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Date > 1800 > 1860-1869

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

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

Command of the Militia

Type: Document

From 1867 to 1904, the militia system was commanded by British General Officers who were often in conflict with Canadian Defence Ministers over matters of appointments, budgets, and the role played by Canada’s forces in the Empire. During this period small improvements were made in the staff system and the training of officers.

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

Lieutenant-Colonel William D. Otter (1843-1929) - South African War

Type: Document

Lieutenant-Colonel William D. Otter became the first Canadian-born officer to command this country’s military. As commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in South Africa, his no nonsense, no frills approach to soldiering brought him into conflict with the less disciplined ways of his officers and men, but his austere professionalism got results.

Site: Canadian War Museum

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

Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel B. Steele (1849-1919) - South African War

Type: Document

Recommended as the best man in Canada to lead a unit in South Africa by the North West Mounted Police, Samuel B. Steele took command of Strathcona’s Horse in 1899. After taking the unit back to Canada early in 1901, Steele returned to South Africa that same year to command a division of the South African Constabulary until 1906. He later commanded Canadian formations in England during the First World War.

Site: Canadian War Museum