The Minute Book
Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Modern Guns for Nova Scotia (1900)
Topic: Halifax

Modern Guns for Nova Scotia

The Lewiston Daily Sun, Lewiston, Maine, 20 December 1900

Halifax, N.S., Dec. 19.—Several modern long range guns are now on the way here from England and are to replace less modern armament in some of the forts about the harbor. A few of these forts have at present modern guns but the guns to be mounted now will carry eight miles and make the fortress impregnable. Guns will be mounted on two hills in the neighborhood of York Redoubt fort, one of which is known among the soldiers as "Spion Kop" so closely does it resemble the peak of that name made memorable in the Boer war.

elipsis graphic

Guns at Halifax; 1905

Defending Halifax: Ordnance, 1825-1906; A.J.B. Johnson, No. 46 History and Archaeology, Parks Canada, 1981

By 1905, the defences of Halifax would have the following guns mounted:

 Breech-LoadersQuick-Firing 
 9.2-in.6-in.4.7-in.12-pr6-prTotal
Fort McNab12   3
Sandwich Battery22   4
Below York Redoubt    22
Hugonin Battery   4 4
Ives Point Battery 2 226
Point Pleasant Battery   2 2
Cambridge Battery 2   2
Fort Ogilvie 2   2
Fort Charlotte  3  3
Fort Clarence  2  2
Total31058430

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 23 September 2016 12:54 PM EDT
Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Halifax Explosion; The Devastated Area
Topic: Halifax

The Halifax Explosion; The Devastated Area

On 6 December 1917, the largest man-made explosion known to that date occurred when the munitions ship SS Mont-Blanc exploded in the inner narrows of Halifax Harbour. The resulting explosion killed approximately 2000 and injured a further 9000.

Shown on the Nova Scotia Archives pages for Historical Maps of Nova Scotia is the following map, which details the extent and the degree of damage to the most affected parts of the city:—

"Plan showing devastated area of Halifax City, N.S."

elipsis graphic

Other posts on The Minute Book which reference the Halifax Explosion:—


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Apprehension of Deserters (Halifax, 1860s)
Topic: Halifax

10th June, 1861

"Nile" at Halifax

The British Colonist, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 22 June 1861

The Naval Commander-in-Chief deems it necessary again to make public the notice of last year, respecting Deserters from the Royal Navy, in order that Individuals harbouring or employing such Deserters, may be aware of the penalties to which they will be subject by doing so.

The Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Naval Forces on the North American and West India Station—makes known the following information respecting the rewards for apprehension of Deserters from Her Majesty's Naval Service.

1.—There will be paid to any person who apprehends a naval Deserter, or any Seaman, Marine, &c., endeavouring to escape from a Sea Port Town or from the immediate neighbourhood of the place where their Ships may be, or who may place such Deserter or person so escaping, in any Jail in the province of Nova Scotia, the sum of £3 15s.

2.—Should any Deserter be brought to Halifax and delivered over to then Commanding Officer of the Flag Ship or to any Naval Officer in Her Majesty's Dock Yard, a reasonable amount of travelling expenses, if such expenses have been incurred, will be paid in addition to the foregoing sum of £3 15s.

3.—In any special case, when it can be shewn that loss of time, expense or difficulty has arisen in the apprehension of a Deserter, a further reward will be paid by the Naval Commander-in-Chief in addition to the before mentioned sums, on proof of the circumstances as the case may seem to deserve.

4.—It is enacted, by the Laws of the Province, that whoever shall procure or solicit and Soldier, Seaman, or Marine, to desert Her Majesty's Service, or shall assist any Deserter from Her Majesty's Service in deserting, or concealing himself from such service, knowing him to be a Deserter, shall forfeit not less than Twenty Pounds, nor more than Fifty Pounds; and in default of payment shall be committed to jail for a term not exceeding twelve months.

5.—Whoever shall buy, exchange, or detail; or otherwise receive from any Seaman or Marine, upon any account whatever, or shall have in his possession any arms or clothing , or any such articles belonging to any Seaman, marine, or Deserter, as are generally deemed necessaries, according to the custom of the Navy, shall forfeit not less than Fifteen Pounds, nor more than Thirty Pounds, and in default of payment shall be committed to jail for a term not exceeding nine months.

6.—All forfeitures incurred under the preceding Sections may be recovered, without any reference to any amount of such forfeitures, by summary process before any two Justices of the Peace, except in the City of Halifax, where the same may be recovered before the Mayor and one Alderman, or the Recorder and one Alderman; and one half of such Forfeitures shall in each case be paid to the party on whose information or through whose means the person accused shall have been convicted.

7.—The Naval Commander-in-Chief hereby gives notice, that if any person shall afford such information as may lead to the conviction of any person or persons procuring, soliciting, or assisting Deserters, he will receive in addition to the penalties before mentioned, the sum of Ten Pounds.

8.—Any person reasonably suspected of being a Deserter from Her Majesty's Service, may be apprehended and brought for examination before any Justice of the Peace; and if it shall appear that he is a Deserter, he shall be confined in jail until claimed by the military or naval authorities, or proceeded against according to law.

9.—Local authorities on the Coast of Nova Scotia will be informed by Electric Telegraph when Seamen have absented themselves from their Ship, and the are requested to communicate by Electric Telegraph with the Captain of the Flag Ship or Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief at the Dock Yard, Halifax, on all subjects connected with Desertion.

Note.—The foregoing sums are in Currency.

ALEX'R MILNE,
Rear Admiral and Comm'r-in-Chief.

H.M. Ship "Nile," Halifax, 10th July, 1860.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 19 November 2016

Militia Matters at Halifax (1905)
Topic: Halifax

Militia Matters at Halifax (1905)

103rd Company of Royal Artillery to be Transferred to Canadian Artillery

St John Daily Sun, 10 November, 1905
(Special to the Sun.)

Halifax, Nov. 9.—It was reported at the militia headquarters this morning that nearly all of the 103rd company of the Royal Artillery will be transferred to the Canadian Artillery tomorrow. Several of the other company of Royal Artillery have also expressed a desire to remain. A number of the Royal Engineers have also signified their intention to join the Canadian corps. Besides those already mentioned there are some forty artillerymen who are not connected with any particular company but are familiar with all the supplies and the location of them in the various forts, and these were also to remain. It was learned this morning at the armories that when everything was finally settled the Canadian government will have about 1,200 troops in Halifax. Of that number 650 will be infantry, 460 engineers and gunner and about 100 men on the staff.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 14 October 2016 11:17 AM EDT
Friday, 4 November 2016

Halifax is Vulnerable (1900)
Topic: Halifax

Halifax is Vulnerable (1900)

Sham Battle Results in Success of the Attacking party

Boston Evening Transcript, 3 July 1900

Halifax, N.S., July 3—Halifax was proved to be vulnerable in yesterday's mobilization manoeuvres by the troops in this garrison. The militia and the British regulars were divided into attacking and defending forces and Halifax was declared to be in a state of siege. The attacking party were enabled to make a landing and to successfully force their way for several miles in towards the city. In doing this they captured two companies of the Third Royal Canadian Regiment and took two guns from the Royal Artillery. The umpires decided that the attacking party had scored a success. The defence duplicated some of the mistakes made by the British in South Africa, for it was on account of their lack of a full knowledge of all the roads that it was possible for the attacking party to entrap them and capture a large number of prisoners.

elipsis graphic

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Comment Declined on Halifax Base (1929)
Topic: Halifax

Comment Declined on Halifax Base (1929)

Ottawa Interested in Intimation of Demilitarization in N.Y. Despatches

The Montreal Gazette, 11 October 1929
(By Canadian Press)

Ottawa, Oct. 10.—Canadian officials here received with interest but with no comment the intimation contained in New York news despatches from Washington that on his visit to Canada the Rt. Hon. J. Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of Great Britain, would discuss with the Canadian Government the matter of demilitarizing the naval base at Halifax. This, the despatches said, would be done together with the dismantling of the British naval bases in the West Indies as a "grand gesture" of goodwill towards then United States.

The Imperial government has no authority whatever over Canadian military or naval activities, it was pointed out, all property which was once under Imperial jurisdiction having at various times passed into Canada's hands. The last Imperial troops to garrison Halifax left the Nova Scotian capital as far back as 1906, since when the Dominion has had complete control.

Canada's military and naval establishment in Halifax is extremely modest, and scarcely one that could be considered as constituting a menace to the United States.

At present there is one destroyer, the Champlain, on loan to this country from the British Admiralty, and two minesweepers, the Ypres and the Armentieres. There is also a shore training school, and a dockyard.

With regard to soldiers, Halifax is garrisoned by a small company of the Royal Canadian Regiment, some coast artillery and a few engineers, army service corps troops, ordnance and other administrative personnel.

During the Great War liberal use was made of the port of Halifax by the United States in the transportation overseas of American troops. Since then it has been visited by American warships conveying the midshipmen of the Annapolis Naval Academy on their summer cruise.

Officials here declined to comment on whether this demilitarization question might constitute an interesting feature of the projected London conference, to be held in January. It was suggested to them that the proposal would draw Canada directly into the discussion.

The Prime Minister, a few days ago, declared that no formal invitation had been received by Canada to attend the Assembly.

"There have been communications between this Government and Great Britain," he added, "I suppose these communications might be construed as an invitation."

In any case, he himself would not be able to attend, he declared, on account of the nearness of the parliamentary session to the date of the conference.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)
Topic: Halifax

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)

Military Wharves to be Extended and Other Improvements Made at Once

The Daily Telegraph, Quebec, 22 May 1901

Halifax, May 22—Orders were received from England to-day to have Bellevue, the residence of the commander-in-chief of British North America, put in thorough repair with all possible speed. This is taken to indicate the appointment of a new commander-in-chief before the arrival in Canada of the Duke and Duchess of York. It has also developed to-day that the steamer Evangeline, now on her way from England, has a number of guns for the new forts, southwest of York Redoubt. They are two 9.2 and four 8-inch quick-firing guns of the Cabot pattern.

York Redoubt is to have five new 9-inch and two 7-inch quick firing guns.

The present strength of MacNab's outside battery is two 6-inch breach-loaders and one ten-inch, all quick firing guns. These will be augmented by two more 7-inch guns.

Fort Cambridge will be supplied with two new 6-inch and four 4.7-inch quick-firing guns, while Ives Point battery will get two 9-inch and two 9.2-inch. Some of these are expected on the Evangeline.

Fort Ogilvie's two 6-inch quick-firing guns will be augmented by two more of the same calibre. The casement battery on MacNab's Island will be reconstructed, and three guns now there will be condemned and replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is intended to extend the military wharves on the island in order to get a sufficient depth of water to allow ocean steamers to land armament, etc., there. Fort Clarence is being extended, and a number of men on it will be kept busy there for some time to come. The old guns will be replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is stated that in the defence improvements contemplated, Great Britain is only keeping on her old policy of keeping pace in fortress improvements with those in the fleets of the different nations. Up to within a few years the Halifax forts were thought to be able, with the assistance of the British ships on the station, to cope with the fleet which any attacking nation might send, but there have been great improvements in fighting ships in recent years, and it is to keep pace with these improvements that the six years' work laid out is intended.

elipsis graphic

Battery Locations at Halifax

The following map shows battery locations of the Halifax defences (from Defending Halifax: Ordnance, 1825-1906; A.J.B. Johnson, No. 46 History and Archaeology, Parks Canada, 1981):

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 24 September 2016

They Attacked Halifax
Topic: Halifax

They Attacked Halifax

A Mimic Storming of Canada's Fortified Stronghold
It Proves Unsuccessful
The Garrison Are Able to Hold Off the Attackers, Made Up of the Sailors of the Blake and Tartar

The Montreal Gazette, 11 October 1893

Halifax, N.S., October 16.—There was a mimic war around Halifax to-day. The regulars and local forces, assisted by the various forts, successfully repulsed an attack by the navy. The imperial troops engaged were the King's regiment, the Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery, and the Militia consisted of the 66th Fusiliers, 63rd Rifles and Halifax Garrison Artillery. The warships in the "fight" were H.M.S. Blake and Tartar. The ships attempted to land a force but were driven off by the forts and infantry and artillery. The battle raged furiously, but it was demonstrated that Halifax can successfully repulse an army. A sailor of the Blake had his arm clown off by a cannon discharge and a militiaman had his face scorched, otherwise there were no accidents. To-night two torpedo boats attempted to run the gauntlet of the forts at high speed under cover of darkness, but were discovered by search lights from the first, and figuratively speaks, blown to pieces.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 19 August 2016

New Barracks for Halifax (1902)
Topic: Halifax


Churchfield Barracks

New Barracks for Halifax (1902)

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 21 June 1902

The Imperial government have decided to erect new barracks and construct other works in and around Halifax this summer. A new brick barracks will be built also, married soldiers' barracks, these latter will be built on the site known as Churchfield which adjoins the Garrison chapel on Brunswick street.

