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Date > 1700 > 1750-1759

Subject > Politics and Society > War Art, Literature and Music > Paintings and Drawings

Camp of the 43rd Regiment of Foot during the siege of Fort Beauséjour, June 1755

Type: Image

The men of the British 43rd Regiment of Foot were part of a 2,000 strong army under Lietenant-Colonel Robert Monkton that took Fort Beauséjour after a brief siege in the summer of 1755. At left can be seen men of the grenadier company, distinguished by their pointed mitre headdresses. In the centre are ordinary soldiers who have the tricorne hats worn by most of the regiment. The young men to the right are drummers, wearing coats with reversed colours (white with red facings instead of red with white). This was intended to make drummers easy to spot in a fight, which was important, since drum beats were used to give orders. The presence of women and children seem odd in a military encampment, but each British regiment would have a small number of soldiers' families following them on campaign. Reconstruction by Lewis Parker. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Grenadier of the régiment de Guyenne (left) and a corporal from the régiment de Béarn (right), circa 1756.

Type: Image

These men wear the special Canadian version of their regimental uniform, made to specifications of the Ministère de la Marine (the Ministry of the Navy - responsible for French colonies). At left is a grenadier of the Régiment de Guyenne. His moustache marks him as a member of the elite grenadier company, since other French soldiers of the period had to be cleanshaven. His uniform looks much like the European pattern, save for the lack of collar to his grey-white. The Canadian uniform of the régiment de Béarn showed more changes. It had blue cuffs and waistcoat, pewter buttons, and silver lace - very distinct from the red collar, cuffs and waistcoat, brass buttons, and gold lace worn in Europe. The corporal of the régiment de Béarn (right) wears loops of silver lace on his cuffs as a mark of his rank. Reconstruction by Eugène Lelièpvre. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Drummer, Compagnies franches de la Marine, New France, 1755-1760

Type: Image

This drummer of the Compagnies franches wears the livery of the king of France, with its distinctive lace - crimson with an embroidered white chain pattern. Drummers were often distinctively dressed to make them easy to spot in the heat of battle. This was because the only practical way of transmitting orders to a large group of men before the perfection of portable radios was by means of distinctive drum beats. Officers had to be able to find a drummer quickly, even in a confused mass of soldiers, hence the special uniform. Reconstruction by Eugène Lelièpvre. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Soldiers, French régiment de la Reine and régiment de Languedoc, circa 1756

Type: Image

These French soldiers of the régiment de La Reine (left) and régiment de Languedoc (right) wear a special Canadian version of their regimental uniform. When units of the troupes de la Terre (the French metropolitan army) were sent to New France in 1755, they were issued with uniforms more suitable for colonial service, made to specifications from the Ministère de la Marine (the Ministry of the Navy - responsible for French colonies). In this illustration, both men wear their grey-white coats (made without collars for Canada), but it was expected that when in the field, these would be left behind and only the waistcoat would be worn. For La Reine, the use of red waistcoats (as opposed to the blue used in Europe) was one of the obvious distinctions seen in the Canadian uniform. Languedoc's uniforms were identical in colour to their normal European pattern. Reconstruction by Eugène Lelièpvre. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Gunner, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1751-1764

Type: Image

This British artilleryman wears the blue coat of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Gunners in most European armies wore dark-coloured clothing to disguise the dirt and grime that soon disfigured anyone firing artillery using gunpowder propellant. The yellow lace was added to the uniforms in 1750, and this pattern of clothing was worn from 1751 to 1764. Reconstruction by Derek Fitzjames. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Private, 58th Regiment of Foot, 1757-1762

Type: Image

The 58th Regiment of Foot was one of several British units sent to America in 1757 in preparation for the attack on Louisbourg. Although the siege did not begin until 1758, the regiment saw the capture of the fortress and was present at the capture of Quebec the following year. This soldier is shown in marching order, carrying his pack and haversack. His red coat shows the black regimental facings of the 58th Foot on its cuff and lapels. The uniform is unusual for British infantry of the period because the regimental lace is yellow instead of the normal white, and the coat lining (seen on the turned back coat tails) is buff instead of white. Reconstruction by G. A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Private, light company, 48th Regiment of Foot, 1759-1760

Type: Image

During the Seven Years' War, the British infantry regiments in North America converted one of their ten companies into a 'light company.' These men were trained to fight in the forests. Like the other units, the light infantry of the 48th Regiment of Foot modified their uniforms to match their new role. Coats were cut short to make movement easier in the bush. All of the white regimental lace was removed to make the men less conspicuous. The large tricorn hats were cut down to make caps that would stay on when moving in the woods. All in all, this uniform of 1759-1760 is much different from the one worn by the men of the 48th when they were involved in General Braddock's disasterous defeat at the Battle of Monongahela in 1755. Reconstruction by G. A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Grenadier, 17th Regiment of Foot, 1750s

Type: Image

The 17th Regiment of Foot arrived at Halifax in 1757. It took part in the siege of Louisbourg as part of Brigadier James Wolfe's brigade. The 17th’s grenadiers were surprised by a French sortie on 9 July 1758. Their captain, Lord Dundonald, and part of the company were killed. The regiment was later part of General Amherst’s army, advancing up Lake Champlain in 1759 and down the Richelieu River in 1760. It fought at Île-aux-Noix and was at the surrender of Montreal in September 1760. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Private, 50th (Shirley's) or 51st (Pepperell's) Regiment of Foot, 1754-1756

Type: Image

Shirley's and Pepperell's Regiments were units of the British army raised in Massachusetts at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. Both were largely captured by the French in 1756 while part of the garrison of Oswego. The units were disbanded. This American colonist wears the red coat of a British regular, with red regimental facings. Reconstruction by G. A. Embleton. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Major-General James Wolfe

Type: Image

The portrait shows Major-General James Wolfe in the all red uniform that he frequently wore during the siege of Quebec and probably also during the siege of Louisbourg as well. This type of all red uniform dated from the days of the Duke of Marlborough as an optional field dress for officers. The original source for this 1766 portrait is a sketch made by Captain Hervey Smyth, Wolfe's aide-de-camp during the siege. The black band worn around Wolfe's arm is a mourning band in remembrance of the general's father, who had died in March 1759.

Site: National Defence