to the general, contained the
charge, evidence, and the prisoner's previous character, with any
remarks the commanding officer thought fit to make. A general
court-martial is the highest tribunal. The president and members of the
court are drawn from the several corps in garrison. The adjutant of the
prisoner's corps was the prosecuting officer, but for this, the highest
court, a judge advocate was appointed, who conducted the case for the
Crown. This was Colonel Ansell, of the general's staff. When the
general approved of the application the following orders issued from
the brigade office:

    "A general court-martial will assemble for the trial of Pte. E.
    Welsh, 2nd Battalion, 17th Regiment, and such other prisoners as
    may be brought before it.

                     President, Colonel Gordon, R.A.


             Royal Artillery      1 Captain, 2 Subalterns.
             Royal Engineers      1 Captain, 2 Subalterns.
             2-16 Regiment        2 Capt'ns, 2 Subalterns.
             2-17 Regiment        2 Capt'ns, 2 Subalterns.

    The prisoner to be warned and all evidence ordered to attend."

Pte. Welsh was tried before this court for stabbing Sergeant Roe, was
found guilty and sentenced to penal servitude for life. It was a long
time before Sergeant Roe recovered from the effects of the wound.

At Easter we presented to the public Dickens' Christmas Carol, Scrooge
and Marley, which had been postponed. Sergeant Smith had written a
musical libretto, of which I remember the following:

    "When we were for this preparing
      Late last fall,
    Neither time nor trouble sparing
      To please you all,
    Zounds! these niggers raised the shindies,
    Cracking crowns and court-house windies,
    Sent us sharp to the West Indies,
      Late last fall."

It was a decided success, and several hundreds of dollars were handed
over to the charitable institutions of the city.

The memorable year, 1866, dawned over Canada, and much trouble and
excitement was predicted. The Fenians were preparing for an invasion of
St. Andrews, N.B., and the general, for the better protection of the
citizens, had issued orders that a battery of artillery, a company of
engineers, with the 2nd Battalion, 17th Regiment, be held in readiness
to proceed to St. Andrews as soon as transport was available. We did
not expect anything but a fizzle. However, it was a change, and, I may
say, a picnic.


We embarked on H.M.S. _Duncan_. On reaching St. Andrews we disembarked
and marched to a large warehouse, where we made our home for a few weeks.
The general and staff accompanied the expedition. I was a brigade clerk,
and Sergeant Woffenden clerk in the quartermaster-general's department.

The troops' duties were light. The Charlotte militia were embodied and
did outpost duty. I was kept busy making out orders and instructions
for the establishing of new posts to watch the movements of the
Fenians, who assembled in large numbers on the opposite side of the
River St. Croix. There was a strong military police force established
to prevent strangers coming to town. Rooms in the Hackett Hotel were
leased for headquarters officers, and so things sailed along quietly
until Sergeant Cashin, in charge of the police force, caught a Fenian
in the act of enticing one of our men to desert and join his army. The
general could not deal with this case, it being a civil one. He was
brought before the police magistrate, who fined him $100 and costs. But
with all the watching we lost several men.

The last excitement and the expectancy of fighting arrived. The 17th
had posted a line of sentries along the river's bank for a considerable
distance. In the middle of the night the sentries on the extreme flank
of the outpost saw lights of varied colors which they thought were
ships signaling to each other and approaching the shore. They came to
the conclusion it was a Fenian fleet, and sent the alarm along to the
reserve of the picket. The officer in command ordered the bugler to
sound the alarm, which was repeated by the bugler on guard at the
regimental headquarters.

This was the first time since the battalion was formed such excitement
occurred. The men certainly put into practice what they had been taught
for the supposed battle that awaited them, for in fifteen minutes the
regiment was on parade, equipped, and having forty rounds of
ammunition, were ready for the fray. The other corps in garrison were
on parade and ready to move. The whole town was aroused. The Charlotte
militia was under arms and anxious to give battle to the Fenians. The
general and his staff were on parade (mounted). Brigade-Major Stokes
and Captain Clarke, A.D.C., made good use of their horses. They
galloped hither and thither, giving orders to the commanding officers
as to positions they were to occupy. The general addressed the troops
and bid them be steady and courageous. Daylight was near and the fog on
the river was lifting, when the artillery was ordered to move and take
up their position. The 17th extended a line of skirmishers to cover
their advance as they moved to the points of defence. There was now
sufficient light for us to see the ships, which to our great
disappointment proved to be fishing craft. We were dismissed, and felt
sorry not to win a battle to add to the many on our regimental colors.

After five weeks on the frontier and the Fenians giving no trouble,
orders were issued to furnish a guard of honor to General Meade, of
Gettysburg fame, who commanded in Maine and was making a visit to Sir
Charles Doyle at the headquarters of the garrison. It was a gala day in
St. Andrews. General Meade and staff arrived and were met at the wharf
by General Doyle. The guard of honor presented arms, the band playing
the salute. General Meade inspected the guard and then repaired to
headquarters. They held a conference and came to a decision as to the
movements of the Fenians. A general parade was ordered for the next
day. The troops paraded in the morning, all the citizens that could
possibly be present being there.

The general addressed the soldiers and also the citizens, and assured
them that the conference was satisfactory; the United States Government
would prevent any unlawful conduct or annoyance to the town of St.
Andrews by the Fenians, and General Doyle could withdraw his troops at
any time he desired. The people were pleased that the United States had
taken such a stand, and would look to General Meade for the fulfilment
of this promise.

Orders had been dispatched to Major Heigham, commanding a detachment
of two companies at St. Stephens, and of which Lieutenant Dywer was
acting adjutant, to return to headquarters and embark for Halifax. The
troopship had arrived and we were to embark on the morrow. Two men of
the 17th had arranged to desert that night. They answered their names
at tattoo, afterwards breaking out of barracks and getting into a
rowboat at the wharf for the purpose of crossing the river. They must
have forgotten that H.M.S. _Wolverine_ was anchored in the river. The
boatman, however, rowed out and all looked safe. Presently the
sentry--for they were near the ship--called, "Who goes there?" The
officer in command of the guard ordered a boat lowered and captured
the would-be deserters. Their names were Lavin and Cass. They were
immediately returned to the regiment and placed in the guard room. The
conduct of the regiment had been excellent during its stay in St.
Andrews, and we regretted this incident on our departure. The general
was determined to have these two men tried and sentenced before we
embarked at 10 a.m. the following day. This meant a busy time for me.
I had to prepare all the documents, issue orders as to the convening
of the court, etc. The court assembled, the prisoners were tried,
found guilty, and the proceedings made known to them and the garrison
when the troops paraded for embarkation. The sentence was five years'
penal servitude.

We now sailed for Halifax, arriving the next day. We disembarked from
the _Tamer_, and took up our quarters in Wellington barracks, the time
being near June. Sergeant-Major Jackson retired on a well-earned
pension, and my youth was the only objection to my being his
successor. Color-Sergeant Green, who was transferred to the battalion
on its formation from the 36th Regiment, a very smart soldier, was
promoted sergeant-major.

We received orders to be in readiness to proceed to Toronto, relieving
the 47th Regiment, and were to have another trip on the _Duncan_. We
embarked for Quebec, and on arriving there were transferred to the
lake steamers which conveyed us to Toronto, where we took up quarters
in the old fort vacated by the 47th. The latter proceeded to Halifax,
taking the place of the 17th in that garrison. We had been quartered
in Halifax for nearly five years. Quite a number of our men married
there, and it was with profound regret that we had to move. Our social
intercourse and friendly feelings toward the citizens and garrison at
large were all that could be desired.


On arriving in Toronto the battalion was divided. Headquarters and four
companies were quartered in the old Parliament buildings, four
companies in King Street barracks. The Fenian prisoners were confined
in the old jail, and the regiment mounted a guard there every day, and
when the trial commenced furnished an escort to conduct the prisoners
to and from the jail to the court-house until the trial was over. We
received the medal and land grant.

With the two corps forming the Toronto garrison, viz., the Royal
Artillery, stationed in the new fort, and the 13th Hussars in the
Exhibition buildings, we soon became acquainted, and fraternized with
our new comrades.

Lieutenant Rolph was appointed adjutant, _vice_ Ross, appointed
paymaster; Color-Sergeant Coe was appointed sergeant-major, _vice_
Green, reverted to sergeant. The commanding officer was pleased to
appoint me instructor and lecturer in the Military School, which
position I held during the two years the battalion was quartered in
the city. About two hundred cadets were under instruction when I
entered upon my duties. A good many were Toronto gentlemen who had
just returned from the front, and it was quite interesting to hear
them relate their experiences while fighting the Fenians.

I soon found I had some good material to work with; they were full of
military enthusiasm and were anxious to graduate and get away in order
to educate the recruit and fit him to defend his home and country.

Generally the cadets gave a good account of their training. I was
always interested in reading the despatches from South Africa, or
reports from the Militia Department, when the names of any would appear
relating to their duties, etc.; for instance, Colonel S. B. Steele, who
obtained a first-class certificate. How proud we are of his valuable
services to his country and empire. Mr. J. L. Hughes, Chief Inspector
of Public Schools, Toronto, has made good use of his military education
in having the very best drilled school cadets on the continent. His
brothers, Colonel John and Colonel Sam Hughes, also qualified at the

Senator Kirchhoffer while qualifying took great interest in the school
field sports, being a splendid cricketer; the Senator's football team
would often meet the law students and any of the city teams that would
put up a game. The writer was also fond of cricket.

Through the kindness of Colonel Steele, who applied to the department
at Ottawa for a list of the names of the cadets who graduated during
my two years' instruction, Major Winters, D.A.G., ordered a list to be
prepared, and subsequently I received a roll containing 850 names. I
was extremely pleased to look over the names of these gentlemen, whom,
with few exceptions, I had not seen or heard of for forty years. I saw
an account of the death of Professor Cherriman, who died in London,
England; he was a cadet and was captain of the University company at
the time. I also met Mr. F. Yokome, editor of the Peterboro' _Examiner_,
and it was a pleasant meeting. I remember the present Judge Ermatinger
and Chief Justice Strong, recently deceased, who were among the boys;
also Colonel Ward, Port Hope; Colonel Farewell, Whitby, and Colonel
Walker, who was Colonel Steele's school chum, and now commands the
15th Light Horse, with headquarters at Calgary, and others now very
prominent in Canadian affairs.

In May, 1868, we received orders to embark for the Old Country, and on
the 15th we sailed from the Queen's Wharf, touching at Kingston to
take on two companies which were on detachment, and continued our
passage to Quebec, where we were transferred to the Allan liner
_Moravian_. This was the best trip we had yet made. We had plenty of
room, good food, and the men were allowed to smoke any time they

We disembarked at Kingston, Ireland, and left at once for Dublin to
occupy the Royal barracks. I again resumed my duties as drill
instructor. We were considerably under the strength, having left a
large number of men in Ontario. The recruiting sergeants were at their
respective stations, busy sending us all the men they could enlist, and
we got some fine big fellows. A general election was about to take
place and the regiment was under orders to move to any town or district
where polling was to take place, to assist the constabulary in keeping
order and such duties.

