Fort George National Historic Site

Gary

by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

History Overview

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario
The following is an excerpt from the Fort George website.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

“During the War of 1812, Fort George served as the headquarters for the Centre Division of the British Army. These forces included British regulars, local militia, aboriginal warriors, and Runchey’s corps of freed slaves.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Major General Sir Isaac Brock, “the saviour of Upper Canada” served here until his death at the Battle of Queenston Heights in October, 1812. Brock and his aide-de-camp John Macdonell were initially buried within the fort.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Fort George was destroyed by American artillery fire and captured during the Battle of Fort George in May 1813. The U.S. forces used the fort as a base to invade the rest of Upper Canada, however, they were repulsed at the Battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

After a seven month occupation, the fort was retaken in December and remained in British hands for the remainder of the war. After the war, the fort was partially rebuilt, and by the 1820’s it was falling into ruins.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

It was finally abandoned in favour of a more strategic installation at Fort Mississauga and a more protected one at Butler’s Barracks.”

“The following is a description of our tour of Fort George”

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Historic Fort George…
I’ve visited Fort Henry in Kingston a number of times, so I had this mental picture of what a Canadian Fort should look like. When I finally visited Fort George, I was amazed at how different it was from Fort Henry.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

I suppose that I shouldn’t have been that surprised, given that the present Fort Henry was completed being built in 1837, while Fort George was completed in 1802.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Fort Henry stands on high ground, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. It is made of stone, has high walls and is surrounded by deep trenches.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Fort George, on the other hand, is made up of wooden buildings surrounded by wooden palisades.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

The Fort is located on the Niagara River across from the American’s Fort Niagara. Fort George became the British Army Headquarters.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Major General Sir Isaac Brock, “the saviour of Upper Canada“, served here until his death at the Battle of Queenston Heights in October 1813.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Of course, walking through the Fort’s gate, is like walking back in time! You could almost here orders being shouted out by the British officers.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Standing in the middle of the compound, I was able to take the whole Fort in. I tried to picture myself living in the Fort back in the early 1800’s.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

I wondered if I would have been one of the officers living comfortably in the Officers’ Quarters or I would have been a regular soldier, living in one of the windowless Blockhouses.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

I know which I would have preferred!

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

According to Wikipedia…
The following is a description of Fort George as reproduced from Wikipedia.

Fort George National Historic Site is a historic military structure at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, that was the scene of several battles during the War of 1812.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

The fort consists of earthworks and palisades, along with internal structures, including an officer’s quarters, blockhouses to accommodate other ranks and their families, and a stone powder magazine, which is the only original building on the site.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Opposite the fort, across the Niagara River, stands Fort Niagara in New York, which can be seen from Fort George’s ramparts.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario
Fort George was built by the British Army after Jay’s Treaty (1796) required Britain to withdraw from Fort Niagara.
The new fort was completed in 1802 and became the headquarters for the British Army and the local militia.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

Fort George was captured by U.S. forces in May 1813 at the Battle of Fort George. The American Army used the fort as a base to invade Upper Canada, but were repelled at the Battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

The fort was retaken by the British Army in December of that year after U.S. forces abandoned the British side of the river.

Fort George National Historic Site, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

You can visit the Fort George website for current event information. (Link: http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/on/fortgeorge/index.aspx)

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