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Date > 1800 > 1830-1839

Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts

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

Entrance to the Rideau Canal at Ottawa, circa 1838

Type: Image

The Sleigh Bay entrance to the Rideau Canal is a spectacular sequence of eight locks climbing 25.3 metres from the river to the plateau above. This watercolour of circa 1838 shows the entrance from the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Construction work on the canal began here in 1827. Alongside the locks can be seen two stone buildings - the Commissariat on the west side (here, to the right) and the Ordnance (or Royal Engineers) Building on the east side. The former survives today as the Bytown Museum. Barracks Hill, just to the west of the locks, is now the site of the Canadian Parliament Buildings, built starting in 1859. (Library and Archives Canada, C-011864)

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

British iron guns mounted on iron carriages, circa 1815

Type: Image

Iron carriages were introduced in the British artillery in 1810. They were to be placed ‘in such parts of fortifications as are least exposed to the enemy’s fire’ as it was feared they would shatter if hit by enemy artillery. The examples seen in this photograph are found at the Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site.

Site: National Defence

Fort Henry, Kingston, 1839

Type: Image

Fort Henry was the largest and most modern fort built by the British Army in Upper Canada and was nicknamed ‘the citadel of Upper Canada’. This watercolour was made in April, 1839, during the aftermath of the 1837-1838 Rebellions in Canada. Restored in the 1930s, the Kingston, Ontario structure is now one of the major historic sites in Canada. (Library and Archives Canada, C-000510)

Site: National Defence

British iron mortar, circa 1810

Type: Image

Mortars were designed to shoot an exploding shell at a very high angle, 45 degrees or more. They were used in the siege and defence of fortifications. An explosive shell was fired up into the air and arced downwards to drop within the enemy defences. When the shell's fuse burned down, it exploded. These projectiles are the 'bombs bursting in air' mentioned in the American national anthem, where they were being fired from a British fleet attacking Baltimore.

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

32 pounder guns mounted on traversing wooden garrison platforms

Type: Image

These early 19th century British artillery pieces are mounted on platforms that allow guns to swing in a wide arc and thus follow a moving target such as a ship. These reconstucted carriages are found at the Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site near Montreal, Quebec. The fortifications were built to defend the canal lock - the first built in North America.

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