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Date > 1800 > 1800-1809

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life

Resource Type > Image

Private’s coatee, Royal Nova Scotia Regiment, circa 1801

Type: Image

This garment is one of the earliest surviving uniforms known to exist in Canada. It is red with dark blue collar, cuffs and wings, white lace ornamenting the buttonholes and pewter regimental buttons. The Royal Nova Scotia Regiment was raised in Nova Scotia in 1793 and was disbanded in 1802. It served on garrison duty in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It wore this style of uniform from about 1798. (Halifax Army Museum, Halifax Citadel)

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

Grenadier private's coatee, possibly of the 3rd Battalion of the Quebec Militia, circa 1803-1815

Type: Image

The crescent-shaped ‘wings’ with fringes at the end of the shoulders of a coatee distinguished the flank companies of a regiment. The grenadier company is distinguished here by a small red grenade on the black shoulder strap. This coatee is possibly the earliest uniform of an enlisted man of the Canadian Militia known to exist. (Canadian War Museum.)

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

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

Officers and midshipmen, Royal Navy, 1787-1812

Type: Image

This early-20th century print shows the development of Royal Navy officers' uniforms during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The grouping to the left has the 1787-1795 uniforms, that at right the 1795-1812 uniforms. The officer in scarlet belongs to the Royal Marines, circa 1795. The Admiral (fourth from the right) is Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson (1758-1805). To the left stands a captain, to his right a lieutenant. Second from right is a midshipmen (naval officer in training) with the distinctive white collar patches of his rank. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Sergeant, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1806-1812

Type: Image

This Sergeant (along with the corporal and gunners shown in the background) wears the uniform of the Royal Regiment of Artillery as authorized between 1806 and 1812. New uniform regulations would be issued in 1812, replacing the pattern of shako these men wear, but many spent the first years of the War of 1812 wearing the uniform shown. Reconstruction by Charles Stadden. (Parks Canada)

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

Soldier’s shoulder belt-plate of the Royal Canadian Volunteers, 1795-1802

Type: Image

This oval brass belt-plate is the pattern issued to the Royal Canadian Volunteers. This two battalion British regular regiment was raised in Canada, and existed between 1795 and 1802. These belt-plates were used to link the two leather belts worn by British soldiers at this time, and most units had a style of plate that was particular to them. In this case, the design is fairly simple - the 'GR' cypher of King George III of Great Britain, surrounded by the unit's title 'ROYAL CANADIAN VOLUNTEER BATTN'. Portraits of the regiment’s officers show that they did not use this pattern of belt-plate, having at least two different versions of their own. (Private collection)

Site: National Defence