British Army units Garrisoned at Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1784 to 1869

British Army Regiments in Canada

The British government stationed British Army regiments in Canada for its defense from the close of the Seven Years' War (1763) until 1871. Generally, these forces were garrisoned in fortifications such as those found in Quebec, Kingston and Halifax and could be augmented from time to time by reinforcements from Britain in response to war scares, rebellion and war itself. As well, a permanent fleet base was maintained in Halifax for the Royal Navy.

In the late 1860s, the British government decided that as colonial governments were now responsible for governing their own territory, they should also be responsible for their own defense. By 1871, all British garrisons had been removed, either returning to Britain or sent to duty in other Imperial outposts. Their places were taken by a new Canadian Permanent Force, at first composed of only two batteries of artillery, and later expanded to include other elements such as cavalry and infantry. These were to be supplemented by militia units in emergencies.

The British Army Garrison, Fredericton

In 1784, Fredericton, was appointed as the capital of the newly formed Colony of New Brunswick and for that reason it became the station of a British Garrison. British regiments were stationed there from 1784 to 1869, occupying a two block area bounded by the Saint John River and Queen, York and Regent Streets. The Garrison buildings were mainly of wood construction and as a result, over time most of the original buildings have been lost. A number of key buildings were replaced by newer ones built with stone, including the one that served as living quarters for the garrison, now housing the Fredericton Region Museum (FRM).

British Army Regiments that were garrisoned at Fredericton

1784 to 1793 – 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot.

(Library and Archives Canada Image, MIKAN No. 2833377)  54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot.

Glengarry badge, 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment, c1874.

The 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1755, as the 56th and renumbered as the 54th in 1757.  The regiment was actively employed in America at New York (1776), Charlestown (1776), Rhode Island(1777-79), Connecticut, and elsewhere during the American War of Independence. Shipped to Halifax in September 1782.  It was the first British regiment garrisoned in Fredericton, New Brunswick, from 1784 to 1793. From 1845 to 1854 the 54th was stationed at Gibraltar, in the West Indies, and again in Canada.

Badge, regimental. Royal Warwickshire Regiment Post 1898 cap badge of the regiment; an antelope, "ducally gorged and chained standing on a heraldic torse", with a scroll inscribed Royal Warwickshire below. The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, previously titled the 6th Regiment of Foot and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was a line infantry regiment of the British Army

6th (1st Warwickshire)  Regiment of Foot was raised in England in December 1673. On the outbreak of the American War of Independence,  detachments from the 6th arrived in New York in 1776 and saw action but were of insufficient strength and were sent home. To aid in recruiting, each infantry unit was linked with a county in 1782 and the 6th became the 6th (1st Warwickshire) Regiment.  It was garrisoned at Fredericton from 1790 to 1793

1793 to 1802 – The King’s New Brunswick Regiment.

1803 to 1810 – The King’s New Brunswick Regiment of Fencible Infantry

(Library and Archives Canada Image, MIKAN No. 2833386)

104th (New Brunswick) Regiment of Foot, had its origins in the New Brunswick Regiment of Fencible Infantry, a unit of fencibles raised for the defence of the colony of New Brunswick in 1803. Recruits were drawn from across British North America, Scotland, Ireland and existing British Army units. The regiment was formally entered into the establishment in 1806 with a strength of around 650 enlisted men but grew to almost 1,100 by 1808. In 1810 the regiment's officers requested that it join the British Army as a regiment of foot. This request was granted on 13 September 1810 and the unit was renamed the 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment of Foot.

The regiment took part in the War of 1812 against the United States. It undertook a renowned winter march from Fredericton, New Brunswick, to Kingston, Ontario, in 1813 to defend Upper Canada from American invasion. The regiment participated in the 29 May Second Battle of Sacket’s Harbor, an unsuccessful British attempt to capture a US naval base on Lake Ontario. Its flank companies fought in Niagara later in 1813 and were present in the aftermath of the 24 June victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams. After overwintering in Montreal part of the regiment fought at Cape Vincent, New York, on 14 May 1814. The flank companies were once again detached to fight in the 1814 Niagara campaign, seeing action at the inconclusive 25 July Battle of Lundy’s Lane. The regiment was present at the Siege of Fort Erie and took part in the unsuccessful assault of 15 August, during which their Lieutenant-Colonel, William Drummond, was killed. The 104th fought their last engagement at the Battle of Cook’s Mills on 19 October 1814. The unit received the battle honours "Defence of Canada, 1812-1815" and "Niagara, 1814".

The regiment ended the war at Montreal and was renumbered to the 103rd Regiment of Foot in 1816. It was disbanded on 24 May 1817. The lineage of the regiment is claimed by The Royal New Brunswick Regiment, though it is not a descendant unit. The 104th's colours have been preserved and were restored as part of the 200th-anniversary celebrations of its 1813 march. A plaque and monument have been erected in Fredericton to honour the regiment.  The 104th Regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1810 to 1813.

98th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1805 and served some years in Bermuda and New Brunswick. It was renumbered as the 97th in 1815.It was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1805 to 1814.  It served in the Atlantic region of Canada from 1814 to approximately 1818, when it was disbanded.

1813 to 1814 - 2/8th (King’s) Regiment of Foot.

1813 to 1816 – The New Brunswick Fencibles.

74th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot.

74th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot was formed in December 1777. The "Argyle Highlanders" of 1777-1784 was raised by Colonel John Campbell, of Barbrick, a veteran of the old 78th, or Fraser Highlanders, of 1756-1763. The regiment served in Nova Scotia during the American War of Independence and was distinguished by its defence of Penobscot in July 1779 against an American squadron.  In 1779 it was dispatched to New York. The flank companies were later employed in Carolina.  After the war, many members of the regiment settled in St. Andrews-by-the sea in New Brunswick.  The remaining soldiers of the regiment returned to Scotland, and it was disbanded on 24 May 1784.

The 74th (Highland) Regiment of Footwas raised again in Glasgow by Major-General Sir Archibald Campbell for service in India in October 1787.  The regiment embarked for India in February 1789 where it saw action in a number of battles.  It returned to England in February 1806 and then lost its Highland status due to recruiting difficulties, becoming the 74th Regiment of Foot in April 1809.  The regiment embarked for Portugal in January 1810 for service in the Peninsular War.  It returned to Ireland in June 1814.

The regiment embarked from Ireland for service in Halifax, Nova Scotia in May 1818.  On arrival, units were detached for service in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saint John, New Brunswick. The regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1818 to 1823.  The regiment moved on to Bermuda in August 1828 and then returned home in December1829.  It was sent abroad again in 1834,and served in the West Indies, and Nova Scotia until 1845.  

(Libraryand Archives Canada Image, MIKAN No. 2833374)

52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1755, as the 54th and renumbered as the 52nd in 1756, the regiment remained in England until 1765, when it went to Canada, and was there some years. In  October 1774 it was at Boston and on 17th June 1775 suffered heavy losses at the battle of Bunker's Hill  The regiment was actively employed in the American campaigns of 1776-8 (New York in 1776 and Philadelphia in 1778) ; but its ranks were sorely thinned, and the soldiers were drafted into other regiments and the officers returned to England in August 1778.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, painting by Howard Pyle.

In 1803, the 52nd was made a light infantry regiment. All men considered unfit for light infantry duties were transferred to the second battalion, which was formed into a separate corps as the 96th Foot. This corps served many years in the West Indies and North America. They were disbanded in 1816. From 1823 to 1826 the regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton, and then Nova Scotia.  In 1836 it went to Gibraltar, and thence in 1838 to Barbados, remaining in the West Indies and North America until 1848.

1826 to 1829 – 81st (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers) Regiment of Foot.

1831 to 1836 – 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade.

Rebels drilling in North York in autumn, 1837. LAC, Acc. No. 1961-29(34). Charles W. Jefferys.

34th Officer's shako plate c1844.

34th Officer c1815. The jacket was double-breasted and short-tailed, although the old long-tailed coat was used for full dress occasions. The bright yellow facings had silver buttons and lace loops. This man is a battalion company officer below field officer rank because he only has one silver epaulette. He also has a red and white plume on his shako to denote the battalion company. In full dress, white breeches were worn with Hessian boots but grey trousers were for foreign service wear.

34th (Cumberland) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1702 and designated as the 34th regiment in 1751. After 1762 the regiment served for some time in Florida, where, on one occasion, at Mobile, it was in imminent risk of starvation, owing to the miscarriage of supplies from the Island of Jamaica. The 34th arrived in Quebec in May 1776 and during the American War of Independence, saw a great deal of service in the backwoods. The flank companies were with Burgoyne at Saratoga. The regiment remained in Canada on garrison duty until 1786, when it returned home.

The 34th embarked for Canada in August 1829 and served in North America from 1830 to 1840.  The regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1832 to 1835. During the disturbances in Lower Canada in 1838, it was one of the regiments dispatched on horse-sleighs from New Brunswick to Upper Canada, over the snow, in the depth of winter.  A detachment from the regiment fought American Hunter’s Lodges at the Battle of Windsor in December 1838 during the Upper Canada Rebellion. From 1838 to 1841 they were posted on the American frontier at Amherstburg on the Detroit River. The regiment embarked for the journey back to England in June 1841.

Glengarry badge of the 43th Regiment.

43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1741, it received itsnumeric designation in 1751. At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War the 43rd, which had been some years in Ireland, embarked for North America. In1757-8. In 1759 it accompanied the expedition to Quebec. and fought under Wolfe in the memorable battle on the Plains of Abraham on 13th August 1759. The regiment served at the subsequent defence of Quebec, and  the expedition against Montreal. It was afterwards at the capture of Martinique and in the expedition to the Havana. Less than 400 strong, it left Havana for Jamaica at the peace, and was recruited by drafts from other regiments in the West Indies. It returned home in 1764.

When troubles were threatening before the commencement of the War of Independence, the 43rd was the first regiment. sent out to America. It was in camp at Boston in July 1774, and twelve mouths later, on 17th June 1775, at Bunker's Hill. It saw much hard and varied service in  New York (1776), Rhode Island (1777-79) and Virginia(1781), down to the surrender at Yorktown in October 1781. After the peace its scattered companies were brought home from America and Jamaica.

In 1812, the first battalion proceeded from the south of France to America and took part in the desperateattempt on New Orleans, and subsequent capture of Fort Bowyer, Mobile. It wasat Deal at the commencement of the Waterloo campaign. It went to New Brunswick andwas garrisoned in Fredericton from 1835 to 1837.  

Under the overall command of Sir John Colborne, commander-in-chief Canada, the regiment took part in the suppression of the Rebellions of 1837. In December 1837, in severe weather conditions, the regiment marched from Fredericton to Quebec a distance of 370 miles of many forests, frozen rivers and mountainous terrain in a period of eighteen days. The march received much attention in Canada and the Duke of Wellington expressed his high admiration for the arduous undertaking the 43rd had completed.  The regiment left Canada for England in 1846 and was stationed in the south of England and then in Ireland until 1851.

Rebellions of 1837-1838.  During the 1820sand 1830s the political situation in Upper and Lower Canada deteriorated. In each colony, groups of reformers demanded powers for the Legislative Assemblies. This lead to rebellions in 1837 and 1838 in both Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario) and Lower Canada (now the province of Quebec). Reform partisans led by Louis-Joseph Papineau in Lower Canada and William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada were called “Patriots”. Thirteen Patriots were executed, and 86 others were transported to Australia.

65th (2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1758. In 1769, the regiment went to Boston, and was one of the regiments engaged at Bunker's Hill on the memorable17th June 1775. Declared under strength, the men were drafted into other regiments and the officers returned to England in May 1776. After being at home in 1823, the 65th served in the West Indies, Demerara and Canada until August1841, when it returned home. Three companies of 65th arrived in Upper Canada in December 1838.  The regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1838 to 1839. 

69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1758 from the 24th Regiment's 2nd Battalion and became the South Lincolnshire Regiment in 1782.The 69th served at the  siege of Belle Isle in 1761, and was afterwards stationed in America, at Gibraltar, and in Ireland, at various periods during the next 20 years. From 1839 to 1842 it served in North America. The 69th was shipped to Canada in 1867 after the first Fenian raids (Irish veterans in the U.S. attempting to liberate Canada from the British Empire).  The Regiment was garrisoned in Saint John from 1841 to 1842. (1841-1842). It served in Canada and at Bermuda and Gibraltar until 1879, when it returned to England.

Fenian Raids, 1866, 1870.  Fenians were part of a more or less secret society of Irish patriots who had immigrated to the United States and whose mission was to secure, by force, Irish independence from Britain. In order to defend Canada, the Canadian government called up 14,000 volunteers for active duty. The largest battle took place in Southern Ontario during the summer of 1866, with nine Canadians killed and 32 wounded.

36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot, was formed in 1701. It  was designated as the 36th Regiment  in 1751 and became the Herefordshire Regiment in 1782. Having been re-formed in England, in 1707, the regiment went to Nova Scotia, and was engaged in the disastrous attempt against Quebec under General Hill and Sir Hovenden Walker in 1711, after which it came home. From 1830 to 1839 the regiment was stationed in the West Indies. From 1839 to 1842 the regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton.

Officer and private of 52nd Regiment of Light Infantry, showing short jackets and stovepipe shakowith bugle badge and green plume, by C HHamilton & J C Stadler, 19th century.

The Regimental Badge of the 52nd showed a bugle horn, suspended by cords from a knot, with the number "52" below the tassels. The bugle horn had been the badge of light infantry regiments since1770, adapted from the Hanoverian Jaeger regiments, and became standard for the newly formed Light Infantry regiments, since it represented the bugle calls used for skirmishing orders instead of the standard line infantry drum. The regimental badge was worn on much of the equipment, including the shakos and belts, and also frequently on turn backs and officers' shoulder wings.

