28 May 2012

War of 1812 flag being restored
104th Regiment of Foot marched with flag from Fredericton to Kingston

CBC News

A flag that was marched by the 104th Regiment of Foot from Fredericton to Kingston, Ontario during the War of 1812 is being restored for an exhibit about the war, being held at the New Brunswick Museum next year.

The regiment consisted of men from the Maritime provinces and what was then Upper and Lower Canada.

"It's kind of almost like a Canadian regiment before there was a Canada,” said Gary Hughes, a curator of history and technology at the museum.

The regiment is in the history books for making the epic 1,100-kilometre trek during the winter of 1813 to help defend Canada from American invaders.

"It was a march that was conducted with the aid of snowshoes and toboggans,” said Hughes.

Historian Donald Graves edited the memoirs of Lt. John Le Couteur, who kept a journal throughout the 52-day trek between February and April, when temperatures dropped as low as -27C.

"You learn from the journals that it was a very difficult thing — going through snow waist-high, 800 men and their supplies, dragging their food on toboggans,” he said.

The regiment’s colour — a six-by-six foot silk banner and military symbol — is being refurbished in Halifax, thanks to an unknown donor.

The New Brunswick Museum's exhibit is slated to begin in December 2012, or January 2013, before the 200th anniversary of the historic march, and remain on display until the late fall of 2013.

The restored flag will be on permanent display at Saint John's Market Square following the museum's exhibition.