Old St. Andrews



The Trent Affair



St. Andrews Beacon, Nov. 28, 1912
The "Trent" Affair
The Part St. Andrews Played in It

There is a page in the history of St. Andrews that should not be forgotten. It is the part that St. Andrews played in what is known as the "Trent Affair," when Great Britain and the United States came dangerously near a war with each other. Troops were rushed here from Halifax and Saint John to be pushed through to Quebec. At that time the New Brunswick and Canada Railway was operating between St. Andrews and Canterbury. Beyond that and Quebec no rails were laid, and the journey through to Quebec from Canterbury in the depth of winter was a most hazardous and uncomfortable one. [By the way, the late Charles F. Smith, of Montreal, who built a beautiful summer residence here a few years ago, was one of the British soldiers who passed through St. Andrews and on to Quebec to defend the honor of his country.]

There are those in St. Andrews who recall the cumbersome box sleds that the commandant of the troops ordered to be made here to carry the ammunition and stores through. These sleds were made by the late Mr. Robert Alexander, wheelwright, (father of Mrs. Angus Rigby,) but as predicted by those having experience on our winter roads, they did not prove themselves adapted to our wintry conditions, and had to be abandoned before they had proceeded very far, and something more wieldy provided in their stead.

The troops, so far as our information goes, were landed at Gove's wharf, St. Andrews, New Year's Day, 1862.

From an old diary of the late Mr. Whitlock, which has been kindly placed at our disposal by Miss Whitlock, the following extracts are made:

—- Jan 1/1862—Dull, rain and snow, rain. The 62nd Regt. and detachment of artillery (600 men) arrived in the Steamer Delta from Halifax; 300 went up to Woodstock on the R. Road; left here at 2 o'clock; Charles Gove's stores were fitted up for their accommodation; they landed on is wharf. Jan 5.

—The remainder of the troops went up to Woodstock today (300 men) Jan 10.

—Delta arrived from Halifax, 250 troops, 62, 16 and R. A. Jan 13.

—Troops left for Woodstock Jan 19.

—400 troops, artillery and men of war with 6 Armstrong guns, ammunition and stores, arrived from Saint John.

[the finely pencilled lines in the last entry are a little indistinct, but he above seems to be their contents. Unfortunately further entries of this valuable diary bearing upon this historic subject have been lost.]