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Attempts to Increase Military Strength

Type: Document

Despite their disunity, the staff of New France agreed on one thing - the need for more fighting men to defend the colony. During the winter of 1756-57, Governor Vaudreuil reorganized existing resources, and two more battalions from the French metropolitan army were dispatched.

Site: National Defence

Weapons

Type: Document

This section illustrates a selection of firearms and bladed weapons used by British and Canadian military units during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Site: National Defence

Corruption Causes Hardship

Type: Document

In 1756, the graft of Canadian-born François Bigot, Intendant (and chief financial minister of New France) made a bad situation worse. His theft and corruption led to rampant inflation in New France, which impoverished many officers, particularly the French-born ones without local incomes.

Site: National Defence

French Victory on the Plains of Abraham

Type: Document

The April 1760 battle of Sainte-Foy was a fierce one, but the British army was defeated. General Murray was able to retreat back into the city of Quebec in good order, despite his army having taken twice the casualties of the French force under General Lévis.

Site: National Defence

James Fitzgibbon's 1820 testimonial regarding Laura Secord

Type: Document

In June 1813, James FitzGibbon (1780-1863) was a lieutenant of the 49th (the Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot in command of the British outpost at Beaver Dams. He received warning from Laura Secord (1775-1868) of an impending American surprise attack, and his instructions led to their ambush and surrender. FitzGibbon had a remarkable military career, which reached its high point when he was largely responsible for preventing Mackenzie's rebels from taking Toronto in 1837. This testimonial was reproduced in ‘From Brock to Currie’ (Toronto, 1935).

Site: National Defence

Military Costumes

Type: Document

This section is a collection of surviving artifacts and period artists' illustrations. Illustrated are uniform coats of officers or enlisted men from a variety of Canadian and British units that served in present-day Canada during the period 1780-1870.

Site: National Defence

Quebec Surrenders

Type: Document

In 1759, both the British and French generals were fatally wounded during the battle of the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe died on the field, and Montcalm the next day. Before dying, Montcalm ordered the French army to surrender the city and retreat to Montreal.

Site: National Defence

A Stalled Effort

Type: Document

In the late summer of 1759, time pressed on the British besiegers of Quebec - to avoid winter, they would have to raise the siege in October. After the failure at Montmorency, Wolfe's British army began a campaign of pillaging and burning Canadian homes, striking at the Canadian militia.

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

Mutual Dislike Between Colonial and Metropolitan Officers

Type: Document

Both General Montcalm and Governor Vaudreuil wrote to their respective superiors in the fall of 1756, complaining of the other's behaviour. The officers of New France had split into two hostile camps: Canadian-born (led by the Governor) and French-born (led by Montcalm).

Site: National Defence