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There was one company of cannoniers-bombardiers in Canada and one at île Royale. There were no artillery companies in Louisiana prior to 1759, but until that time some infantrymen were given artillery training at the Mobile school for cannoniers.
The Louisiana Garrison consisted of 150 Swiss soldiers from the 4th Company of the Halwyll Swiss Regiment (called the Karrer prior to 1752), half of which was stationed at New Orleans, half at Mobile.
Quoted in Frégault, Guy, La guerre de la Conquête, 1754-1760 (Montreal: Fides, 1975), p. 131.
The expression "Régiment de la Marine," used by several French officers in Canada to designate this battalion, often caused confusion among historians of the past century, who believed that it was the regiment in the French army bearing the same name. However, this temporary battalion had absolutely nothing to do with the regiments of "La Marine" or "Royal-Marine" of the French armed forces then serving in Europe.
The two de Berry battalions, which were originally supposed to go to India, had only nine companies each, instead of 13. In all, 1,118 men embarked at Brest, of whom 59 were officers and 26 were servants. But disease broke out during the crossing, killing 141 men; when they arrived in Quebec at the end of July, there were still eight officers and 200 men sick in the two battalions (AG, Al, Vol. 3459, No. 49, 100 his). Moreover, beginning in 1756, many soldiers of Irish extraction had deserted the British army to join the French forces. A small corps of such soldiers accompanied Montcalm's army on the siege of Oswego. Like the Irish regiments serving France, this troop wore a red uniform with distinctive green trim. In June 1757, because of the possible fate of these men if they were captured in Canada by the British, they were reorganized into a company that was stationed in Quebec until it embarked for France on September 16. The nominal roll of these soldiers is reproduced in Roy, Pierre-Georges, La ville de Québec sous le Régime français (Quebec City: 1930), Vol. 2, pp. 287-288.
General Amherst sent his compliments to Mrs. Drucour with a gift of pineapples from the West Indies, a rare delicacy at the time. Mrs. Drucour thanked him and sent him in return a basket of bottles of good wine.
The 11 colours of the other corps were turned over to General Amherst, who immediately sent them to the King. They were placed in St. Paul's Cathedral in London on September 6, 1758. The ceremony was reported in several English and American newspapers, as well as in the Annual Register for 1758, p. 108. They rotted over time because of the moisture, and 70 years later all that remained were a few shreds. Also, fearing that Louisbourg would be turned over to France once again at the end of the war, as it was in 1748, the British raised a special corps of sappers, who blew up all the fortifications in the summer of 1760.
Vaudreuil to the Minister of the Navy, Montreal, August 4, 1758, AC, C11A, Vol. 103, fol. 144.
Vaudreuil to Minister of the Navy, Montreal, November 1, 1758, NAC series K, Monuments historiques, box 1232, No. 51. Captain Aubry belonged to the Louisiana troops. He had arrived at Fort Duquesne in July with 240 reinforcements from Illinois.
Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de, Écrits sur le Canada: Mémoires - Journal - Lettres, ed. Roland Lamontagne (Sillery: Pélican, 1993), p. 379.
Robert Napier to William Fauquier, London, November 6, 1758, PRO, War Office 7, Vol. 26.
Quoted in An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Col. James Smith (Lexington, 1799), p. 58.
This was a small, temporary battalion consisting of grenadier companies detached from the 22nd, 40th and 45th regiments at Louisbourg.
ANQQ Literary & Historical Society, P450/1, "General Wolfe, the soldier's friend," by Sergeant Thomson of the 78th.
The poor behaviour of the French regiments was often attributed to the inclusion of Canadian militiamen among their ranks. To protect themselves, these militiamen were accustomed to lying prone on the ground rather than standing to reload their muskets. It is true that a battalion's appearance would be changed as a result. When all is said and done, the Canadian militiamen's method did nothing to change the manoeuvre, because, whether prone or standing, they had to stop to reload their muskets. It was also alleged that some of the Canadian militiamen abandoned the line to rejoin those skirmishing on the flanks in order to fight in the manner to which they were accustomed. If this was true, one may wonder about the standard of training given the militiamen by the French sergeants. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that militiamen, 300 at most, could have had a real influence on a battle involving some 3,000 veterans from France. In fact, as in many other formation battles that took place in Europe during the Seven Years' War, the French soldiers had been outclassed by the clearly superior tactics and discipline of the British and Prussian armies. Furthermore, the retreat of the French regiments in Quebec was covered by colonial militiamen and troops, and it was these troops which inflicted the greatest losses on the British.
Quoted by Captain John Knox of the 43rd Regiment in his diary, published in part in The Siege of Quebec and the Campaigns in North America 1757-1760, ed. Brian Cornell (London: 1976), p. 202. Wolfe's body was placed on the HMS Lowestoft at approximately 11 a.m. and taken to England, where he was buried in the family vault at Greenwich.
Montcalm was interred in a large hole made by an English shell in the Ursuline Chapel. His skull has been preserved at the Ursuline Museum.
