Carleton Martello Tower dates from the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. The Tower was part of a defensive system constructed against a landward attack on New Brunswick from the west. The original Tower was typical of a design used during the Napoleaonic Wars. Over one hundred such towers erected in Britain during the period to guard against the possibility of French invasion. Like others of its kind, Carleton Martello was accessible through a doorway in the second story, or barrack floor. The ground floor contained storage space and a powder magazine. The tower’s flat roof was designed to accommodate artillery pieces and was surrounded by a parapet. The key structural feature was a circular brick pillar that supported both the roof and the arched brick ceiling which, along with the thick walls, was designed to absorb artillery fire.
The site is located in West Saint John, New Brunswick. From Highway 1, eastbound traffic should take the Digby Ferry (Exit 109) before the toll bridge and follow the Parks Canada Beaver signs and Digby Ferry signs to Market Place. At the end of Market Place, turn right at St. John/Dufferin streets to Whipple. Watch closely for the Beaver signs. From Highway 1, westbound traffic takes the Digby Ferry (Exit 109) after the harbour toll bridge. Again, right at St. John/Dufferin streets to Whipple. Watch closely for the Beaver signs.
The French began fortifying the western approaches to Québec in the seventeenth century. By the time of the last French and Indian War in the middle of the eighteenth century, they had completed the western wall, leaving natural barriers (escarpments and the St. Charles and St. Lawrence Rivers) to protect the rest of the town’s perimeter. The wall was, however, considered inadequate by most French officers, and Montcalm’s strategy during the siege of the town in 1759 was to keep the British army well away from approaching the town by land. British General James Wolfe’s surprise landing at the Anse au Foulon and his appearance on the Plains of Abraham just outside the wall disrupted this strategy, and after Montcalm’s death in the ensuing battle, the town quickly surrendered rather than attempting to withstand a siege behind the walls. During the next few deacdes, the British improved the French walls and expanded the fortifications around the rest of the Upper Town on top of Québec’ famous escarpment. Québec is now the only remaining fortified city in North America, and the walls around its old city certainly contribute to the charm which has led to its designation as a World Heritage City. The Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site preserves the city’s fortifications. For those who are interested in the history and the engineering of fortifications in the early modern era, a walk around the wall at Québec is one of the great treats in North America. Even those who do not share such arcance interests will appreciate wall’s aesthetic contribution to one of the finest city’s in the world.
Location and Directions
Links: Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site Parks Canada
History of Canada: Fortifications of Quebec