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Date > 1800 > 1830-1839

Subject > Armed Forces

An old Patriote of 1837

Type: Image

This image of an aged Patriote of 1837 is famous in Quebec. It was created in 1887 as one of a series of 110 by Henri Julien as part of his work as staff illustrator for the "Montréal Star". Much later, the image became a symbol for the Quebec independence movement. Apart from its fame, it is also a good reconstruction of the appearance of a Patriote, agreeing with drawings made at the time. This man wears the everyday clothing of Lower Canadians of the period. The famous ceinture flèche, (literally 'arrow sash') around his waist is an item copied by the French Canadian voyageurs from the Amerindians. (Library and Archives Canada, C-017937)

Site: National Defence

Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer; Governor General of Canada, 1830-1835

Type: Image

Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer (1775-1850) is shown wearing the uniform for colonial governors. Governors and governor generals wore army general’s uniforms until 1824 when assigned a special blue and scarlet military-style dress uniform last worn by Governor General Roland Michener in the early 1970s. Aylmer had a distinguished military record during the Napoleonic Wars. One interesting coincidence is that he served briefly in the Netherlands with the 49th (the Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot under command of Isaac Brock, future hero of the War of 1812. Not an experienced politician when he was sent to take up the governorship, Aylmer was caught in the middle of a bitter ethnic conflict in Lower Canada. In the end, despite wanting to convince French Canadians of his good intentions, the Governor had set in train events that would lead to the Rebellion of 1837. (Library and Archives Canada, C-004809)

Site: National Defence

Weapons

Type: Document

This section illustrates a selection of firearms and bladed weapons used by British and Canadian military units during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Site: National Defence

The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

Military Costumes

Type: Document

This section is a collection of surviving artifacts and period artists' illustrations. Illustrated are uniform coats of officers or enlisted men from a variety of Canadian and British units that served in present-day Canada during the period 1780-1870.

Site: National Defence

Patriotes at Beauharnois in November 1838

Type: Image

Katherine Jane Ellice, who was taken prisoner by the Patriotes at Beauharnois in November 1838, painted this watercolour. The daughter-in-law of the local seigneur, Ellice described her captors as 'the most Robespierre-looking ruffians, all armed with guns, long knives and pikes.' (Library and Archives Canada, C-013392)

Site: National Defence

Volunteers, Québec Light Infantry, 1837-1838

Type: Image

This 1839 lithograph shows two of the uniforms worn by the Québec Light Infantry. At right is a member of Number 4 Company, at left is a member of Number 2, 3 or 5 Company. The regiment was raised in Quebec City in 1837 and commanded by Colonel John St. Alban Sewell, a veteran of the War of 1812. The hastily raised loyalist volunteer units wore a variety of clothing, sometimes with each company clothed differently. An inscription on the lithograph reads 'Comps. 2 & 5 wear same Cap as Compy. No. 4'. The artist, Sir James Hope-Wallace, was an officer of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards who served in Canada. (Library and Archives Canada, C-040757)

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

Military Bands

Type: Document

The British likely introduced the military band to Canada. These regimental musicians were paid for by individual units. Instrumentation favoured flutes, clarinets and percussion. The bands played a strong role in the social life of garrison towns throughout Canada.

Site: National Defence

Loyal militiaman, Frontenac County, Upper Canada, 1837-1838

Type: Image

When rebellion broke out in Upper Canada, loyalist militia in Kingston were issued arms and accoutrements. They wore their civilian clothes and used a piece of white linen as a 'field sign' to distinguish them from the rebels. The same sign had been used during the War of 1812 by militiamen who lacked uniforms. Reconstruction by Douglas Anderson. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence