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Subject > Weapons, Equipment and Fortifications > Equipment, Materials and Infrastructure

Date > 1700 > 1760-1769

British Fleet Lifts the Siege

Type: Document

Despite having won a battle outside the city in April 1760, the French army was unable to retake Quebec. General Murray, commanding the British defenders, refused to give up. A siege began for control of the city, but a British fleet arrived with more men, ending the contest.

Site: National Defence

To the Sound of the Drummer's Beat

Type: Document

Fortified towns like Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Louisbourg were all governed by military staffs. The lives of French soldiers and Canadian civilians alike were regulated by the different drum beatings of the garrison, from La Diane at dawn to La Retraite at sunset.

Site: National Defence

The British Reach Montreal

Type: Document

In September 1760, British forces finally reached Montreal Island. Governor Vaudreuil and General Lévis withdrew their men inside the city walls.

Site: National Defence

A Dead-End Situation

Type: Document

In 1760, the French position in New France was desperate, with three enemy armies due to converge on Montreal in the spring. French general Lévis decided that the only hope was to retake Quebec from the British before the invaders were reinforced.

Site: National Defence

Housing

Type: Document

British army barracks during the 18th and 19th centuries were laid out like crowded dormitories. Each room housed a company (50-100 men) plus any wives. Beds or bunks ran along the sides, with tables and benches down the centre. In Canada, a cast-iron stove heated the room.

Site: National Defence

'Cat of nine tails' whip

Type: Image

The ‘cat of nine tails’ was a whip used to flog soldiers. This one was used in the British 83rd Regiment of Foot. The length of the wooden stick was 43cm (1' 5"), its tails 53cm (1' 9"), and it weighed 141,75 g. (5 ounces). (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Room Arrangements

Type: Document

Barracks rooms were filled with beds, tables and benches. Soldiers in New France slept two or three to a bed, on straw mattresses. Conditions were crowded and often uncomfortable, and no wives were allowed in the barracks.

Site: National Defence

Engineering and Naval Construction

Type: Document

Thanks to its supplies of wood and iron ore, Canada was the site of a shipyard building ships for the French Navy from 1739. A series of warships and transports were built. This site of a major shipyard in a colony was most unusual for the period.

Site: National Defence

Life in Forts and Trading Posts

Type: Document

Outside the St. Lawrence Valley, in the more distant forts and trading posts, the accommodations of the soldiers could be very rudimentary. The situation improved over the years, however, especially in the larger forts built in the eighteenth century.

Site: National Defence

Desertion

Type: Document

Desertion to the king's enemies was considered the most serious crime a soldier could commit. It did take place in New France, but at a much lower rate than in Europe because of the difficulties posed by the country separating New France from the British colonies

Site: National Defence