52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1755, as the 54th and renumbered as the 52nd in 1756, the regiment remained in England until 1765, when it went to Canada, and was there some years. In  October 1774 it was at Boston and on 17th June 1775 suffered heavy losses at the battle of Bunker's Hill  The regiment was actively employed in the American campaigns of 1776-8 (New York in 1776 and Philadelphia in 1778) ; but its ranks were sorely thinned, and the soldiers were drafted into other regiments and the officers returned to England in August 1778.

In 1803, the 52nd was made alight infantry regiment. All men considered unfit for light infantry duties were transferred to the second battalion, which was formed into a separate corps as the 96th Foot. This corps served many years in the West Indies and North America. They were disbanded in 1816. From 1823 to 1831 the regiment served in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In 1836 it went to Gibraltar, and thence in1838 to Barbados, remaining in the West Indies and North America until 1848.  The 52nd was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1842 to 1844.

33rd (1st York, West Riding) Regiment of Foot, formed in 1702 and designated as the 33rd regiment in 1751. In February 1776, the 33rd embarked at Cork, Ireland, for America, along with other regiments. The regiment took part in almost all of the campaigns including the operations at Long Island and New York (1776), the expedition to Philadelphia (1777), the siege of Charlestown (1780), and the campaigns in Virginia and the Carolinas (1780-81), down to the surrender at Yorktown on the 19th of October 1781. The regiment was then "interned" in America until the peace, then exchanged and sent to Halifax in September 1783. From 1840 to 1843 the regiment was in the West Indies.  It was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1844 to 1848.

In 1793 Arthur Wellesley, later to become the 1st Duke of Wellington, joined the 33rd and subsequently commanded it in the Netherlands and India until 1803. He succeeded as Colonel in 1806 and held this post until 1813. The 33rd later fought under his command at the Battle of Waterloo. The 1st Duke of Wellington died in 1852, and in the following year Queen Victoria, in recognition of the regiment’s long ties to him, ordered that the regiment’s title be changed to the 33rd (or the Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1853.

1st (Royal Scots) Regiment of Foot.  The 2nd Battalion was actively employed in Canada during the troubles of 1838-1839.  It was garrisoned in Fredericton a second time from 1848 to 1850.

97th Regiment of Foot was formed in 1798 as the Minorca Regiment, designated as the 97th  (Queen's Own Germans) in 1805. The regiment served in Bermuda, the West Indies, and America, including the expedition to Plattsburg in 1814. It was re-numbered as the 96th in 1816 and disbanded in 1818. Formed in 1824, the new 97th (The Earl of Ulster's) Regiment of Foot went abroad in 1841, and served in Gibraltar, in the Ionian Islands, Jamaica, and in North America until 1853, when it came home. It was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1850 to 1851. In 1873 the 97th went to Jamaica, and served in that island, in the West Indies, Nova Scotia, and Bermuda, until 1880, when it was removed from Nova Scotia and sent to Gibraltar.

Officer's uniform of the 72nd Regiment.

(IWM Photo, Q71648)

Men of 72 Highlanders who served in the Crimea from 1854 to 1856, William Noble, Alexander Davison and John Harper.

The 72nd (Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1758 from 2nd Battalion, 33rd Regiment and disbanded in 1763. Reformed in 1786, became the Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders in 1823. The regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1851 to 1853 and in Nova Scotia in 1854.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2833381)

The 76th Regiment of Foot.  The 76th left the south of France after 1813 and went to Canada, where it was engaged in the unsuccessful expedition to Plattsburg, on Lake Champlain, in September 1814. It then served for thirteen years in Canada, returning to England in 1827. The battalion since served in Malta from 1850 and in Atlantic Canada  from 1853 to 1857, when it was garrisoned in Fredericton.

The 76th Regiment of Foot was a British Army regiment, raised for service in India in October 1787.  The regiment embarked for India in 1788 where over the next few years it took part in a number of battles and engagements under fire.  For their distinguished service in these actions, King George III gave his authorisation permitting the regiment to have the word "Hindoostan" emblazoned upon the regimental colours along with an elephant badge with a howday on top of the elephant, also inscribed with the word "Hindoostan".  The regiment returned to England and became the 76th (Hindoostan) Regiment of Foot in October 1806.

In 1807, the regiment was deployed to Jersey in the Channel Islands for garrison duty, remaining there until 1808, when it was deployed to Spain to take part in the Peninsular War.  The regiment took part in the Battle of Corunna in January 1809 and was evacuated from the Peninsula later that month.  The regiment took part in the Walcheren Campaign in the autumn of 1809 and, having reverted to the title of 76th Regiment of Foot in 1812, returned to the Peninsula in 1813 seeing action at the Battle of Nivelle in November 1813, and the Battle of Nive in December 1813.  It then embarked for North America for service in the War of 1812 and saw action at the Battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814.

The regiment did not return from North America until 1827.  It was garrisoned in Ireland until 1834 when it departed for the West Indies.  It went on to Canada in 1841 before returning home in 1842.  The regiment was deployed to South Wales later in the year to help suppress the Rebecca Riots.  After that the regiment went to Corfu in 1848 and on to Malta in 1850 before sailing for Saint John, New Brunswick in March 1853.

The headquarter division of the 76th arrived in Saint John on 26 April, disembarked on the 27th, and re-embarked on the same day for Fredericton.  Here it was joined by the other division, when 3 companies were detached to Saint John and one to Prince Edward Island.  In September 1854, the Regiment proceeded to Halifax, leaving one company at Fredericton. New Brunswick

It was garrisoned at Fredericton where it remained until embarking for home again in September 1857.  It embarked for India in September 1863 and was stationed in Fort St. George, Madras before moving on to Burma in January 1868, returning to India again in 1870 and sailing for England in 1876.

As part of the Cardwell Reforms of the 1870s, where single-battalion regiments were linked together to share a single depot and recruiting district in the United Kingdom, the 76th was linked with the 33rd (Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment and assigned to district No. 9 at Wellesley Barracks in Halifax.  On 1 July 1881 the Childers Reforms came into effect and the regiment amalgamated with the 33rd (Duke of Wellington's) Regiment to form the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.


During its service while garrisoned in Fredericton, (from 1853 to 1857) the 76th was commanded by General William Jervais, KH, (Commander from 1853 to 1862), his deputy in Fredericton was Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Clarke, who later became Lieutenant General Clarke, commanding the 76th from 1862 to 1871. During its service in Fredericton, the 76th was apparently well-liked, In September 1854, the Regiment proceeded to Halifax, leaving one company at Fredericton. The following address, signed by the magistrates, clergy, and inhabitants, was presented to the Regiment.

To Lieutenant-Colonel and Brevet-Colonel Joseph Clarke and to those officers, non-commissioned officers and privates of the 76th. Regiment, about to leave this province,

We, the magistrates, clergy, and others, inhabitants of the of Fredericton, cannot suffer you to depart from our city without expressing our sincere regret. Since your Regiment has been stationed among us, it has been peculiarly distinguished by the gentlemanly deportment of its officers, by the sober habits and orderly conduct of the men, the result of that perfect state of discipline and subordination which is the soldier's best praise, not only in time of peace, but when called into action. This we more fully appreciate in this year of pestilence, as the sober habits of the men in abstaining from intemperate indulgence in ardent spirits have probably tended, to preserve the community from an increased liability to the contagion of cholera. We are deeply impressed with the importance of your exertions in the cases of fire which have occurred since you have been stationed in this garrison; always first on the ground, even in those intensely cold nights of the late rigorous winter, your well directed efforts have been continued with unflinching and untiring labour. On the late disastrous conflagration, we attribute to these efforts the check of the further spread of those fatal ravages which laid waste so large a portion of our city. In thus taking leave, we wish you the fullest (measure) of honour that can attend the military career of a British Regiment.

