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An old Patriote of 1837

Type: Image

This image of an aged Patriote of 1837 is famous in Quebec. It was created in 1887 as one of a series of 110 by Henri Julien as part of his work as staff illustrator for the "Montréal Star". Much later, the image became a symbol for the Quebec independence movement. Apart from its fame, it is also a good reconstruction of the appearance of a Patriote, agreeing with drawings made at the time. This man wears the everyday clothing of Lower Canadians of the period. The famous ceinture flèche, (literally 'arrow sash') around his waist is an item copied by the French Canadian voyageurs from the Amerindians. (Library and Archives Canada, C-017937)

Site: National Defence

Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer; Governor General of Canada, 1830-1835

Type: Image

Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer (1775-1850) is shown wearing the uniform for colonial governors. Governors and governor generals wore army general’s uniforms until 1824 when assigned a special blue and scarlet military-style dress uniform last worn by Governor General Roland Michener in the early 1970s. Aylmer had a distinguished military record during the Napoleonic Wars. One interesting coincidence is that he served briefly in the Netherlands with the 49th (the Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot under command of Isaac Brock, future hero of the War of 1812. Not an experienced politician when he was sent to take up the governorship, Aylmer was caught in the middle of a bitter ethnic conflict in Lower Canada. In the end, despite wanting to convince French Canadians of his good intentions, the Governor had set in train events that would lead to the Rebellion of 1837. (Library and Archives Canada, C-004809)

Site: National Defence

Trooper, Royal Montreal Cavalry, 1824

Type: Image

This 1824 silhouette of a trooper of the Royal Montreal Cavalry unit is one of the earliest known images of a Canadian unit. These militia light cavalry were dressed in the same style as British light dragoons. The uniform was blue faced with scarlet and trimmed with gold buttons and lace. The original silhouette is in the collection of the Musée d'Argenteuil, Carillon, Quebec. The Royal Montreal cavalry was recruited from the Anglophone middle class of Montreal, and was something of a military wing of the Montreal Hunt Club.

Site: National Defence

Camp of the 43rd Regiment of Foot during the siege of Fort Beauséjour, June 1755

Type: Image

The men of the British 43rd Regiment of Foot were part of a 2,000 strong army under Lietenant-Colonel Robert Monkton that took Fort Beauséjour after a brief siege in the summer of 1755. At left can be seen men of the grenadier company, distinguished by their pointed mitre headdresses. In the centre are ordinary soldiers who have the tricorne hats worn by most of the regiment. The young men to the right are drummers, wearing coats with reversed colours (white with red facings instead of red with white). This was intended to make drummers easy to spot in a fight, which was important, since drum beats were used to give orders. The presence of women and children seem odd in a military encampment, but each British regiment would have a small number of soldiers' families following them on campaign. Reconstruction by Lewis Parker. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Attempts to Increase Military Strength

Type: Document

Despite their disunity, the staff of New France agreed on one thing - the need for more fighting men to defend the colony. During the winter of 1756-57, Governor Vaudreuil reorganized existing resources, and two more battalions from the French metropolitan army were dispatched.

Site: National Defence

Natives going to meet the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana in 1792

Type: Image

This painting shows an encounter on 11 June 1792 between native canoes and the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana. Mount Baker can be seen in the background. On this date in Guemes Channel (near present day Anacortes, Washington), a Spanish expedition paused to make astronomical observations that would correctly fix their longitude. Their mission was to chart the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and search for the Northwest Passage. The painting is the work of José Cardero, the expedition's official artist. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence

Officer and gunner, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1840

Type: Image

This unit always had several companies posted in Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1840 for example, officers and men wearing the uniforms shown could be seen in Halifax, St. John’s (Newfoundland), St. John (New Brunswick), Quebec, Montreal, Chambly, Drummondville, Kingston and Toronto with detachments in smaller towns and outlying forts.

Site: National Defence

British Fleet Lifts the Siege

Type: Document

Despite having won a battle outside the city in April 1760, the French army was unable to retake Quebec. General Murray, commanding the British defenders, refused to give up. A siege began for control of the city, but a British fleet arrived with more men, ending the contest.

Site: National Defence

Corporal, Royal 22e Régiment, Italy, 1943

Type: Image

During the summers in southern Italy, the Canadians wore tropical uniforms like the rest of the British 8th Army. This reconstruction by Ron Volstad shows a corporal of the Royal 22e Régiment, the only Francophone regular infantry regiment in the Canadian army during the war. The unit saw its first action of the war during the landings in Sicily in 1943. Note the famous red patch of the 1st Canadian Division on the upper shoulder. This formation badge dates from the First World War. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Coat of Captain William Wells, Grenville Regiment, Upper Canada Militia, circa 1820

Type: Image

From 1814 until the 1830s, militia infantry officers in Upper Canada were supposed to wear, apart from a few exceptions, a scarlet uniform faced with dark blue, trimmed with gilt buttons and gold lace edging the collar and cuffs. This surviving coat of circa 1820 belonged to Captain William Wells (1809-1881) of the Grenville Regiment. It is preserved at Fort Wellington National Historic Site. Wells himself was a prominent Reform politician.

Site: National Defence