In the Maritimes

New Brunswick and PEI

Volunteers and militiamen of Prince Edward Island, between 1859 and 1863

Caption: Volunteers and militiamen of Prince Edward Island, between 1859 and 1863

New Brunswick had approximately 14,000 Sedentary militiamen in 1825 and 27,000 in 1844. The 1837-38 rebellions, the Aroostook War and the Oregon Crisis spurred on the militia, who beginning in this period supported the training of volunteer corps in the southern part of the colony by issuing weapons and uniforms for a lump sum. There was then a period when things were allowed to drift, until 1859, when measures were taken similar to those adopted in Nova Scotia to encourage the training of volunteer companies. These were an immediate success and in the middle of the following year 1,237 volunteers, divided into 23 companies, two cavalry and seven artillery, began holding practices and drill twice a week.

The Prince Edward Island Sedentary Militia included all men from the age of 16 to 60 living in the three counties of the small colony. This militia consisted primarily of infantry companies, but there were also a few artillery and cavalry companies in Charlottetown. In 1829 the militia totalled 5,400. Most were unarmed, a situation that would change little in the 30 years to follow. In 1859 the creation of volunteer companies was given a considerable boost when 1,000 Enfield rifled guns were sent to the colony. The following year there were 800 well-armed volunteers wearing a great variety of uniforms.