Several authors have written that Fort Niagara surrendered on July 24, which is only partly true. On the evening of July 24 Commander Pouchot and the British Captain Hervey agreed to a ceasefire and negotiated the terms of surrender. The surrender itself is dated the 25th, and that day the French garrison relinquished the fort. Dunnigan, Brian, Siege - 1759: The Campaign Against Niagara, Old Fort Niagara (Youngstown, N.Y., 1986), pp. 81-82.
NAC, MG18, K8, Vol. 12, p. 206. Army chart for the expedition to Quebec, April 1760. The army assembled by Lévis also included 356 non-combatants: 307 servants, 16 surgeons and 33 "Negro soldiers" belonging to the La Reine (10), Béarn (5), RoyalRoussillon (4), Guyenne (5) and Berry (9) regiments. In all, including non-combatants, Lévis' army totalled 7,266 men.
NAC, MG18, K8, Vol. 12. In his diary, Lévis estimated that his army at Sainte-Foy had "approximately 5,000 men, 2,400 of whom were militiamen; but there were over 1,400 men among these, such as the La Reine brigade [the La Reine and Languedoc regiments] and the cavalry, which were not in action, like the Amerindians who "having withdrawn, did not engage in battle." The latter reappeared at the end of the battle to take British prisoners. This unenviable fate was spared one officer of the 58th regiment, Henry Hamilton, by an officer of the Régiment de Berry, who, seeing that the Amerindians were arriving, offered him his coat and his white cockade, which Hamilton took with considerable gratitude. The disguised prisoner then turned towards the two French soldiers who were escorting him and said in French, with all the authority of one of their officers: "Allons mes enfants, marchez!" He was to become Governor of Bermuda, where he founded the city of Hamilton (NAC, MG23, GII, 11).
These eight Compagnies franches de la Marine were made up of soldiers who had been taken prisoner, mainly at Louisbourg, and then exchanged. The Machault scuttled itself. Most of the officers, seamen and soldiers, sacrificed in advance in this expedition, nevertheless managed to escape the British and return to France on small ships. Two centuries later, the Machault was studied by Parks Canada archaeologists.
"...it would be so scandalous...," The Journal of Jeffery Amherst, ed. J. Clarence Webster (Toronto & Chicago: 1931), p. 248.
Proclamation by General Amherst, Montreal, September 22, 1760, Report of the Canadian Archives for 1918 (Ottawa: 1919), Appendix B, p. 86.
Spain entered the war in early 1762 to support France, but England had become so powerful that the large Spanish colonial towns of Havana in Cuba and Manila in the Philippines fell to the British. To recover them, Spain ceded Florida to the British and received Louisiana from France in return.
Sometimes spelled "Pondiac."
BL, Additional Manuscripts, Vol. 21666, Frederick Haldimand to James Murray, Trois-Rivières, March 6, 1764.
BL, Additional Manuscripts, Vol. 21666, Frederick Haldimand to James Murray, Trois-Rivières, March 23, 1764.
Sometimes called the Canadian Light Infantry. On the subject of the role played by the battalion in the Great Lakes area, see Journals of Col. John Montrésor, ed. G. D. Scull (New York: 1882).
Pontiac's confederation of nations fell apart in 1764, more precisely after two of the six Iroquois nations had said they supported the British. The peace arranged by Colonel Bouquet stated that the Amerindians were to release all Whites taken alive and adopted by their respective nations. As a result, hundreds of Whites were taken to Fort Pitt. The story of how they were reunited with their families is one of the most moving accounts in military history. See Bouquet, Henry, An Historical Account of the Expedition Against the Ohio Indians in the Year MDCCLXIV (London: 1766). This book was reprinted several times.
PRO, War Office 34, Vol. 74. James Abercrombie, major in the 78th Regiment, to Jeffery Amherst, London, January 10, 1764; Jeffery Amherst to Lord Halifax, London, January 14, 1764.
PRO, War Office 34, Vol. 41. Jeffery Amherst to Henry Bouquet, New York, August 31, 1763. For a favourable opinion of Rogers and his men, see Cueno, John R., Robert Rogers of the Rangers (New York: 1959).
PRO, Colonial Office 42, Vol. 28, Guy Carleton to Lord Shelburne, Quebec, November 25, 1767.
After the war, the British offered land to the soldiers of the disbanded regiments, without much success. Only the men of the 78th Scottish Regiment showed any interest. In the nineteenth century, a curious legend about the disbandment of this regiment entered our military heritage, to the effect that "a great portion of the soldiers" availed themselves of the offer and, marrying Canadian women, virtually regenerated the country while providing for its security - the British equivalent of the Carignan-Salières Regiment! Of course some Scottish officers had bought seigniories, and some soldiers of the 78th remained in this country, but in limited numbers. When it was disbanded, the regiment had only about 500 men. Of these, according to archival records, 358 returned to Great Britain and only 158 were demobilized in Quebec. See, for example, Lemoine, J. M., Maple Leaves (Quebec City: 1878), p. 142. The list of soldiers who remained was published in Harper, J. R., The Fraser Highlanders (Montreal: 1979), and the document giving the number of soldiers who returned to Great Britain may be found in PRO, War Office 34, Vol. 4, Embarcation Return of the 47th and 78th Regiments... Quebec, October 10, 1763.
L'invasion du Canada par les Bastonnois, journal de M. Sanguinet, ed. Richard Ouellet and Jean-Pierre Therrien (Quebec City: 1975), p. 47. According to a dispatch written in Montreal on July 10, which appeared in the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser of November 8, 1775, the company of English merchants was led by Major Robertson, Captain Porteous Grey and Lieutenant Todd.
Ibid., p. 63.
Ibid., p. 64.
Having received the approval of the King, Lord Dartmouth first asked for 3,000 men on July 1, then changed his mind and asked for twice as many on the 24th. The equipment required for all these people was collected in record time. On July 12, the weapons and uniforms for 3,000 men, as well as cannons, were on board the ship that was to transport them to Quebec. At the beginning of August, a second ship left England with equipment for another group of 3,000 men. The coats sent were green, faced with red, and there wre some buff-coloured waistcoats and breeches. PRO, Colonial Office 42, Vol. 34. These shipments were also reported and described by a London correspondent of the Maryland Gazette, published in Annapolis on October 5, 12 and 19, 1775.
Figures concerning the number of men in the garrison are often contradictory, particulary for the militia. A report prepared on December 16, 1775, was reasonably accurate, except for the militiamen, who were estimated at only 500, 300 of whom were Canadians (PRO, Colonial Office 42, Vol. 34, Return of the men for the Defence of this town of Quebec). On the other hand, a report for the eight Francophone Canadian companies prepared on the same day gives 580 as the number of militiamen (NAC, RG8, C 1714, New Role of the Canadian Militia... Town of Quebec, December 16, 1775). The Anglophone British Militia had between 300 and 330 men, according to one of its captains. The Scottish soldiers, seamen and artificers all received a green coat with red collar, lapels and cuffs; the militiamen were issued an all-green coat without lapels. All wore buff-coloured waistcoats and breeches. The officers wore the same uniform as their men, but with epaulettes and silver lace on the tricorne. This was the first time that all the militiamen in a major Canadian town wore a military uniform.
According to the Americans, the official report of their losses gave 30 dead, 42 wounded and 389 prisoners, but in reality there were more dead (and no doubt also more wounded), as demonstrated by Stanley, George F. G., in Canada Invaded (Toronto: 1973), pp. 103-104. The Americans tend, even today, to minimize their losses and inflate those of their adversaries. British official reports are usually more reliable.
L'invasion du Canada par les Bastonnois, journal de M. Sanguinet, p. 78.
Ibid., p. 85.
Mills & Hick's British and American Register, with an Almanack for the Year 1774 (Boston: c. 1773). In the English colonies of the period, the companies of "cadets" had nothing to do with military training. They were prosperous bourgeois who usually served as an honour guard for the governors. Their members wore colourful uniforms, but the dress of the Halifax company is not known. The small above-mentioned book also refers to the existence of militia corps in King, Windsor, Queen's, Annapolis, Cumberland and Lunenburg counties.
Diary of the siege of Fort Cumberland by Joseph Goreham, published in Report on Canadian Archives, 1894, pp. 359-366. The garrison consisted of 171 officers and soldiers of the Royal Fencible Americans, four artillerymen from the Royal Artillery, 15 armed carpenters, one half-paid lieutenant (retired), three militia officers and nine inhabitants.
PRO, Colonial Office 42, Vol. 36, John Burgoyne to Lord Germain, Quebec, May 14, 1777.
L'invasion du Canada par les Bastonnois, journal de M. Sanguinet, p. 98.
PRO, War Office 1, Vol. 2, Guy Carleton to Lord Barrington, Chambly, June 8, 1776.
L'invasion du Canada par les Bastonnois, journal de M. Sanguinet, p. 107.
August Ludwig Schlbzer, quoted in Wilhelmy, JeanPierre, Les mercenaires allemands au Québec du X VIIIe
siècle et leur apport àla population (Beloeil, Qc: 1984), p. 162.
Gazette de France, October 29, 1782. Losses were estimated at 10 to 12 million French livres by the French - approximately a half million English pounds, according to the Annual Register for 1783. Whatever the amount, the loss was significant, because the company did not pay a dividend for three years.
A few items exchanged by Pérez and his men were sent to Spain. These exceptional records are kept in the Museo de America and the Museo Naval in Madrid. See in particular the excellent study by Cabello and Paz, "The Ethnographic Collections: A Special Legacy of the Spanish Presence on the Northwest Coast, 17741792," Spain and the North Pacific Coast, ed. Robin Inglis (Vancouver: Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1992), pp. 137-158.
"The Indians gazed at one another for some time with fright & silent astonishment," Journals of Captain James Cook: The Voyage of the Resolution and Discovery, 17761780, ed. J. C. Beeglehole (Cambridge: Hakluit Society, 1967), Vol. 3, p. 1350.
In the Nootka language: "Macuina, Macuina, Macuina; Asco-Tais, hua-cas; Espana, Espana, Espana; Hua-cas, Macuina, Nutka." In Spanish: "Macuina, Macuina, Macuina; es un gran principe, amigo nuestro; Espana, Espana, Espana; es amiga de Macuina y de Nutka." Quoted in Sanchez, Joseph, Spanish Bluecoats: The Catalonian Volunteers in Northwestern New Spain, 17671810 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1990), p. 94.
Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada, ed. James J. Talman (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1946), p. 229.
Aubert de Gaspé, Philippe, Mémoires (Quebec City: 1885; first ed. 1864), pp. 85-87.
Jean-Paul de Lagrave's study, Fleury Mesplet (17341794) imprimeur, éditeur, libraire, journaliste (Montreal: Fides, 1985), is the best work to consult on the spread of revolutionary ideas in French Canada.
Genêt attracted the antipathy of President George Washington, and was blamed by Robespierre. See Lagrave, pp. 420-421; see also Brunet, Michel, "La Révolution française sur les rives du Saint-Laurent," Revue d'Histoire de l'Amérique française, X (1957), pp. 155-162. From a military standpoint, it is not clear that the British authorities would have succeeded in mobilizing the French-Canadian militias against an invader from the mother country. A report prepared in May 1794 on the militias in the Quebec area concluded that most of the companies called would probably not take up arms against France. On the other hand, an assembly of militiamen held in Berthier near Montreal denounced the execution of Louis XVI and warned the citizens against "the diabolical doings of these inhuman men [the French Republicans]" - Gazette de Québec, May 16, 1793.
Mackay, Daniel S. C., "Les Royal Canadian Volunteers," Journal de l'organisation des musées militaires du Canada, VI (1977), pp. 1-17; Neilson, J. L. Hubert, The Royal Canadian Volunteers 1794-1802: An Historical Sketch (Montreal, 1895), pp. 1-8.
Much of the correspondence concerning this regiment, including the many types of dress, may be found in NAC, RGS, volumes C792, C793, C794, C795. Volumes C1167 1/2 et C1203 1/2 are regimental order books. See also the "Prescott Papers" MG 23, KS. Lord Dorchester, in his January 31, 1795, request for uniforms from the Duke of Portland, mentioned round hats, but he received cocked hats - PRO, Colonial Office 42, Vol. 101.
In 1810, the New Brunswick Fencibles offered to serve everywhere in the world, like the British regiments. The offer was accepted and it became the 104th Regiment, continuing for the moment its service in New Brunswick.
"The acquisition of Canada ... will be a mere matter of marching," quoted in White, Patrick C. T., A Nation on Trial: America and the War of 1812 (New York: John Wiley, 1965), p. 126.
Gazette de Montréal, April 13, 1812.
NAC, RG9, Vol. 3, Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville to François Vassal de Monviel, Chambly, May 17, 1812. There was so much red cloth used in 1812 that there was hardly any left when the time came to replace the uniforms, and in 1813 most of the militiamen wore green coats trimmed in red with white braid. Red was worn once again in 1814 and 1815, after uniforms arrived from England.
PRO, Colonial Office 42, Vol. 146, George Prevost to Lord Liverpool, Quebec, May 18, 1812.
Quoted in Hitsman, John Mackay, The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965), p. 61.
Dunlop, William, Recollections of the American War, 1812-14 (Toronto: Historical Publishing, 1905), p. 13.
Long after Wilkinson's death in 1824, Louisiana historian Charles Gayarré discovered that prior to the War of 1812 he had accepted a fortune in gold from the Spanish, who secretly bought his cooperation and influence with the American authorities in connection with the drawing of the American boundaries with New Spain. See Archer, Christon, The Army in Bourbon Mexico, 1764-1810 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1977) and Gayarré, Charles, History of Louisiana (New York: 1854), Vol. 2.
The exercise did not concern only weapons handling, but also tactical manoeuvres and the movements of armies on the field of battle. It had considerable impact on the conduct of battle in the Napoleonic wars and was adopted with varying degrees of modification by most European armies. See Graves, Donald E., The Battle of Lundy's Lane on the Niagara in 1814 (Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation Publishing, 1993).
In August 1814 in Washington, British troops destroyed public buildings, including the Capitol and the President's residence, to avenge similar acts committed by the American army at York (Toronto) the preceding year. Before burning the residence of the President, the soldiers of the 21St British Regiment feasted on the presidential dinner that had been left hurriedly by Madison and his guests.
This agreement nevertheless came too late to prevent the failure of a major British raid on New Orleans, which was defended by American General Andrew Jackson. The battle, which took place on January 8, 1815, had no strategic impact in spite of all the romanticism Americans have since attached to it.
In 1830, President Andrew Jackson and Congress took away the land of the Amerindian nations to the south of the United States, whether friends or enemies, and ordered them to leave and settle west of the Mississippi. The Supreme Court was opposed to this, but Jackson overruled it and ordered the army to "get them out." About 30,000 people were rounded up by force and often chained, to follow what truly became "the trail of tears," more than a quarter of them dying along the way. See Cooke, Alistair, America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973), pp. 168-170.
Pelletier, Oscar C., Mémoires, souvenirs de familles et récits (Quebec City: 1940), p. 50.
A couplet from the play by George Farquhar, The Recruiting Officer, produced in April 1706 and quoted in The Rambling Soldier: Life in the Lower Ranks, 17501900, Through Soldiers' Songs and Writings, ed. Roy Palmer (London: Penguin, 1977), p. 9.
