The National Battlefields Commission
Plains of Abraham
The British soldiers who fought during the Seven Years' War were recruited from nine different regions and, as with the French regiments, each had their own history and characteristic uniforms.
This regiment came to Halifax in 1758 to join in the attack of Louisbourg. During the following autumn, the men destroyed the French camps in the Gaspé region. They were later sent on to Québec, where they settled on the south shore to carry out the bombardment. The regiment then joined in the battles of the Plains of Abraham and Sainte-Foy, and was then dispatched to capture Montreal in 176053.
The soldiers' uniforms consisted of a red justaucorps with a yellow lapel. The uniform was trimmed with black and yellow regimental braids and had pewter buttons54.
This regiment arrived in Halifax at the end of June 1757. It was involved in the capture of Louisbourg on July 26, 1758, and remained there until the summer of 1759. In June 1759, the regiment was sent to Québec to take part in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Sainte-Foy. It later joined the expedition against Montreal55.
The soldiers' uniform consisted of a red justaucorps with a yellow lapel. The regimental braids consisted of two yellow lines, two black lines and black dots. The buttons were made of pewter56.
This regiment came to Albany in 1756 and fought in the battle of Fort William Henry in 1757. Then, as it headed for Fort Edward, the garrison was attacked by Indians and several soldiers lost their lives in the showdown. Subsequently reinforced and reorganized, the regiment was then fit to take part in the capture of Louisbourg and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on September 13, occupying the right position on Wolfe's line. This regiment also fought in the Battle of Sainte-Foy57.
The soldiers' uniform consisted of a red justaucorps with an orange lapel. The regimental braids consisted of a black and an orange line with a third orange line zigzagging in between. The buttons were made of pewter58.
This regiment came to Halifax in June 1757. At the time it protected the city against attacks from the French, the Amerindians and the Acadians. This regiment did not participate in the capture of Louisbourg but fought at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and at the Battle of Sainte-Foy59.
The uniform of the soldiers consisted of a red justaucorps with a white lapel. The regimental braids consisted of two red lines with blue stars in between. The buttons were made of pewter60.
Arrived in New France in 1750 and stationed at Fort Lawrence (Nova Scotia), the soldiers of this regiment took part in the capture of Fort Beauséjour and Fort Gaspareau, and in the deportation of the Acadians and the capture of Louisbourg. The regiment also joined in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Sainte-Foy61.
During the campaign of 1759, the soldiers of the 47th Regiment were not wearing their original uniforms since they had been intercepted by a French vessel. They therefore wore the colours of the 50th and 51st Regiments. The uniform consisted of a red justaucorps with a red lapel and white regimental braids. The buttons were made of pewter62.
The 48th Regiment of Foot came to America in 1755 and joined in the battle of Monongahela, in which the French and Amerindians defeated the British troops. In 1758, the regiment participated in the Louisbourg attack and, the following year, some of the regiment boarded Admiral Saunders' fleet to participate in the Québec expedition. This regiment was Wolfe's reserve at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and the following year it participated in the Battle of Sainte-Foy63.
The soldiers' uniforms consisted of a red justaucorps with a buff lapel. The regimental braids consisted of green and yellow lines. The buttons were made of pewter64.
Under Anstruther's command, the soldiers landed in North America in 1758. They took part in the capture of Louisbourg before embarking for Québec. On the Plains of Abraham, 335 soldiers of this regiment joined Wolfe for battle of September 13. They also fought at the Battle of Sainte-Foy65.
The soldiers' uniform consisted of a red justaucorps with a black lapel. The regimental braids were yellow and the buttons, brass66.
After years of fighting and repression, the British authorities saw an opportunity during the Seven Years' War to win over the Scots, notably by enrolling them into the army. Since their life was often difficult, many Highlanders agreed to join the British forces, hoping to improve their lot.
In October 1757, ten regiments crossed the ocean and spent the winter in Connecticut, where they were joined by three more regiments in March 1758. In April, they took part in the capture of Louisbourg under the command of Jeffery Amherst. The regiment later fought at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Sainte-Foy67.
The main feature of the soldiers' uniform was the kilt, whose tartan design is unknown. The red justaucorps, shorter than that of other regiments, had a white lapel. The red and white stockings were held under the knee by red ribbon garters. Finally, the soldiers of the 78th Regiment wore a flat blue-black cap68.
This was a temporary unit composed of Grenadiers from three regiments that had stayed on in Louisbourg (the 22nd, 40th and 45th Regiments). They were the elite of Wolfe's army. There were 326 of them when the siege of Québec first began, and several of them fought in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. However, they left the city after the victory and rejoined their regiments69.
The Grenadiers' uniform depended on their regiment. For those of the 22nd, the justaucorps was red with buff coloured lapel, the regimental braids consisting of two red and blue lines, with pewter buttons. In the case of the 40th, the justaucorps was red with a buff coloured lapel, the regimental braids consisted of black and buff coloured lines, and it had pewter buttons. Finally, the 45th Regiment Grenadiers wore a red justaucorps with a green lapel, trimmed with Regimental braids consisting of green lines and stars. The buttons were made of pewter. All Grenadiers wore a mitre70.
This regiment, which was established in New England in 1755, consisted of professional soldiers distributed among four battalions, as opposed to British regiments, composed of only one battalion. In 1758, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions went to Halifax to participate in the battle of Louisbourg. They later joined in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Sainte-Foy71.
The soldiers' uniform consisted of a red justaucorps with a blue lapel. Unlike other regiments, the justaucorps was not trimmed with Regimental braids72.
When the fighting began, it rapidly became clear to the British command that they would need to have the Light Infantry in New France if they were to defeat the Amerindians and the Canadians, skilled in ambush tactics. So, in 1758, a Light Infantry battalion was created in New England. These soldiers carried only a rifle, their main strength being their ability to move rapidly. During the siege of Québec, the Light Infantry participated in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Sainte-Foy73.
The uniform worn by Light Infantry soldiers varied according to their regiment. However, in May 1759, General Wolfe had issued an order so that the uniforms worn by the unit would be consistent with the duties they were expected to perform while on American soil, and this led to greater standardization. For example, the justaucorps were shortened to make travel easier. As well, the white braids were removed to make the soldiers less conspicuous. Finally, the tricorns were replaced by hats that could be tied up and therefore remain in place while the soldiers moved through the forest74.
Established in 1720, the Royal Artillery was especially renowned for its organization, equipment and training. In 1758, three companies, with a total of 330 soldiers, embarked for the siege of Louisbourg. The same three companies went on to Québec and bombarded the city for nearly two months75.
The Royal Artillery uniform consisted of a blue justaucorps with a red lapel. The regimental braids were yellow and the buttons were made of brass76.