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Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life

Resource Type > Image

Date > 1700 > 1770-1779

Loyalist soldier, 1776-1783

Type: Image

Several corps of Loyalists connected with Canada wore this pattern of red uniform with green facings. Jessup's King's Loyal Americans, formed in 1776 to accompany General Burgoyne's expedition are noted in red faced green. The Loyal Nova Scotia Volunteers, raised by Nova Scotia Governor Francis Legge were also recorded in these colours in 1783 by a German officer. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Private, The Royal Highland Emigrants, 1775-1776

Type: Image

The Royal Highland Emigrants, the artificers and the sailors defending Quebec City in 1775-1776 all had, according to Lt. William Lindsay of the Quebec ‘British’ Militia: ‘buff vests and breeches, and the Royal [Highland] Emigrants, Seamen, and Artificers in green, with scarlet facings, cape [collar] and cuffs’. The Highlanders received their government tartan kilts, red coatees faced with blue and bonnets in 1777. In 1779, the regiment was made part of the British regular army as the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants). By 1782, the kilts had obviously worn out as they had been turned into ‘Plad [sic] trousers’ and ‘tartan trousers’. So, in effect, trews had been made out of the kilts. New kilts were not issued as, by May 1784, ‘Breeches in lieu of half plaid’ were being issued to the men shortly before the battalion was disbanded in June. Reconstruction by Charles Stadden. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Private, Royal Fencible Americans, Fort Cumberland, 1775-1776

Type: Image

During the siege of Fort Cumberland (formerly the French Fort Beauséjour) during the winter of 1775-1776, the soldiers of this newly raised unit had no uniforms; old blankets and even barrack rugs were pressed into service. Reconstruction by Derek Fitzjames. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Haldimand, Governor General of Canada, circa 1770

Type: Image

Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718-1791) served as Governor General between 1778 and 1784. He had to safeguard Canada while keeping the pressure on the Americans' northern frontiers just as his British garrison was being reduced. He therefore used German mercenary troops as garrisons while promoting raids deep into American territory by parties of Loyalists and Mohawk Indians. This portrait shows him in the uniform of a field officer of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot in the early 1770’s. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Gunner, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1777 Burgoyne expedition

Type: Image

Before General Burgoyne's 1777 expedition started south from Canada, the British troops modified their uniforms to make them more suitable for fighting in North America. This gunner of the Royal Regiment of Artillery wears the resulting uniform. Coats had their tails cut off short. Separate breeches and gaiters were replaced by one-piece gaiter-trousers. The felt tricorne hat was cut down to make a cap, which was given a crest of horse hair dyed red. A period drawing by Friedrich von Germann, a German officer with Burgoyne’s army, shows all of these details. Visible in the background is a howitzer on a Congreve pattern field carriage. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Officer, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1778

Type: Image

This officer of the Royal Regiment of Artillery wears the traditional blue coat of a British gunner. During the American War of Independence, companies of British artillery were posted in large garrisons such as Quebec and Halifax but also had small detachments in the frontier forts.

Site: National Defence

American rebel soldier during the siege of Quebec, 1775-1776

Type: Image

The rebel forces laying siege to Quebec in the winter of 1775-1776 suffered greatly from the harsh climate. They were forced to improvise winter clothing and shelter. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Guidon bearer, Brunswick Dragoner-Regiment Prinz Ludwig, 1776-1777

Type: Image

Among the German mercenary troops arriving at Quebec in 1776 was a unit of cavalry from Brunswick. Dragoner-Regiment Prinz Ludwig (or 'Prince Ludwig's Dragoon Regiment') was supposed to be given horses in North America, and wore high leather riding boots. Still waiting for horses, they marched south with General Burgoyne's army in 1777 and were captured after the British defeat at Saratoga. Recruits sent from Brunswick allowed the regiment to be reformed at Quebec in 1781. This man's uniform is in the traditional cornflower blue of the Brunswick dragoons. He holds a swallow-tailed cavalry flag called a guidon. Its pole is made in the form of a joisting lance, a fashion of the time. In the centre of the guidon is white horse of Niedersachsen, the crest of the Dukes of Brunswick. Confusingly, a very similar white horse of Hanover was used on British flags at this time. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Soldier, Butler's Rangers, 1778-1783

Type: Image

Butler's Rangers were uniformed in green, with red facings. This man, dressed for campaigning, wears his lapels buttoned over. There is record of a leather cap worn by the unit, but reconstruction shows an unofficial substitute - a kerchief. There is also some information that Butler's men wore green smocks on some occasions. All in all, this famous (or infamous) regiment must have presented a very mixed appearence in the field. Reconstruction by G. A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence