The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), June 12, 1866

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A pleasurable excitement was produced here yesterday (Monday) afternoon by the arrival of H.M. Gunboat St. Andrew, one of the improvised flotilla of plated craft hurriedly prepared at Montreal on the earliest intimation of the magnitude and reality of the late Fenian attempt at the invasion of Canada. The vessel had been expected, and the fact that the gunboat Watertown (which was prepared here and manned by men of the Royal Artillery, with field pieces at the forward gangways) had gone down the river to meet the new comer, led to a gathering of people on the wharves, eager to witness the arrival of the fresh water representative of the Royal Navy, and to welcome the advent of the gallant blue jackets amongst us. The St. Andrew no sooner arrived and cast anchor in the harbor, than the crowd increased as the news spread rapidly through the city about five o'clock. The Prince Edward battalion of Infantry, under the command of Colonel Ross, was stationed on the front of Kinghorn's wharf, and the Commandant of the Garrison (Colonel Gibbon), and a number of officers and gentlemen, with a crowd of people, were collected on the wharf and the adjoining points of view. The band of the battalion played national airs in compliment to the sister branch of the service, and the men cheered their new aids from the salt water. The sailors on the St. Andrew clustered on the upper deck forward, and returned the cheers from the "lobsters," as Jack in his funny mood, would no doubt style them. The battalion marched off after the rounds of cheering were completed, but the band went on board the Watertown, whither Colonel Gibbon, Town Major Geraghty, Brigade Major Shaw, Lieut. Colonel Ross, Lieut. French, R.A., and a number of regular and volunteer officers, with His Worship the Mayor, the Police Magistrate, and a number of leading gentlemen of the city, followed, intending to move out to anchorage and go on board the St. Andrew. The Watertown moved off with the band playing "Rule Britannia" and soon lay along side her consort in the emergency service of this Fenian tumult. The party stepped on board, and her commander, Lieut. Spencer Smith, R.N., did the honors of his ship by showing the guns and plating, the magazine arrangements, and other matters of interest to the visitors. The sentries in different parts of the ship presented arms as the party approached, and a squad of marines on the upper deck received the commandant with a general salute. After the vessel had been travelled over, it was intimated that a speech of welcome would be made to the crew, when all hands were called forward to cheer the visiting ship, and the visitors returned to the Watertown. The Mayor then solicited Thomas Kirkpatrick, Esq., to act as spokesman, and this gentleman, in a few well chosen remarks, addressing himself more particularly to the crew, bade them welcome to Kingston. He said the people of Kingston had a lively remembrance of the former presence of the sailors of the Royal Navy in these waters, and he mentioned the ships in service here in 1812 and during the rebellion, alluding to the gallant Captain Sandom and the crew of the "stone frigate," or naval storehouse, where the blue jackets were lodged instead of on board ship. But the Cherokee which was built for them left these waters, and since then up to the present there had been here no ship of war belonging to the navy. The people of Kingston could offer them a hearty welcome, not simply because they had come as a protection in an hour of danger and to drive back the foe which had now left our shores, he trusted, forever, but because the sailors of the Royal Navy had always maintained a good character at this port, which he felt confident the men before him would maintain, and because we had a true love for the British sailor. Lieut. Smith returned thanks in his own name and in behalf of the ship's company for the cordial reception which had been accorded them. He proposed three cheers for the Mayor, Mr. Kirkpatrick and the City of Kingston. These the men gave with a hearty good will, and one of the sailors, evidently a favorite character with the crew, proposed "One more for coming up!" which took amazingly and was tacked on to every round of cheering which followed. The people on the Watertown cheered the St. Andrew, and both united in cheering the Queen. The sailors evidently thought it a fine thing and well worth cheering that they should leave their own ship and come up the river to a fresh water sea for the purpose of having a brush with the Fenians. The vessels parted company with more national music, and all returned much pleased with their visit.

The St. Andrew has a plated battery forward with two guns - a 12 1/2 pounder Armstrong and a 24 pounder, with a battery of like description aft pierced for three guns, but with one 12 pounder. She has a crew of 40 men drafts from the Pylades, and the engineers and some of the ordinary crew of the steamer. The St. Andrew has all the appearance - barring the alterations and refitment - of a market-boat common on the St. Lawrence and Richelieu Rivers.

The Two Gunboats - The gunboats Watertown and St. Andrew remained here all night, the former at her dock, the latter where she came to anchor off the city on her arrival yesterday. The St. Andrew left downwards at an early hour this morning, the Watertown remaining in port all the morning.

p.3 Imports - 11.

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June 12, 1866
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily News (Kingston, ON), June 12, 1866