(signed) B. Wolhaupter, Sheriff, etc.


To the Magistrates, Clergy, &c., Of the city of Fredericton,


On receiving your address, I sincerely thank you for the expression of good feeling towards myself, the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the 76th Regiment. It is a source of much gratification on leaving the city of Fredericton to bear with us the esteem and goodwill of its inhabitants, which we fully reciprocate. It is with much regret we leave your province, and we beg to offer our sincere thanks for the kindly feeling evinced during our residence with you, and the manner which you acknowledge the assistance we were enabled to afford on the late occasions of conflagration, etc., which visited your city. Accept our most cordial wishes for the prosperity of your city, and welfare of its community, in which we, will ever feel the deepest interest.

(signed) Joseph Clarke, Col. and Lieut.-Col.,

Fredericton, 76th Regiment, 21st September, 1854.

On the 21st of September 1854, the company stationed at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, sailed to Halifax, arriving on 23 September, making a total of headquarters and ten companies at Halifax, one company at Fredericton, and one at St. John. In January 1855, the Regiment was organized into ten service and two depot companies, this arrangement being altered in April to 8 service and 4 depot companies, the depot at this time being in Jersey. In April 1856, the coatee was abolished in favour of the tunic, and in the same year, the regiment was supplied with the new Enfield Rifle Musket. In July, the regiment arrived at Saint John, where it remained until September 1857. The regiment embarked in the steamship Jura for Cork, Ireland, proceeding thence by rail to Dublin. It reached Dublin on October 13th and occupied quarters in Beggar's Bush and Ship Street Barracks. On the Regiment leaving Fredericton in September 1857, it was again presented with an address, as follows:

To Lieutenant-Colonel Lloyd, and to those officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the 76th Regiment about to leave this province.

The Mayor and Councillors of the city of Fredericton in common council for this purpose specially convened, on behalf of themselves and the citizens universally, cannot allow you and the Regiment you command to leave our shores without expressing our regret at the sudden departure, from among us, of those who by their urbanity and uniform soldier-like conduct have endeared the name of a British soldier, and especially the soldiers of Her Majesty's 76th Regiment, to us all. Stationed in this garrison for some time prior to the Crimean war, the address of the citizens of Fredericton on the departure of the Regiment then testified their respect for the many virtues of your Regiment, and I feel happy in saying that their reappearance and stay among us have tended to strengthen the good opinion then so justly expressed. You are now called away, not as then to guard a post far from the seat of war, but to enter the very field of strife in a land where in other days that emblem, the "Elephant", worn by your Regiment, was won by the gallantry and heroism of the 76th, and we feel that that emblem will need no other watch-word to inspire them with like heroism to bear away from England's enemies even prouder trophies. We cannot omit in this address the name of the gallant Colonel Clarke, the late commander of the 76th, during his command ever ready and ever willing, as well to do his duty as extend acts of kindness; and through you, sir, we beg to assure Colonel Clarke that his truly honourable and noble conduct will always be remembered by the citizens of Fredericton, and, go where he may, he will be followed by the good wishes and earnest desire of us all for his health and prosperity, feeling well assured if anything can add to his regret on leaving New Brunswick, it is that he cannot accompany his gallant Regiment to the enemy's front, and lead them to battle and to victory. SEVENTY-SIXTH, 'Go where glory waits thee,' and remember, as we know you will when in the field of battle, that to you is entrusted the honour of old and beloved England, and England's beloved Queen; and forget. not that you carry with You, officers and men, the warm feelings and sincere wishes of Her Majesty's loyal subject, for your happiness, prosperity, and every honour that can fill a soldier's heart with joy. SEVENTY-SIXTH, FAREWELL.

On behalf of the Corporation and citizens of Fredericton.

Fredericton, (signed) W. H. Needham, Mayor, 23rd Sept. 1857. G. N. Tegee, City Clerk."

The Regiment was expecting to be sent to India, a hope of it was disappointed.


Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen,

Permit me, in the name of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the 76th. Regiment which I have the honour to command, to assure you that those kind sentiments and feelings which you have conveyed us in such handsome terms are fully appreciated on our own part by all ranks. The address which you were pleased to make to the Regiment on its departure from this province, at the commencement of the struggle in the Crimea, is still fresh in the minds of us all ; and its renewal on the present occasion, couched in still more affectionate language, is a convincing proof we have not fallen in your good opinion during our late sojourn among you and further that courtesy and soldier-like conduct on the part of the British soldier is ever sure to meet with its full estimation from those with whom he may be associated. In leaving these peaceful and tranquil scenes where we have passed so many happy days, it is more than probable we shall quickly be removed to the stern realities of strife, bloodshed, an revenge, in a far distant land; a land, where more than fifty years ago, the 76th Regiment acquired no common reputation for gallantry and daring. Should the orders of our Sovereign and Country summon us again to the same battlefields, I trust we shall strengthen, if possible, our present good name, and preserve untarnished the proud badge of the "Elephant" accorded for bravery and gallant conduct at those very spots, where now the blood runs cold in reading, unheard of atrocities and cruelties, unsurpassed in tile annals of savage life. In conclusion, gentlemen, allow me to say that in whatever part of the world we may be placed, or whatever see lies we shall have to pass through, the pleasing recollections and associations of our long stay in this province, and the many friendships we have formed in Fredericton, will ever be uppermost in our minds ; their remembrance will tend to cheer and enliven us ill those dreary hours of peril and hardship inseparable from a soldier's life. Again, I offer you in the name of the 76th. Regiment, Mr. Mayor and, Gentlemen, Our most cordial thanks and god wishes for Your future welfare and happiness.

(signed) R. C. Lloyd, Lieut.-Col. Fredericton, N.B., 25th Sept. 1857. Commanding 76th Regiment.

The 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot was formed as the 2nd Battalion of 4th Regiment of Foot on 10 December 1756 and renumbered as the 62nd Regiment of Foot on 21 April 1758.  Because of a lack of available marine units, four companies of the regiment were assigned to Admiral Edward Boscawen’s fleet as marines. In this capacity, they took part in the Siege of Louisbourg in June 1758. Following the capture of Louisbourg, the regiment participated in General James Wolfe's campaign to capture Quebec. The regiment made a diversionary landing at Beaufort to confuse the French. In 1761, part of the regiment was sent to Germany to join the British forces serving on the continent. In 1763, the regiment was reunited and deployed to the West Indies where it remained until it was sent to Canada to join General William Howe's forces.

The 62nd was dispatched to Quebec in May 1776 and took part in the campaign during the American Revolutionary War.  The regiment surrendered at Saratoga in Oct 1777, along with the rest of the force and most of the regiment remained imprisoned until 1781 when they were repatriated to England.  The regiment later served in the West Indies and Jamaica, returning to England in 1797.  The battalion fought in Spain then moved to Ireland.

