1964.89 | The Start from St. Johns

The Start from St. Johns
Henry Hope Crealock
1862, 19th century
Ink and opaque white
37.1 x 76.6 cm
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The Trent Affair was the most serious diplomatic crisis between the United States and Great Britain during the American Civil War. Aboard the British ship Trent were two emissaries, James Mason and John Slidell, representing the Confederate States of America, a collection of states that seceded from the United States in early 1861. Charged with obtaining official diplomatic recognition for the Confederacy by the European powers, Mason and Slidell were travelling from Cuba to London. On November 8, 1861, Captain Charles Wilkes of the San Jacinto, a United States Navy ship, fired across the bow of the Trent, boarded the vessel and removed Mason and Slidell. This violation of neutral shipping rights, a clear breach of international law, sparked a storm of protest in Britain. With hostilities looming between the United States and Britain, the defence of Britain's remaining colonies in North America became increasingly important. If war erupted, the Canadian colonies would be on the front line of the military conflict.

Over the following weeks and months, thousands of military officers poured into New Brunswick. Viewed as reinforcements for inadequate defences, the troops were welcomed and feted with the respect due an army of defenders and protectors. While many of the troops remained in New Brunswick, others trekked overland to Quebec and Ontario to survey military defences in those colonies, as illustrated in this drawing.

  • What

    Henry Hope Crealock (1831-91), the artist, is depicted in the centre of the drawing, wearing dark boots and a fur coat. He is negotiating with the sleigh contractor.

  • Where

    The artist, Henry Hope Crealock, served with the British Army in the Crimea, China, India, Russia, Austria and Zululand during his military career.

  • When

    Henry Hope Crealock, the artist, joined the British Army in 1848 at the age of seventeen.

  • Who

    Although not visible unless in close-up, the subjects are noted on the drawing: Colonel Henry Hope Crealock, the artist, Colonel Shadwell, Colonel Pearson of the Grenadier Guards, General Rumley, Major-General Lord Frederic Paulet, Captain Grant Gordon of the Scots Fusilier Guards and Captain W.F. Seymour of the Coldstream Guards.