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Resource Type > Image

Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts

Date > 1800 > 1800-1809

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

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

Private’s coatee, Royal Nova Scotia Regiment, circa 1801

Type: Image

This garment is one of the earliest surviving uniforms known to exist in Canada. It is red with dark blue collar, cuffs and wings, white lace ornamenting the buttonholes and pewter regimental buttons. The Royal Nova Scotia Regiment was raised in Nova Scotia in 1793 and was disbanded in 1802. It served on garrison duty in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It wore this style of uniform from about 1798. (Halifax Army Museum, Halifax Citadel)

Site: National Defence

Sailors, Royal Navy, circa 1800-1815

Type: Image

At the time of the War of 1812, sailors of the Royal Navy — like in most navies of the period — had no prescribed uniform. But in 1623, the Royal Navy adopted a system by which sailors could buy ‘Slop Clothing’ at a fixed price. Generally, the seamen's dress consisted of a blue double-breasted jacket, with brass or horn buttons, a short waistcoat — often red but it could be another colour, blue or white trousers, a round hat, a neckerchief — often black, stockings and shoes. Slop clothing was also avaliable in Canada. An advertisement in Halifax’s 'Nova Scotia Royal Gazette' of 24 November 1813 mentioned a ‘Complete assortment of Slop Cloathing, viz, Men and youth's fine Jackets and Trowsers, Scarlet and blue cloth Waistcoats, Woolen and cotton cord ditto [waistcoats], Striped Cotton and red Flannel Shirts, Great Coats, Pea and Flushing Jackets and Trowsers, men’s flannel drawers’, these later items to face the cold North Atlantic weather.

Site: National Defence

Grenadier private's coatee, possibly of the 3rd Battalion of the Quebec Militia, circa 1803-1815

Type: Image

The crescent-shaped ‘wings’ with fringes at the end of the shoulders of a coatee distinguished the flank companies of a regiment. The grenadier company is distinguished here by a small red grenade on the black shoulder strap. This coatee is possibly the earliest uniform of an enlisted man of the Canadian Militia known to exist. (Canadian War Museum.)

Site: National Defence

Grand Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee, circa 1807

Type: Image

Tecumseh (circa 1768 – 1813) had an impressive bearing and a charismatic personality. Canadian militia officer Thomas Vercheres de Boucherville described the Shawnee chief at a diner in 1813: ‘Tecumseh was seated at my left with his pistols on either side of his plate and his big hunting knife in front of him. He wore a red cloak, trousers of deerskin, and a printed calico shirt, the whole outfit a present of the English. His bearing was irreproachable for a man of the woods as he was, much better than some so-called gentlemen.’ It is uncertain that this widely published 19th century print is an actual likeness of Tecumseh. It is reputedly based on a pencil sketch made from life in 1807 at Vincennes, Indiana by Canadian fur trader Pierre Le Dru.

Site: National Defence

The battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805

Type: Image

Although the battle of Trafalgar was fought far away off the southern coast of Spain, this battle had a direct impact on Canada. Admiral Nelson’s victory for Britain insured that the sea lanes to Canada would remain secure and that there would be no major threats from the French or Spanish navies on its coast.

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

Sir James Henry Craig, Governor General of Canada

Type: Image

Craig (1748-1812), was Governor General of Canada from 1807 to 1811. His term was a stormy one, but he had many friends and admirerers in the colony, something shown by the brisk sale in Canada of prints portraying him. Sir James is shown wearing the uniform of a British general, with the star of the Order of the Bath on his breast. (Library and Archives Canada, C-024888)

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