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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1700 > 1770-1779

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

Americans Forced On the Defensive

Type: Document

Trying to strike back at the Loyalist raiders who caused such trouble, the American rebels sent troops to destroy Iroquois settlements in 1779. Although thousands of refugees were forced to flee, the raids continued with increased strength, with the rebels generally on the losing side.

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

A Return To Earlier Methods

Type: Document

After 1777, in order to keep the American rebels on the defensive, the British adopted the old Canadian tactic of raiding enemy settlements. The raids were made by mixed groups of Amerindians and soldiers. The troops used were American loyalists such as Butler's Rangers.

Site: National Defence

Fears of French Fleets

Type: Document

France's 1778 entry into the American Revolutionary War spread fear in several places. The Maritimes worried about a French fleet disrupting shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence or attacking Newfoundland. In Quebec, officials worried about Canadian reaction to a French landing.

Site: National Defence

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

The Americans Repulsed

Type: Document

During the battle of New Year's Eve of 1775, a column of American rebels led by General Arnold made one last attack on Quebec City. Arnold was wounded and many of his men captured when British governor Carleton attacked the rebels from behind.

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

The Invasion of Nova Scotia

Type: Document

Throughout late 1775 and into the summer of 1776, the garrison of Nova Scotia increased in numbers. Colonial regiments raised in America from loyal subjects were an important part of the garrison. Along with additional British regular troops, they secured the colony for the Crown.

Site: National Defence

Entertainment

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, alcohol and prostitutes were not the only forms of entertainment available to British soldiers. Cards and dice were popular, as was singing and playing music. The army tried to encourage reading, and it set up schools for the illiterate majority.

Site: National Defence