We received reports of rioting and bloodshed. As voters were going to
and from the polling places the troops lined the streets all day long.
In one case a civilian threw a brick at a 6th Lancer, who made a thrust
with his lance at the thrower and killed him. The soldier was arrested
but subsequently released. The election over, the regiment returned to
quarters none the worse for its experience, especially when they had to
tackle the wild Irishmen. It was deemed expedient that four companies,
including the recruits, be sent to Mullingar. It was a day's journey
from Dublin, and we enjoyed the lovely country we passed through en
route. We found the barracks beautifully situated, lots of room, a
well-kept drill ground which always interested the writer, and a
garrison church within the precincts.

We had quite a number of the members of our literary society with us,
and we were able during the winter to give our usual entertainments,
to which we invited the citizens whenever they felt disposed. A
friendship between the soldiers and citizens was soon established,
which made our stay in Mullingar extremely pleasant and not easily
forgotten. In May we were placed under orders to move, but the section
was not mentioned. We embarked at Kingston and proceeded to Jersey
Island. It was a beautiful morning when we embarked on H.M.S.
_Crocodile_. We arrived after a pleasant run across the channel at St.
Heliers, which was to be our headquarters. Four companies were to stay
here, two at Guernsey, two at Alderney, and two at St. Peter's, which
was ten miles from St. Heliers.

In consequence of the hard and constant work on the drill ground, the
commanding officer, noticing that I had failed and was not looking as
well as he would like to see me, ordered me to proceed with two
companies to St. Peter's to recuperate, and also appointed me
schoolmaster of the detachment and my wife schoolmistress. I was not to
do any other duties till further orders. I soon had my school organized
and in working order. The schoolroom was large and well ventilated. It
stood on five acres of playground. My pupils consisted of about seventy
children of various ages belonging to our own men. There were some
thirty men who could not read or write. We had volunteer classes. I had
an assistant, while my wife attended to the industrial department.
School hours were from nine to twelve, and from one-thirty to four.
This was quite a change for the better. I remained in this office till
the regiment moved.

One death occurred at our detachment. Our bathing grounds were about
one and a half miles from the barracks and we always bathed in the
early morning. Four strong and good swimmers were detailed as a picket,
remaining on the beach ready to rescue anyone in danger. When the tide
is receding the current is very strong. We therefore knew it was
dangerous to swim too far out. The officer in charge always directed
the bugler to sound the retire when he considered there was danger for
the swimmer to proceed farther. One morning Drum-Major Fielding, in
company with Private Charles Dunkley, started to swim out. They kept
together for some time. The bugler sounded the retire and Fielding
obeyed the call, but Dunkley continued. When the drum-major arrived at
the beach he was almost exhausted, and said he did not think that
Dunkley, who was now trying to get back, would ever reach the beach
unless there was help sent to him. The picket was at once sent to his
assistance. While the men were reaching him he was drifting farther
out. When they got to him he was helpless and sinking, and at last poor
Dunkley sank to rise no more, and it was with difficulty the men
returned to the beach.

Near by stands Elizabeth Castle, on a little island which can be
reached on dry land when the tide is out. The body drifted on the rocks
around the castle and was discovered by the men within half an hour
after he sank. In the meantime I had gone to barracks and informed the
doctor of the sad affair, who immediately went to the beach and did all
in his power to resuscitate the lifeless form, but to no avail. The
body was taken to the morgue at the barracks and finally interred with
military honors in the little churchyard at St. Peter's. We erected a
beautiful stone over the grave in memory of our departed comrade.

There was a small barracks about three miles from St. Peter's and a
rifle range where we went to do our musketry course. The companies at
St. Heliers also used this place.

In 1870 we received the news that France had declared war against
Germany and was fighting already. The people of the island were much
concerned over the matter. They were mostly French, and were, of
course, anxious that their countrymen be victorious in the battles they
were about to fight.


We now received orders to prepare to embark on the troopship
_Euphrates_ for Portsmouth en route for Aldershot. At Portsmouth we
entrained for Aldershot, and on arrival marched to the same grounds we
occupied eleven years ago. We were again attached to the reserve
brigade. After the season closed we removed to the barracks. About
this time the purchase system was abolished, and officers could get a
commission without paying for it, and those who had paid for it got
their money back.

We were sorry to lose Colonel McKinstry, who had commanded us for the
last ten years. He always took a deep interest in the regiment, and did
all in his power to make us comfortable and happy, and kept the corps
in a high state of excellence. Lieutenant-Colonel Brice assumed
command. He served with the 1st Battalion in the Crimea, and was a
strict disciplinarian but a popular officer. The first act of the
colonel's disposition toward criminals was to recommend the pardon of
Private Welsh, who was mentioned in this book as having stabbed
Sergeant Roe in the barracks at Halifax, and as being sentenced to
penal servitude for life.

The autumn manoeuvres lasted sixteen days. Forty thousand men were to
engage in a sham fight. Our brigade consisted of 2nd Battalion of 17th
Regiment, Tower Hamlets militia and a London volunteer battalion known
as the "Devil's Own"--they were lawyers. This regiment came swinging up
the road, the band, which was a splendid one, playing a familiar tune.
They marched in quarter column, halted, piled arms, and immediately
proceeded to pitch tents and prepare the camp for a two days' stay. The
whole brigade looked on and were astonished at the smartness of the
volunteers in this part of their drills and exercises, and indeed,
afterwards we found nothing wanting in their field work.

Several sham battles were fought and many long and tedious marches
endured. Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal family came
down to witness the march past of the two armies who had been engaged
in the sham fights. The strength was 45,000 all ranks.

