Saturday, 19 September 2015

Trip through time: Fort Wellington

We've been to several Ontario forts, as well as the one in Fort Langley, B.C. Hubby, being a history buff, is quite interested.
On a roundabout trip to the water, we passed the museum, and decided to roll back that way. The fort was built for 1812 fears of invasion, and to protect British interests, but they decided to recreate it based on the way it was staffed in 1840. The reason for this was that the latrines were used as a garbage dump, and they found many artifacts when they excavated.

The site also has a gunboat in the main building. More on that at the end!

Fort Wellington

Fort Wellington also helped thwart another American invasion during the 1837-38 Upper and Lower Canada rebellions.

The soldiers who staffed the fort in 1840 were from Ireland, and they were allowed to have their families with them. It must have been pretty crude. Mind you, starving from the potato famine was much worse. Our country is filled with refugees of one sort or another. The fort held about 60 soldiers, with 100 people in total.

They heated the ammunition, to fire onto boats and cause them to burn.

Archeology of the site. The officer's quarters were quite different from the enlisted men and their families. A separate building to house the three men.

The harbour was the check point for ships delivering goods, where they transferred their supplies to another ship, which would then take the cargo along the St. Laurence. You can see the remnants of the docks on the shore near the fort. However, they found this ship in the harbour, near Mallorytown, and they lifted it and put parts of it back together. It was an 1812 gunboat. They worked on this gunboat, raised in 1967, it was 13 tonnes, is housed in a building on the site.

More History of the Fort

  • Tensions along the Border -The Americans to the south were close and could block goods
  • The First Fort Wellington - Prescott was a place of refuge for United Empire Loyalists (UEL) who fled the American Revolution in 1784. This was the first fort.
  • The Rebellion of 1837 - Rebels wanted to form an American-style republic. There were raids across the border. Britain was busy fighting Napoleon overseas, and had little time for Canada.
  • The Aftermath of Rebellion - Americans thought that the UELs were downtrodden people, anxious to overthrow British colonists. A rebel navy captain captured the British Steamer, Sir Robert Peel, the fort was redesigned and commissioned.
  • The Second Fort Wellington - Finished in 1839, the 2nd fort wasn't attacked, but a few months before it was complete, they attacked Windmill point (Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site of Canada, 1500m down river. British regulars assembled at Fort Wellington an they defested the attackers after 5 days of heavy fighting. (It was quite the battle.)


Red said...

Displaying our history is most important. This looks like an interesting war history as fought in the old days,

William Kendall said...

Quite a place- I should visit the fort myself! Excellent shots, Jennifer!