Thursday, 22 October 2015

OLD FORTS AND CITADELS

Last week I highlighted Fort Knox but we also got to see plenty more Forts and Citadels while we were over in America/Canada holiday so though I would show some photos of the major/minor ones I liked.

First up we have Fort Beauséjour (or English renamed Fort Cumberland) - located between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This Fort was built by the French in 1750-51 to protect the Arcardian land route between Louisbourg and Quebec.  We got there about midday on the way to travelling from Fundy Bay to Halifax  It was a nice midday lunch break stop and we comfortably spent an hour looking over the remains of the old earthworks fort. They have all the major earthworks of the star shaped fort you would expect and you can clearly see this, they also have multitude of painted plaques (shown) and showcase of old cannons and howitzers for the period but very much a self toured visit - great value for a minimal entrance donation fee.






The following day while in Halifax we went and visited Fort George located on the summit of Citadel Hill in Halifax, built by the British in the 1750's . The Fort is the center piece of a multi layered defense of the Halifax area, This was the major fort I was looking forward too - big ramparts with the classic star shaped configuration, with the majestic setting of Halifax city built just below and around it, and views of the harbor. They also have re-enactors in the fort which are of the 78th Highlander Regiment, good bunch of guys that are happy to talk you through what life was all about in those days living in the fort.
I must say Halifax was a very nice city to visit, we only spent a day and a half here, but quite enjoyed it all the same




The main courtyard, taken from one of the star shaped corners


Also went to the Prince of Wales Martello Tower while in Halifax, this being the lookout post for this area in the day(also the oldest tower in North America)  The timber roof is now gone but other than that it was quite good to see one first hand.



The following morning we drove up to Louisbourg which was a 4.5 hour drive north and visited the French Fortress of Louisbourg. I wasn't expecting much of this place after spending the previous day at Halifax Citadel so I went in with a homhum approach, but we both had a fantastic afternoon here truth be told ! 
Where as Halifax was all about the British solider life at the Fort , the Louisbourg Fortress has set it up to focus more on the French village and every day life of the people for that period. They have Village and Military re-enactors all about the place going about there daily business., for instance we visited one house and spent 10 minutes talking to two old ladies about sewing and needlework !   To name a few, they had a Blacksmith, a ship builder -who was actually halfway through building a fishing boat for that period, then there was the baker where you could buy a piece of bread he had made that day in the old style ovens, using the same recipe that the soldiers were rationed back in the day - it has rather hard to chew but still rather nice. There was also a building that was cut away on the inside (i.e exposed with no linings / floor / ceiling in areas) that showed what building methods and tools that were used back in the 1750's, which with my architectural background I found rather interesting.

So all in all a great day which I for one was not expecting to have,  I wish we had made more time for this place as we got there about 12pm so missed some of the days activity's

A cool model of the fortifications

The front main gate, with greeting guard


12pm Cannon firing display


The village below ground Freezer for back in the 1750's



Some impressive lace needlework





This is the Blacksmith
The Moat
The Bread we eat, nice but rather hard - the soldiers ration would of been 4 times as big as this and consisted of 90% of his ration, which had to last him a week, he also got some meat and biscuits, needless to say he would be allowed to go hunting to complement his diet

We then found ourselves in Quebec City,horrible place to drive around as we got there on the day when a major Cycle race was underway in the middle of downtown - typical ! The other thing is Quebec is 90% French speaking place, so rather hard , as we are definitely not the linguist type. Other than that it was good city to walk around and see the sites, we stayed there for two days, Old town was a highlight and also the Chateau Motel, and also walking the city ramparts , lots of cannons and howitzers on display. 

Lots and lots of cannons around the city
The old ramparts gatehouse with road through


The Chateau Hotel - very impressive
We also went to see Fort Lennox (or ile aux nox) which is located in the middle of  the Richelieu River in Quebec close to the border of Upper New York. This was another fine example of a earthworks fort which was built by the British in the 1820's on the old site of the french Fort ile aue nox, but when they built it the water table was too high and instead of being a dry ditch it became a moat - a happy accident when designing a fort  I guess !

The moat and main gate entrance





The barracks
 The last fort we went to was Fort Niagara located on the river mouth of Niagara River and Lake Ontario on the USA side of the border (north of Niagara Falls) This fort was quite interesting as it was in many battles, being right opposite Fort Mississauga (on the Canadian side) It had played an important role in the French Indian wars and fell to the British, it also served as a Loyalist base for Tory Militia in the Independence war. In 1794 the fort was handed to the Americans under a treaty, and during the 1812 War the Forts guns sunk the Schooner Senecca. In 1813 the British lead a commando style attack at night and completely surprised the American guard and succeeded in capturing the fort.
The British gave up the fort under the treaty of Ghent giving it to the Americans.  So quite a bit of history there. It was also quite interesting in the fact that they had two guard towers (with cannons in top) so having a mini fort within a fort.  We also had a talk to one of the re-enactors and he gave us a good display of how to hold, load and fire a musket, also told us all about the design of the bayonet (which was interesting). The bayonet was designed specifically to be a triangle shaped as a triangle wound is next to impossible to stitch up/heal, must admit I never knew that. He retold us the story of how a re-enactor dropped his bayonet on his foot and with all of today's modern medicine he spent months and months in hospital, just imagine how bad it would of been back in those days YIKES


The fort overlooking the river mouth, at would of been the Fort Mississauga

A great looking model of the Fort - view is from the land side

One of the two Cannon Towers



The main Barracks building - interesting fact, the French wanted to build a fort here in 1750's but the local Indians wouldnt let them under thier treaty, so to get a around that the French told the Indians that they will build a large Manor instead - its walls were 1m thick and had all the hallmarks of a fort on the inside but for all purposes looked like a Manor house .... but it is the barracks building you see today.
Then the British came and captured it and built what they liked !! that the Brits for you

Well that's all for now, a rather long post ! 
Will get back to writing up Frostgrave game report next time .. very much enjoying this game - and have got Shep involved now as well. Have made a new Wizard being a Chromancer (the Time one) and loving it. 

cheers, Mark


No comments:

Post a Comment