PRO, War Office 34/2, James Murray to Jeffery Amherst, Quebec, August 27, 1763.
In Grose, Frances, A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence (London: 1811), reprinted under the title 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (Chicago: Follett, 1971), q.v.
Ibid., see for a detailed description. In some regiments, the newly married officers were also subjected to this tradition.
The sergeants living in the barracks had a small room with a wooden partition at the end of the room.
For example, between October 1826 and March 1827, 20,650 gallons of rum were sold in Montreal. This quantity no doubt corresponded to the rum ration occasionally given to soldiers and for supplies for the regimental canteens in the barracks. Yet the garrison in Upper and Lower Canada was only 3,000 soldiers. The alcohol consumed in bars also has to be taken into account. ANQM, registry of J.-M. Mondelet, Nos. 580, 587, 589, 594.
Aubert de Gaspé, Philippe, Mémoires (Quebec City: 1885), pp. 32-33. After this punishment, the soldier was taken to the infirmary, where he stayed for at least three weeks recovering, his back covered in bandages soaked in sugar and lead oil (plumbi acetas). The surgeon could interrupt the punishment if he felt that the convicted man's life was in danger, because a few unfortunate ones did die. But an interruption is all that it was, and after the soldier was healed the rest of the sentence would be administered.
PRO, War Office 34, Vol. 4, James Pitcher to Jeffery Amherst, Quebec, September 23, 1763.
Based on a number of stereotypes, British officers of the period were for a long time depicted as ignorant and licentious. Nothing could be further from the truth, as demonstrated by John A. Houlding's excellent study, Fit for Service: The Training of the British Army, 1715-1795 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981).
See Lacelle, Claudette, La garnison britannique dans la ville de Québec d'après les journaux de 1764 à 1840 (Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1979), pp. 55-56.
Cuthberston, Bennett, A System for the Complete Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of Infantry (London: 1769), p. 23.
Garneau, François-Xavier, Voyage en Angleterre et en France dans les années 1831, 1832 et 1833, ed. Paul Wyczynski (Ottawa: University of Ottawa, 1968), p. 118. In 1831, Lieutenant Marlay and Garneau, the French-Canadian man of letters, boarded the same ship at Quebec for London.
Hunter, Robert, Quebec to Carolina in 1785-1786, ed. Louis B. Wright and Marion Tinling (San Marino: Huntington Library, 1943), p. 108.
NAC, RG8, C1247, Duke of Richmond to the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Lord Bathurst, Quebec, November 10, 1818. The Duke of Richmond, an experienced military man, was appointed governorin-chief of British North America in May 1818, and he personally inspected the border. He died accidentally the following year near present-day Ottawa while on a reconnaissance mission. His recommendations were ratified by the Duke of Wellington.
Despatches, Correspondence, and Memoranda of Field Marshal Arthur Duke of Wellington, edited by his son, the Duke of Wellington (London: John Murray, 1867), Vol. 1, p. 46.
Figures for the Rideau Canal are often contradictory. For some enlightenment, see Raudzens, George,
The British Ordnance Department and Canada's Canals, 1815-1855 (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University, 1979). The budgets for the Royal Navy are based on Clowes, William Laird, The Royal Navy: A History, From the Earliest Times to the Present (London: Sampson, Low, Marston, 1901), Vol. VI, p. 190.
Jackman, Alonzo, "Journal of Alonzo Jackman's Excursion to Quebec, 1838," ed. Gary T. Lord, Vermont History, XLVI, No. 4, 1978, p. 256.
David, Laurent-Olivier, Mélanges historiques et littéraires (Montreal: Beauchemin, 1917), p. 267.
SRO, Dalhousie Papers, Confidential Report, Quebec, May 26, 1824.
SRO, Dalhousie Papers, Lord Dalhousie to Lord Bathurst, Quebec, December 19, 1823.
NAC, RG9, IA1, Vol. 82, François Vassal de Monviel to P.-H. Bédard, Esq. Quebec, December 5, 1823.
SRO, Dalhousie Papers, June 1, 1828, in which Dalhousie asks that the officers wear a grey or blue frock with a crimson sash. Several units reported having adopted blue frocks with sashes the following year - NAC, RG9, IAl, Vol. 34-35; the Beauce cavalry was mentioned in the Quebec Mercury on May 9, 1829.
NAC, RG4, A1, Vol. 620, British Rifle Corps, Montreal, December 16, 1835. This document, submitted to the governor, Lord Gosford, had 393 signatures on it. It would appear that these people preferred to form their own unit rather than join the Montreal Rifle Corps, which existed already, because this corps of volunteers was at the time commanded by Sabrevois de Bleury, a French-Canadian gentleman who was said to be a friend of Papineau and who had probably been appointed to reconcile the French population with the militia.
Papineau, Amédée, journal d'un Fils de la Liberté ré fu gié aux États-Unis par la suite de l'insurrection canadienne, en 1837 (Montreal: Étincelle, 1978), Vol. II, pp. 46-47.