In 1813 the regiment went from the south of France to America and was employed on the American Lakes and in the Atlantic region during the war from 1814 to 1815. The regiment returned to Europe too late for Waterloo. The 62nd went to Nova Scotia in 1857.  It was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1857 to 1862, and served in North America until 1864, when it came home from Quebec. 

63rdBadge and Officer’s shoulder belt plate.

The 63rd (The West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1758. The 63rd was sent to America in June 1775 and moved from Boston to New York in 1776 and fought at the battle of Long Island and the capture of New York. It was in the expedition to Philadelphia and fought at Brandywine and Germantown (1777). Subsequently it served  in Georgia and Carolina (December 1779), where some companies were mounted and employed as dragoons. The 63rd was not with the force which surrendered at Yorktown, being at the time  in South Carolina, where it had fought at the battle of Entaw Springs on the 8th of September 1781. It left South Carolina, in the spring of 1782, with the fleet of 300 vessels which carried away the troops remaining in Carolina after Cornwallis's surrender, together with 15,000 loyalists and slaves seeking new homes. The 63rd went to the West Indies, and from there it returned home after the peace of 1783. After the evacuation of the Crimea, in 1855, the 63rd went to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and remained in North America until 1865.  The regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1857 to 1862.

Note: It appears that both the 62nd and 6ere here as company strength detachments.

1862 to 1862 – 96th Regiment of Foot.

The 15th (Yorkshire East Riding) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1685 and designated as the15th in 1751.The regiment arrived in Halifax on the 15th of April 1758and took part in the siege and capture of  Louisburg that June at a strength of 859 . From Louisburg it went to Quebec with Wolfe, It fought in the great battle on the heights of Abraham, and after Wolfe's fall served at the defence of Quebec, and with the force sent against Montreal under General Murray, which completed the conquest of the Canada's. Next, it was at the capture of Martinique, and it the siege and conquest of the Havana in 1762, and was quartered for eleven months in Cuba, thence proceeding to New York, and afterwards back to Canada, where it served many years. In 1776 the 15th, then at home, went out to Charleston in 1776, and took part in the American Campaigns of 1776-8 under Howe and Clinton. In the November 1778 it went to the West Indies.

In 1827 the 15th went to Canada, and served there until 1840, a period embracing the political riots at Quebec and Montreal in 1832 (suffering heavily in the visitation of Asiatic cholera), as well as the insurrection in Lower Canada in 1837-8. The first battalion was sent to New Brunswick at the time of the Trent affair in 1861. The regiment was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1862 to 1866.  It then went to Bermuda where it served until 1870, when it returned home.

The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1689 and designated as the22nd regiment in 1751.The regiment was sent to Nova Scotia in 1757, and after wintering in New York  took part in the siege and capture of Louisburg in 1758 with a complement of 1,007 and went into garrison there. The following year its grenadiers, with the grenadier companies of certain other regiments, were formed into a provisional battalion entitled the "Grenadiers of Louisburg," and accompanied Wolfe in his enterprise against Quebec. The grenadiers were in the subsequent defence of Quebec, under Murray, and the remaining companies of the regiment  arrived from Cape Breton, on the re-opening of navigation of the St.Lawrence. The regiment took part in the expedition against Montreal and the final conquest of the Canadas in 1760. In 1762 the 22nd was transferred to the West Indies to take part in the capture of Martinique and Havana.  In May 1775 the regiment was posted to Boston from England. and took part in the New York Campaign [1776], and Rhode Island [1777-1779] before returning to New York [1780] prior to their 1783 departure to England.  The regiment returned to North America and was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1866 to 1869.

Captain (Retired) Doug Hall compiled the initial list of the regiments listed here from data provided by Ruth Murgatroyd.

Major (Retired) Gary Campbell revised and updated the list 12 May 2022. Gary noted: This list is the 90% solution, with the sequence of regiments (generally) correct, although the dates many vary by a year or so. All of these regiments belonged to Nova Scotia Command that included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island and Bermuda.  The regimental histories are not always specific about where the regiments were when within the command.  Some regiments were only present in company strength.  The titles used are contemporary to when they were in Fredericton. Not all regiments had county affiliations.

References: British Army Lists – various years, and WO 17 Monthly Returns of the British Army – various years.

L.B.M. Maxwell.  The History of Central New Brunswick.  Fredericton, Centennial Print & Litho Ltd, 1984. Pp 162-164.  Note: a very useful guide!

The history of British regiments based in Canada, as told by a Canadian Victoria Cross winner

The Burthen and the Brunt, A Short Description of the Service of the British Regular Army in Canada

By Colonel G. R. Pearkes, V.C., D.S.O.,M.C., p.s.c., P.P.C.L.I.
Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol. XII, No. 4, July 1935

Historical Sketch

The British claim to the sovereignty of North America dates from the reign of King Henry VII, under whose distinguished patronage Sebastian Cabot made his great discoveries, but it was not until 1621 that the first [British] colony was planted in what is now the Dominion of Canada. In that year Sir William Alexander obtained a grant of land from King James I of the territory which he christened Nova Scotia. At the same time other English emigrants were founding the New England colonies. In the course of years, the English settlements in North America multiplied rapidly, and by the close of the reign of King Charles II, the British seaboard extended from the Savannah to the Kennebec.

During this time French influence had spread along the St. Lawrence and Richelieu Valleys. Westward as far as Lakes Superior and Michigan they had taken possession of vast tracts of land wherever their missionaries or traders had penetrated. To secure these lands the French constructed a chain of forts at strategic points. The monopoly of the Indian trade thus established led to bitter conflict which lasted with little intermission for many years.

Until the beginning of the reign of King George I, the British colonies were expected to raise their own militia, and to provide the defence of their newly acquired homes. But this primitive method of colonial defence broke down as soon as the French sent regular troops as permanent garrisons for the forts that had been established. The English in turn were thus forced to provide garrisons for their own frontier posts. To man these posts in times of emergency, independent companies of regulars were stationed at important points; sometimes these were colonial troops; sometimes they were soldiers sent from England; but since the colony had to provide for the maintenance of these troops, they were never retained longer than could be helped.

Colonial service at this time was far from popular. Recruits could only be obtained when large bounties were offered. This practice proved costly to the British Government and encouraged the crimps to kidnap men who were subsequently spirited across the Atlantic. Frequently the drafts were filled with criminals. Sometimes pensioners and "invalids" - soldiers who were incapable of active service but still judged fit for garrison duties, were sent out in place of recruits. As a result of these methods the men were discontented and miserable and the companies were filled with bad characters.

Independent companies as well as colonial regiments took part in the numerous Indian wars and raids against the French. Many of these early expeditions had a direct bearing upon the course of events in Canada, but they do not come within the scope of this article since regiments of the British Army took no part in them.

