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Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1800 > 1800-1809

British iron mortar, circa 1810

Type: Image

Mortars were designed to shoot an exploding shell at a very high angle, 45 degrees or more. They were used in the siege and defence of fortifications. An explosive shell was fired up into the air and arced downwards to drop within the enemy defences. When the shell's fuse burned down, it exploded. These projectiles are the 'bombs bursting in air' mentioned in the American national anthem, where they were being fired from a British fleet attacking Baltimore.

Site: National Defence

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

32 pounder guns mounted on traversing wooden garrison platforms

Type: Image

These early 19th century British artillery pieces are mounted on platforms that allow guns to swing in a wide arc and thus follow a moving target such as a ship. These reconstucted carriages are found at the Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site near Montreal, Quebec. The fortifications were built to defend the canal lock - the first built in North America.

Site: National Defence

Private’s coatee, Royal Nova Scotia Regiment, circa 1801

Type: Image

This garment is one of the earliest surviving uniforms known to exist in Canada. It is red with dark blue collar, cuffs and wings, white lace ornamenting the buttonholes and pewter regimental buttons. The Royal Nova Scotia Regiment was raised in Nova Scotia in 1793 and was disbanded in 1802. It served on garrison duty in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It wore this style of uniform from about 1798. (Halifax Army Museum, Halifax Citadel)

Site: National Defence

Military Bands

Type: Document

The British likely introduced the military band to Canada. These regimental musicians were paid for by individual units. Instrumentation favoured flutes, clarinets and percussion. The bands played a strong role in the social life of garrison towns throughout Canada.

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

British at Fort Chambly

Type: Document

After the Conquest in 1760, the British moved into Fort Chambly. This website describes the role of the fort during the invasion of Canada by the Americans in 1775-1776 and again in the War of 1812.

Site: Parks Canada

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

Grenadier private's coatee, possibly of the 3rd Battalion of the Quebec Militia, circa 1803-1815

Type: Image

The crescent-shaped ‘wings’ with fringes at the end of the shoulders of a coatee distinguished the flank companies of a regiment. The grenadier company is distinguished here by a small red grenade on the black shoulder strap. This coatee is possibly the earliest uniform of an enlisted man of the Canadian Militia known to exist. (Canadian War Museum.)

Site: National Defence

The Budding Explorer: Samuel de Champlain: Activity

Type: Interactive Resource

Help the ghost of Samuel de Champlain regain his memory of Canada`s national historic sites in an interactive game for younger children.

Site: Parks Canada