Chapter 13

Retraces Arnold's Steps Through Canada


      A more ambitious expedition than the Virginia trip was one that, for the first time, took Second Company beyond the boundaries of the United States. This was in August, 1912. Its purpose was to follow as nearly as transportation facilities permitted the route taken by Benedict Arnold in his invasion of Canada in 1775. The command, consisting of 145 men, including 27 in the Band, left New Haven by a special train on August 18th. At Augusta, Maine, the following day, under escort of the local militia, it paraded to old Fort Western where a memorial tablet to the members of the Foot Guard who went with Arnold against Quebec was dedicated. The inscription on it read:


      Governor Plaisted of Maine accepted the plaque and ex-Governor Rollin Woodruff of Connecticut delivered an historical address. After the exercise the Company went to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Gannett, in whose barn studio they viewed interesting relics associated with Benedict Arnold, and were served a shore dinner on the grounds of the estate. In the afternoon the Company proceeded to the Kineo House on Moosehead Lake having made a brief stop at Winslow, the site of Fort Halifax, where Arnold had crossed the Kennebec. After dinner the Company was conveyed by steamer to Kineo Station where it entrained for Levis, at which place, early next morning, it crossed the St. Lawrence by ferry to Quebec, and marched to its headquarters at the Hotel Frontenac. Later in the day the Company put on a dress parade and review before officers of the Citadel and the Honorable Samuel Hughes, Deputy Minister of Militia and Defense.

      August 21st was spent in Ottawa. The mayor and other officials with a Canadian military unit, escorted the Second Company to luncheon. In the evening an elaborate banquet was tendered the officers at the Russell House.

      The next stop was at Montreal, where after a march to the City Hall, the officers were received by the Mayor and members of the Council. The Company was then taken in carriages to the top of Mount Royal, where luncheon was served in the casino. The forenoon of the next day was spent in a trolley ride about the city, and the afternoon in a trip through the Lachine Rapids. In the evening the Company gave a dinner in honor of prominent civil and military officers of the city and the United States Consul General. By a journey that included Lake Champlain and Lake George the Company reached Saratoga on August 24th and the following day returned to New Haven.

      Another visit to Lexington, Mass., was made June 9-11, 1912 to participate in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of the town. The Second Company took part in a street parade in Lexington and a dress parade and review on Lexington Green.

      At the request of Governor Simeon E. Baldwin, who was unable to go, a detachment of 50 from the Second Company and one of like number from the First Company, went to Saratoga, where on October 18, 1912 the Saratoga Battlefield Monument was dedicated.

      In September, 1912, several days were devoted to the entertainment of many military organizations which came to this city to take part in the celebration of New Haven week. All the factories were opened for inspection and the visitors were given souvenirs, one, a medallion, which was inscribed "Old Elms, New Ideas." The visiting units included the State Fencibles of Philadelphia, the Richmond Infantry Blues, the First Company, Governor's Foot Guard, the Putnam Phalanx of Hartford, the Worcester Continentals, the Varnum Continentals of East Greenwich, R.I., and the Veteran Artillery of the War of 1812. These guests were taken to the Yale dining room for luncheon, and in the afternoon there was a mammoth street parade, which included, in addition to the units already mentioned, National Guard and Naval Militia, sailors and Marines from the USS Ohio and USS Idaho, which were anchored just outside the harbor. In the evening of September 20 there was a military ball in the Second Armory at which some 2,500 persons attended. A feature of this event was a march in which the various organizations came down the drill floor thirty-two file front.

      The Forty-Third Regiment, Duke of Cornwall's Own Rifles of Ottawa, Canada, visited New Haven August 30-September 1, 1913. Immediately upon its arrival it was escorted to the Second Regiment Armory where luncheon was served by the Second Company's commissary. At 4 o'clock there was a street parade, which was halted at Woolsey Hall, where the formal welcome took place, with high state and city officials in attendance. The hall was decorated with British and American flags and patriotic airs of both countries were played by the Foot Guard Band. Following this the troops passed in review at the City Hall and then the Canadians went through some interesting maneuvers on the Green. After the parade the Guard and their guests went in trolley cars to Savin Rock for a shore dinner, given by the Chamber of Commerce. Before the visitors left New Haven they were given a tour of Yale and some of the factories. The Canadians numbered about 400 officers and men during their stay were quartered in the Second Regiment Armory.

      The custom of giving public entertainments continued. On January 22-24, a circus and carnival were held in the Second Regiment Armory, and on March 1, 2, 1915 "The Belle of New York" a comic opera, was given in the Shubert Theater. The REGISTER said: "This was the most extensive and artistic public entertainment ever given by the command."

      When General Washington made his journey from Philadelphia to Cambridge in 1775 he spent a night in Beers Tavern which stood where the Hotel Taft was later relocated. On June 28, 1914 the Foot Guard turned out with drum corps and band to act as escort to Governor Simeon E. Baldwin at the dedication of a tablet placed on the hotel by the Connecticut Society, Sons of the American Revolution, to commemorate the event.

      There was a visit to Waterbury on November 27, 1915 for participation in a military and civic parade in connection with an old home week celebration and the dedication of a new city hall; one to Stamford on June 10, 1916 as escort to Governor Marcus Holcomb in a parade on the 275th anniversary of the town's establishment; and another on October 19th of the same year to Wallingford where Governor Holcomb made the address at the dedication of a boulder and tablet placed near the birthplace of Lyman Hall, one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. On October 21, 1916 eighty-nine members of the Company, in full dress uniform and with old muskets, took part in the historical pageant in the Yale Bowl, an event connected with the commemoration of the removal of the college from Saybrook to New Haven 200 years before. The Guard appeared in the scene depicting the demand of the keys to the powder house by Benedict Arnold in 1775, and in one representing the reception to General Washington in New Haven in 1789. On June 24, 1916 the command turned out with band and drum corps to join with the Naval Militia and Yale Battery in escorting the city battalions of the Second Regiment, Connecticiut National Guard, when they left for Camp Holcomb, Niantic, to await orders for duty on the Mexican border, and on October 28th it took part in a parade to celebrate their return. Two more public entertainments were undertaken and successfully carried out, the first, a comic opera, "Rose Maid" given in the Shubert Theater, February 1-3, 1916, the other, a minstrel show put on in the same place, February 19-20, 1917.

Chapter 14