The first expedition in which regiments that still exist in the Army List [in 1935] were employed. was that which, led by Colonel Nicholson, captured Port Royal in July 1710. The name of the port was then changed to Annapolis Royal. The regiments concerned were the 30th, or East Lancashire Regiment, and the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. [The 1935 regimental titles are used throughout this article]

Nova Scotia had changed hands many times, but henceforth it was to remain British, and for the next two hundred years British regulars provided the garrisons for its posts.

Immediately after his success at Port Royal, Colonel Nicholson returned to England to urge the government to continue in its determination to drive the French from North America. In the spring of 1711, a powerful fleet was placed under the command of Admiral Hovenden Walker, and five regiments were withdrawn from Marlborough's army for an expedition against Quebec. Unfortunately, the fleet became lost in a fog in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the transports were dashed to pieces on the rocks of Egg Island, with the loss of over 700 lives. The regiments that took part in that ill fated expedition were: The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster), The Devonshire Regiment, The Worcestershire Regiment, The Hampshire Regiment, and two regiments that have been disbanded. Before these regiments returned to England, each left one company to augment the garrisons of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland [and Labrador].

In 1717 these companies, together with the independent companies of the East Lancashire Regiment and the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, were merged into one corps to be numbered the 40th Foot, now the Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire). Though given a place in the line, the regiment was still considered a colonial garrison and, therefore, unremovable. It remained continuously in service in Nova Scotia until 1765. It was later affiliated with the Annapolis Regiment and the Princess of Wales' Own Regiment of Kingston.

The War Office was slow to recognize its responsibilities in connection with the maintenance of this new regiment. The fortifications at Annapolis Royal were allowed to decay, and by 1730 the barracks were falling down. In vain the officers of the regiment begged for blankets and supplies. The feeding of the garrison of Nova Scotia was entrusted to contractors, but in the contracts the most obvious necessities were overlooked. In a letter dated 25 May 1727, Governor Phillips wrote to the Lords of Trade complaining about the condition of the troops at Annapolis Royal, stating "everything here wearing the face of ruin and decay, and almost every countenance despair".He described the ramparts of the fort as "lying level with the ground, in breaches sufficiently wide for fifty men to enter abreast, which obliges the garrison to in supportable duty to guard against their throats being cut by surprise."

The assault on Louisburg in 1745 was carried out by provincial troops. The fall of the fortress, however, encouraged the British Government to complete the conquest of Canada and, accordingly, they dispatched three regular regiments—the Worcestershires, East Lancashires, and the Sherwood Foresters—to relieve the colonial garrison at Louisburg, and to prepare for a campaign against Quebec. The latter part of this plan came to naught, and the regiments remained to do garrison duties. When Louisburg was restored to the French by the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1749 the garrison was transferred to other posts. The Worcestershire Regiment sailed to Chebucto Bay where it cleared the ground on the site of the present city of Halifax.

But peace brought no security. Fighting continued in Arcadia. Fort Beausejour was destroyed and rebuilt as Fort Cumberland by the Gloucesters. Elsewhere British troops were heavily engaged against the French and their Indian allies. The Essex and the Northamptonshire Regiments were annihilated before Fort Duquesne. The Black Watch, the Border Regiment and the Inniskilling Fusiliers fell before the stockades of Ticonderoga. The 2nd Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and a detachment of Royal Artillery captured Fort Frontenac(Kingston) in 1758—they were the first British troops to reach Ontario. Ten regular regiments besieged Louisburg. Wolfe led his army of regulars to Quebec where the grenadiers lost heavily on the slippery slopes of Montmorency. The regiments still retained in the Army List that fought at Quebec are the East Yorkshires, Gloucesters, The Royal Sussex (which has incorporated the whitefeather of the Royal Roussillon Regiment in its badge), The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), both battalions of the Northamptonshire Regiment and the King's Royal Rifle Corps. Fraser's Highlanders, which played a prominent part in the Battle of the Heights of Abraham, was disbanded at the close of the war.

The capture of Quebec was but the fall of a fortress, not the conquest of Canada, and the victors were themselves besieged during the winter of 1759 when the troops suffered terribly from frost bite.

After the Battle of St. Foy, the situation was critical, until reinforcements arrived with the opening of navigation [of the St. Lawrence]. Then the columns converged upon Montreal - Amherst with the Royal Scots and five other regular regiments sailing down the St. Lawrence from Oswego: the Leicesters and Inniskillings marching from Crown Point, and the Quebec garrison advancing up the St. Lawrence. Two years later the Great Indian War broke out when the tribes under Pontiac, the Chief of the Ottawas, surprised detachment after detachment of the King's Royal Rifle Corps in the trading posts that stretched from Montreal to Lake Superior—Detroit alone held out.

After the Peace of 1764, regiments were withdrawn from Canada to meet the more menacing situation in the West Indies and the older colonies. When war broke out again in 1775 only three regiments remained in Canada; The King's Regiment (Liverpool) in the west, and the Royal Fusiliers and the Cameronians in Lower Canada. The Americans advanced up the water route of Lake Champlain-Richelieu River to St. Johns where a few companies of the Royal Fusiliers and the Cameronians withstood a siege by 4,000 Americans until 2nd November when their provisions and ammunition became exhausted. The delay thus caused to the invaders saved Canada, for though Montgomery took Montreal and joined Arnold at Quebec, winter conditions and the fact that most of the American volunteers had completed their service helped to defeat the invaders just as much as the heroic efforts of the defenders.

The Surprise with the Worcestershire Regiment on board arrived with the opening of navigation. It was the van guard of Burgoyne's army of 10,000regulars, and during the summer of '76 they, in conjunction with the King's—the light company of which under Captain Forster fought a notable engagement at the Cedars near the junction of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers—cleared the country of the enemy. In the following year Burgoyne marched with his regulars south to Saratoga only to find that a cashiered officer, who had become Secretary of War, had failed to make the necessary arrangements for co-operation with the forces in New York. As far as Canada was concerned, the rest of the war was a campaign of raids and surprises.

After the American War of Independence, the military situation in Canada changed completely. Up to this period the campaigns had been fought almost entirely by British regular regiments, but with the influx of the United Empire Loyalists, and the other settlers, the population of Canada increased enormously. Many of these settlers were ex-soldiers, in some cases complete regiments settled in localities with the result that militia units were formed, and although regulars from the Old Country still provided the garrisons at important points the next war was fought largely by Canadian troops, the regulars providing a backbone around which the militia rallied.

We thus find that when war broke out in 1812, although a few regular units, such as the Welch, the King’s, and the Royal Berkshire regiments, were stationed in Upper Canada, the bulk of the forces were supplied by Canadian troops.

The militia, however, at this period were poorly trained, and the militia officer was little more than a recruiting agent who mustered his men and marched them to the nearest post, there handing them over to such offïcers as the Governor-General appointed, by these to be trained and fought.

After the War of 1812 it was still necessary to maintain military garrisons in Canada. During the Fenian Raids and the Rebellions of 1837-38 new garrisons were established in Upper Canada, as for instance, that of London, where the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry was first stationed in 1838.

In 1846 the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the first body of troops to reach the North West, landed at York Factory on the Hudson Bay and traversed the 375 miles to Fort Garry (Winnipeg) carrying with them three bronze 6-pounder smoothbore muzzleloading guns.

