“So we’re in rags? Then let us show our rags to the world. So we’re defeated? Then let us contemplate our disasters. So we owe them to the Mafia? To hypocrisy? To conformism? Then let us pay our debts with a fierce love of honesty, and the world will be moved to participate in this great combat with truth. The confession will throw light on our hidden virtues, our faith in life, our immense Christian brotherhood. We will at last meet with comprehension and esteem. The cinema is unequaled for revealing all the basic truths about a nation.”
Alberto Lattuada, on the Italian Neo-realist movement.
In March 1813, during the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain, the 104th Regiment of Foot, based in New Brunswick (formerly the New Brunswick Regiment), marched on foot from Fredericton through the St.John River Valley, via Lake Temiscouata and the portage to Quebec city on their way to Kingston, Upper Canada (now Ontario).
This winter trek, which took 34 days of marching over almost two months (February-April), was necessitated by the threat of US invasion of Upper Canada. Indeed, in April 1813 the US invaded, pillaged and burned York (now Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada (this attack helped provoke the burning of Washington, D.C. in 1814), and had plans to conquer the British provinces and incorporate them into the USA.
British forces in its provinces to the north of the US were severely outnumbered and were reliant on militia, natives, and a few regular soldiers. Thus the decision was made to march the 104th Regiment, based in New Brunswick, overland from Fredericton to Kingston.
The use of New Brunswick forces to defend Upper Canada foreshadowed Canadian confederation, joining the separate provinces of British North America together against a common enemy to the south, and demonstrating the importance of uniting against the growing power of the US. In a way the war marked the birth of Canadian nationalism.
The war also showed the military strategic importance of the upper St.John River valley for the British provinces; the valley was the main route of communication between the maritime provinces and the Canadas, and in the winter, the only route open not only for military purposes but even for mail