The building will be of solid brick, two stories in height and faced with stone. A gymnasium which will be one of the finest in Canada, will also be erected on the site of the present gymnasium on Cogswell street, opposite the station hospital. The quarters at present occupied by the officers of the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers will be razed and new and commodious buildings erected. The new quarters will consist of large mess rooms, parlors, reception rooms, library, servants' quarters, etc. The plans of a new fort are at present under way, and the proposed site is at Sambro. At present the defences of Halifax consist of the Citadel and the harbor forts.

The Citadel, which has only a few modern guns, was condemned some years ago, but is still capable of sheltering within its walls the greater portion of the population of Halifax.

Of the harbor forts York Reboubt is the greatest and most impreganble being armed with 12-inch quick-firing, disappearing guns. MacNab's Island is also well mounted with several disappearing guns of the most modern type.


George's Island

Amongst the other harbor forts may be mentioned George's island, which is strongly fortified, and which commands the entrance of the harbor, also Fort Clarence, Fort Ogilvie, Ives' Battery and Fort Cambridge.

These forts are situated in different parts of the harbor and all are mounted with modern weapons of the latest type and manned by men of the Royal Garrison Artillery, who in tests with the Atlantic fleet have demonstrated the utter impossibility of any vessel, no matter of what tonnage, to enter the harbor without being discovered and blown out of the water.

Besides the harbor forts, look out stations are situated at Camperdown and the Northwest Arm and vessels are sighted and signalled fully twenty miles out to sea.

Modern range finders are on all the forts, and the men of the Royal Artillery take special courses each year in the manipulation of these instruments.

The barrack accommodation for the past ten years has always been a source of complaint and the proposed new changes will be hailed with delight by both officers and men alike.

The officers' quarters of the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers were not at all up to the standard called for by a naval and military station of the importance of Halifax and their proposed improvement will be eagerly looked forward to.

The barrack accommodation for the men, especially the married ones, has been very inadequate, and the new married quarters will fill the long felt want.

At present there is stationed at Halifax the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, a company of Royal Engineers, also detachments of the Royal Army Medical Corps, the Royal Garrison Artillery and the Army Service Corps.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 15 May 2015

The Citadel Condemned
Topic: Halifax

The Citadel Condemned

Historic Fort of Halifax to be Abandoned

Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, 5 May 1899

Halifax, May 4.—The citadel overlooking this city, which has heretofore been considered the strongest fortification in North America, has been condemned. The fort was supposed to be impregnable, but it has seen its last days of usefulness in the capacity of a basis of defence in case of war.

Already the guns have been dumped, and hereafter the place will be little less than a resort for sightseeing tourists. The citadel is 253 feet above the level of the sea, and overlooks the city. It is nearly a mile in circumference. It was constructed at an enormous cost by the British Government, Maroons having been brought to this country to assist in the work. The mortality among these men, however, was so great that the British Government was compelled to send them to the River Niger.

The citadel has several subterranean passages, which are unknown to outsiders. It has been decided by the authorities to use the place in the future for barrack purposes, and one of the regiments now in Wellington barracks will be quartered there.

The dismantling of the fortress will not weaken the Halifax fortification to any appreciable extent, as York Redoubt, which commands the entrance to the harbour, is considered impregnable. It is built of the solid rock, and is mounted with a heavy battery.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 1 May 2015

Withdrawal of British Garrisons (1905)
Topic: Halifax

Withdrawal of British Garrisons

Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 19 April 1905
By: Truman L. Elton

It is by no means likely, even after the departure of the regulars, that Halifax will be bereft of its title of the Garrison City. … Still, the regulars will be missed sadly. The social atmosphere of Halifax will be visibly disturbed. Many of the most famous regiments of the British Army have been stationed there, and at no time since its inception has the garrison been without a liberal infusion of the best blood in the empire. This has furnished the town with much social capital, and its removal will be a social hardship.

The recent determination of the British government to withdraw the regular troops from the remaining garrisons on the American continent has given rise to much speculation. In the absence of any more rational explanation of the action it is safe to accept the reasons which have been advanced by British naval experts and others who are qualified to speak.

 

The theory that Great Britain has only now made up her mind to accept unqualifiedly the American definition of the Monroe doctrine cannot be regarded as absolutely untenable. If it is the American contention—and it seems to be—that any spot on the continent now occupied by a foreign power cannot be suffered to fall into the hands of any other alien trespasser it would be inexcusably extravagant, from an American standpoint, for Great Britain to maintain a costly system of protection for something that is already safeguarded. It is by no means improbable that the time has come when Great Britain can afford to take that view.

However that may be, it has been apparent for a long time that British garrisons in North America were more ornamental than useful, that the reasons for their maintenance were more sentimental than urgent. It has been a costly demonstration too. Neither of Great Britain's remaining southern continental holdings—British Guiana and British Honduras—is self sustaining. For aught that her American insular colonies have yielded her during the last half century Great Britain would have been better off without them. The annual revenues from the West Indian islands have been falling off appreciably. The garrisons have added nothing to the prosperity of the regions in which they were placed. Canada has shown no signs of retrogression since the withdrawal of the garrisons. For some time Halifax and Esquimalt have been the only stations in the north of America supplied troops from British headquarters. Even at these distant posts of the empire only a handful of troops has been considered necessary since the forming of the confederation into the Dominion. The last large regular force in British America was in 1870, when Lord Wolseley made the Red River expedition into the north-west provinces. Immediately after that was completed the fiat went forth that Canada must thenceforth depend upon her militia for standing defence. A few months later the last battalion of regulars was withdrawn, leaving only the 2,000 provided as the garrison of Halifax. This number has remained stationary ever since, the small garrison at Esquimalt, on the other side of the continent, making the complement. During the past year there have been stationed at Halifax only 1,800 men of all arms and at Esquimalt only 369.

It is by no means likely, even after the departure of the regulars, that Halifax will be bereft of its title of the Garrison City. It will still be the most important of the twelve Military Districts of the Dominion. The Wellington barracks, erected at great expense, will be taken over by the Dominion government and set apart as quarters for the colonial military organizations. Still, the regulars will be missed sadly. The social atmosphere of Halifax will be visibly disturbed. Many of the most famous regiments of the British Army have been stationed there, and at no time since its inception has the garrison been without a liberal infusion of the best blood in the empire. This has furnished the town with much social capital, and its removal will be a social hardship.