Pte. O'Hea of the Rifle Brigade was awarded the only Victoria Cross ever gained in Canada. Between Quebec and Montreal, on 6 June 1866, at great personal risk he extinguished a fire that had broken out in a railway car loaded with ammunition.

The last campaign in which British regular troops took part in Canada was the Red River Expedition, when the King's Royal Rifle Corps went to Fort Garry. After sailing across Lake Superior and establishing a post at what is now Port Arthur, they cut their way through the forests to the Lake-of-the-Woods and thence proceeded by canoe to Fort Garry. After this British troops took no part in any active operations in Canada - except that they provided commanding offïcers and staffs for the Riel Rebellion Expedition of '85 - but they still remained as garrisons at Halifax and Esquimalt. The last regiment of the line to be stationed in Halifax was the 1st Battalion The Leinster Regiment, which was there at the outbreak of the South African War. It was relieved temporarily by the 3rd (Special Service) Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment, as a Canadian contribution towards the war. In September 1903, The Royal Canadian Regiment was relieved by the 5th Battalion Royal Garrison Regiment, which with the gunners and sappers remained for a few years longer, but in 1906 Canada took over for all time the defences of her seaboard ports.


Prior to the middle of the 18th century regiments were known by their Colonel's name, e.g., "Webb's", "Lascelles'", and "Otway's", unless they possessed a permanent title such as the "Royal Highlanders" or the "Royal American Regiment". Numbers were seldom quoted in official correspondence, though they were employed to denote precedence in rank. In the 19th century numbers were used entirely until the territorial designations were authorized.

The majority of regiments consisted of one battalion of ten companies, in a few cases, two or more battalions of a regiment were formed. Of the ten companies in each battalion, one consisted of grenadiers and one of light infantry. Although grenades were not usually carried except for siege operations, the grenadier companies remained and were composed of the tallest and strongest men. The light infantry companies were introduced, largely upon the instigation of Sir William Howe, to provide each battalion with a body of picked marksmen to act as skirmishers. They carried a special kind of musket, which was lighter than that used by the other companies. During an engagement, the grenadier and light infantry companies were usually placed on the flanks of the battalions, and hence became known as the "flank companies". Later, the practice of "brigading" the flank companies into special battalions was adopted. For example: Wolfe formed the Louisburg Grenadiers from the grenadier companies of the regiments left behind to garrison Louisburg when he sailed for Quebec. In 1812 a Flank Battalion under Colonel Robert Young of the 8th Foot was composed of the flank companies of several regiments. Many other illustrations of this sort might be given.

Consequent upon the difficulty of shipping horses, few British cavalry regiments served in Canada. The 19th Light Dragoons, now the 19th Royal Hussars(Queen Alexandra's Own) which saw more service here than any other cavalry regiment, was organized into six troops of three offïcers and 42 rank and file.

Companies of the Royal Artillery were grouped together into battalions when there were sufficient companies to justify such action. A company at full strength consisted of a captain, and 116 all ranks. This establishment included no drivers, as the drivers in the artillery were hired from civilian sources and were looked upon as servants of the contractors from whom the government hired horses. The field guns usually consisted of 6- and 3-pounder fieldpieces; the former drawn by four and the latter by three horses. The 3-pounders were sometimes mounted on light carriages, known as Congreve carriages, which made it possible to carry them on the backs of horses or mules in difficult country. It was customary to detail two guns to an infantry battalion, and these were known as "battalion guns". This practice was criticized by some offïcers because it prevented concentrations of artillery fire. Burgoyne seems to have abandoned it, marshalling his field guns into three "brigades". As each brigade only consisted of four 6-pounders, it would be more the equivalent of a modern battery rather than a brigade. In addition, Burgoyne took with him a park of heavy guns, howitzers, and mortars,12- and 24-pounders, to reduce block houses erected by the Americans and to clear away abatis.

The infantry, cavalry, and artillery, constituted the three most important branches of the army. There were in addition to these a company of military artificers and a small but efficient corps of engineers. The former saw no service in Canada, but several offïcers of the latter did excellent work during the American Wars. Towards the close of the 19th century companies of sappers were stationed at Halifax and Esquimalt. Artificers are occasionally mentioned as participating in the American campaigns, but they were not members of the company mentioned above. In some cases, they were probably civilians who were hired to serve with the army as masons or carpenters. In others they were doubtless privates with a knowledge of the building trades.

Supply, transport, and other services were in an embryonic state. Batteaux brigades were organized by Colonel Clarke in 1812, batteaux being flat bottomed boats of light draught but carrying heavy cargoes. By dint of rowing, towing, punting, or dragging by ropes, these were forced up the rapids. The crews were supplied by a corps of French Canadians. The corps was also used to open the King's Highway. Authorities were apt to impress every man and vehicle on the route and to stop at nothing to get the brigade through to its destination. During the War of 1812 practically everything, arms, ammunition, clothing, and food for the troops in Upper Canada had to be sent from Montreal. The soldier's ration was mostly salt pork and "pilot bread" or ship's biscuit manufactured in Portsmouth.

No Medical Corps, in the modern sense of the term, existed. A surgeon and mate were attached to each regiment of Foot. They were. however, essentially regimental offïcers, appointed by the colonel whose servants they had originally been. The surgeons were not required to hold a medical diploma or degree, nor the mate to pass a medical examination. Nurses were sometimes obtained among the women who followed the army, it being the custom to permit women to accompany the troops to Canada where the government rationed them. In the field only a fixed number of women were allowed. Army doctors laboured under many other disadvantages beside ignorance and inexpert assistance. They were poorly paid and although given a certain allowance for medicine, they had to provide their own surgical outfits. They were not allowed uniforms and occupied an inferior social status among the other commissioned officers.


The uniform of a private soldier was ill adapted for comfort and speedy movement. In the majority of regiments in the 18th century it consisted of the familiar red coat - the voluminous folds of which were buttoned back to form lapels - stock, waistcoat, smallclothes, gaiters reaching just above the knee, and cocked hat. Ordinary regiments had facings each of a particular colour - yellow, green, buff, white, red, black, or orange, and for royal regiments, blue. Bandsmen were dressed in the colour of the regiment's facings. Offïcers and men wore the hair clubbed, that is, plaited and then turned up and tied with tape or ribbon. In case the supply of hair on a man's head was insufficient, he was obliged to eke it out with a switch. Over his left shoulder the foot soldier wore a broad belt supporting a cartouche box, while another belt around his waist supported a bayonet and short sword. On service the infantryman also carried a blanket, a haversack with provisions, a canteen, a fifth share of the general equipage belonging to his tent, and a knapsack containing extra clothing, brush, and blackball. These articles added to his accoutrements,arms, and sixty rounds of ammunition, made according to Burgoyne, "a bulk totally incompatible with combat and a weight of about sixty pounds".

The Dragoons were armed and clad very much like the Foot, except that they wore high boots and carried pistols and long swords. Being regarded as a species of mounted infantry, they also carried firelocks.

The uniform of the artillery consisted of a blue coat, cocked hat, white waistcoat, white breeches, and black spatterdashes. Sergeants carried halberds, but corporals, bombardiers, gunners and matrosses were armed with carbines and bayonets.