We returned to barracks to spend the winter, which passed away without
incident. The regiment moved to Salisbury Plains, took part in the
autumn manoeuvres, and at their close proceeded to Plymouth to occupy
the Citadel. We met the 100th Regiment in Aldershot. It occupied the
centre block with the 94th, and, if I remember rightly, Colonel
Grasett, chief of police, Toronto, was then adjutant of the corps.

And now, after many roving years, we were back again at the old spot
where our kindergarten days were spent. Twelve years had passed since
we left and many changes had occurred. True, we earned no honors for
the colors, but we were always ready when the alarm sounded, and
returned with an excellent record. We found Colonel Brice a splendid
commanding officer, always ready to help the regiment in any way toward
their comfort and happiness. The colonel was pleased to appoint me
librarian. We had a splendid regimental library, also a garrison
library, where we could draw and exchange books quarterly.

The next three years were spent in this garrison. We were doing duty
with an occasional field day or route march.

In the fall of 1873, my wife, who was a trained nurse and a native of
Halifax, was taken ill with phthisis, and the following summer I was
informed that she could not live. It was her ardent wish to be taken to
her home to die, and although there was promotion before me, I
forfeited the balance of my service toward pension and took my
discharge. In June, 1874, she finished her last earthly journey when we
arrived at her home in Halifax. She died nine days after our arrival.
In the presence of her mother and sister she passed away, loved by all,
and in the hope of a blessed resurrection.


I was awarded one shilling twopence per day pension. Being a civilian
again and relying on my military experience and knowledge of physical
culture, I went to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and spent the
winter with ex-Sergeant Campbell, who was a dear old comrade and is now
a merchant. The following summer I returned to Halifax, and during the
early part of July General Laurie was enlisting recruits for the
provisional battalion at Winnipeg, and deputed me to conduct them to
that city.

Accordingly, on the 3rd of August, 1875, with forty men in charge, we
left en route for Fredericton, N.B., where we added several men to our
contingent and continued our journey. We stayed overnight at the
Franklin House, Bangor, Me. We stopped four hours at Montreal, and next
arrived at Sarnia. We camped a week at Point Edward waiting the lake
steamer. One morning while at drill a stranger approached me, who
turned out to be ex-Private Patrick Sharket, employed as a signal-man
on the G.T.R. He heard my voice in the distance, and he knew it was
"Teddy's," so he told me after. Sharket was a smart and good soldier.
He served in the Crimea, and while the regiment was quartered in
Toronto, 1867, obtained his discharge and took employment with the
Grand Trunk Railway, but had not been working long when he met with an
accident which caused the loss of his left hand. The company kept him
in their service. It was eight years since we met.

We had a beautiful trip, reaching Thunder Bay on Friday afternoon. We
had to stay there overnight, and occupied the emigrant sheds. That
night I had to look up a doctor, as some of our men were sick, but by
Sunday morning they were much better. We met a R.C. missionary who was
on his way to the Height of Land to take charge of an Indian reserve.
He was excellent company and kept the contingent alive by his funny
stories. After breakfast the following morning we proceeded to Lake
Shebandowan by wagons over the Dawson route, a road made by the troops
under the command of Sir Garnet Wolseley on their way to the
North-West, 1870. We halted about half way and had our dinner. It
consisted of ham and beans, bread and tea; it was splendidly cooked and
well served by half-breeds.

We arrived at the lake and found a woman and a man in charge of the
post. It had been headquarters for the surveyors in that section and
used also for emigrants who chose to go that way. We were on the banks
of a charming little lake. The opposite shores are picturesque with
their tall poplars and oaks frequented by thousands of wild pigeons.
The lake abounded with fish. The men took out the Government boats and
caught a quantity of pike sufficient for breakfast the following day.
The R.C. priest had sufficient paraphernalia with him to erect an
altar, and invited the contingent to mass Sunday morning. Nearly all
the men attended, and there were also quite a number of outsiders at
the pleasant service. In the morning, after another breakfast of pike,
a small steamer conveyed us to the Height of Land. The mosquitoes now
got in their work and deprived us of some of the fluid which gives us
life. Although we got a lotion to rub on our hands and faces it did not
prevent them from biting. The chief and many Indians were there to meet
the reverend father.

After nearly a month's travel over lakes, rivers and portages we
arrived at St. Boniface. On a Sunday morning we crossed the Red River
on the ferry and at once paraded and marched to Fort Osborne. I
reported to the officer on duty, and the men were quartered
temporarily. Next day the contingent paraded and was inspected by
Colonel Osborne Smith, D.A.G., and posted to their respective
companies, and during the day received their kits and clothing. Shortly
after our arrival I was appointed garrison sergeant-major, which
position I held till the battalion was disbanded two years later.
Lieutenant Hayter Reed was the adjutant. I now had to work with Mr.
Reed in putting the battalion in the best possible order. Quite a
change in the drill had taken place but had not been put into practice.
This had to be done and other reforms were necessary, and with the
permission of the commanding officer, I commenced to put the corps in a
better state of discipline and drill. After a few months the regiment
was a credit to the Dominion forces.

