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2013 $4 Fine Silver Coin – Heroes of 1812 – Charles-Michel de Salaberry


The War of 1812 was a fundamental turning point in Canada’s development as a nation; the stories and the heroes that arose from it have become enduring elements of the Canadian story.

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This $4 silver coin is 99.99% pure silver with a metal weight of 7.96 grams and a diameter of 27 millimetres. The reverse image by Bonnie Ross features, in the foreground, a three-quarter profile portrait of Charles-Michel de Salaberry set against an intricately engraved background comprised of the bilingual text “The War of 1812/La guerre de 1812.” This background is horizontally bisected by a polished silver band featuring the embossed word “de Salaberry” in cursive lettering. Beneath this band is the engraved and painted Government of Canada War of 1812 logo composed of the date “1812” in 1812-style handwritten lettering laid over a red stylized maple leaf with ecru swords crossing behind it. The reverse is also embossed with the face value of “4 DOLLARS.” The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

Special Features
– Created to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, this unique portrait coin is one of four in a series celebrating Canadian Heroes of the War of 1812, and part of a larger collection devoted to commemorating the 200th anniversary of this important event in Canadian history.

– An attractive collectible for numismatists, military enthusiasts, and lovers of Canadian history alike.

– The coin features Charles-Michel d’Irumberry de Salaberry against an intricately engraved background comprised of the words “The War of 1812” in both English and French. Featured in the design is the engraved and painted Government of Canada War of 1812 logo: composed of stylistic 1812 typography encompassed by a stylized maple leaf with ecru swords crossing behind it.

– The stunning three-quarters profile of this important Canadian figure is engraved to the Royal Canadian Mint’s exacting standards in 99.99% fine silver.

Coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell case lined with flock and protected by a custom beauty box.

Finished Size: 67 x 67 mm

Heroes of the War of 1812

The War of 1812 was a fundamental turning point in Canada’s history: it profoundly influenced British North America’s (Canada’s) sense of identity and united French- and English-speaking inhabitants, Aboriginal communities, farmers, soldiers, artisans, and others, in an effort to preserve their ways of life from American invasion.

From the struggle emerged exceptional accounts of some of Canada’s proudest moments. These stories and the heroes that arose from them exemplified the extraordinary characteristics required to defend British North America, and have become important symbols and enduring narratives in the history and evolution of today’s Canada.

Leadership and Victory in Lower Canada: Charles-Michel de Salaberry (1778 – 1829)

Charles-Michel d’Irumberry de Salaberry was born in Beauport, Lower Canada. He was the eldest of four brothers. For generations, his family had been officers of the royal army in what was, by de Salaberry’s time, Lower Canada and his family had built close ties to Britain’s royal family. England’s Prince Edward Augustus played an important role in assisting de Salaberry’s career at several key moments.

De Salaberry himself enlisted in the 44th Foot Regiment in 1792, when he was 14 years old. From that time until 1810, he served primarily overseas in the Caribbean, Ireland, and the Netherlands. He returned to Lower Canada in 1810 and was made a brevet-major.

At this time, aware—as were most military forces in the region—that war between the United States and Britain was close at hand, he sought authorization to form a militia to help defend Lower Canada. His recruiting was fast and successful.

His group of Colonial regulars, the VoltigeursCanadiens, was a light infantry unit that would become one of the most successful and well-known units to fight in the War of 1812. In September of 1812, de Salaberry and his Voltigeurs began managing border defense for Lower Canada.

In late summer of 1812, American military command had contrived a campaign to capture the city of Montreal. Two American forces would make their way northward, meeting in the Montreal region for a final assault. Major-General James Wilkinson and his 8,000 troops would travel east down the St. Lawrence River from Lake Ontario to rendezvous with Major-General Wade Hampton’s 4,000 troops, who were travelling northwest from Lake Champlain in New York state.

Hampton arrived at the Châteauguay River around October 21, 1813, and crossed the frontier with nearly 4,000 men. By this time, though, de Salaberry was already aware, thanks to his extensive network of informants in the farming and Native communities, of Hampton’s approach. With a clear and firm strategy, de Salaberry organized significant defences. As a result, the battle was quickly and decisively won by his Voltigeurs, forcing the American troops to retreat, despite the fact that they outnumbered the Voltigeurs and their Aboriginal allies by more than two to one.

This battle was the first of several that prevented American plans to take Montreal. On 11 November 1813, de Salaberry’sVoltigeurs again helped fend off the Americans at the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. In March of the following spring, they again repulsed American forces—despite the Americans’ greater numbers—at nearby Lacolle Mills, a site de Salaberry and the Voltigeurs had already successfully defended in November 1812.

Despite the legend arising around de Salaberry and the Battle of Châteauguay, including the assertion that 300 Canadians had forced the retreat of 7,000 Americans, the significance of that battle and de Salaberry’s role in it remain indisputable despite historical exaggeration. The actions and heroism of de Salaberry and the Voltigeurs remain key moments in the War of 1812.

De Salaberry himself went on to have a successful career in the Legislature of Lower Canada. He died at Chambly in 1829.

Item Number: 119772
Face Value: $4
Mintage: 10,000
Composition: 99.99% pure silver
Weight (g): 7.96 (1/4oz)
Diameter (mm): 27
Edge: Serrated
Finish: Proof
Certificate: Serialized
Artist: Bonnie Ross(reverse), Susanna Blunt (obverse)