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Date > 1800

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Command and Administration

Reluctant Canadian Politicians

Type: Document

In 1849, responsible government came to Canada, and Canadian politicians now made many decisions, instead of the British Governor-General. The Canadians preferred to leave the cost of defence up to Britain, but did appoint a commission to study militia reform in 1854.

Site: National Defence

Canadians Presume Continued British Garrison

Type: Document

Canada became an independent state within the British Empire in 1867, but Canadian politicians assumed that Britain would continue to keep military forces in Canada, and pay for them as well. Britain, on the other hand, wanted the Canadians to pay for any troops.

Site: National Defence

Ethnic Tensions Within the Militia

Type: Document

Because the population of Canada in the 19th century included a mix of different cultures, there were tensions between them on occasion. The military authorities had to make it clear on occasion that such attitudes were not welcome in the Militia.

Site: National Defence

An Outnumbered Militia, Dominated by French Canadians

Type: Document

In 1812, British regulars stationed in North America matched the American regular army in numbers. However, the American state militias were much larger than their British colonial counterparts. Most of the outnumbered British militia were French Canadians.

Site: National Defence

Command of the Militia

Type: Document

From 1867 to 1904, the militia system was commanded by British General Officers who were often in conflict with Canadian Defence Ministers over matters of appointments, budgets, and the role played by Canada’s forces in the Empire. During this period small improvements were made in the staff system and the training of officers.

Site: National Defence

Major Arthur L. ("Gat") Howard (1846-1901) - South African War

Type: Document

Major Arthur L. (Gat) Howard accepted the position of machine gun officer in the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (later called the Royal Canadian Dragoons). Instead of returning home from the South African War with his unit in December 1900, Howard organized the Canadian Scouts and took command of the unit.

Site: Canadian War Museum

A Long-awaited Attack

Type: Document

In the fall of 1813, the Americans finally put in motion their long-delayed attack towards Montreal. Two invading columns were launched - one eastwards down the St. Lawrence, and a second up the Châteauguay valley from the south. Six thousand defenders faced the 14,000 invaders.

Site: National Defence

A general accompanied by his staff, Montreal, circa 1865

Type: Image

This charming watercolour of the staff of the British garrison at Montreal was painted by Captain Francis G. Coleridge of the 1st battalion of the 25th (the King's Own Borderers) Regiment of Foot. The blue coated staff officers with their cocked hats are accompanied by a scarlet coated officer of the 25th. Coleridge's entire album of 90 paintings is now in the collection of the Library and Archives Canada. (Library and Archives Canada C-102478)

Site: National Defence

British Raid on Sackets Harbor Fails

Type: Document

As the summer of 1813 progressed, the British regained control of Lake Ontario, and their fleet covered a landing at Sacket Harbour, the main American shipyard on the Lake. The British were beaten back with heavy losses by the defenders, led by General Jacob Brown.

Site: National Defence

The Price Of Exclusion

Type: Document

The attempt by Canadian military authorities to impose a British military tradition on the whole of the population during the years following Confederation in 1867 led to a lack of support by Francophones for the Militia. Each linguistic community mistrusted the other's motives.

Site: National Defence