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Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts > British Colonial Period, 1760-1867

Date > 1700

Men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York settling in Johnstown in 1784

Type: Image

This contemporary watercolour shows a encampment of Loyalist veterans and their families at Johnstown (present-day Cornwall, Ontario) in 1784. Some of these men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York still wear their red coats. (Library and Archives Canada, C-002001).

Site: National Defence

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

Loyalist soldier, 1776-1783

Type: Image

Several corps of Loyalists connected with Canada wore this pattern of red uniform with green facings. Jessup's King's Loyal Americans, formed in 1776 to accompany General Burgoyne's expedition are noted in red faced green. The Loyal Nova Scotia Volunteers, raised by Nova Scotia Governor Francis Legge were also recorded in these colours in 1783 by a German officer. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Detail of a map of Quebec City in 1780

Type: Image

This map shows Quebec and the surrounding countryside in 1780. It was created by Bernard de Weiderhold, an officer of the German troops in British service posted in Canada during the American War of Independence. 1780 was five years after the failed American attack on Quebec and German troops formed most of the garrison. Note the wall around the city and the strengthened redoubt area on Cape Diamond where the Citadel was eventually built in the 1820s. (Portuguese Army Library, Lisbon)

Site: National Defence

Private, The Royal Highland Emigrants, 1775-1776

Type: Image

The Royal Highland Emigrants, the artificers and the sailors defending Quebec City in 1775-1776 all had, according to Lt. William Lindsay of the Quebec ‘British’ Militia: ‘buff vests and breeches, and the Royal [Highland] Emigrants, Seamen, and Artificers in green, with scarlet facings, cape [collar] and cuffs’. The Highlanders received their government tartan kilts, red coatees faced with blue and bonnets in 1777. In 1779, the regiment was made part of the British regular army as the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants). By 1782, the kilts had obviously worn out as they had been turned into ‘Plad [sic] trousers’ and ‘tartan trousers’. So, in effect, trews had been made out of the kilts. New kilts were not issued as, by May 1784, ‘Breeches in lieu of half plaid’ were being issued to the men shortly before the battalion was disbanded in June. Reconstruction by Charles Stadden. (Parks Canada)

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

Private, Royal Fencible Americans, Fort Cumberland, 1775-1776

Type: Image

During the siege of Fort Cumberland (formerly the French Fort Beauséjour) during the winter of 1775-1776, the soldiers of this newly raised unit had no uniforms; old blankets and even barrack rugs were pressed into service. Reconstruction by Derek Fitzjames. (Parks Canada)

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

Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Haldimand, Governor General of Canada, circa 1770

Type: Image

Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718-1791) served as Governor General between 1778 and 1784. He had to safeguard Canada while keeping the pressure on the Americans' northern frontiers just as his British garrison was being reduced. He therefore used German mercenary troops as garrisons while promoting raids deep into American territory by parties of Loyalists and Mohawk Indians. This portrait shows him in the uniform of a field officer of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot in the early 1770’s. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence