Fort Saint Jean (2)
|Fort Saint Jean (2) (1666-Present) - Originally established by the French Carignan-Salières Regiment in 1666 in present day Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Le Haut-Richelieu RCM, Quebec, Canada. Destroyed by French soldiers in 1760 during the French & Indian War and occupied by British troops. Taken by Patriot troops in 1775 during the American Revolutionary War and retaken by British troops in 1776. Abandoned by the British in 1870 as they left Canada and were occupied by Canadian troops. Currently an active Canadian military post. Also known as Fort l’Assomption and Fort Saint Johns.
One of several forts established in 1666 by the Carignan-Salieres Regiment of French King Louis XIV to control the Iroquois Indians. Originally known as Fort l’Assomption it operated until 1671 when it was abandoned and later burned down by the Iroquois.
The second French Fort Saint Jean was built in 1748 just before the French & Indian War as a waypoint between Montreal and Fort St. Frederic at Crown Point in present-day New York. This fort was a 200' square palisade with four bastions, two of stone and two of logs. With the start of the French & Indian War in 1756, General Montcalm established a shipyard nearby and upgraded the fort. As the war went badly for the French they were forced to abandon and burn the fort before retreating to Montreal.
The British victories at Quebec and Montreal forced an end to the French & Indian War and the British settled in at Fort Saint Jean using the surviving stone bastions as a signal station linking Fort Chambly and Fort Lennox until 1775.
In 1775 the British colonial authorities built a new fort at Saint Jean to block an expected attack by Patriots from the American colonies. The new fort consisted of two earthworks redoubts connected by a ditch. The attack came on 17 Sep 1775 led by Patriot General Richard Montgomery. Patriot forces besieged the fort until it was surrendered on 3 Nov 1775. A failed attempt to reinforce the fort from Montreal and additional Patriot gun batteries and reinforcements doomed the fort. The Patriot forces went on to occupy an abandoned Montreal but failed in their attempt to take Quebec. The retreating Patriot forces burned the forts as they abandoned them.
The British reconstructed Fort Saint Jean and used it as a supply depot. That use continued through the War of 1812 and beyond.
The Canadian Rebellion (1837-1838) brought increased fears of American intervention and invasion and the forts along the possible invasion path underwent a revival. Fort Saint Jean was rebuilt with permanent brick buildings in 1838-1839 and at least three of those buildings remain in use today. Additional buildings were added over the years
During World War I troops were trained for service in Europe at Fort Saint Jean, including the French-speaking 22nd Battalion that became the Royal 22e Regiment.
During World War II, Canadian Army basic training center No. 48 was formed at Fort Saint Jean.
In 1952, the Royal Military College of Saint-Jean was created as the first and only bilingual military university in Canada. In 1995, the CMR closed down and a non-profit organization, the Corporation du Fort Saint Jean, was created to preserve the site as a multi-use national historic site, a commercial site, and a military installation.
Fort Saint Jean National Historic Site, Le Haut-Richelieu RCM, Quebec, Canada. Earthworks, some with mounted display cannons, are preserved and marked. Historic buildings dating from 1839 are in use on the campus. The campus has a manned entry gate but public access is allowed. The museum is being renovated and was not open during our visit.
Visited: 29 Jul 2013