Halifax dates from the earlier half of the eighteenth century. The Halifax Gazette, the oldest newspaper in British America, first appeared in 1752. The town was founded at least three years before that, and during the Revolutionary war it was made a strong military post by Cornwallis. The Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, was commandant of the garrison in his younger days and supervised the construction of the fortifications which gave the post the reputation of being the strongest fortress in the new world. On account of its situation and natural advantages it has a harbor which is extremely valuable as a naval base. Here it was that Boscawen's fleet collected to convey Wolfe and his troops to the conquest of Quebec.

As the headquarters of the British North American and West Indian squadron Halifax has seldom been without the presence of ships of war. Admiralty House, in Gottingen street, has long been the residence of flag officers. The dockyard, the property of the government, extends for half a mile along the harbor front and contains all the appliances and conveniences for a first class naval station. Its dry dock is the equal of any other on the continent, having a length of 613 feet and a width of seventy feet at the bottom. The city is defended by eleven forts and batteries, one of which, the citadel crowning the hill on which Halifax is built, is reputed to be, after Quebec, the strongest fortification in North America. The city itself extends along the slope of a hill and covers in area three miles in length by one in width. Its present population is not far from 50,000.

The headquarters of the British Pacific squadron were at Esquimalt, a little seaport on Vancouver Island, four miles from the city of Victoria. It has a magnificent harbor capable of accommodating the largest ships afloat. The garrison has for some time been reduced to a nominal basis, and the few remaining regulars will not regret the opportunity to return to the tight little isle. Next to Halifax, St. George and Ireland island, in the Bermudas, had been the most important naval and military stations of Great Britain in the North Atlantic. That Bermuda has been considered an important strategical point in the defence of the empire is shown by the size of the garrison maintained there. Until recently 7,950 men were quartered at that station. Jamaica has had 1,018, besides the colored West Indian regiments recruited there, and Barbados and St. Lucia. The total forms a considerable proportion of the 60,000 and odd soldiers of all ranks with which British colonies all over the world are garrisoned.

St. George, twelve miles from Hamilton, Bermuda, has had a somewhat peculiar history. Some years ago it has assigned as its garrison a battalion of the Grenadier guards which had manifested a disposition to mutiny. These men were sent to Bermuda as a disciplinary measure, and the remedy was most effectual. More recently St. George was a place of detention for Boer prisoners.

Barbados, the most windward of the Windward group, is the headquarters of the British forces in the West Indies, the commanding officer residing there having the rank of major general. St. Lucia, the largest and most picturesque island of the Windward group, possesses one of the finest harbors in the West Indies. It is the second naval station of the empire in the Caribbean region and is also a coaling station. Much treasure has been expended on its fortifications.

Bahama islands were formerly the headquarters of a rather formidable British garrison, but it has been greatly reduced in the last decade and consists now of a sorry remnant whose chief duty it seems to be to afford amusement to the numerous winter guests from the United States at the hotels. There are about 700 islets in the group, which lies east of Florida, the gulf stream intervening. Only twenty-five of these coral formations are inhabited, and most of the residents are descendants of Tories who fled thither for safety during the American Revolution and remained. One of these islands was the first land sighted by Columbus on his earliest voyage of discovery. Whether it was San Salvador or Watling Island is still a matter of dispute, but no one has had the temerity to deny that it was one of the 700.

Trinidad is the largest of the British West Indies except Jamaica. It is the southernmost of the Windward group, but it is not classed with those islands. It is a crown colony, the affairs of state being administered by a governor, assisted by executive and legislative councils. Port of Spain, the capital, is one of the finest towns in the West Indies. The garrison has long been reduced to a minimum. Trinidad is one of Great Britain's few self supporting American colonies. Her revenue is about equal to her expenditure. This island also has the distinction of having been discovered by Columbus.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 29 March 2015

A Canadian Garrison for Halifax; 1905
Topic: Halifax

The Garrison for Halifax

One Thousand Canadians to Assemble

St John Daily Sun, 27 November 1905
(Special to the Sun)

A militia order issues yesterday states that barrack accommodations being now available at Halifax, the following troops will proceed there on or about the fourth of December:

Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, Nos. 1 and 2 companies, as strong as possible.
Royal Canadian Regiment, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 companies, as strong as possible.

The following will proceed with the troops:

Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery —Lt. Col. T. Benson, on command.
No. 1 Co. —Capt. A.T. Ogilvie, Lieut. G.P. Loggie, Lt. T.W.S. Coburn, Lt. S.G. Bacon.
No. 2 Co. —Lt. E. Clairmonte, Lt. W.G. Beeman, Lt. L.S. Vien, Lt. A.H. Harris.

Royal Canadian Regiment
No. 1 Co. —Major A.E. Carpenter.
No. 2 Co. —Capt. J.H. Kaye.
No. 3 Co. —Capt. J.D. Doull, Lt. R.F.C. Horetsky.
No. 5 Co. —Capt. F.F. Uniacke, Lt. F. du Domaine.

The officers commanding the Western Ontario and Quebec commands are to inspect these details prior to their departure for Halifax.

A special inspection report is to be forwarded to headquarters for the information of the minister in militia council. The necessary transport arrangements will be made by the quartermaster general and duly communicated to all concerned. Wives and families upon the married establishment will either proceed with or follow the troops. A careful medical examination is to be made of the several detachments, and in the event of any non-commissioned officer or man being found medically unfit for service a medical board will be assembled with a view to his discharge.

The amount of baggage is limited to that fixed by regulations.

The officer commanding maritime provinces with the officer commanding H.M. regular forces is to arrange barrack accommodation for these troops and other necessary details.

As a result of this movement of the permanent force 1,000 Canadian soldiers will have been drafted to Halifax from Toronto, Kingston, and Quebec. Of this number 700 will be infantry men, nearly 200 will be artillery and the remainder will consist of details for the other branches of the service, engineers, army service corps, ordnance corps, pay staff, hospital corps, etc.

All are to be in Halifax before December 15th, when the forces will then be of the same strength as the imperial forces have been for some time, and in all the corps will be numbers of men which have served with the imperial forces on the station. The Canadian engineers, it is said, will be the only corps that will not be complete by the time mentioned, and the Royal Engineers will therefore probably remain for some months longer.

Officers of the Royal Artillery are posted as follows:

R.C.H.A. —Lt. A.W. Jamieson to B Battery, Lt. H.E. Beak to A Battery.

R.C.G.A.
To No. 1 company —Lt. G.P. Loggie, Lt. T.W.S. Cockburn, Lt. S.G. Bacon.
To No. 2 company —Lt. And Bvt. Capt. C.S. Wilkie, Lt. L.S. Vien, Lt. A.E. Harris.
To No. 3 company —Lt. J.E. Mills, Lt. A.S. Wtight, Lt. E.B. Irving, Lt. De la C. Irwin.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Torpedo Boats at Halifax; 1901
Topic: Halifax

Torpedo Boats at Halifax; 1901

While the many ships of the line have well recorded histories and available photos. Often the smaller vessels of navies have been overlooked in the same respect. The image used in the postcard displayed above shows two unnamed (un-numbered?) torpedo boats at Halifax. The posting of a copy of the original photo on the image sharing site fickr dates the image to 1901.

The presence of Royal Navy torpedo boats at Halifax can be confirmed in a selection of news items during the period of the photo.

elipsis graphic

Torpedo Boats for Halifax

Daily Mail and Empire, 25 January 1896

It is stated in naval circles that two first-class torpedo boats will be sent to Halifax in the spring. They will be larger and more powerful than those now there. The torpedo boats will be accompanied to Halifax by one of the transports.

elipsis graphic

War Vessels' Novel Race

Torpedo Boat, With Ten Miles Start, Will Be Chased by Destroyer

The Evening News (San Jose, California), 26 August 1899

"HMS Quail at Halifax LAC 3332863" by Notman Studio of Halifax - This image is available from Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-028440 and under the MIKAN ID number 3332863. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.Library and Archives Canada does not allow free use of its copyrighted works. See Category:Images from Library and Archives Canada.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

It is learned that a notable speed test between the torpedo boat destroyer Quail and torpedo boat No. 61 is to be held off Halifax soon.

The proposed test will have two objects, says the New York Press, in that it will demonstrate how long it will take a torpedo boat destroyer of the Quail's class to overtake a torpedo boat of 22 knots when the torpedo boat has a ten mile stat, and also it will decide whether the torpedo boat in these days is of much importance to a fleet.

No. 61 will be given 30 minutes start to enable her to get ten miles out to sea. Then the Quail will stat in pursuit. In a run of 100 miles, it is said, she will overtake the torpedo boat on her way back, pass her, and anchor in the dockyard 50 minutes ahead.

elipsis graphic

Naval Fight at Halifax

Torpedo Boat Attack on Fleet Planned by Admiral

The Montreal Gazette; 28 August 1901

Halifax, N.S., August 27.—Admiral Bedford has ordered a torpedo boat stack on the fleet on Thursday at midnight. During the day the ships will leave port and, during the night attempt to enter the harbour. An attack will be made on all the vessels by the torpedo boats. The manoeuvres will be the first of the kind attempted here.

All of the vessels of the fleet will be engaged by the attacking force, and it is the intention to bring very gun into use. The torpedo boats will be laying in wait in one of the coves for the fleet and will suddenly pounce upon the war vessels. The admiral and officers will have no previous knowledge as to the whereabouts of the torpedo boats. The torpedo boats destroyer Quail will act as an advance guard and she, with the assistance of the search lights on the cruisers, will endeavour to locate the enemy and when located the entire fleet will engage them.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 6 March 2015

Royal Artillery Park
Topic: Halifax

Royal Artillery Park

The postcard image above will be recognizable to anyone familiar with Halifax. With a cancellation stamp dated 31 July, 1937, the image dates from shortly before the Second World War. The Lord Nelson Hotel, shown in the lower left, was constructed in 1927, setting an earliest date for the image.

In the centre, middle ground, of the image can be seen Royal Artillery (RA) Park, a long standing defence establishment abuting the glacis slope of the Citadel and still occupied today by the Department of National Defence.

RA park today; Google maps image.

From The Evolution of the Halifax Fortress, 1749-1928 (Harry Peters, 1947), we can find some remarks on the evolution of RA Park:

The row of two barracks in Artillery Park was extended in 1812 by the building of a 1 ½-storey quarters for two captain and two subalterns of the Artillery. The western end of the park was enlarged in 1812 by shifting the location of whet is now Queen's Street, so that the street became curved for a distance of 310' between Artillery Place and Sackville Street. The land was obtained from J.G. Pyke for £823 by a jury award of 20 April, 1812, and the alteration of the highway was authorized by an act of the Assembly. This gave room for the erection between 1811 and the early summer of 1816 of the 110'-long, 1 ½-storey [Royal Artillery] Officers' Quarters and Mess Room.

A closer look at RA Park as shown in the c.1930 postcard above.

Peters also notes the result of "Inspectional Reports" for 1 July 1814, 31 July 1815 and 1 January 1816 which described:

This completes an east-west row of four buildings:

(a)     RA Commanding Officers' Quarters (1804-8)

(b)     Enlisted Mens' Barracks (1803-4)

(c)     Officers' Quarters (1812)

(d)     Officers' Quarters and Mess Room (1814-16)

elipsis graphic

Cambridge Library, on Queen Street, RA Park, was begun on 3 November 1885, the estimate cost having been £1,350.Besides the Library, the Park also gained a fine building for Artillery and Engineer Officers Quarters, erected between 8 May, 1901, and 26 March, 1903 at a cost of £7,105, and to the east, on what had been the Royal Engineers' Square, arose the long Brick Block (C) of the South Barracks(quarters for both single and married soldiers), built between 15 July, 1904, and 30 April, 1905, at a cost of £6,928.

Accompanying footnotes added:

Until 1929, this building (Artillery and Engineer Officers Quarters) served as District Headquarters. To make room for its north end, about two-thirds of the eastern part of the old wooden Officers' Quarters between the Mess and the Soldiers' Barracks had been demolished.

[Brick Block (C)'s] construction necessitated the removal of the former R.E. Officers' Quarters and of the ancient, diagonally placed, small wooden structure south of there which had once been the quarters of the Commandants of the Artillery and of Engineer.

elipsis graphic

A footnote on the last page of the text of Peters' work gives us one more glimpse of RA park:

Artillery Park (RA Park). In the autumn of 1946 the old red frame buildings (presumably those noted by Mr. Piers as built during the period 1800-15), having become completely unserviceable, were demolished, to the vast improvement of the appearance of the Park.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2015 2:29 PM EST
Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Halifax Explosion Averted (1905)
Topic: Halifax

Halifax Threatened by Fire on George's Island

One of the Buildings of Fort Charlotte Burned But the Great Quantities of Explosives are Dumped Into the Harbour by Bluejackets and Soldiers

One of the military officers told your correspondent that had the magazine blown up not a whole pane of glass would have been left in Halifax.