In every branch of the service the uniforms of the offïcers were similar to those of the men. They wore sashes of considerable length and breadth. which served as a kind of slung stretcher for carrying the owner off the field incase he were wounded. The most striking feature of the officer’s uniform was the gorget. Originally this was a large steel plate designed to protect the throat but with the abandonment of medieval armour it had shrunk in size until at the time of George III it was purely ornamental, being simply a small plate  often of gold - hung about the neck in front and bearing the regimental badge.


The British regular during the greater portion of his service in Canada was armed with the "Brown Bess". This was a smooth bore flintlock musket with a priming pan, three feet, eight inches long in the barrel, and weighing fourteen pounds. It had an effective range of 300 yards, but its accuracy was unreliable at a distance greater than 100 yards. At a distance of over 100 yards the firing line during an engagement relied not so much upon the shooting of each individual as upon the general effect of the volleys it delivered. The missile used in the Brown Bess was a round leaden bullet, weighing about an ounce, and made up with a stout paper cartridge. In loading, the soldier first tore the end off the cartridge with his teeth, then sprinkled a few grains of powder from it into the priming pan, and finally rammed the ball and cartridge down the muzzle of the barrel with an iron ramrod. Although twelve separate motions were required, it is said that a clever marksman could load and fire a Brown Bess five times a minute. The average soldier, however, fired only two or three rounds a minute. The bayonet, which weighed over a pound, and was about fourteen inches in length, did not increase the accuracy of shooting.

With bayonets fixed to the muzzle only one effective round could be fired, since the bayonet made it difficult to ram down the charge. Sometimes powder and ball were put in without ramming, then the effect was of course slight. Rapid firing was not considered as very essential. "There is no necessity", wrote Wolfe, "for firing very fast; a cool, well levelled fire, with the pieces carefully loaded, is more destructive and formidable than the quickest fire in confusion".

Another firearm in use was the "fusil" which was a musket of less than ordinary length and weight. It was supplied to light companies and fusilier regiments.

Long before rifled flintlocks were officially adopted by the regular army, colonels supplied them to one or two good shots in their regiments; and before the close of the American War of Independence, every battalion in Canada had organized a rifle company. Aside from their clumsiness the firearms of the period had one very serious drawback: their efficiency was dependent upon the weather. A high wind might blow the powder out of the pans. If a man was shooting towards the wind, he had to take precautions against getting his face scorched and his eyes injured by the back blown flare from the touch-hole. A rainstorm might either wash the powder out of the pans or dampen it so that it failed to ignite. If sufficiently heavy and prolonged, a downpour of rain might soak through the cartouche boxes and turn every cartridge into pulp. Thus, the assault of the grenadiers at Montmorency in 1759 was stopped by a thunderstorm. During the siege of Louisburg, the troops were cautioned that since the air of Cape Breton was moist and foggy, they must be especially careful to keep their firearms dry. Quaintly the commander added, that "the light infantry should fall upon some method to secure their arms from the dews and droppings of the trees when they are in search of the enemy".

Under any circumstances the marksmanship in most regiments was poor. Scant mention is made of target practice, and the inference is that there waslittle of it, although regiments were repeatedly exercised in firing by platoons. It has been claimed that the soldiers did not aim at anything in particular. This probably accounts for the saying that "it took a man's weight in bullets to kill him". These conditions gave rise to the sharpshooter, a man who not merely discharged his musket, but aimed it at something or somebody.

(Library and Archives Canada Image, MIKAN No. 2833380)

The Royal American Regiment, or 60th Foot, now the K.R.R.C., was created "to form a body of regular troops capable of contending with the [First Nations warriors] in his native forest by combining the qualities of the scout with the discipline of the trained soldier." Offïcers trained in the school of European warfare, however, were prone to place more reliance upon the bayonet than upon the bullet. Burgoyne in particular, urged his men to use the bayonet: "Men of half (your) bodily strength and even Cowards may be (your) match in firing; but the onset of Bayonets in the hands of the Valiant is irresistible… It will be our glory and preservation to storm wherepossible."

The sword was not the weapon of the offïcers in all cases. Infantry offïcers carried spontoons, or half-pikes, and sergeants bore halberds. The latter wereabout seven feet in length and had a cross piece near the point to prevent over penetration after a thrust.

The woody character of the country in Canada induced many of the offïcers to discard these awkward medieval weapons and to replace them by firelocks.Fusils were carried by all offïcers of the Royal Fusiliers and by certain offïcers of the grenadier and light companies of some other regiments.


Proudly they marched, horse, foot, and guns. Four cavalry regiments, numerous companies of artillery, in fact, the Royal Regiment of Artillery served continuously in Canada from the middle of the 18th century until the garrisons at Halifax and Esquimalt were finally transferred to the Dominion. Three regiments, the Grenadiers, Coldstream, and Scots, of the Brigade of Guards, and with but two exceptions every line regiment were represented in Canada. They fought gallant and determined foes; individuals fell to the tomahawk of the [First Nations warrior], were scalped, burnt, or tortured to death. Many units experienced shipwreck on the high seas. A detachment of the North Staffordshire Regiment, for instance, while travelling in the barque Alert struck a rock 100 miles southeast of Halifax. The ship began to fill rapidly, and carried away by their first impulse, the troops rushed to the upper deck. There they fell in, and in order to prevent the ship foundering, returned to the lower deck, where they stood firm while the water rose slowly from their ankles to above their knees, until the ship was beached on a small uninhabited island. Hundreds of men perished when their whale boats or batteaux were smashed to pieces in the rapids of the St. Lawrence or the Richelieu rivers. On4 September 1760, Amherst lost 66 boats and 84 men drowned in the passage of the Cedars and Cascades on the St. Lawrence above Montreal. Many ships were lost on the Great Lakes. Cholera, scurvy, and frostbite all took their toll. St. Johns, Quebec, was reported upon at one time as being the unhealthiest station in the British Empire. Annapolis was the loneliest and dullest. Forts built by British regiments still dot the Canadian landscape. British soldiers have cleared the original sites of many Canadian cities. They opened up the country, built roads and dug canals. The King's Highway from Montreal to Toronto, the old military pack road through the Restigouche, and the Cariboo Trail through British Columbia are but a few examples of their work.

Many soldiers took their discharge in Canada and became settlers in the early pioneer days. Sometimes whole companies were disbanded and established communities from which their sons and grandsons responded to the call to arms when the Empire was in danger.

(Libraryand Archives Canada Image, MIKAN No. 2833385))

The 100th County of Dublin Regiment provides a striking example of this, for that regiment, on disbandment at the conclusion of the War of 1812,established a settlement at Richmond near Ottawa. From the sons of these ex-soldiers the 100th Prince of Wales's Royal Canadian Regiment was recruited at the time of the Indian Mutiny. The Regiment had its depot in Canada for a number of years, and eventually became the 1st Battalion Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians).

The history of the British army in Canada is the history of Canada. The Dominion owes much to the initiative, daring and perseverance of the regular soldier who at all times has proved himself to be a great Empire builder.


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