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Resource Type > Image

Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts

Date > 1700 > 1790-1799

Typical British field artillery of the War of 1812 - brass six-pounder field gun

Type: Image

The six-pounder gun was the most common piece of artillery found in the field during the War of 1812. The description 'six-pounder' refers the weight of a solid shot (popularly known as a cannon ball) fired by this type of gun. Both the United States and Great Britain used guns of this size. In fact, some of the American guns were captured British pieces dating back to the American Revolution of 1775-1783. Only the British used the more modern block-trail carriage shown here, however. The wood of British artillery carriages was painted grey and the iron parts black.

Site: National Defence

The billeted soldier's departure, circa 1790

Type: Image

In 18th century Canada, a good many soldiers were ‘billeted’ (lodged) in private houses rather than in barracks.

Site: National Defence

British field artillery limber at the time of the War of 1812

Type: Image

Limbers were small two-wheeled wagons that provided the ‘front wheels’ for cannon whose trail was hooked up to the limber for travelling. The limber boxes, also used as seats for gunners, contained ammunition and various tools for serving the gun. Four (or more) horses pulled both gun and limber. This reproduction limber is found at Fort George National Historic Site. Note the way the spoked wheels are 'dished' for extra strength, and slightly angled outwards at the top.

Site: National Defence

HMS Asia in Halifax harbour, 1797

Type: Image

This watercolour of the 64-gun ship of the line HMS Asia in Halifax harbour is the work of Royal Navy lieutenant George Gustavus Lennock. Britain always maintained a strong naval presence in the American side of the North Atlantic. Warships based in Halifax insured the security of sea lanes and protected fishing fleets against mostly American and French privateers and the occasional pirate. In wartime, they would also be deployed in raids on the American coast or as far as the French West Indies. (Library and Archives Canada, C-151103)

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

British brass six-pounder field gun on block-trail carriage, 1793-1860

Type: Image

Shown from the rear, the brass smooth bore muzzle-loading six-pounder gun was the standard British field gun at the time of the War of 1812. The British artillery introduced carriages of the type shown, with single-block trails and small ammunition boxes at each side of the gun, during the Napoleonic wars. These innovations were later by all armies. The result was a weapon that was lighter and easier to manoeuvre in the field. The Royal Regiment of Artillery used such carriages alongside the older Congreve pattern twin-plate carriages during the War of 1812. This photo graph shows a modern reconstructed carriage found at Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Site: National Defence

Fort George, Upper Canada

Type: Image

In 1794, Jay’s Treaty led to withdrawal of British forces from Fort Niagara. In 1796, work began on Fort George at Newark (present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario), directly across the Niagara River from the older fort. Fort George was the scene of several battles during the War of 1812. It is now a major National Historic Site. The wooden palisade at the centre of this photograph sits on top of the earth-built curtain wall linking two of the fort's six stone bastions, one of which can be seen at the end of the palisade. To the left is a part of the ditch (or 'covered way') surrounding the fort, along with an further earthwork known as a ravelin. The ravelin, with its own wooden palisade and small blockhouse inside, made it more difficult for any attacker to assault the curtain wall.

Site: National Defence

Elevating screw, brass six-pounder gun, 1793-1860

Type: Image

The use of an elevating screw was an innovation of the French Gribeauval artillery system. The screw was a much more precise and rapid way to raise or lower the gun's breech when aiming than the mechanism it replaced - a triangular wooden block. Elevating screws were introduced in the last third of the 18th century and adopted by all armies for their light field guns. Shown here is a British brass six-pounder gun on a reproduction block-trail field carriage, found at Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Site: National Defence

Fort Chambly

Type: Image

The third fort on this site, construction began on Fort Chambly in 1709. It was made of stone and looked rather like a castle. This made it different from the low-lying, bastioned fortresses of Europe. The fort was built to be impressive and all but impregnable to Indian enemies and raiding American colonials. The fort wall facing the Richelieu River was pierced for artillery. During the War of 1812, Fort Chambly was the HQ for British and Canadian troops guarding the area south of Montreal against an advance by American armies. The complex fell into ruins during the 19th century. Its walls were stabilized in 1885 when it was made a Canadian government historic park. Recognized as a unique surviving example of military architecture, Fort Chambly was given a major restoration in the 1980s by Parks Canada. This returned the fort to its appearance of the mid-18th century.

Site: National Defence

Officers and midshipmen, Royal Navy, 1787-1812

Type: Image

This early-20th century print shows the development of Royal Navy officers' uniforms during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The grouping to the left has the 1787-1795 uniforms, that at right the 1795-1812 uniforms. The officer in scarlet belongs to the Royal Marines, circa 1795. The Admiral (fourth from the right) is Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson (1758-1805). To the left stands a captain, to his right a lieutenant. Second from right is a midshipmen (naval officer in training) with the distinctive white collar patches of his rank. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence