War of 1812 - Artefact of the Week - December 21st, 2012

Basket Hilted Broad Sword of Commodore Alexander Grant, Commander of the Provincial Marine.

Parks Canada: FF.76.4.1

This weapon, in the style of a highland broadsword, reflects the origins of Commodore Alexander Grant who was born in the Scottish highlands. Features of this type of sword include heavy, straight steel blades and basket hilts, which enclosed and protected the hand. This particular example has a bone grip.

Grant’s military career began in the 1750s with the Royal Navy, but he soon obtained a commission in the British army. Nevertheless by 1759 he was once again in command of ships, this time on Lake Champlain. After the fall of New France in 1763 he developed his own Great Lakes maritime businesses and a political career in Upper Canada, but remained associated with the British military and the Provincial Marine (PM) until he retired in March 1812. The ships constructed under his command gave the British naval supremacy on the Great Lakes in the first year of the War of 1812.

The Provincial Marine was formed in 1778, during the American War of Independence, to provide the British with a naval capacity on the Great Lakes. In 1812, the Provincial Marine had shipyards at Amherstburg, at the mouth of the Detroit River on Lake Erie, and Kingston, on Lake Ontario. Subordinate to the Quartermaster-General Department of the army, the Provincial Marine’s mixed combat success in 1812 prompted its take-over by the Royal Navy in 1813.

For more information, visit Fort Malden National Historic Site on the Parks Canada Website.

Basket Hilted Broad Sword of Commodore Alexander Grant, Commander of the Provincial Marine Basket Hilted Broad Sword of Commodore Alexander Grant, Commander of the Provincial Marine
© Parks Canada