In the winter of 1813 British North America (now Canada) was at war with the United States. The 104th New Brunswick Regiment of Foot set off on a trek from Fredericton, New Brunswick to Kingston, Ontario (a journey of more than 1100 kilometres) to join the fighting. They marched in snowshoes along the frozen St. John River in temperatures of 27° below zero Fahrenheit through snow 5 feet deep. Every afternoon they had to halt their march and begin preparing their shelters for the night. These they constructed from pine trees they cut in the forest.
They became storm-stayed at lake Lake Témiscouata and a party of three men (Lieutenant Charles Rainsford, Baptiste Gaie and Pierre Patriot) snowshoed 145 kilometres to get help and supplies.
The Regiment did make it to Kingston and they were able to reinforce British troops there, thereby helping to stop American incursions.
2012 will mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The St. John River Society in New Brunswick has compiled research from varied sources in order to map out the definitive route taken by the 104th Regiment of Foot. I was asked to create illustrations recreating the regiment’s shelter building process and Lieutenant Rainsford’s mission.