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Date > 1800 > 1820-1829

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life

Resource Type > Image

Trooper, Royal Montreal Cavalry, 1824

Type: Image

This 1824 silhouette of a trooper of the Royal Montreal Cavalry unit is one of the earliest known images of a Canadian unit. These militia light cavalry were dressed in the same style as British light dragoons. The uniform was blue faced with scarlet and trimmed with gold buttons and lace. The original silhouette is in the collection of the Musée d'Argenteuil, Carillon, Quebec. The Royal Montreal cavalry was recruited from the Anglophone middle class of Montreal, and was something of a military wing of the Montreal Hunt Club.

Site: National Defence

Coat of Captain William Wells, Grenville Regiment, Upper Canada Militia, circa 1820

Type: Image

From 1814 until the 1830s, militia infantry officers in Upper Canada were supposed to wear, apart from a few exceptions, a scarlet uniform faced with dark blue, trimmed with gilt buttons and gold lace edging the collar and cuffs. This surviving coat of circa 1820 belonged to Captain William Wells (1809-1881) of the Grenville Regiment. It is preserved at Fort Wellington National Historic Site. Wells himself was a prominent Reform politician.

Site: National Defence

Captain George Denison, York Dragoons, 1820s

Type: Image

George Taylor Denison (1783-1853) founded both a Canadian military dynasty and a militia regiment that survives into the 21st century. Also known as the York Light Dragoons or York Cavalry, the York Dragoons were raised in 1822 and attached to the 1st West York (later Toronto) Militia Regiment. After many changes of name, the unit is now the The Governor General's Horse Guards, a Toronto-based reserve regiment. The uniform in the 1820s was a dark blue jacket with buff facings and silver buttons, lace and wings. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Lieutenant-Colonel Gustavus Nicolls, Corps of Royal Engineers

Type: Image

Gustavus Nicolls was the designer of the Halifax Citadel, as well as Fort Lennox (Île-aux-Noix, Quebec). He commanded the Corps of Royal Engineers in Canada from 1815 to 1837. This portrait of circa 1813-1824 is attributed to his wife. (Parks Canada)

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

Officer and gunner, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1828

Type: Image

Detachments of artillery were found in all the large forts in Canada. This print shows the 1828 uniform of an officer (left) and gunner (right) of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. The exagerated 'bell-top' shako is noteworthy. In the long years of peace after the Napoleonic Wars, British military uniforms became increasingly theatrical in appearance.

Site: National Defence

Officer, 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry), 1825

Type: Image

During the 1820s, the uniforms of the British army took on a tighter, more Prussian cut. In the long years of peace following the overthrow of Napoleon in 1815, British dress uniforms became increasingly theatrical. The tall hanging feather plume worn by this officer of the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) is a fine example. The 52nd had earned a formidable reputation with the Duke of Wellington's army in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. The regiment was stationed in Atlantic Canada between 1823 and 1831. Reconstruction by Derek FitzJames. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Grenadier, 24th (the 2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, 1840

Type: Image

This grenadier wears the summer full dress uniform. White trousers were worn in summer, dark grey with red piping in winter. A detachment of the 24th fought at Saint-Denis in November 1837. The Incorporated Militia units raised in Canada during 1837-1838 had similar uniforms. The Canadians had their cuffs and collars in dark blue instead of green. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Sir John Colborne, circa 1820

Type: Image

A veteran of the Peninsular War in Portugal and Spain, General Sir John Colborne (1778-1863) took effective military measures to stem the rebellions in Canada during 1837-1838. This print shows Colborne wearing the uniform of an officer of the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) in about 1820.

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