Passage of the Richelieu by night, 22nd Nov. 1837
Lord Charles Beauclerk (1813-1842)
1840, 19th century
Ink and watercolour on paper - Lithography
26.5 x 36.6 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Military (334) , Print (10661)
Keys to History
British refusal of the patriotes' program of 92 Resolutions (1834), along with an agricultural crisis and increasing hostility between French and English Canadians in Lower Canada, culminated in rebellion in the fall of 1837. Anglophones held mass meetings and armed themselves while the patriotes also formed a military group, the Fils de la Liberté. With warrants for their arrests issued in the autumn of 1837, the patriotes were forced to leave Montreal, pursued onto the south shore of the St. Lawrence River by well-armed British forces. The patriotes won the first battle at St. Denis on November 23 of that year.
Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)
Drawings by officers seem to have had two main purposes: some served military ends and were forwarded to authorities, while others were done to wile away the hours before an advance or battle.
Once they had crossed the St. Lawrence River at Montreal, the British troops had one major natural obstacle to their advance: the Richelieu River. Given the danger of attack from the local peasantry, the troops crossed at night.
This picture was executed on November 22, 1837. The next day, the patriotes won a major battle at St. Denis.
Military officers did many of the most important depictions of Lower Canadian life. As the troops advanced from Montreal toward rebel positions, artists among them took the time to draw various scenes.