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American Withdrawal Leaves Towns Burning

Type: Document

When the British regained control of Lake Ontario in December 1813, the Americans had to move men to hold their shipyards at Sackets Harbor. Unable to hold Fort George, they burnt both it and the surrounding towns in mid-winter. A unit of Canadian traitors helped them in this cruelty.

Site: National Defence

The Battle for the Northwest

Type: Document

American plans called for the recapture of Fort Mackinac in 1814. An attack was defeated by a British ambush in August. The Americans were able to destroy the famous British ship Nancy shortly thereafter, but lost two ships of their own on Lake Huron in September.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Timber Now Vital to Britain

Type: Document

In 1806, developments in Europe made access to Canada crucial to Britain's survival. Emperor Napoleon's France blocked access to the Baltic, the traditional source of timber used in building ships for the Royal Navy. Canada was the only alternative source in British control.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Reinforcements Raised

Type: Document

During the year 1813, Britain's attention was focused on its fight against Napoleon's troops in Spain. There were limited reinforcements available for North America. To help strengthen the colonies' defences, many units were raised from Canadian volunteers and conscripts.

Site: National Defence

The Race to Build Ships

Type: Document

In 1814, with American advances stalled on the Niagara frontier and in the West, the longstanding battle to control Lake Ontario became very important. Both sides spared no effort in a naval race that saw each build and launch ships of the line and supporting frigates.

Site: National Defence

Defence For Key Points

Type: Document

To protect Canada against American invasion after 1815, Britain planned to build fortifications defending strategic locations. Quebec City, Kingston and Montreal were key points, and they were to be defended by walls and guns and linked together by canals.

Site: National Defence

British Naval Defeat, Then Disaster on Land

Type: Document

The naval battle of Put-In-Bay in September 1813 gave the Americans control over Lake Erie. Procter's British army, its supply lines cut, was retreating when it was destroyed by the invading Americans at Moraviantown in October. Tecumseh was the most important casualty.

Site: National Defence

A Modest Beginning

Type: Document

In 1819, Britain began building fortifications near Montreal. The next year, work was begun on the Quebec Citadel. Work was slow and even by 1825, much of the 1819 plan was unfulfilled. Despite the cost, more work was approved, including new plans for a Halifax Citadel

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