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Date > 1700

Subject > Politics and Society > Life on the Homefront

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

A Stalled Effort

Type: Document

In the late summer of 1759, time pressed on the British besiegers of Quebec - to avoid winter, they would have to raise the siege in October. After the failure at Montmorency, Wolfe's British army began a campaign of pillaging and burning Canadian homes, striking at the Canadian militia.

Site: National Defence

Suffering and Excess Under Siege - Battle for Quebec - Battle for a Continent

Type: DocumentFilm and Video

By July 1759, the British had entrenched their cannons across the river from Quebec City, and General Wolfe was preparing for his long bombardment of the urban centre. In the town itself, ordinary residents suffered starvation while Intendant Bigot lived a lavish lifestyle. From the television series "Canada: A People's History." Includes links to educational resources, bibliography, games, puzzles, and video clips.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

To the Sound of the Drummer's Beat

Type: Document

Fortified towns like Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Louisbourg were all governed by military staffs. The lives of French soldiers and Canadian civilians alike were regulated by the different drum beatings of the garrison, from La Diane at dawn to La Retraite at sunset.

Site: National Defence

The billeted soldier's departure, circa 1790

Type: Image

In 18th century Canada, a good many soldiers were ‘billeted’ (lodged) in private houses rather than in barracks.

Site: National Defence

A Series of Amerindian Nations

Type: Document

During the eighteenth century, the northwest Pacific coast was home to a series of Amerindian nations, including the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Nootka and Salish. These were maritime cultures - excellent sailors and fishermen who depended on the sea's resources

Site: National Defence

Fort La Présentation in the 1750s

Type: Image

Established in about 1718, Fort La Présentation was rebuilt from 1748. This was an important base for French allied Indians on the upper St. Lawrence River who were much influenced by Father Piquet, a Sulpician missionary. In 1752, it was described by John Defever as having ‘a town of about forty wigwams, and have a French priest among them’ next to the fort. It was taken by the British in 1760 and is now the town of Ogdensburg, NY.

Site: National Defence

Social Changes

Type: Document

The new British way of defending colonies led to great social changes in Canada during the late 18th century. With no professional colonial army to join, the elite of Canadian society lost much income and influence. As well, British soldiers developed no roots in the colony.

Site: National Defence

Poor Officers and Food

Type: Document

Officers with no income beyond their military pay would have to live very frugal lives. All officers were provided with much the same rations as the common soldiers, with some extras. In some more remote posts, officers' wives were given rations as well.

Site: National Defence

Quebec as seen from the north shortly after the 1759 siege of the city

Type: Image

This engraving, published in 1761, shows the walls of Quebec as seen from the north. The large white building seen at right centre is the Orphan's and Ursulines Nunnery. The convent was home to some 50 nuns who taught (according to a 1753 document) about 60 boarders and 150 day students. (Library and Archives Canada, C-000358)

Site: National Defence