Monday, February 1, 2016

BOOK: A Neighbourly War: New Brunswick and the War of 1812 by Robert Dallison

A Neighbourly War: New Brunswick and the War of 1812 by Robert L Dallison, 180 pages (including all the references)

Hey, remember when US and Canada went to war? No, nobody does since it was in 1812, and luckily, we had no ill feelings afterward.

Most famous events from the War of 1812? Laura Secord saving the day for Canada, and the burning of the White House before it was called the White House. This book says that the president's house got called The White House after they painted over the char marks from the fire.

Laura Secord? Now I want some chocolate.

Sadly, there is no Laura Secord in this book because it looks primarily at New Brunswick's participation and actions. But here's a Heritage Minute that Canadians grew up with:

Back to the book. It's part of a series of books written about New Brunswick military history and contains all the facts about generals and regiments and cost of buttons for military coats that a history buff would want. But little ole NB was settled, and affected by world wide events, and that part is pretty interesting. Maine and NB were really hoping their self declared truce, between neighbours and trading partners, would hold, but higher powers had other ideas. There is some scuffling over islands on the border. Technically, it wasn't Canada that was at war because we were part of British North America, and this fight was as much about France and Britain, still. France supported the US, and Britain controlled all the money for 'Canada.' Britain was more invested in fighting Napoleon in Europe. (Which reminds me, after reading about Josephine last year, I'd still like to read more about Napoleon.)

New Brunswick ended up with a lot of settlers after the war. Enlisted soldiers and officers were offered land after the war ended. Britain offered shelter to any Americans who wanted to side with Britain after the war, which mostly consisted of escaped slaves. They were also offered land to settle in NB. So, while the military details were not interesting for me, seeing how the geography of NB and the people got information 200 years ago was quite interesting. After the girls traveled by bus to Quebec (13 h drive!) for a ringette tournament, reading how regiments marched to Quebec City, in the winter, gave me a new appreciation for life as a soldier.

There are plenty of pictures of buildings and graves and paintings. The back contains references. a glossary of military terms, and an index. This is a lovely book published by Goose Lane Editions.