I found, however, they had never been instructed in musketry, and a
soldier is useless if he can't shoot. I asked the colonel's permission
to put them through a course of musketry, which he was pleased to
grant, and selected a site for the ranges a few miles outside of St.
Boniface. I put the battalion through up to 600 yards; the course was
carried out according to the school of musketry regulations, and I
rendered all the returns in manuscript, the report showing fair average
shooting. There was a band of twenty under Bandmaster Harry Walker,
late of the Imperial 7th Fusiliers. It was in good shape and kept busy,
for bands were scarce in the city at that time. We gave entertainments
at the fort occasionally. There was excellent talent among the men and
it was always put to good use. The bandmaster was always ready to help
us in every way possible. A most pleasing incident took place during
the winter. Sergeant-Major Steele, N.W.M.P., returning from leave of
absence, and passing through Winnipeg, called on his friend Adjutant
Reed, and during their conversation asked Mr. Reed who his
sergeant-major was. Mr. Reed replied that it was ex-Color-Sergeant

"Why," said Sergeant-Major Steele, "that's my old drill instructor;
please send for him."

An orderly came to my room and said that Mr. Reed would like to see me.
I went to the adjutant's quarters, where I met an old pupil of the
Military School, Toronto, 1867. We were both pleased to meet and had a
good old chat about the times past and future. The sergeant-major
obtained a first class certificate at this time, and we all know what
brilliant services Colonel Steele has rendered to the Empire,
especially in South Africa.

Some months later I received an offer to become musketry instructor to
the Mounted Police. I declined because I could not ride a horse.

I had many friends in Winnipeg. Amongst them was Rev. Mr. Fortin, All
Saints, now a bishop; Rev. Mr. Matheson, Manitoba College, now bishop
and Primate of Canada, who married Miss Fortin, the bishop's sister (I
sang at the wedding); Rev. Mr. German, Grace Methodist Church, of whose
choir I was a member; the late Colonel William N. Kennedy, of
distinguished Nile memory, who was also a member of the choir. The late
Mrs. Chambers, formerly of Peterboro', was the organist. I can say with
much delight that my acquaintances and associations during the two
years were fraught with much pleasantness and reciprocated kindness.

The N.W.M. Police, having been thoroughly established, was sufficient
protection against attacks from Indians or half-breeds; therefore, on
the 3rd of August, 1877, the battalion was disbanded, each man
receiving a grant of 160 acres of land for his services. A good many
remained in the country. Others went to their homes in the East.

I was now engaged in organizing single companies, making my
headquarters at Emerson. A company was raised in Winnipeg under the
command of Captain C. W. Allen and Lieutenant Killer. I spent another
two years in perfect enjoyment with the good people of Emerson, and
assisted in every way to build up this young town. I made my home with
Mr. and Mrs. Hooper and family, who resided on the west side of the
river, opposite Emerson.

One lovely evening in August Mr. Thos. Hooper, Jr., with his young
bride, came over to spend the evening. It was near midnight, the ferry
had stopped running, and I offered to row Mrs. Hooper over in my skiff
and return for her husband and a gentleman friend. We were passing
where the ferry was moored, and Mrs. Hooper, reaching to seize the end
of the ferry, lost her balance and fell into the river and sank. I
immediately sprang to the rescue and succeeded in bringing her to

The fall was approaching and I made up my mind to visit my friends in
the East. My Emerson friends having learned of my intentions, Mr.
Carney, who was to be first mayor of the town, offered me the office of
clerk if I remained, but my arrangements had been made and I could not
cancel them. I was invited by the citizens to meet them in Library Hall
the night previous to my departure. A programme had been prepared, the
band was present and played my old favorites. During the evening Mr.
Fairbank, J.P., read an address regretting my departure from the town,
and also presented me with a handsome purse.


The following morning, November 9th, 1879, I left Emerson for London,
Ontario. Arriving in London I repaired to the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Johnson, the parents of Mrs. Thomas Hooper, whom I rescued from
drowning in the Red River, and was invited to make my home with them
while in London. I was also invited to visit the Sunday School, Pall
Mall Church, in which Mrs. Hooper had been a teacher, and tell them how
Mrs. Hooper fell into the river and how I saved her from drowning. I
received a hearty vote of thanks, and all were delighted that their
dear teacher was well and happy.

The following spring I went East, visiting my friends and relatives in
the township of Reach and Durham County. While visiting Port Hope I met
the late Colonel Williams, who subsequently became a sincere friend of
mine, and in 1882 I was appointed drill instructor at Trinity College
school. Having no gymnasium, my work was confined to military drill.
There was a well-equipped cadet corps officered by the teachers. A very
sad accident occurred during the summer holidays. Mr. Selby Allen, son
of Chancellor Allen, Toronto, a student at the school, was drowned near
Brockville. Mr. Allen was a splendid athlete and a fine cricketer.

In 1887 I was appointed gymnastic and drill instructor to the
Collegiate Institute, Peterboro'. I held this office for eleven years.

Nothing gives me greater pleasure in writing this book than to relate
the pleasant and profitable eleven years I spent in the physical
education of the students of the Collegiate Institute and Central
Public School, and also the convent. I say _profitably_ because the
majority of those who obtained the several courses of instruction are
to-day pursuing their professions and vocations able to meet the
physical endurance of their calling, and all I have met since my
retirement nine years ago I found to be specimens of the highest type
of physical maturity and invariably athletes. There are at present
three doctors practising in this city (Toronto), three teachers in the
public schools, and one in Trinity University, and all are of the same

I am pleased to say that the physique of the ladies also whom I have
met is all that could be desired. Neither have they forgotten the
graceful bearing they were taught. I also had large private classes,
both ladies and gentlemen, who were thoroughly trained by the system I

When my appointment was made in the fall, 1887, there was no gymnasium,
and the Board of Education the following summer built a very fine one.
It was equipped the same as the Oxford University gymnasium, and the
system was that used by Professor McLaren. The High School Inspectors,
Messrs. Seath and Hodgson, agreed with me that it was the best. Their
reports were always satisfactory, and often special mention was made of
the progress and development of the pupils.

