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Fort Wellington

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Fort Wellington
Fort Wellington National Historic Site is a historic military fortification located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River at Prescott, Ontario. It was originally built in 1813 on land owned by Major Edward Jessup, a prominent Loyalist from Connecticut who founded Prescott in 1784.

/ Fort Wellington was commissioned by the British government during the War of 1812 to protect the head of the Gallop Rapids in the St. Lawrence River. Prior to the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s, a series of rapids ran downriver from Prescott to Montreal. Shipping of freight and passengers on regular lake ships was impossible through these rapids, and so freight and passengers who travelled downriver to Prescott from Kingston would be "forwarded" to smaller bateaux which could travel through the rapids. Likewise, freight travelling upriver from Montreal would be unloaded from smaller bateaux and loaded onto larger lake ships for carriage upriver. At the time, the Rideau Canal had not been constructed and the colony's road network was primitive. The only means of shipping heavy cargo and passengers into the Great Lakes from the lower St. Lawrence was by way of Prescott.

Since Prescott is located only a mile from the town of Ogdensburg, New York, it was especially vulnerable to military action by the United States Army. As a communications hub upon which the rest of the colony of Upper Canada relied, the town had to be defended.

The War of 1812
Fort Wellington was commissioned by the British government during the War of 1812 to protect the head of the Gallop Rapids in the St. Lawrence River. Prior to the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s, a series of rapids ran downriver from Prescott to Montreal. Shipping of freight and passengers on regular lake ships was impossible through these rapids, and so freight and passengers who travelled downriver to Prescott from Kingston would be "forwarded" to smaller bateaux which could travel through the rapids. Likewise, freight travelling upriver from Montreal would be unloaded from smaller bateaux and loaded onto larger lake ships for carriage upriver. At the time, the Rideau Canal had not been constructed and the colony's road network was primitive. The only means of shipping heavy cargo and passengers into the Great Lakes from the lower St. Lawrence was by way of Prescott.

Since Prescott is located only a mile from the town of Ogdensburg, New York, it was especially vulnerable to military action by the United States Army. As a communications hub upon which the rest of the colony of Upper Canada relied, the town had to be defended.

The fortifications were completed in 1814, coinciding with the peace negotiations which resulted in the Treaty of Ghent. Following the war, the garrison was reduced due to lack of necessity during peacetime. Gradually, the fortifications were allowed to deteriorate, and the fort was abandoned by the British army in 1833.

After the War
The end of the War of 1812 in December, 1814 led to a rapid demobilization of British fortifications in Upper Canada. Fort Wellington was quickly abandoned, although the land itself remained the property of the Board of Ordnance of the British Crown. Built quickly, the buildings and casemates inside the fort deteriorated.

In 1837, political dissidents in Upper Canada launched a rebellion at the City of York (modern Toronto). With few British regular soldiers in the Colony, the Upper Canadian militia was quickly mobilized and Fort Wellington became the main depot for the militia in the Prescott area. The Crown commissioned a reconstruction of the Fort using the original earthworks from 1813, and work commenced in the spring of 1838.

The buildings in the modern Fort Wellington survive from this period. The three-storey stone blockhouse was completed in 1839, as was the officer's quarters, latrine, cookhouse, and guardhouse. The 1839 improvements were in response to Hunters' Lodges seizure of the steamer Sir Robert Peel[5] The original 24 pounder cannons first installed in 1813 were remounted on the southeast and southwest corners of the ramparts, as were two 12 pounder cannons on the northeast and northwest corners, a 36 pounder carronade over the gate, and two 14 inch mortars on the parade behind the southern rampart facade. In addition, an enclosed, stone caponiere was constructed in the dry ditch outside the palisade on the south facade. This was accessed through a tunnel from the interior of the fort.

Adapted from Wikipedia.
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About the Author

About Is a secret (Jessie_C)
FROM: BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA


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