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Date > 1800 > 1840-1849 > 1848

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

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

23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fuziliers), 1838-1853

Type: Image

The 23rd Foot served in various places in Canada between 1838 and 1853. Its regimental mascot is a goat, a tradition that has since been adopted by its allied Canadian regiment, the Royal 22e Régiment. From left to right: a private, a pioneer, the drum-major and two officers. Note the traditional black silk ribbon worn at the back of the collar by the officers of this regiment. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Aerial view of Fort Lennox

Type: Image

Fort Lennox was built on Isle-au-Noix just north of the American border between 1819 to 1826. Its purpose was to block the way towards Montreal to any hostile force coming up the Richelieu River from Lake Champlain. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

British model 1842 percussion lock musket, 1842-1853

Type: Image

The 'percussion lock' was a technology adopted in the early 19th century to replace the earlier 'flint lock'. The lock was the mechanism that set off the gunpowder charge inside the weapon's barrel. Flint locks used a piece of flint scraping along a piece of steel to make sparks. They were strong and easy to make, but not especially reliable, and very vulnerable to damp. The percussion lock used a small copper cap containing fulminate of mercury, which exploded when hit by the lock's hammer. The result was a more reliable spark, but the new mechanism was quite expensive. After experimental trials, the percussion lock was adopted by the British army in 1839. At first, existing flintlock weapons were fitted with percussion locks. In 1842, the pattern of muzzle-loading smoothbore musket shown in this photograph was introduced. It remained the principle British infantry weapon until replaced by the 1853 pattern rifled musket. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Private, service dress, Colored Infantry Company, Upper Canada Incorporated Militia, 1843-1850

Type: Image

Raised in 1838, the Colored Infantry Company recruited from Blacks in Upper Canada was the only provincial unit on duty between 1843 the unit's disbanding in 1850. It served mainly along the American border in the Niagara area. Besides the service dress shown, these Black Canadian soldiers also had the shako and scarlet coat trimmed with white lace for full dress as in the British infantry. Reconstruction by Garth Dittrick. (Parks Canada)

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 George Augustus Wetherall (1788-1868)

Type: Image

Lieutenant-Colonel Wetherall, 1st, or The Royal Regiment of Foot, won the battle of St. Charles on 25 November 1837. This print shows him later in life, in the uniform of a British general. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

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