I was always an enthusiastic lover of physical training, and it was
good to me to meet or see my pupils on the street, in the parks or
public places of the city, not forgetting their dignity, graceful
bearing, elastic and uniform step and perfect carriage, which was
always noticeable then. I don't think they will ever forget it. The
Board was always willing to do anything in its power for this
department. At the age of sixty, through ill health, I was obliged to

In the same year (1887), I was appointed sergeant-major of the 57th
Peterboro' Rangers, and for several years performed the duties of
instructor; but in consequence of increasing classes at the school
and private engagements, was obliged to resign. There are some of
my old pupils holding commissions in the regiment at present.
Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, the present commanding officer, is very
popular among all ranks. The reputation of this fine corps is of the
very best; in fact, it is a model regiment, and I was delighted in
reading the last report to see the Rangers leading the so-called crack
regiments of the Dominion. It cannot be otherwise, because the
energetic and painstaking Adjutant-Captain Duncan Walker, and the
whole of the officers and N.C.O. are splendid workers, and they never
fail in keeping that military enthusiasm and _esprit de corps_ among
the men, whose physique is second to none, and which, I may add, is a
very important factor in the Dominion army. I hope some day to see the
battalion on parade again.

In 1902, with my family, I moved to Toronto, and Mr. James L. Hughes,
Inspector of Public Schools, who was my pupil in the Military School
forty years ago, introduced me to the general manager of the T. Eaton
Co., and I was given employment in the stock room of the whitewear
department in the factory. Following this my three sons were taken into
the factory and learned their trades; the two eldest are machinists and
the third a cutter. The latter in his twentieth year was stricken with
tuberculosis and died, April 19th, 1907, and I take this opportunity of
again thanking and expressing my gratitude to the Company and the
department for the solicitous interest taken in my dear boy while he
was sick, and at his funeral.

During my lifetime I have been in touch and associated with ladies and
gentlemen, boys and girls, where refinement and culture was an
important factor in their present and future lives. In the Imperial
Army, where I spent so many years as an instructor, the first thing we
would look for from the incoming recruit was his deportment. If he
lacked courtesy, willingness, obedience and other graces that go to
make a good soldier and also a gentleman, he would be placed in a
position to be taught this character building. Again, in my physical
culture work I always impressed upon my pupils the necessity of being
courteous and polite at all times and under all difficulties and

When I entered upon my duties in the stock room I began to feel my way
through this great department and to learn whom I had to meet in my
daily business, but it was not long before I found myself amongst the
ideal of my life, from the manager and his assistants, Messrs. Allward
and Kirby, and from the employees, numbering 350--300 of whom were
ladies. The beautiful, capacious and well-ventilated work rooms,
together with their cheerful environment, made it one of the most
desirable places to work in I have ever seen or heard of. Among the
best friends I made in this great establishment were Messrs. W. Hall,
Johnston, F. Howard, McWaters, Durno and William Day. Of the latter I
learned the following characteristic incident which he would be too
modest to mention: One night during the winter of 1905-1906, which was
extremely cold, Mr. Day, on his way home, was overtaken by a stranger,
a young man, who told him he had not had anything to eat for
twenty-four hours. He had walked from Belleville to Toronto looking for
work; he was poorly clad, not sufficiently to keep the cold from his
shivering body. My friend did not ask who he was or anything regarding
his antecedents. He saw before him a poor destitute young man,
suffering with cold and hunger; he took him to a store and bought him
comfortable underwear, boots and other warm garments, and then to a
restaurant and ordered the best meal they could give, handed the
stranger a dollar and continued his journey home.

I remained in the factory four years, but in consequence of my age and
ill health was obliged to resign in May, 1906.

[Illustration: SERGT.-MAJOR EDWIN G. RUNDLE. Age, 71 Years.]



[I would like to follow this brief and unpretentious narrative of my
life with a sketch of the operations of a British force, in which my
old regiment was brigaded, in the Afghan war.]

Just before sunset on the twentieth of November, 1878, the 2nd Brigade
of the Peshawur Valley Field Force, consisting of the Guides Infantry,
the 1st Sikhs, and the 17th Foot under Brigadier-General J. A.
Tytler--the strength being forty British officers, 1,700 men, of whom
600 were Europeans--left its camp at Jamrud to begin the flank march
which was to ensure the completeness of Sir Sam. Browne's victory over
the garrison of Masjid. The 17th Regiment had spent the summer in the
Murree Hills, where it had been carefully trained for the work that lay
before it. Evatt, in his Recollections, says: "It was about the last of
the long service battalions of that army which was just then
disappearing before the short system, and better specimens of that old
regime could not be seen than the men of the 17th, who for weight and
space occupied per man were probably thirty per cent. heavier and much
broader than the younger soldiers of to-day." Speed being essential to
success and the difficulties presented by the country to be traversed
very great, tents, bedding and baggage were left behind, to be sent up
later through the Pass; and the troops took with them only a small
hospital establishment, a reserve of ammunition, two days' cooked
rations, and a supply of water stored in big leather bags, known as
pukkals. In addition to their great coats, seventy rounds of ammunition
and one day's cooked rations was carried by each man.

