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Resource Type > Image > Photograph

Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts

Date > 1800

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

Trooper, 1st Troop of Volunteer Militia Cavalry of the County of York, circa 1855

Type: Image

Unofficial known as 'Dennison's Troop' after the family that led them for three generations, Toronto's volunteer cavalry unit dates back to 1822. The uniform shown in the photograph was dark blue, with silver lace and pale buff facings. It was adopted after the 1838 rebellion (when the unit was known as the Queen's Light Dragoons) and worn until 1871 (by which time it was The Governor General's Body Guard). (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

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

Officer cadet, Royal Military College of Canada, 1954

Type: Image

Except for a few details, the full dress uniform of officer cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, remained essentially the same since the college was founded in 1874. As shown in this 1954 photo, only the shakos and pith helmets worn on parade by first-class officer-cadets disappeared, replaced by pill-box caps. (Canadian Department of National Defence, ZK-2049)

Site: National Defence

Fort Montgomery - the American fort built inside Canada

Type: Image

The United States Corps of Engineers began building Fort Montgomery in 1816, after the War of 1812. It was sited near Rouses Point, New York, at the northern end of Lake Champlain at the mouth of the Richelieu River. In the case of another war, it was to guard the northern American border against British and Canadian incursions and provide a base for United States armies invading Canada in that area. However, construction had to be abandoned after two years when the fort was found to be slightly inside Canada’s boundaries. Fort Montgomery got the nickname ‘Fort Blunder’ and was never completed. The site later reverted to the United States in 1842 as a good will gesture between Britain, Canada and the United States, nations that have since been allies in the great struggles of the 20th century.

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

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