Quoted in Senior, Elinor Kyte, Redcoats & Patriotes: The Rebellions in Lower Canada, 1837-38 (Ottawa: Canadian War Museum, 1985), p. 137. The sacking of the Spanish city of Badajos, which was defended by the French in 1812, took place after a horribly bloody assault by the British army. Completely unhinged and made crazy by the violence of battle, the soldiers lost all discipline and went on a rampage of theft, sacking, drunkenness and rape. It took three days to restore order. No rapes were reported at Saint-Eustache because the women had vacated the town, with the children, prior to the battle.
Jean-Joseph Girouard to M. Morin, April 28, 1838, quoted in Les Patriotes, 1830-1838, ed. and compiled John Hare (Montreal: Libération, 1971), p. 144.
These were the Loyal St. Andrews Volunteers, some members of which successfully limited the pillage. Wales, B. A., Memories of Old St. Andrews and Historical Sketch of the Seignory of Argenteuil (Lachute: Watchman, 1934), p. 114.
Mémoires de Robert S.-M. Bouchette, 1805-1840, collected by his son and annotated by De Celles, A.-D., (Montreal: 1903), pp. 57-58.
This ploy was not as naïve as it may have appeared. It was used successfully by insurgents in India during the Indian Mutiny in 1857. From this period on British soldiers were ordered to attend religious services with their rifles.
Prieur, François-Xavier, Notes dun condamné politique de 1838 (Montreal: 1884), p. 11. The Patriotes also made a few cannons out of wood with steel bands around them, which did not work "because they could not withstand the demands of transportation," noted Prieur.
John Prince was investigated and acquitted. For more details about the battles of Pelee Island and Windsor, as well as the investigation that followed, see John Prince: A Collection of Documents, ed. R. Alan Douglas (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1980). It is worth noting that Prince's prejudices, to the effect that one could not trust the French Canadians at Windsor, proved to be totally unfounded. Some of the volunteers at the battle of Windsor were French Canadians under the command of Captain S.-J. Thebo (Thibault), of the 2nd Essex County Militia Regiment. This regiment consisted largely of French Canadians, including approximately 15 of its 35 officers.
NAC, RG4, B14, Vol. 2, Hawthornelock to Cathcart, D. Daly and Campbell, April 27, 1840. This organization was similar to the paramilitary constabulary force deployed in Ireland. See Rules for the Government of the Rural Police (Montreal: 1839). According to the Bytown Gazette of June 11, 1840, there were 30 constables in the Rural Police, 10 of whom were mounted, in each of its nine districts. The Montreal police had 106 men, four mounted, and the Quebec City police 83. Beginning in 1842, these two police corps were reduced by half. NAC, RG4, B14, Vol. 26, W. Coffin to the clerks of the cities of Montreal and Quebec, December 26 and 31, 1841.
PRO, War Office 1, Vol. 536, Memorandum upon the Canadian Frontier, November 1840.
PRO, War Office 1, Vol. 537, Memorandum on the Defence of Her Majesty's Dominions in North America, March 31, 1841.
In March 1840 police constables abandoned their sabres, firearms and military dress for a simple stick and a blue coat and top hat, the almost civilian uniform worn by policemen at the time so that they would look more like ordinary citizens. The Rural Police and the Quebec police were dissolved on January 1, 1843, and the Montreal police on the 23rd. NAC, RG4, B14, Vol. 27, letters dated December 1842 and January 1843.
NAC, RG9, ICI, Vol. 119, Lieutenant-Colonel EtiennePascal Taché to an unknown addressee, Montreal, September 8, 1846.
Fréchette, Louis, Mémoires intimes, ed. George A. Klinck (Montreal: Fides, 1974), p. 121.
Young, James, Reminiscences of the Early History of Galt and the Settlement of Dumfries in the Province of Ontario (Toronto: 1880), pp. 236-238.
La Patrie, Montreal, November 10, 1854.
In 1858 fears of an invasion by France became widespread among the people of the British Isles, although the two countries were at peace. In a tide of patriotic fervour inspired by Tennyson's verses of "Form! Riflemen, Form!," tens of thousands of men were raised in record time for the volunteer companies. In only a few months, this Volunteer Movement led to the creation of the British reserve army, which exists to this day.
The subdivisions of the North Atlantic Squadron varied depending on the era. For example, at the time of the Fenian raids, throughout the 1860s, there were four permanent divisions (Barbados, Jamaica, Bermuda and Halifax, which was also the headquarters) and a temporary division that covered the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.
Breech-loading created a number of problems and the British returned to muzzle-loading in 1869. Technical progress solved these problems and breech-loading was adopted in the 1880s.
The HMS Erebus had an unusual career. Built as a bomb galley in 1808, it was modified to a rocketlaunching vessel and attached to the North Atlantic Squadron during the War of 1812. The rockets it fired against Fort McHenry during the night of September 13-14, 1814, inspired lawyer Francis Scott Key to write the American national anthem. One of the most celebrated verses of "The Star Spangled Banner" is "by the rocket's red glare ... our Flag was still there"; indeed on that night the only way of knowing whether the fort was still resisting was if one could see the American flag by the light of the rockets. The Erebus, which was very solidly built, was occasionally assigned to Arctic exploration. It was part of the Ross expedition from 1841 to 1843 and, of course, the Franklin expedition as well. Since 1848, it has rested at the bottom of the Arctic, together with the HMS Terror.
