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Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts > French Regime, 1603-1760

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

Grenadier of the régiment de Guyenne (left) and a corporal from the régiment de Béarn (right), circa 1756.

Type: Image

These men wear the special Canadian version of their regimental uniform, made to specifications of the Ministère de la Marine (the Ministry of the Navy - responsible for French colonies). At left is a grenadier of the Régiment de Guyenne. His moustache marks him as a member of the elite grenadier company, since other French soldiers of the period had to be cleanshaven. His uniform looks much like the European pattern, save for the lack of collar to his grey-white. The Canadian uniform of the régiment de Béarn showed more changes. It had blue cuffs and waistcoat, pewter buttons, and silver lace - very distinct from the red collar, cuffs and waistcoat, brass buttons, and gold lace worn in Europe. The corporal of the régiment de Béarn (right) wears loops of silver lace on his cuffs as a mark of his rank. Reconstruction by Eugène Lelièpvre. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Map of the siege of Quebec, 1759

Type: Image

This 1810 plan of the 1759 siege of Quebec was based on the survey made by order of Admiral Saunders, the Royal Navy commander of the expedition. (Library and Archives Canada, C-014523)

Site: National Defence

Drummer, Compagnies franches de la Marine, New France, 1755-1760

Type: Image

This drummer of the Compagnies franches wears the livery of the king of France, with its distinctive lace - crimson with an embroidered white chain pattern. Drummers were often distinctively dressed to make them easy to spot in the heat of battle. This was because the only practical way of transmitting orders to a large group of men before the perfection of portable radios was by means of distinctive drum beats. Officers had to be able to find a drummer quickly, even in a confused mass of soldiers, hence the special uniform. Reconstruction by Eugène Lelièpvre. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Soldiers, French régiment de la Reine and régiment de Languedoc, circa 1756

Type: Image

These French soldiers of the régiment de La Reine (left) and régiment de Languedoc (right) wear a special Canadian version of their regimental uniform. When units of the troupes de la Terre (the French metropolitan army) were sent to New France in 1755, they were issued with uniforms more suitable for colonial service, made to specifications from the Ministère de la Marine (the Ministry of the Navy - responsible for French colonies). In this illustration, both men wear their grey-white coats (made without collars for Canada), but it was expected that when in the field, these would be left behind and only the waistcoat would be worn. For La Reine, the use of red waistcoats (as opposed to the blue used in Europe) was one of the obvious distinctions seen in the Canadian uniform. Languedoc's uniforms were identical in colour to their normal European pattern. Reconstruction by Eugène Lelièpvre. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Gunner, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 1751-1764

Type: Image

This British artilleryman wears the blue coat of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Gunners in most European armies wore dark-coloured clothing to disguise the dirt and grime that soon disfigured anyone firing artillery using gunpowder propellant. The yellow lace was added to the uniforms in 1750, and this pattern of clothing was worn from 1751 to 1764. Reconstruction by Derek Fitzjames. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

The 'French Gate' at Fort Niagara.

Type: Image

Construction of the so-called 'French Gate' began at Fort Niagara in 1756. Note the coat of arms - from 1725, the royal coat of arms of France was ordered to be put up over the main gates of towns and forts in New France. The fort itself dates back to the 1720s, and was expanded substantially at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. Several of the original French structures still stand, incorporated within later British and American works. The whole site is now a New York state park.

Site: National Defence

Champlain's famous fight on 30 July 1609 against the Iroquois Indians as interpreted in a late 19th century print

Type: Image

When Champlain took part in a 1609 Huron expedition against the Iroquois, he began a contest between two ways of warfare that lasted centuries. The combination of armour and firearms was rapidly understood and used to advantage by early French soldiers in Canada. By contrast, the Amerindians evolved furtive tactics and rapid movements which eventually proved to be the best in a wilderness environment.

Site: National Defence

Private, 58th Regiment of Foot, 1757-1762

Type: Image

The 58th Regiment of Foot was one of several British units sent to America in 1757 in preparation for the attack on Louisbourg. Although the siege did not begin until 1758, the regiment saw the capture of the fortress and was present at the capture of Quebec the following year. This soldier is shown in marching order, carrying his pack and haversack. His red coat shows the black regimental facings of the 58th Foot on its cuff and lapels. The uniform is unusual for British infantry of the period because the regimental lace is yellow instead of the normal white, and the coat lining (seen on the turned back coat tails) is buff instead of white. Reconstruction by G. A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Private, light company, 48th Regiment of Foot, 1759-1760

Type: Image

During the Seven Years' War, the British infantry regiments in North America converted one of their ten companies into a 'light company.' These men were trained to fight in the forests. Like the other units, the light infantry of the 48th Regiment of Foot modified their uniforms to match their new role. Coats were cut short to make movement easier in the bush. All of the white regimental lace was removed to make the men less conspicuous. The large tricorn hats were cut down to make caps that would stay on when moving in the woods. All in all, this uniform of 1759-1760 is much different from the one worn by the men of the 48th when they were involved in General Braddock's disasterous defeat at the Battle of Monongahela in 1755. Reconstruction by G. A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence