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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Strategy and Tactics > Fortifications

Resource Type > Image

Date > 1800

Fort Montgomery - the American fort built inside Canada

Type: Image

The United States Corps of Engineers began building Fort Montgomery in 1816, after the War of 1812. It was sited near Rouses Point, New York, at the northern end of Lake Champlain at the mouth of the Richelieu River. In the case of another war, it was to guard the northern American border against British and Canadian incursions and provide a base for United States armies invading Canada in that area. However, construction had to be abandoned after two years when the fort was found to be slightly inside Canada’s boundaries. Fort Montgomery got the nickname ‘Fort Blunder’ and was never completed. The site later reverted to the United States in 1842 as a good will gesture between Britain, Canada and the United States, nations that have since been allies in the great struggles of the 20th century.

Site: National Defence

Fort York, Toronto, August 1839

Type: Image

The fort at Toronto, also known as Fort York, was rebuilt after its destruction by the Americans in 1813. As can be seen in this 1839 painting by P.J. Bainbridge, the fort was on the waterfront, at the entrance to Toronto harbour. The figure in the foreground is a soldier of the 93rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot. (Library and Archives Canada, C-002801)

Site: National Defence

Fort Niagara, 1814

Type: Image

Fort Niagara was built by the French in 1726, and fell to the British in 1759. In 1796, it was turned over to the United States following Jay’s Treaty. The fort was captured during a surprise assault by British and Canadian troops on 31 December 1813. It was returned to the United States after the end of the War of 1812. This view appeared in the Philadelphia magazine 'The Port Folio' of April 1814. Note the British civil ensign (red with the Union flag in the canton) flying over the fort.

Site: National Defence

Plan of Fort Erie in September 1814

Type: Image

The British post at Fort Erie was extensively rebuilt by the Americans who captured it during the summer of 1814. The view here shows the rebuilt fort surrounded by the American camp as in September 1814.

Site: National Defence

Fort Chambly

Type: Image

The third fort on this site, construction began on Fort Chambly in 1709. It was made of stone and looked rather like a castle. This made it different from the low-lying, bastioned fortresses of Europe. The fort was built to be impressive and all but impregnable to Indian enemies and raiding American colonials. The fort wall facing the Richelieu River was pierced for artillery. During the War of 1812, Fort Chambly was the HQ for British and Canadian troops guarding the area south of Montreal against an advance by American armies. The complex fell into ruins during the 19th century. Its walls were stabilized in 1885 when it was made a Canadian government historic park. Recognized as a unique surviving example of military architecture, Fort Chambly was given a major restoration in the 1980s by Parks Canada. This returned the fort to its appearance of the mid-18th century.

Site: National Defence

Model of Fort St Joseph

Type: Image

Fort St Joseph was built in the late 1790s to ensure British access to lakes Huron and Superior. In 1812, it was the base for the successful attack on the American Fort Michilimackinac on Mackinac Island, Michigan. This capture led to the Anglo-Canadian control of much of the Northwest during the war. The large building in the centre of the fort is a blockhouse, built in 1797. Other structures included a guardhouse, kitchen, storehouse, powder magazine, bakehouse, and blacksmith shop. The whole complex was surrounded by a wooden palisade with four bastions.

Site: National Defence

Fort Pitt, a North-West Mounted Police post

Type: Image

Fort Pitt was built as a trade and supply post for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1829. It was taken over by the North-West Mounted Police, and in 1885 was home to a detachment of 25 policemen led by Inspector Francis Dickens (son of author Charles Dickens). When hostilities broke out between the Cree and the Canadian government in April, Fort Pitt was soon besieged. The police garrison abandoned the post, fleeing to Fort Battleford. This contemporary engraving is taken from the 'Illustrated London News'.

Site: National Defence