The actual Northwest Passage was crossed for the first time from east to west between 1903 and 1906, by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on the Gjoa. The second time, it was by Sergeant Henry Larsen of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the St. Roch; he made the voyage from west to east from 1940 to 1942, and then from east to west in 1944. The St. Roch thus became the first Canadian vessel to cross the famous passage, the first ship to cross it in both directions, and the first to complete the task in less than a year. This outstanding small RCMP schooner is now kept by Parks Canada at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
This Fort Garry was not the first to be built at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. It was preceded by others, including Fort Rouge, built by La Vérendrye in 1738, and Fort Gibraltar, which was erected by the North West Company in 1804. Another Fort Garry, the first to be built of stone, was erected on this site in the early 1820s and abandoned some 10 years later. In 1835, construction, also in stone, began on the second Fort Garry, often called Upper Fort Garry, which was the administrative centre of the Hudson's Bay Company for several decades and which was to become the core of the city of Winnipeg. A stone gate, today located downtown, is the only vestige of Upper Fort Garry. Fortunately, Lower Fort Garry was not destroyed. This magnificent fort, one of the gems of our commercial and military heritage, is preserved by Parks Canada as an historic national site.
Manitoba Archives, MG2, B7-1, Red River Volunteers attestations, Fort Garry, February and March 1835. The commander received £20 per year, each sergeant £10 and each volunteer £6.
Quoted in McKelvie, B. A., and W. E. Ireland, "The Victoria Voltigeurs," in British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XX, 1956, p. 228.
PRO, War Office 1, Vol. 551, note from Colonel Mundy, dated July 27, 1854, and letter from Governor James Douglas dated August 5, 1854.
On November 16, 1863, 22 officers and soldiers along with eight women and 17 children departed for England. There was an emotional farewell ceremony. The band of the Royal Engineers played "Auld Lang Syne" and "Home Sweet Home," with the people and seamen assembled in the port as the ship left while joining in the singing. See Woodward, Frances M., "The Influence of the Royal Engineers on the Development of British Columbia," in BC Studies, No. 24, winter 1974-75.
This was the same George Pickett who, after becoming a general in the Confederate army, commanded the famous "Pickett's Charge" at the battle of Gettysburg in 1863 during the American Civil War.
The Treaty of Washington was signed in 1871, but the matter of San Juan Island was settled only after mediation by the German Emperor, who granted the island and the neighbouring archipelago to the United States on October 21, 1872.
For details on the lesser-known campaigns, see the excellent study by Gough, Barry M., Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846-1890 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 1984).
PRO, Colonial Office 61, Vol. 1, "Laws of Britain to be in force in British Columbia," November 19, 1858.
In 1864, the Victoria Volunteer Rifle Corps adopted a white and blue uniform similar to the one worn by the Austrian infantry! This uniform, which was criticized by the press, was changed the following year to an austere green-black one imported from England, which was similar to the one worn by the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps. In December 1873, following British Columbia's union with Canada and the attendant reorganization of the corps of volunteers, the Victoria Volunteer Rifle Corps was disbanded to make way for the creation of two new companies of riflemen, which were to include some of its members. Lovatt, R., "Les voltigeurs, les fusiliers et les artilleurs de Victoria (C.B,) 1851-1873," Journal de l'organisation des musées militaires du Canada, VI, 1977.
The New Westminster Home Guards disappeared around 1871, but the Seymour Artillery survived and was incorporated into the Royal Canadian Artillery.
Quoted in Stacey, C. P., Canada and the British Army, 1846-1871: A Study in the Practice of Responsible Government (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963), p. 138.
Davis, R. H., The Canadian Militia: Its Organization and Present Condition (Caledonia: 1873), p. 11.
Spencer rifles were issued to a number of volunteer artillery and infantry units in Ontario, and WestleyRichards were issued to the Montreal volunteers. For additional details, see Chartrand, René, "American Breech-Loading Firearms in the Canadian Service, 1866-1872," Arms Collecting, XXIV, 1986.
A 10th district was created in 1870 for Manitoba, and an 11th for British Columbia the following year.
For example, the Halifax Battalion, created on May 14, 1860, was assigned the number 63 when it was really the third volunteer battalion to have been established in British North America. The 1st Battalion was created in Montreal on November 17, 1859, the 2nd in Toronto in April 1860, the 3rd 4th 5th and 6th in Montreal in January 1862, the 7th, 8th and 9th in Quebec in February and March 1862, the 10th in Toronto and the 11th in Saint-André d'Argenteuil on March 14, 1862, the 12th in Toronto on October 29, 1862, the 13th in Hamilton on December 11, 1862, the 14th in Kingston and the 15th in Belleville in January 1863, the 16th in Picton and the 17th in Lévis in February 1863, and so on. See Jackson, H. M., The Roll of the Regiments (The Active Militia), s.l., 1959.