Unfortunately the greater part of the transport allotted to the brigade
consisted of bullocks instead of mules--a mistake which was to leave
the men without food for over twenty-four hours. Darkness soon closed
in upon the column, and when the comparatively easy road across the Jam
plain gave place to an ill-defined track running up a deep ravine,
sometimes on one side of a mountain stream, sometimes on the other,
sometimes in its very bed, even the native guides, men of the district,
familiar with its every rock and stone, were often at fault. The
transport animals blundered into the midst of the troops. One corps
lost touch with another. A large part of the 17th Regiment wandered
away from the path, and was with difficulty brought back to it by the
shouting and whistling of its commander. There was so much confusion
and so many delays that it was ten o'clock before the force, tired and
cold, the men's boots and putties soaked through and through from
frequent crossing and recrossing of the Lashora River, arrived at the
little hamlet of the same name. Here it settled down to such rest as
could be obtained under these uncomfortable conditions, for fires were
out of the question where there was no certainty that hidden foes might
not be lurking close at hand.

The 1st Brigade, consisting of the 4th Battalion Rifle Brigade, the 4th
Gurkhas, the 20th Punjab Infantry, and the Hazars Mountain Battery,
fared even worse than the 2nd, for it had to begin the day with
marching from Hari Singhka-Burg to Jamrud, where it arrived to find, to
the disgust of its commander, Brigadier-General Macpherson, that the
supplies and transports which ought to have been awaiting it were not
ready, and to be kept hanging about till 11 p.m. before it could get a
fresh start. What with the darkness, the difficulty of getting the
laden bullocks along, the practical absence of a road, the subsequent
march proved very trying, and the position of the troops throughout the
night was potentially one of great peril. If the Mohmands had come down
the eastern slopes of the Rhotas Heights and fallen upon them as they
stumbled and groped their way along the Lashora ravine, Macpherson
would have had to choose between a retreat or an advance up the steep
mountain side, three thousand feet high, in pursuit of an invisible
enemy, and exposed to a shower of rocks and stones--missiles which
every hill-man knows well how to handle.

Fortunately no such alternative was presented to him, and the head of
the column--the rear guard being still far behind--reached Lashora
between six and seven o'clock on the morning of the 21st, just as the
2nd Brigade was preparing to leave it, and halted to look up and give
Tytler a fair start. The latter did his best to get and keep well
ahead, but though his brigade, led by that active officer, Colonel F.
H. Jenkins, pushed on as fast as it could, its progress was painfully
slow. The column advancing in single file extended over a distance of
nearly three miles, and as the sun rose high in the heavens the
reflected heat from the bare slaty rocks became almost insupportable.
There were no trees to give the men shade, or springs to slake their
thirst. For the first four miles the road continued to ascend the
Lashora ravine between hills on the right hand and rocky, overhanging
spurs a thousand feet high on the left. On issuing thence it dwindled
to a mere goat track which ran uphill and downhill, scaling cliffs and
dropping into gorges, the shaly soil at every step slipping away from
under the feet of men, mules and bullocks, retarding the advance of the
two former and almost bringing the latter to a standstill. It was two
o'clock in the afternoon when the column, having crossed the Sapparia,
or grassy flats, leading up to the watersheds, arrived at Pani Pal at
the foot of the pass connecting the Rhotas Heights with the Tartara
Mountain, the highest peak in this group of hills. Here a wide and
varied view became suddenly visible. Far away to the north the
snowcapped Himalayas gleamed in the sunshine; to the south the broad
Indus washed the base of Fort Attock, and wound through the salt hills
and plains of the Derajat; whilst to the west, almost immediately below
the wilderness of rocks in which the invaders had halted, lay, in deep
shadow, the yawning chasm of the Khyber--a magnificent prospect; but a
spring of cool fresh water which was soon discovered had more
attractions for the hot and thirsty troops, and Tytler's whole
attention was absorbed in scanning the country for a possible enemy and
trying to trace the course of the three paths which branched off from
this commanding point. One of these runs northward by a circuitous and
comparatively easy route, through Mohmand territory to the Khyber. The
second descends abruptly to the same pass through the gorge which
separates the Tartara Mountain from the Rhotas Heights. The third
follows the crest of those heights to their highest point, just over
Ali Masjid. It was by the second of these roads that the column was to
find its way down to Kata Kushtia, and Tytler, though hard pressed for
time, felt so strongly that he must not entangle his troops in such
difficult ground without first ascertaining whether danger would
threaten their left flank and rear, that he decided to halt his force,
whilst Jenkins and a company of the Guides reconnoitred towards the
heights. Scarcely had this party left Pani Pal when a strange
reverberation filled the air, which Jenkins, on laying his ear to the
ground, at once pronounced to be the booming of heavy guns, and as the
reconnoiterers drew near to the edge of the ridge overlooking Ali
Masjid, the sound of artillery fire became more and more clear and
distinct. Though cave dwellings and patches of cultivation had
occasionally been passed, with here and there the tower of some robber
chieftain, the country, but for one small band of marauders which
exchanged shots with the head of the column, had appeared to be
entirely deserted by its inhabitants. Now a large number of armed
Mohmands came suddenly into sight, rushing down the hillside, and
Jenkins fell back upon Pani Pal to report what he had seen and heard.

The news that the main body of the division was engaged with the enemy
quickly spread through the ranks, and the men, forgetting fatigue and
hunger--the last of the food carried by them had been eaten before
leaving Lashora, and the bullocks carrying the rest of the rations had
long since parted company with the troops--were eager to push on. But
Tytler saw clearly that the circumstances in which he now found himself
demanded a change in the original plan, by which the whole of his force
was to take up its position across the Khyber defile.

As the Mohmands were evidently present in great strength and hostilely
inclined, and as his hospital establishment and commissariat were six
miles in rear, and the brigade which ought to have covered his left
flank was also behind--by abandoning Pani Pal he would not only lose
his communications with the latter and expose the former to danger and
the risk of being cut off and captured, but would leave open the road
by which the Mohmand contingent in Ali Masjid might retire from that
fortress after its fall, or by which it could be reinforced in case
that fall should be delayed. Very reluctantly, therefore, though with
soldier-like promptness, he made up his mind to send Jenkins with the
Guides and the major portion of the 1st Sikhs to Kata Kushtia, whilst
he himself, with a detachment of the latter corps and Her Majesty's
17th Regiment, remained at Pani Pal to guard Jenkins' rear and keep in
touch with Macpherson. That general, having detached the 20th Punjaub
Infantry under Major H. W. Gordon to cover his left, had resumed his
march at 8 a.m., and following in Tytler's wake had soon overtaken that
officer's commissariat bullocks, which so blocked the narrow path that
the troops had considerable difficulty in forcing their way through

Between two and three o'clock the column arrived at the lower edge of
the flats (Sapparia) previously mentioned, where it was fortunate
enough to find a little water. By this time the men, who had been over
thirty hours under arms, were so worn out that Colonels Newdigate and
Turton reported their respective regiments, the Rifle Brigade and the
4th Gurkhas, unfit to go farther, and Macpherson, like Tytler, had to
accept the responsibility of modifying the part assigned to him in the
common programme, and to some extent for the same reason, viz., the
danger to which his hospital and commissariat transport would be
exposed if, by pushing on to the summit of the Rhotas Heights, he were
to put it out of his power to protect them during the dark hours which
were close at hand.

On the flats, then, the main body of the turning party bivouacked on
the evening of November 21st, whilst the flanking regiment, after many
hours of stiff climbing, during the course of which it had been
threatened by a large number of Mohmands, established itself at dusk on
the top of Turhai, a ridge parallel to and immediately under the Rhotas

No sooner had the Guides and the 1st Sikhs, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Jenkins, taken up a position on the hill opposite the village of Kata
Kushtia, which completely commanded the Khyber Pass, here some 600
yards broad, than a party of the enemy's cavalry, about fifty in
number, was perceived at 4:30 p.m., leisurely making their way up the
pass. To make the garrison of Ali Masjid realise that their retreat was
cut off, Lieutenant-Colonel Jenkins ordered his men to open fire upon
these Afghan horsemen at a range of about 500 yards. Several were
dismounted and the rest galloped away, some back to Ali Masjid and some
up the Khyber Pass. As it began to grow dusk a larger body of the
enemy's cavalry, accompanied by a small party of infantry, came from
the direction of Ali Masjid riding hard for their lives as they passed
the place where the troops were posted, from which it was evident that
the retreat from Ali Masjid had commenced. This body of Afghans came
under fire of 200 or 300 rifles within 300 to 500 yards' range and
suffered some loss. As darkness closed in the Guides and the 1st Sikhs
lay down on the rocks about one hundred feet above the level of the
stream, and no large body of the enemy passed during the night,
although, doubtless, men moving singly or in small parties escaped.
Meanwhile, at 2:15 a.m., on the 21st of November, the 1st Infantry
Brigade, under command of Brigadier-General H. T. Macpherson, C.B.,
V.C., marched from the camp at Jamrud and followed in the track of the
2nd Brigade, which preceded them by eight hours and forty minutes. The
fighting strength of the brigade amounted to 43 British officers, 569
British rank and file, and 1,345 natives of all ranks.

Marching under the same conditions, as regards equipment and supplies,
as the 2nd Brigade, this column reached Lashora in four and a quarter
hours, although the 20th Punjaubis made a slight detour by mistake.

On reaching the foot of the Tabai spur leading to the Rhotas ridge,
about six miles from Jamrud, four companies of the 20th Punjaub
Infantry, amounting to 243 men, commanded by Major Gordon, were
detached to occupy the Tabai ridge below the Rhotas summit, and there
to await the arrival of the remainder of the brigade on the main ridge
leading to the enemy's sangars on the summit, when a simultaneous
attack would be made on it about noon. The Rhotas peak was to be
occupied, if possible, and heliographic communication established with
Jamrud, for which purpose four signalers were attached to this

As has been seen, the 2nd Brigade was just moving off as the 1st
Brigade arrived at Lashora, and it became necessary for the 1st Brigade
to halt for an hour to allow Tytler's column to get clear. But at 7:30
a.m. Macpherson's force resumed its march, ascending a tolerably easy
path from the bed of the river and crossing the ridge to the left into
the Lashora Nala. Above Lashora the path wound through a narrow, rocky
ravine, overhung by precipitous and rugged hills, where the progress of
the column was much impeded by the baggage animals of the 2nd Infantry
Brigade, many of which (bullocks and buffaloes) were quite unfit for
such service. These animals can never move but at a very slow pace, and
in difficult places often come to a complete standstill.

The 17th Regiment and the 27th Punjaub Infantry were ordered to
advance, and they were met by a determined resistance, the flags of the
Afghans keeping well to the front in spite of the heavy fire of our

Here Lieutenant N. C. Wiseman, 17th Foot, followed by two or three of
his men, charged one standard bearer and ran him through, but the
gallant officer was instantly surrounded and cut to pieces. The enemy
now showed signs of giving way, upon which an order was sent to the
cavalry on the right to attack on the first favorable opportunity. But
before this order was received both regiments charged successfully. The
troops were then ordered to retire to camp, as the enemy was completely
dispersed. The action commenced about 2 p.m. and by 4:30 p.m. the
enemy's position was captured. The estimated loss of the Afghans was
between 300 and 400 men, while the casualties among the troops amounted
to two British officers, one native officer, twenty horses and three
men killed and four native officers and thirty-six men wounded.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Soldier's Life - Being the Personal Reminiscences of Edwin G. Rundle" ***

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