George was one of the most important landmarks in the batle
against U.S. forces during the War of 1812.
During the War of
1812, being at Fort George was an uneasy feeling. You
could have been killed at any time.
One of the most important landmarks in the
batle against U.S. forces,
Fort George was the house anxiety built. With concerns over an American
invasion growing the British completed the Fort in 1799 to complement
Navy Hall as a strategic defence against attack. It was the
headquarters for the british Army, local militia, and Indian
Department. It wielded six earthen and log bastions, heavily fortified
gates, large garrison guns, and a powder magazine with 800 barrels of
gunpowder. If anything, it ensured tha Americans simply wouldn't stroll
into Upper Canada and plant their flag.
When war erupted in 1812, Fort George was
the focus. Fierce battles
raged throughout, and at one point the powder magazine took a direct
hit from red-hot cannonball. It burned through the roof and set fire to
the wooden supports. The gunpowder inside, if ignited, would have
destroyed much of the Fort. With soldiers abandoning the area, a small
party of militiamen led by Captain Vigoreux bravely climbed onto the
roof and doused the blaze.
Under constant bombardment and far
outnumbered, the British garrison
was forced to withdraw from Forth george in May, 1813. The Fort was
occupied by the Americans throughout that summer and into the fall. In
December, the retreating Americans abandoned the Fort and burned it -
along with Niagara-on-the-Lake - to the ground.
After the war, Fort George was partially rebuilt by the British, but
the emphasis was on the more strategic installations at Fort
Mississauga and Butler's Barracks. It fell into ruin during the 1820s.
It stood deserted for more than a century until, in the 1930s,
reconstruction began using the original plans. It was opened to the
public in 1950, and in 1969 was designated a National Historic Site by
With more than 100,000 visitors every year,
it's one of
Niagara-on-the-Lake's top attractions. Employees wear early
19th-century garb, and the sounds and smells effectively bring you back
nearly 200 years.