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Fort Cumberland Defended

Type: Document

The American rebels' attack on Nova Scotia came in November 1776, against Fort Cumberland. Colonel Goreham's determined defence of the run-down fortification was enough to hold it until reinforcements arrived. This was the last serious threat to the colony from the rebels.

Site: National Defence

Carleton Rallies the Defenders

Type: Document

In November 1775, Governor Carleton organized the defenders of Quebec City to face a siege by the American rebels. British regular troops were few in number. Canadian militia, from both the anglophone and francophone communities, made up the majority of the defenders

Site: National Defence

March of the Americans under Benedict Arnold

Type: Image

The journey of Benedict Arnold's rebel army along the Kennebec and Chaudière rivers towards Quebec was a genuine epic. Some idea of the terrain involved can be gained from this American print of 1838.

Site: National Defence

Advance to Disaster

Type: Document

British general Burgoyne's plan for his attack against the American rebels called for two columns to move south in 1777. Burgoyne's main force moved down the Champlain valley where it was first surrounded and then defeated by an army of American rebels at Saratoga in October.

Site: National Defence

Winter Takes a Hand

Type: Document

In December 1775, the American rebels outside Quebec City suffered badly from the cold weather. Worse, they had no artillery able to hurt the fortifications. Hoping the Canadian militia would surrender quickly if given an excuse, General Montgomery decided to try to storm the town.

Site: National Defence

Saving What Could Still Be Saved

Type: Document

By November 1775, British plans for raising thousands of Canadian troops to fight the American rebels were out of date. In order to save the colony from the rebels, Quebec City would have to be defended until British reinforcements could arrive in the spring of 1776.

Site: National Defence

The Seige Is Broken

Type: Document

In May 1776, British ships arrived at Quebec City with reinforcements for Governor Carleton's besieged men. The American rebels broke off their siege of the town, retreating towards Montreal.

Site: National Defence

A Very Mixed Organization

Type: Document

Before 1854, the British army was governed by a complex series of overlapping bodies. Horse Guards (army headquarters) controlled most troops, but the civil Treasury ministry handled supplies, transportation and (in Canada) barracks through the Commissariat Department.

Site: National Defence

The Board of Ordnance - a Separate Fiefdom

Type: Document

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Board of Ordnance was a separate government department. It supplied weapons and ammunition to the army and Royal Navy, and built fortifications and all other military buildings. It was also responsible for the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

Site: National Defence