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Date > 1800

Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Resource Type > Image

Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hill, British Columbia

Type: Image

Built in 1898-1900 to protect the entrance to the Royal Navy (and later the Royal Canadian Navy) base on the Pacific, the battery has been restored to its appearance during the Second World War 1939-45. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Sailors, Royal Navy, circa 1800-1815

Type: Image

At the time of the War of 1812, sailors of the Royal Navy — like in most navies of the period — had no prescribed uniform. But in 1623, the Royal Navy adopted a system by which sailors could buy ‘Slop Clothing’ at a fixed price. Generally, the seamen's dress consisted of a blue double-breasted jacket, with brass or horn buttons, a short waistcoat — often red but it could be another colour, blue or white trousers, a round hat, a neckerchief — often black, stockings and shoes. Slop clothing was also avaliable in Canada. An advertisement in Halifax’s 'Nova Scotia Royal Gazette' of 24 November 1813 mentioned a ‘Complete assortment of Slop Cloathing, viz, Men and youth's fine Jackets and Trowsers, Scarlet and blue cloth Waistcoats, Woolen and cotton cord ditto [waistcoats], Striped Cotton and red Flannel Shirts, Great Coats, Pea and Flushing Jackets and Trowsers, men’s flannel drawers’, these later items to face the cold North Atlantic weather.

Site: National Defence

The fight of the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, Hampton Roads, Virginia, 9 March 1862

Type: Image

The naval battle between the Confederate States' heavily armed ironclad steamship CSS Virginia (the much altered former USS Merrimack) against the Union navy’s iron ship USS Monitor on 9 March 1862 caused a revolution in naval battle tactics. With its low profile and a rotating turret with only two guns, the Monitor prevailed over her opponent thus establishing the superiority of ships mounted with turrets. Military and political authorities in Canada and Britain followed these developments closely. Contemporary engraving.

Site: National Defence

Wreck of the steamboat Caroline near Niagara Falls, 29 December 1837

Type: Image

The destruction of the American steamboat Caroline in December 1837 caused a diplomatic storm between Britain and the United States. Canadian loyalist volunteers, commanded by a Royal Navy officer, mounted a raid across the border to capture the merchant ship that was supplying William Lyon Mackenzie's Canadian rebels on Navy Island. This 1838 aquatint suggests that the burning ship went over Niagara Falls, but in fact it ran around on a small island before this could happen. (Library and Archives Canada, C-004788)

Site: National Defence

Canadian Illustrated News - Prussian Naval Stataion on the Baltic (The War in Europe. Kiel)

Type: Image

Drawing representing the Prussian naval base on the Baltic.

Site: Library and Archives Canada

The battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805

Type: Image

Although the battle of Trafalgar was fought far away off the southern coast of Spain, this battle had a direct impact on Canada. Admiral Nelson’s victory for Britain insured that the sea lanes to Canada would remain secure and that there would be no major threats from the French or Spanish navies on its coast.

Site: National Defence

La Gloire, ironclad, Marine française, 1859

Type: Image

The French navy’s La Gloire was the first truly ironclad steam powered warship when it was launched in 1859. Its thick 12 cm armour made it immune to the cannonballs of its time. This ship, and its sister ships, worried the British who immediately launched larger iron warships.

Site: National Defence

HMS Shannon and USS Chesapeake entering Halifax harbour, 1813

Type: Image

The British frigate HMS Shannon is shown leading its prize, the American frigate USS Chesapeake into Halifax. The Chesapeake can be seen flying the British ensign over its American flag as a sign of surrender. The Shannon vs. Chesapeake engagement in June 1813 was one of a number of frigate duels fought during the War of 1812. Most were won by the excellent American vessels, but the overall effect of these spectacular battles on the course of the war was modest.

Site: National Defence

HMS Warrior, broadside ironclad, Royal Navy, 1861

Type: Image

HMS Warrior was the first steam-powered ironclad ship in the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1860 in response to the French navy building the world's first ironclad, La Gloire of 1859. As can be seen in this reconstruction by Norman Wilkinson, HMS Warrior retained a full set of sails and rigging. These were a useful way of reducing coal consumption and providing a backup in the case of engine failure. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Sailor, Royal Navy, circa 1807

Type: Image

The dress of British sailors of the early 19th century could have endless variations and embelishments. For instance, some trimmed their blue jackets with white tape at the seams and edges; others had many small brass buttons sewed closely together; the white trousers often had blue stripes; the black tarred hats were sometimes painted with devices or the ship's name painted in white on a black hat ribbon. Shirts could come in blue-striped or checkered versions as well as plain white, red or blue or even white with red or blue spots.

Site: National Defence