St. John Daily Sun; 28 October 1905
(Special to the Sun)

Halifax, N.S., Oct 27.—One of the strongest and oldest forts which protect Halifax harbor is Fort Charlotte, on St. George's Island, its frowning embrasures facing the seaward, commanding the approaches. It is the centre of the submarine mining operations which are carried on extensively in the surrounding waters. In the oil department of the main store building on this island fore broke out this evening and for two hours the flames licked the building, devoured a great deal of valuable property, and threatened the submarine mines building. In this building was a vast quantity of submarine mine supplies, officially estimated as worth a quarter of a million dollars. Had the wind been a few points more to the eastward, this building could not have escaped, but as things turned out, it was not perceptibly damaged. The main store building, where the fire originated, and where it burned itself out, was completely destroyed. In this building, which formerly was a barracks, which was located beside the oil department, the carpenter shop, the general mechanical department, the cook house, and a large space devoted to stores. The light, inflammable material furnished just the kind of stuff for a rapid spread of the fire and the flames licked their way along so quickly that in a few minutes after discovery they were rising in red forks and great sheets through the roof.

At first the men on duty on George's Island thought they could fight the fire alone, but they saw the futility of this, and assistance from the fleet and mainland was asked by submarine telephone. There was indeed cause for genuine alarm, for in the burning building was a large quantity of dynamite and some powder. But before the fire reached the dynamite section, sailors from the second cruiser squadron and soldiers from the Wellington barracks, who had responded to the call for help, had dumped the explosive into the harbor, where it can be recovered by divers. The gun cotton, of which there was enough to shake Halifax, a half mile distant, had it exploded, was lying loose, in which condition it burned harmlessly as if but so much paper.

The fire fighting appliances on George's Island at the disposal of the military were meagre and primitive, consisting of several hand engines which produced a very feeble stream, but, such as they were the soldiers and sailors worked them with vim and made the most of them. The bucket brigade was almost as effective as the hand engine men, passing water up from the harbor saturating the dry grass and adjoining buildings. Stray lots of powder blew up, but the magazine was some distance away, underground, and the tremendous disaster that would have followed its ignition and explosion was never more than a remote possibility.

One of the military officers told your correspondent that had the magazine blown up not a whole pane of glass would have been left in Halifax. The chief loss is the mechanical stores, one of the heaviest items in this being an immense quantity of platinum for electrical purposes. The submarine wire cables were also destroyed. When the sky was most lurid with the reflections of the burning buildings and people were fearful that a terrible explosion might occur at any moment, the towboats with appliances responded to a call and the powerful streams that were directed by them were so effective that by 9.30 o'clock all danger of further spread of the flames was past. The origin of the fire is a mystery and no one on the island could offer any explanation of its cause.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 20 November 2014

New Barracks for Halifax 1902
Topic: Halifax

The Brunswick and Cogwell Streets area of Halifax, as shown on an 1894 map of the city.The Brunswick and Cogwell Streets area of Halifax, as shown on an 1894 map of the city.

New Barracks for Halifax

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 21 June 1902

The 1928 map of Halifax shows the changes in construction in the Glacis Barracks and Churchfield areas.

The 1928 map of Halifax shows the changes in construction in the Glacis Barracks and Churchfield areas.

The Imperial Government have decided to erect new barracks and construct other important works in and around Halifax this summer. A new brick barracks will be built also, married soldiers' barracks, these latter will be built on the site known as Churchfield which adjoins the Garrison chapel on Brunswick street.

The building will be built of solid brick, two stories in height and faced with stone. A gymnasium which will be one of the finest in Canada, will also be erected on the site of the present gymnasium on Cogswell street, opposite the Station hospital. The quarters at present occupied by the officers of the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers will be razed and new and more commodious buildings erected. The new quarters will contain large mess rooms, parlors, reception rooms, library, servants' quarters, etc. The plans of a new fort are at present under way, and the proposed site is at Sambro. At present the defences of Halifax consist of the Citadel and the harbour forts.

The Citadel, which has only a few modern guns, was condemned some years ago, but is still capable of sheltering within its walls the greater portion of the population of Halifax.

Of the harbor forts York Redoubt is the greatest and most impregnable being armed with 12-inch quick-firing disappearing guns. McNab's Island is also well mounted with several disappearing guns of the most modern type.

Amongst the other harbor forts may be mentioned George's Island, which is strongly fortified, and which commands the entrance of the harbor, also Fort Clarence, Fort Ogilvie, Ives' Battery and Fort Cambridge.

These first are situated in different parts of the harbor and all are mounted with modern weapons of the latest type and manned by men of the Royal Garrison Artillery, who in tests with the Atlantic fleet have demonstrated the utter impossibility of any vessel, no matter of what tonnage, to enter harbor without being discovered and blown out of the water.

Beside the harbor forts, look out stations at Camperdown and the North West Arm and vessels are sighted and signalled fully twenty miles out to sea.

Modern range finders are on all the forts, and the men of the Royal Artillery take special courses each year in the manipulation of these instruments.

The barrack accommodation for the past ten years has always been a source of complaint and the proposed new changes will be hailed with delight by both officers and men alike.

The officers' quarters of the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers were not at all up to the standard called for by a naval and military station of the importance of Halifax and their proposed improvement will be eagerly looked forward to.

The barracks accommodation for the men, especially the married ones, has been very inadequate, and the new married quarters will fill the long felt want.

At present there is stationed at Halifax the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, a company of the Royal Engineers, also detachments of the Royal Army Medical Corps, the Royal Garrison Artillery and the Army Service Corps.


Churchfield Barracks, on Brunsick Street, Halifax, is the last remaining structure of the 1902-3 building program to improve barracks in this part of the City.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 20 November 2014 12:02 AM EST
Friday, 14 November 2014

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)
Topic: Halifax

Guns for New Fort at Halifax

The Daily Telegraph, Quebec, 22 May 1901

This map, from the Parks Canada History and Archaeology publication #46, Defending Halifax: Ordnance, 1825-1906 (Parks Canada, 1981), shows the locations of gun batteries surrounding Halifax Harbour in 1905.

Halifax, May 22.—Orders were received from England to-day to have Bellevue, the residence of the commander-in-chief of British North America, put in thorough repair with all possible speed. This is taken to indicate the appointment of a new commander-in-chief before the arrival in Canada of the Duke and Duchess of York. It has also developed to-day that the steamer Evangeline, now on her way from England, has a number of guns for the new fort, southwest of York Redoubt. They are two 9.2 and four 8-inch quick-firing guns.

York Redoubt is to have five new 9-inch and two 7-inch quick-firing guns.

The present strength of McNab's outside battery is two 6-inch breach-loaders and one ten-inch, all quick-firing guns. These will be augmented by two more 7-inch guns.

Fort Cambridge will be supplied with two new 6-inch and four 4.7-inch quick-firing guns, whiles Ives Point Battery will get two 9-inch and two 9.2. Some of these are expected by the Evangeline.

Fort Ogilvie's two 6-inch quick-firing guns will be augmented by two more of the same calibre. The casemate battery on McNab's Island will be reconstructed, and three guns now there will be condemned and replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is intended to extend the military wharves on the island in order to get a sufficient depth of water to allow ocean steamers to land armament, etc., there. Fort Clarence is being extended, and a number of men on it will be kept busy there for some time to come. The old guns will be replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is stated that in the defence improvements contemplated, Great Britain is only keeping on her old policy of keeping pace in fortress improvements with those in the fleets of the different nations. Up to within a few years the Halifax forts were thought to be able, with the assistance of the British ships on the station, to cope with the fleet which any attacking nation might send, but there have been great changes and improvements in fighting ships in recent years, and it is to keep pace with these improvements that the six years' work laid out is intended.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Garrisoning Halifax 1905
Topic: Halifax

One Thousand Men Will Go To Halifax

As fast as British leave Canadians Will Take Their Place

The Daily Telegraph; Quebec, Thursday, 30 November, 1905

Ottawa, Nov. 30—By the middle of next week Canada will have over a thousand men in Halifax. This is about two thirds of the number of men Canada will have there when the defence is entirely taken over. At the present time Canada has about 450 men at Halifax; 250 infantry, 100 artillery and 100 engineers. Most of the artillery and engineers were enlisted from the British garrison.

On Monday two officers and 62 infantrymen and 8 officers with 213 artillerymen will leave Quebec for Halifax. Tuesday one officer with 41 infantry men will leave London, One officer and 170 artillerymen will leave Toronto and two officers with 62 infantrymen will leave St. John's, Quebec. This makes a total of 583 to be moved on the first of the week and with the 450 at Halifax now will bring the total number of Canadian defenders to 1,033.

As fast as accommodations are made for Canadians by the departure of the British forces men will be sent on to Halifax from the various places where they are being gathered. The eventual strength of the garrison will be 720 infantry, 525 artillery, 100 engineers and 200 made up of details of army service corps, store medical corps and ordnance corps. This will make the strength between 1,550 and 1,600.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Garrison Church Parade, Halifax, 1901
Topic: Halifax

The Garrison Church Parade

(From an American visitor's description of his visit to Halifax.)

Boston Evening Transcript; Wednesday, 14 August, 1901
(Mark Sullivan — Special Correspondent of the Transcript.)

Halifax, N.S., Aug 12.

The forty-five thousand people of Halifax have the creditable record of supporting forty-five churches—forty-four and the Christian Scientist, to be exact. But the Garrison church, just under Citadel Hill, is the Sunday morning Mecca of the tourists who spend the Sabbath in Halifax. About half-past ten one begins to hear the distant bugle calls at the widely separated barracks occupied by the engineers, the infantry and the artillery. A little later there is the music of fife and drum in one direction and of a brass band in another, and the next sound is the heavy tramp of marching feet as the soldiers file up to the church door.

For my own part I rather regret I did not follow my companion's urging to be content with the event when we had watched the soldiers file up the church steps, and come away to attend service in another church. One may be but an indifferent churchgoer himself and yet resent seeing a church service reduced so completely and utterly to a mere matter of form. Tommy Atkins goes to church because General Orders No. 505 says he must. He marches up the church steps in fours, he bends his knee in fours, he files into pews in fours, he sits down in fours—in short, the whole thing is done in fours, per military regulations. The individual soldier's manner is grave and respectful. You can detect in no face any expression that jars with reverence. There is no whispering, everything is done with punctilious correctness and formality. And yet the stranger, accustomed to churches where people attend for other reasons than General Order 505, and where there are women in the congregation, is quick to miss some intangible thing whose lack makes him vaguely uncomfortable; and is apt to realize with perfect vividness for the first time in his life perhaps the exact meaning of that not always subtle something, the spirit as distinguished from the act. His next emotion is apt to be a silent tribute to the wisdom of that college president who a generation in advance of his time abolished compulsory chapel.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014 2:25 PM EDT
Sunday, 21 September 2014

Cannon Girt Halifax
Topic: Halifax

Cannon Girt Halifax

A City Dominated by the Military

The Remarkable Strength of the Harbour's Defences—America the Nation at Which All Guns Point

(Extracts from an American visitor's description of his visit to Halifax.)

Boston Evening Transcript; Wednesday, 14 August, 1901
(Mark Sullivan — Special Correspondent of the Transcript.)

This map, from the Parks Canada History and Archaeology publication #46, Defending Halifax: Ordnance, 1825-1906 (Parks Canada, 1981), shows the locations of gun batteries surrounding Halifax Harbour in 1905.

Halifax, N.S., Aug 12.

"I wonder," said a fine old Roman Catholic priest, a chance companion of the voyage, who stood beside me on the forward deck as we rounded Sambro Light and faced the fort-lined sides of Halifax harbour, "I wonder if England ever stops to decide in her own mind just what her purpose is in spending a half million yearly on new fortifications for this harbour" Or does she keep it up like her court customs and her legal fictions, just because she began it a hundred and fifty years ago, and it would be a violation of precedent to stop."

"And I wonder, too"—here the priest pointed to the new redoubt on the left, built after the style of Gibraltar, where a dozen cannon mouths peer from holes in the solid rock like watchful giants in their caves taking a twilight look for lurking enemies before they go to bed—"I wonder, when an imaginative young lieutenant sights those guns in practice and aims them at the harbour mouth, what nation's flag he has in his mind's eye as a target? If he's learned anything at all at Sandhurst, more than how to keep his shoulders straight and carry his sword correctly, he must know that in the modern system of naval warfare, Germany and Russia and France, with their coal supply three thousand miles away, can't disturb him here."

