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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1800 > 1840-1849

Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1840

Type: Image

The leader of the Patriote movement is shown in this 1840 lithograph. At this time he was in France, having fled Canada at the start of the 1837 Rebellion. (Library and Archives Canada R9266-P2601)

Site: National Defence

British iron guns mounted on iron carriages, circa 1815

Type: Image

Iron carriages were introduced in the British artillery in 1810. They were to be placed ‘in such parts of fortifications as are least exposed to the enemy’s fire’ as it was feared they would shatter if hit by enemy artillery. The examples seen in this photograph are found at the Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site.

Site: National Defence

Officer and gunner, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1840

Type: Image

This unit always had several companies posted in Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1840 for example, officers and men wearing the uniforms shown could be seen in Halifax, St. John’s (Newfoundland), St. John (New Brunswick), Quebec, Montreal, Chambly, Drummondville, Kingston and Toronto with detachments in smaller towns and outlying forts.

Site: National Defence

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

Private Charles Traveller, 70th (the Surrey) Regiment of Foot, 1841

Type: Image

This self-portrait of Charles Traveller, a soldier of the 70th (the Surrey) Regiment of Foot, is one of the few known paintings by a common soldier of the era. Traveller, shown accompanied by his dog, painted the picture in Laprairie in 1841. At the rear, from left to right: the soldiers' barracks (resembling a barn), the officers' barracks (resembling a villa), the light infantry and grenadier companies of the 70th in ranks, the guardhouse and the regimental band. Traveller wears the winter dress uniform of a private of the light company of the 70th. (Parks Canada)

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

23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fuziliers), 1838-1853

Type: Image

The 23rd Foot served in various places in Canada between 1838 and 1853. Its regimental mascot is a goat, a tradition that has since been adopted by its allied Canadian regiment, the Royal 22e Régiment. From left to right: a private, a pioneer, the drum-major and two officers. Note the traditional black silk ribbon worn at the back of the collar by the officers of this regiment. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

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

Reluctant Canadian Politicians

Type: Document

In 1849, responsible government came to Canada, and Canadian politicians now made many decisions, instead of the British Governor-General. The Canadians preferred to leave the cost of defence up to Britain, but did appoint a commission to study militia reform in 1854.

Site: National Defence