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Date > 1800 > 1830-1839

Subject > Armed Forces > Land Forces

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

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

Militia of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

Type: Document

This report discusses the organizational features of the militia of the separate provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island prior to Confederation.

Site: National Defence

Demobilization and Retirement

Type: Document

Before reforms in the mid-19th century, most British soldiers left the army only when their regiment was disbanded in the aftermath of a war. When this occurred in Canada, men were offered land to encourage them to settle in the colony. Pensions were rare, and worth little.

Site: National Defence

Duties and Honours

Type: Document

British army officers were primarily responsible for supervising the activities of their men. The British took up the practice of awarding military medals only in the nineteenth century. First for officers only, then for all ranks, campaign medals became a source of great pride.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Militia Prior to Confederation

Type: Document

This report discusses the growth and development of the Canadian Militia from its beginnings in early New France until Confederation in 1867.

Site: National Defence

Entertainment

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, alcohol and prostitutes were not the only forms of entertainment available to British soldiers. Cards and dice were popular, as was singing and playing music. The army tried to encourage reading, and it set up schools for the illiterate majority.

Site: National Defence

Mutinies and Desertion

Type: Document

Despite the ferocious punishments they were subject to during the 18th and 19th centuries, mutiny was very rare amongst British troops. Desertion, on the other hand, was a constant problem, and grew worse as travel to the United States became easier during the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Amusements

Type: Document

Outside their unit's Mess, British officers had other recreations when stationed in Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. Amateur theatrical productions and musical concerts were put on by officers. Many painted in watercolours, and fishing, hunting and horse racing were also popular.

Site: National Defence

Pay

Type: Document

A soldier's pay was never high, and very seldom adjusted as the cost of living increased. From 1797 to 1867, the rate was a shilling (12 pence) a day, from which deductions were made for food, clothing and other expenses. Little money would be left to spend as a man wished.

Site: National Defence