British and Canadian Armies in Canada, 1758-1891

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British and Canadian Armies in Canada, 1758-1891

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For a century after the American Revolution and the peace of 1783, the military in Canada concerned itself almost exclusively with defence against the United States. During the War of 1812 successful defence against the United States was mostly attributable to the British regular regiments and the Royal Navy. In 1838 the regular garrison of British North America numbered over 13,000 men, but fell off to only about 3,000 in 1855 because of the high cost of maintaining such a force. The Militia Act of 1855 set up a new force of volunteers, not more than 5000 strong, which would be uniformed and armed and would undergo a short period of annual training. This volunteer force is the origin of the modern Canadian Army (Militia). The first Militia Act of the Dominion of Canada, passed in 1868, set up a Department of Militia and Defence and divided the country into military districts.

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