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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

Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1840

Type: Image

The leader of the Patriote movement is shown in this 1840 lithograph. At this time he was in France, having fled Canada at the start of the 1837 Rebellion. (Library and Archives Canada R9266-P2601)

Site: National Defence

Patriotes at Beauharnois in November 1838

Type: Image

Katherine Jane Ellice, who was taken prisoner by the Patriotes at Beauharnois in November 1838, painted this watercolour. The daughter-in-law of the local seigneur, Ellice described her captors as 'the most Robespierre-looking ruffians, all armed with guns, long knives and pikes.' (Library and Archives Canada, C-013392)

Site: National Defence

Volunteers, Québec Light Infantry, 1837-1838

Type: Image

This 1839 lithograph shows two of the uniforms worn by the Québec Light Infantry. At right is a member of Number 4 Company, at left is a member of Number 2, 3 or 5 Company. The regiment was raised in Quebec City in 1837 and commanded by Colonel John St. Alban Sewell, a veteran of the War of 1812. The hastily raised loyalist volunteer units wore a variety of clothing, sometimes with each company clothed differently. An inscription on the lithograph reads 'Comps. 2 & 5 wear same Cap as Compy. No. 4'. The artist, Sir James Hope-Wallace, was an officer of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards who served in Canada. (Library and Archives Canada, C-040757)

Site: National Defence

Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site of Canada - History

Type: Document

The Battle of the Windmill in 1838 was a bloody event in the complex struggle between the "Family Compact" and the "Reformers" for control of the British colony of Upper Canada. This text provides a history of the events leading up to this confrontation.

Site: Parks Canada

Loyal militiaman, Frontenac County, Upper Canada, 1837-1838

Type: Image

When rebellion broke out in Upper Canada, loyalist militia in Kingston were issued arms and accoutrements. They wore their civilian clothes and used a piece of white linen as a 'field sign' to distinguish them from the rebels. The same sign had been used during the War of 1812 by militiamen who lacked uniforms. Reconstruction by Douglas Anderson. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Fort York, Toronto, August 1839

Type: Image

The fort at Toronto, also known as Fort York, was rebuilt after its destruction by the Americans in 1813. As can be seen in this 1839 painting by P.J. Bainbridge, the fort was on the waterfront, at the entrance to Toronto harbour. The figure in the foreground is a soldier of the 93rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot. (Library and Archives Canada, C-002801)

Site: National Defence

A skirmish at Dickinson's Landing in Upper Canada between Patriots and the Loyalist Cavalry in 1838

Type: Image

Several units of Canadian militia cavalry were incorporated in 1838 to patrol the colony, guarding against raids. While the action shown is fictional, this painting gives an idea of the kind of work that was expected of the mounted loyalist volunteers. (Library and Archives Canada, C-001032)

Site: National Defence

Wreck of the steamboat Caroline near Niagara Falls, 29 December 1837

Type: Image

The destruction of the American steamboat Caroline in December 1837 caused a diplomatic storm between Britain and the United States. Canadian loyalist volunteers, commanded by a Royal Navy officer, mounted a raid across the border to capture the merchant ship that was supplying William Lyon Mackenzie's Canadian rebels on Navy Island. This 1838 aquatint suggests that the burning ship went over Niagara Falls, but in fact it ran around on a small island before this could happen. (Library and Archives Canada, C-004788)

Site: National Defence

The Horrors of War

Type: Document

Warfare in the 19th century was horrible, despite the colourful uniforms. In the aftermath of the November 1837 battle of Saint-Charles, a British officer helped two young Canadian women to find their Patriote father. His corpse was found, frozen and contorted, with a horrible head wound.

Site: National Defence