"No, my friend," and the priest became very earnest, "if ever those guns are fired in anger, your country and mine will feel the wound. It's not nice, I know, in these days of Anglo-American billing and cooing to point out that while John Bull is squeezing out maiden fingers with one hand, he's getting a tighter grip on his sword with the other. And how futile it all is, after all; how Chinese to point guns at the inevitable, just like beating a drum to keep away thunder. It's a sure as fate you'll see the day, my friend—I won't for I am old; it will come either through trade of war or natural fellowship—when an American fleet will single-file down this harbor, and the American flag will fly on every fort from York Redoubt to the Citadel."

How soon or late Canada may seek, or accept under pressure, a union with the republic is a subject on which the priest and you and I and Canada may have each his own opinion (though it may be said in passing that one sanguine American's opinion has been changed by a recent trip through Canada); but of the enormous strength of the defences with which the empire is surrounding her "Warden of the North" there can be no manner of doubt.

At the Halifax Club they tell the story of an American naval officer who, shortly after the Venezuelan incident, visited the club as a guest of a fellow-countryman living in Halifax, and embarrassed his host and tested the urbanity of the British officers present by saying that when the incident began to look threatening he was in London, and cabled to Washington for permission to capture Halifax, adding that he had a plan by which he could do it without the loss of a ship.

Maybe he could; one does not know what plans and checks and counter-moves may lie in the drawers of locked cabinets in the Naval Department in Washington; but to the civilian tourist the regular indentations of the fortifications look like nothing as much as angry teeth, and Halifax harbor suggest the open mouth of a prostrate lion, sleeping now, but ready to crush and grind with those iron teeth when time hay serve. You are quite ready to believe what you are told a dozen times before you have been in Halifax a day, that on any one square foot of the harbour 200 guns can be trained at a moment's notice. When you know in addition that a man can sit at a keyboard in a room beneath twenty feet of stone and concrete on George's Island and manipulate wires which cover the bottom of the harbor like a piece of lace, then you wonder whether a spider on a chip could float down that harbor in safety. An attacking admiral would literally have

"Cannon to the right of him,
Cannon to the left of him,
Cannon in front of him."

After he had passed McNab's Island, if ever he got so far, he would have cannon back of him, to say nothing of the sunken mines and the two low, vicious little torpedo boats which hide in the coves and inlets and come darting out and scooting across the water like enormous insects, and at night point their search-lights about the harbor like watchful ogres.

And there are more fortifications than the casual tourist can see from the harbor. I had been in Halifax for a day and was driving through Point Pleasant Park, revelling comfortably in the mingled odors of wild roses and spruce and fir, as far as well could be from any thought of war, when we rounded a clump of trees and came plump upon a group of forty sweating Tommies tugging and straining to get a thirteen-inch gun with the paint of Woolwich fresh upon it into position in a new three-gun battery.

"Heavens," I exclaimed. "Another battery away up here. Why, you can't see this from the harbour."

Cabby was immensely tickled at his American fare's astonishment. "Of course you can't see it from the harbor," he said, "that's the reason it's here, and there's four more like it up here in the woods behind the hill." Then he added with a delightful grin, "Oh, I guess that man Dewey of yours won't come up this harbor very soon."

elipsis graphic

For a hundred and fifty years Halifax has been a scene of martial activity. War has always been kind to her. As I drove along the road to Bedford, cabby pointed to a handsome residence behind some maples: "one o' the richest families in Halifax," he said.

"Indeed," I replied; "How was the fortune made?"

"Privateerin', I think," said cabby.

On inquiry of better sources than cabby I learned that many of the older fortunes in Halifax, on which second and third generations now live in retired comfort date back to the early part of the century when the local merchants fitted out privateers to prey on the commerce of England's enemies. Still other fortunes rose from the enormous profits made on the captured prizes which the British men-of-war brought to Halifax to sell. Still later, during our Civil War, this garrison city was a hotbed of Southern sentiment and a rendezvous for hundreds of blockade runners; and many a retired Haligonian captain in slippered comfort sips rare wine today as the prize of four years of adventurous and profitable activity in eluding American men-of-war.

elipsis graphic

A garrison of two thousand soldiers, with more than a hundred officers, with the commander of his majesty's forces always a distinguished general and often a member of the royal family, with several score officers from visiting warships always in port, naturally the garrison dominates the social life of the city. It extends through all grades of society. While Lieutenant Trevelyan sings "Danny Dever" to my lady's accompaniment, Private Thomas Atkins dances for Jane below, and if, as Kipling assures us,

"The colonel's lady and Judy O'Grady
Are sisters, under their skins."

why, probably the tender nothings above stairs and below are much the same. Every time a regiment is ordered off for duty in South Africa or India or elsewhere, there are two results in the families of well-to-do Halifax; much sighing among the daughters and much searching for new maids and cooks among the mothers."

elipsis graphic

Truly, 't is "the army and navy forever" at Halifax. From morning till night the bugles keep the echoes flying about Chebucto head. In the morning you are wakened by the heavy clanking tread of a squad of the engineers' corps going from Citadel barracks to work on the new fortifications at Herring Cove. At breakfast you are startled by the booming of the cannon in the harbor; and the waiter tell you that a French man-of-war has just come in, and is giving two salutes—one to the military commander of the garrison, and one to Admiral Bedford of the British North Atlantic Squadron, whose flagship, the Crescent, spends the summer in Halifax, and the winter at Bermuda. Later on, a British officer, every detail of dress and manner the perfection of good form, gloved and booted and spurred, drops with clanking sword into the seat beside you on the street car. You take the ferry to Dartmouth, and pass H.M.S. Quail at the King's Dock, with a score of barefooted sailors washing down her decks; a little further up you see a line of dirty sailors carrying baskets of coal to the bunkers of the Indefatigable; out in the stream, a squad of marines are having sword drill on the Crescent, their sabres flashing rhythmically in the sun. At twelve o'clock you set your watch by the boom of cannon. After supper, "tea" it is in Halifax—you sit on the hotel porch and watch two thousand Tommies stroll by in all his varieties of uniform, but always with the same absurd little cane, his day's duties over, now mostly a-wooing bent.

As the twilight dies away you make up your mind to take a lonely row up the Northwest Arm in the moonlight. As you push out into the harbor you see the black bulk of the flagship lit up with colored lights. A little later you hear the ship's band strike up the "Marseillaise," in honor of the visiting Frenchman. There is an interval of silence, and then the "Blue Danube" floats out across the water, and you realize that the officers of the fleet are giving a ball on the flagship; so you draw your boat close up under the shadow of the ship and listen to the music and the voices, and watch the gay uniforms and dresses.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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