The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum and Archives

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title Tunic of Ensign Malcolm McEachren
Date June 2, 1866
Description 1866 Rifle Green dress uniform tunic of Ensign Malcolm McEachren worn at the June 2nd Battle of Ridgeway where he was shot through the upper abdomen and died shortly after being carried from the battlefield. McEachren was the very first casualty of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada which had been formed in 1860.

There are red bands in the centre of the collar and on the cuffs of each sleeve. The front has five rows of green braiding and knots. Sleeves have green Austrian knots. Back has two arcing vertical green braids with knots and braided buttons. The bullet hole is slightly to the wearer's left above the second braid from the bottom. The tunic is closed with metal loops and hooks and also with ceremonial braided loops and toggles. There is a leather tab on the inside front of the collar.
Catalog Number 01108
Object Name Uniform, Military
Material Wool
Year Range from 1860
Year Range to 1866
Dimensions H-30 inches
Search Terms Fenian Raids
Battle of Ridgeway
Battle of Limeridge
No. 5 Company
Condition Poor
Condition Notes Material is brittle, numerous (moth) holes, extremely faded, missing buttons. Requires cleaning.
Event Battle of Ridgeway
People McEachren, Malcolm
Belcher, A. E.
McDonald, John
Notes This tunic (ca. 1866) was worn by Ensign Malcolm McEachren, a member of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, the oldest continuously operating infantry regiment in Canada. Gazetted as an Ensign on March 30, 1866, McEacheren joined Canadian militia forces near the town of Ridgeway (in the vicinity of Fort Erie) in June 1866 to defend Canada against invasion by American Fenians and in particular to protect the western entrance to the Erie Canal. The Fenians, almost all US Civil War veterans, were Irish sympathizers who rather grandly hoped to hold British North America hostage in return for Britain granting Ireland its freedom. On June 2, 1866, American and Canadian forces engaged each other in what became known as the Battle of Limestone Ridge (or Ridgeway). Shot in the abdomen and mortally wounded, McEacheren became the first person to fall in this battle. This earned McEacheren, 35 year old father of five, the unfortunate distinction of being the first combat casualty (of nine that day) of the Queen's Own Rifles Regiment. Although the Fenians won this battle, they realized that taking Upper Canada would be much more difficult than they expected and returned to Buffalo where they were arrested by US authorities. This would be the very last invasion of Upper Canada by Americans. In 2016 we will be commemorating the 150th Anniversary of this battle.