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War of 1812 - Artefact of the Week - November 30th, 2012

41st Regiment of Foot Drummer’s Belt Plate

This is a brass sword belt plate for a drummer of the 41st Regiment of Foot. Drummers carried a shortened version of the 1796 pattern infantry sergeant's sword, with a 60.96 cm (24-inch) blade. Drummers were of all ages, some of them being grown men. “Drummers” could actually be fifers, buglers or drummers, and were collectively referred to as “field music,” since their main role was to perform the duty calls in garrison, on the march, and in battle.

Drummers wore “reversed faced” coats with a distinctive lace or wool tape. Their colourful and distinctive uniforms would make them highly visible in battle. This would make it easy for officers to locate them on the battle field so that a limited range of orders could be played on the drum or bugle in circumstances where the human voice would have been overwhelmed by the noise.

The 41st Regiment of Foot was the only complete regular army battalion present in Upper Canada at the beginning of the War of 1812. It fought at numerous battles in the province during the war including the Capture of Fort Detroit in 1812; Siege of Fort Meigs, the Battle of Lake Erie (where the regiment’s soldiers acted as marines on the British ships) and the Battle of the Thames, all in 1813.

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

41st Regiment of Foot Drummer’s Belt Plate 41st Regiment of Foot Drummer’s Belt Plate
© Parks Canada
41st Regiment of Foot Drummer’s Belt Plate 41st Regiment of Foot Drummer’s Belt Plate
© Parks Canada