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William Francis Butler.png

Although unidentified in any way, I believe that this carte de visite depicts then  Lieutenant-Colonel William Francis Butler of the 69th Regiment.

Born into a cash-poor Anglo-Irish gentry family in 1838, Butler would become a well-travel authority on western Canada and a charter member of Garnet Wolesley's so-called "Africa Ring".

Butler first came to Sir Garnet's attention during the Red River Expedition in western Canada. Butler acted for a time as something of an undercover intelligence officer, traveling through the upper midwest of the United States assessing any possible support the Louis Riel and his rebellious Metis might be receiving from the region.

After the successful conclusion of the Canadian campaign, Butler remained in Canada for some time. He traveled extensively in the west, authoring a book and providing official reports to the government in Ottawa. Received with high praise, the reports help shape the course of Canada's westward expansion.

Wolseley called on Butler again during the Ashanti Expedition in 1874.

In 1877 Butler married Elizabeth Thompson. His new bride was one of the foremost painters in Britain of military subjects with her best-known works including  Calling the Roll After An Engagement, Crimea (or The Roll Call), 1874, The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras, 1875The Defence of Rorke's Drift, 1880, and Scotland Forever!, 1881

He took part in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and in 1882 joined Wolseley once more during the Egyptian Campaign, taking part in the Battle of Tel el Kebir.

During the Gordon Relief Expedition of 1884-85, Butler would convince Wolseley that the Canadian voyageur boatmen who had performed so well in the Red River Expedition might be the perfect solution to getting British troops up the Nile in time to save Gordon and Khartoum. On his return to England in 1886 he was promoted brigadier-general and invested as a KCB.

Butler was appointed commander in chief for South Africa before the Anglo-Boer War but was ordered home before the outbreak of hostilities. Promoted major-general in 1900, he retired in 1905.

This photograph appears to date to around 1880-81, after Butler's service in Zululand and before that in Egypt. He appears to be wearing the 1877-79 South Africa Medal and the Ashanti Medal. Although Butler had served in Canada a good number of years before the photo being taken, the Canada General Service Medal that signified service in the Fenian Raids and Riel Rebellion would not be authorized until 1900.

Carte de Visite

Unknown Photographer

Unknown Location

c. 1880

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