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Bill Thayer

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Appendix A

This webpage reproduces an appendix in
Esquimalt Naval Base

Frederick V. Longstaff

The Victoria Book & Stationery Company, Ltd.
Victoria, B. C. 1941

The text is in the public domain.

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Appendix C

 p151  Appendix "B"

Peters, Colonel James. He was born in September, 1853, at St. John, N. B. He first served as a bugler in 1870, when the 62nd St. John Fusiliers was called out for service during the second Fenian Raid. In 1872, he was commissioned as Lieut. in the same regiment. On 10th July, 1874, he was commissioned as Lieut. to "A" Battery of Garrison Artillery and School of Gunnery at Kingston. In 1880, the two Batteries changed stations, "A" going to Quebec, and "B" to Kingston. In 1883, by which time a third Battery "C" had been authorized, the three Batteries were formed into a Regiment to be known as The Regiment of Canadian Artillery. In May, 1893, Queen Victoria approved the several Corps of the Permanent Force being designated "Royal", and this of course included The Regiment of Canadian Artillery. On 6th of May, 1878, Lieut. Peters was given the brevet rank of Captain. In 1881, he was the adjutant of the first Canadian Artillery Team to compete at Shoeburyness.

During the Second Riel Rebellion, 1885, he commanded "A" Battery in the actions at Fish Creek, Batoche, and operations against Chief Big Bear's band. The details are as follows: On 26th March, (1885) "A" and "B" Batteries were both ordered out on active service and left at 8 P.M., on 27th. Captain Peters commanded "A" and Major Charles John Short commanded "B", but at Qu'Appelle the Batteries parted company, "A" joining the main column under Major-General Middleton, which marched on Prince Albert, while "B" went to Swift Current, where it joined Colonel Otter's column. At Fish Creek, on 24th April, "A" Battery came under fire for the first time. One portion of the enemy, consisting evidently of picked shots, made a stand in good rifle pits in a ravine, and it was while attempting to drive these men out that the Battery suffered its greatest loss. In his despatch after the action, Major-General Middleton reported: "Captain Peters with great pluck and dash led the dismounted men of "A" Battery, supported by a party from the 90th Regiment (Winnipeg Rifles), under Captain H. N. Ruttan, and gallantly attempted to dislodge them, but they were so well covered and were able to bring such heavy fire on the party advancing, without being seen, killing three men, two  p152 of the Battery and one of the Rifles, that I resolved to leave them. . ." For his services Captain Peters was mentioned in Despatches. During the campaign he acted as correspondent for the "Quebec Chronicle" and also carried a carbine camera, with which he took many photographs, some of which appeared in "The Illustrated London News" and in the "Graphic". These were the first photographs probably ever taken in action in Canada.

Captain Peters was promoted Major on the 6th October, 1887, and in the following November was in command of "C" Battery when it left Kingston. Travelling on the C. P. R. the Battery arrived at Burrard Inlet, where it took a steamer to Victoria and arrived on 10th November, 1887. On the return of "C" Battery to the Eastern Provinces in 1893, it proceeded direct to the Citadel at Quebec, having left Victoria at midnight on Saturday, 19th of August. Major Peters was promoted to Lieut.‑Colonel on 20th August, 1893, and remained behind at Victoria as D. A. G., while Colonel Holmes went to Winnipeg as D. A. G. Lieut.‑Colonel Peters remained in Esquimalt until the South African War, when he served for a short time at Toronto, relieving Colonel W. D. Otter; then a brief period at Montreal. On 1st April, 1901, he was appointed to London, Ontario, as District Officer Commanding, Military District No. 1, remaining eight years. He was posted back to Work Point Headquarters, Esquimalt, on 1st September, 1909,​a and retired from the service in 1910, having completed 37 years of service in the Active Militia and Permanent Force of Canada. He made his home on Peters Street, Esquimalt, where he died on 7th May, 1927, and was buried at the Naval Cemetery.

Thayer's Note:

a See Jack Bates, History of Work Point Barracks, Part 4, 1909.

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