NAC, RG9, Vol. 279, Adjutant-General to Captain James O'Reilly, March 10, 1857; Adjutant-General to Colonel Moffat, March 11 and 20, 1856. Captain O'Reilly's Kingston Irish Rifles company wore a green uniform with a pale-green collar, cuffs and shako feather, reminiscent of the national colour of Ireland.
From March 1 to August 31, 1858, 1,506 men enlisted. Most came from Ontario; fewer than 20 percent came from Quebec and there do not appear to have been any French Canadians among the recruits. It has sometimes been stated that the many sons of the veterans of the 100th regiment of the War of 1812 established along the Rideau River filled the ranks of the new 100th, which is erroneous; only three recruits from this group have been identified.
The number of French Canadians who served in the Union army remains very difficult to determine. In an 1868 speech, Georges-Étienne Cartier spoke of 50,000, which seems very high given that it represents almost the whole population of French Canadians in New England. Here, we are clearly speaking of Americans of Canadian descent already living in the United States, and not of volunteers who left from Canada. See Brault, Gérard J., The French-Canadian Heritage in New England (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1986). There appear to have been few volunteers who left Canada to join the Union army.
Maximilian, brother of the Austrian Emperor, was crowned Emperor of Mexico, but it took a French garrison of some 35,000 men to keep him on the throne. Most Mexicans supported the republican forces of President Benito Juarez, who were fighting to restore their country's independence. For further details, see Chartrand, René, The Mexican Adventure, 1861-1867 (London: Osprey Military, 1994).
Russel, W. Howard, Canada: Its Defences, Condition, and Resources (London: 1865, p. 219).
Quoted in Pariseau, Jean, and Serge Bernier, Les Canadiens français et le bilinguisme dons les Forces armées canadiennes, Tome 1, 1763-1969: le spectre d'une armée bicéphale (Ottawa: Directorate of History, Department of National Defence, 1987), p. 50. The statutes and reports submitted to Parliament which were published in the records of the session, and the regulations which appeared in the Official Gazette were translated into French, but many other regulations and manuals, not to mention internal reports, were not. It was only in 1969, with the adoption of the Official Languages Act, that the use of French in federal departments became compulsory.
Organisation militaire des Canadas. L'Ennemi! L'Ennemi!, by A Rifleman (Quebec: 1862), p. 29.
NAC, RG9, IC8, Vol. 3. Commanding officer's reports, 4th Battalion, "Chasseurs canadiens" de Montréal, November 10, 1862.
In 1875, the matter of the Zouave uniform was submitted to the War Office, which deemed that the "national" colour of red was to be used by the Canadian militia. The question was again raised four years later and the proposal was rejected once again because, it was said, the Americans used grey (their uniform was dark blue with sky-blue trousers) and because it was not a French uniform. NAC, MG26, A, Vol. 307.
The century to follow was, moreover, all to the credit of the few Francophone Quebec units, who were able to promote French Canada's military heritage in spite of repeated harassment and humiliation. Many of those who were attracted to military life joined the companies of "Zouaves pontificaux canadiens" being established in many parishes in the 1870s, which were paramilitary organizations that they controlled and that enjoyed the enormous prestige the Church had at the time. Thus in this parallel volunteer militia, the red uniforms of the English were not worn, and its members did not have to put up with objections to their language, culture and faith. An incident that occurred in 1877 reflects the tensions between the communities and the values that underlay them. On a boat trip to Ottawa, a number of Pontifical Zouaves of that city caused a scandal by replacing the Union Jack with their own flag on the main mast of the ship. Captain Simmonds succeeded in having the Union Jack replaced, because it was required by law, and the Zouaves raised their flag on another mast. The incident was reported in the Ottawa Daily Citizen of July 3, 1877, and the Ottawa Loyalist Association awarded Simmonds a medal for upholding the honour of the British flag! The medal is kept in the Canadian War Museum.
For example, officers in the Canadian volunteer artillery went so far as to adopt not only the uniform of the British Royal Artillery, but the badges as well, in addition to its motto, "Ubique," in commemoration of its services around the world. This amused the British, and the wife of Governor-General Monck noted that the Canadian officers wearing these badges would be more aptly described as having been "nowhere"! Monck, Elizabeth, My Canadian Leaves (Dorchester: Dorset County Express, 1873), pp. 139-140. The Adjutant-General of the militia took steps "in a quiet way" to have the Canadian officers remove the word "Ubique" from their badges. Col. P. L. McDougall to Captain R. H. de Montmorency, Ottawa, June 14, 1867. NAC, RG9, ICI, Vol. 286.
The data on the number of Fenians who took part in this final invasion attempt vary considerably. Not only did Canadians overestimate their number, but there is still a significant gap between the number of contingents promised and those who in fact took part in the raids. Thus the 1St Vermont Fenian regiment mustered only 65 men instead of the 600 promised, the 2nd Massachusetts 140 instead of 1,000. See Toner, Peter M., "The Military Organisation of the 'Canadian' Fenians, 1866-1870," The Irish Sword, X, 1971, pp. 2637.
Several companies of volunteer militia were raised in Manitoba during October. See Tascona, Bruce, "The Independent Companies of Manitoba, 1871-1884," Journal of the Military History Society of Manitoba, 1992, pp. 5-12.