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Resource Type > Image

Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts

Date > 1800 > 1810-1819

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

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

Interpreter, Indian Department, 1812-1815

Type: Image

Officers and interpreters of the British Indian Department in Canada were often found in action with warriors during the War of 1812, the most famous instance being possibly at Beaver Dams in June 1813. At that time, the department’s uniform scarlet was faced with green. Interpreters, not being commisioned officers, did not have epaulettes. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Officer with regimental colour, 9th (the East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot, 1814

Type: Image

The 1st battalion of the 9th (the East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot was sent from the Duke of Wellington's victorious army in Spain to serve in Canada during 1814-1815. This was not the first time in the country for the regiment, which had been part of Burgoyne's army during the American Revolutionary War. This contemporary illustration shows an officer with the regimental colour (in the regiment's yellow facing colour). The 183 centimetre square colour itself is partially furled to make it easier to carry. Accompanying the officer is a colour-sergeant armed with a spontoon. The rank was created in 1813 as the senior non-commissioned officer in an infantry company. These men had a special duty of protecting the colours in action, and were distinguished with a special rank badge worn on the right arm.

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, 1st Regiment of Foot (Royal Scots), 1813-1816

Type: Image

The first battalion of the 1st Regiment of Foot (Royal Scots) served in Canada between 1812 and 1815. This man, marked as one of the regiment's centre companies by his white over red shako tuft, wears the 1812 pattern of uniform that would have been seen in Canada after 1813. This is the uniform that the Royal Scots wore at the battle of Chippawa in July 1814. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Lieutenant-Colonel Gustavus Nicolls, Corps of Royal Engineers

Type: Image

Gustavus Nicolls was the designer of the Halifax Citadel, as well as Fort Lennox (Île-aux-Noix, Quebec). He commanded the Corps of Royal Engineers in Canada from 1815 to 1837. This portrait of circa 1813-1824 is attributed to his wife. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Meeting of General Brock and Grand Chief Tecumseh at Fort Malden on 13 Aug 1812

Type: Image

Captain Glegg, who met Tecumseh at Fort Malden, left this description of the Shawnee chief: ‘Tecumseh was very prepossessing, his figure light and finely proportioned, his age I imagined to be about five-and-thirty, his height five feet nine or ten inches, his complexion light copper, his countenance oval, with bright hazel eyes beaming cheerfulness, energy and decision. Three small crowns or coronets were suspended from the lower cartilage of his aquiline nose, and a large silver medallion of George the Third, which I believe his ancestor received from Lord Dorchester when governor-general of Canada, was attached to a mixed coloured wampum string which hung round his neck. His dress consisted of a plain, neat uniform, a tanned deer-skin jacket with long trousers of the same material, the seams of both being covered with neatly cut fringe, and he had on his feet leather moccasins much ornamented with work made from the dyed quills of the porcupine.’

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

Map of the battle of Châteauguay, 26 October 1813

Type: Image

The battle of Châteauguay took place along the east and west banks of the Châteauguay river. There was a narrow cleared area on the west bank (towards the top of this map published in 1815), and it was here that the Canadian defenders manned their abbatis (barricades made of felled trees) on 26 October 1813. Most of the fighting took place on the west bank, but an American attempt to outflank the abbatis led to fierce and confused fighting on the east bank as well. The broken terrain helped the defenders by keeping the invaders from realizing that they outnumbered the Canadians ten to one.

Site: National Defence