The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

The Royal Canadian Volunteers

A Canadian Regular Regiment

Soldier’s shoulder belt-plate of the Royal Canadian Volunteers, 1795-1802

Caption: Soldier’s shoulder belt-plate of the Royal Canadian Volunteers, 1795-1802

To guard against tensions with the United States, the British decided to raise in Canada a regiment of two battalions to serve only in North America. Recruited in 1794-95, this was the Royal Canadian Volunteers, which is the name that appears on the flags and insignia, although in French they are called the Volontaires royaux canadiens. The complement authorized for each battalion was 750 officers and soldiers, divided into 10 companies. Pay and allowances were identical to those of the metropolitan army. Officers' commissions were granted only to gentlemen living in Lower and Upper Canada. In addition, seasoned officers were chosen to command each battalion. For example, the commander of the first, Francophone, battalion was Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph-Dominique-Emmanuel Le Moyne de Longueuil, who had begun his military career as an officer in the Compagnies franches de la Marine in 1750 and who had been in many battles during the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence. The commander of the second, Anglophone, battalion was Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell, an officer of Scottish descent who had emigrated to Upper Canada; he was a veteran of Butler's Rangers, a friend of the Iroquois and chief of the Scottish Macdonell Clan. 58