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Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Date > 1800 > 1810-1819 > 1813

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

American Withdrawal Leaves Towns Burning

Type: Document

When the British regained control of Lake Ontario in December 1813, the Americans had to move men to hold their shipyards at Sackets Harbor. Unable to hold Fort George, they burnt both it and the surrounding towns in mid-winter. A unit of Canadian traitors helped them in this cruelty.

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

British Raid on Sackets Harbor Fails

Type: Document

As the summer of 1813 progressed, the British regained control of Lake Ontario, and their fleet covered a landing at Sacket Harbour, the main American shipyard on the Lake. The British were beaten back with heavy losses by the defenders, led by General Jacob Brown.

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

American Raid on York

Type: Document

American efforts to build a navy on Lake Ontario gave them control of the lake in the spring of 1813. They launched a successful raid on the capital of Upper Canada, York (present-day Toronto) in April 1813. The defenders were defeated, and the town partially looted and burned.

Site: National Defence

HMS Shannon and USS Chesapeake entering Halifax harbour, 1813

Type: Image

The British frigate HMS Shannon is shown leading its prize, the American frigate USS Chesapeake into Halifax. The Chesapeake can be seen flying the British ensign over its American flag as a sign of surrender. The Shannon vs. Chesapeake engagement in June 1813 was one of a number of frigate duels fought during the War of 1812. Most were won by the excellent American vessels, but the overall effect of these spectacular battles on the course of the war was modest.

Site: National Defence

Chart - Naval Campaigns 1813

Type: Document

This chart provides a calendar of naval battles between British and American forces off the coast of North America in 1813.

Site: Parks Canada

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