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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Strategy and Tactics > Fortifications

Resource Type > Image > Photograph

The 'French Gate' at Fort Niagara.

Type: Image

Construction of the so-called 'French Gate' began at Fort Niagara in 1756. Note the coat of arms - from 1725, the royal coat of arms of France was ordered to be put up over the main gates of towns and forts in New France. The fort itself dates back to the 1720s, and was expanded substantially at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. Several of the original French structures still stand, incorporated within later British and American works. The whole site is now a New York state park.

Site: National Defence

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 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

Cross of Malta carved in a stone bearing the date 1647

Type: Image

When the Château Saint-Louis in Quebec was built, this Cross of Malta was carved in a stone bearing the date 1647. Charles Huault de Montmagny was governor at that time. He was knight of the Order of Malta as was at least one other of his officers in Canada. The stone was found in 1784 during renovations to the governor’s residence and eventually incorporated into a courtyard entrance of the Château Frontenac Hotel.

Site: National Defence

Iron 24-pounder guns mounted on wooden garrison carriages

Type: Image

These 24-pounder guns on garrison carriages are found in a bastion at Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. This solid carriage, with its small wheels and strong construction, was used to mount heavy guns in forts and field fortifications. The wheels were only intended to allow the gun to be pointed at its target. To move any great distance, a gun of this size would normally be dismounted and moved in a travelling carriage or heavy wagon drawn by a large team of horses. In North America during the early 19th century, movement by boat was preferred whenever possible because of the poor state of the roads.

Site: National Defence

22nd (Canadien-Français) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, July 1916

Type: Image

This photograph shows men of the 22nd (Canadien-Français) Battalion, CEF mending trenches. Note the 'duckboards' on the ground to help give secure footing when rain turned the ground to mud. The corrugated iron panel seen in the foreground would help reinforce the trench wall in such conditions. Between September 1915 and November 1918, the 'Van Doos' built a formidable fighting record. (Library and Archives Canada, PA-253)

Site: National Defence

Reconstruction of the 1605 Habitation of Port Royal

Type: Image

This reconstruction of Champlain's 1605 Habitation was opened in 1941. It is now a National Historic Site run by Parks Canada.

Site: National Defence

Aerial photograph of Fort Carillon / Fort Ticonderoga in 1927

Type: Image

Fort Carillon, or Ticonderoga as it was known to the British, was built by the French beginning in 1755. French general Montcalm’s victory in July 1758 over British general Abercromby’s Anglo-American army was won near the fort. Despite this victory, the fort had to be abandoned to Gen. Amherst’s overwhelming force in the summer of 1759. A party of American revolutionaries led by Ethan Allen captured the fort in 1775. This aerial view of 1927 shows much of the original foundations and outlines. The historic site is now a popular tourisht attraction.

Site: National Defence