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Date > 1800 > 1880-1889

Organization > National Defence

York Redoubt, 1882

Type: Image

York Redoubt, built east of Halifax, was the first major fort guarding the harbour’s entrance. The first batteries on the site were constructed in 1793. Over the years, the site was improved. Advances in weapons technology made the site obsolete in the 1860s, and a substantial rebuilding process began, incorporating rifled muzzle loading guns. This engraving shows the Redoubt in 1882. The site is now a National Historic Site.

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

Militia Deficiencies

Type: Document

Deficiencies in the militia included a lack of weapons, the tendency of militia members to lose uniforms and equipment, political interference, and rising economic sacrifices by individual members. These problems were compounded by the lack of a real enemy to focus political interest in solving the problems.

Site: National Defence

Officer cadet, Royal Military College of Canada, 1954

Type: Image

Except for a few details, the full dress uniform of officer cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, remained essentially the same since the college was founded in 1874. As shown in this 1954 photo, only the shakos and pith helmets worn on parade by first-class officer-cadets disappeared, replaced by pill-box caps. (Canadian Department of National Defence, ZK-2049)

Site: National Defence

Formidable Fighters

Type: Document

The peoples of the Pacific coast were formidable fighters during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their warriors used bows and javelins, carried clubs and bone-bladed daggers, and could wear wooden armour. They preferred a mass assault, but treachery during 'friendly' meetings were not rare.

Site: National Defence

Training Camps

Type: Document

The system of militia training camps did not work well as it perpetuated the problem of paying units that arrived for training without a full complement of men. There was a high turnover of men as they left for better jobs, leaving units in a continuous cycle of training new members to replace those who left.

Site: National Defence

Artillery Developments in Canada

Type: Document

The role and importance of artillery to the Canadian Army evolved as artillery technology improved. Canadian gunners began to use artillery in 1871 with 9-pound muzzle loaders and, by 1918, had adopted 18-pound field guns and 60-pound howitzers.

Site: National Defence

Militia Budgets

Type: Document

The budgets allocated by Parliament often affected the size of the militia and how many men would be trained. Cycles of economic crisis and boom in the 1870's had an impact on militia activity and proficiency.

Site: National Defence

Justice at the Muzzle of a Cannon

Type: Document

During the mid 19th century, outbreaks of piracy by Amerindians were met with strong responses by the Royal Navy. In one such incident in 1864, pirates murdered the crew of a merchant vessel. When the Navy arrived and met with armed resistance, 8 villages were burned.

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