History Browser

Search Results

Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Date > 1800 > 1810-1819 > 1811

The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

Sailors, Royal Navy, circa 1800-1815

Type: Image

At the time of the War of 1812, sailors of the Royal Navy — like in most navies of the period — had no prescribed uniform. But in 1623, the Royal Navy adopted a system by which sailors could buy ‘Slop Clothing’ at a fixed price. Generally, the seamen's dress consisted of a blue double-breasted jacket, with brass or horn buttons, a short waistcoat — often red but it could be another colour, blue or white trousers, a round hat, a neckerchief — often black, stockings and shoes. Slop clothing was also avaliable in Canada. An advertisement in Halifax’s 'Nova Scotia Royal Gazette' of 24 November 1813 mentioned a ‘Complete assortment of Slop Cloathing, viz, Men and youth's fine Jackets and Trowsers, Scarlet and blue cloth Waistcoats, Woolen and cotton cord ditto [waistcoats], Striped Cotton and red Flannel Shirts, Great Coats, Pea and Flushing Jackets and Trowsers, men’s flannel drawers’, these later items to face the cold North Atlantic weather.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Timber Now Vital to Britain

Type: Document

In 1806, developments in Europe made access to Canada crucial to Britain's survival. Emperor Napoleon's France blocked access to the Baltic, the traditional source of timber used in building ships for the Royal Navy. Canada was the only alternative source in British control.

Site: National Defence

A Series of Amerindian Nations

Type: Document

During the eighteenth century, the northwest Pacific coast was home to a series of Amerindian nations, including the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Nootka and Salish. These were maritime cultures - excellent sailors and fishermen who depended on the sea's resources

Site: National Defence

A Technological Transformation

Type: Document

The invention of the steam-powered ship in 1807 marked the start of a big change in naval warfare. During the War of 1812, the Canadian-built steamship Swiftsure regularly transported British troops between Quebec City and Montreal, far faster than sailing ships could have done.

Site: National Defence

The Royal Navy

Type: Document

As an island state, Britain gave priority to its navy. The Admiralty (the appointed committee of admirals which made all strategic decisions) governed hundreds of ships worldwide. The Royal Navy used its bases in Canada to help control the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Site: National Defence

The Pacific Coast

Type: Document

Along the Pacific coast, British and American interests clashed throughout the first half of the 19th century. Britain claimed the whole coast, increasing American settlement eventually lead to the Oregon crisis of 1845. This prompted the birth of a British colony on Vancouver Island.

Site: National Defence

The Purported Russian Threat

Type: Document

When the Crimean War between Britain and Russia broke out in 1854, Governor Douglas of Vancouver Island sent frantic requests for troops, ships and weapons to defend against the Russian colony in Alaska. He was ignored in London, and no fighting took place on the Pacific coast.

Site: National Defence

The Crossing

Type: Document

British troops crossing the Atlantic during the 18th and 19th centuries were never comfortable. Transports were very crowded, with men sleeping 4 to a bunk. If bad weather prevented exercise on deck, epidemics were a real possibility. By sail, the trip took 2 or 3 months.

Site: National Defence

A New American Dream

Type: Document

After purchasing Louisiana in 1803, the Americans would pursue a dream of 'Manifest Destiny' - a vision of controlling all of North American. In the short term, Anglo-American relations took a turn for the worse due to incidents between the Royal Navy and American merchant ships.

Site: National Defence