Fort Frederick

Built 1846 - 1847, Abandoned 1870

Fort Frederick and the Royal Military College of Canada Museum official website

The Point and Fort Frederick, which derive their name from General Sir Frederick Haldimand, Governor of Canada from 1777 to 1786, are situated at the strategically important junction of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. About 1789, a naval depot was established on the Point and in 1790 - 91 a guardhouse to provide local defence was constructed. Later, a battery was installed which probably participated in the engagement with the U.S. Brig ONEIDA, on 10 November 1812. During the War of 1812 the demands of creating and maintaining the Lake Ontario Fleet, which by the conclusion of hostilities in 1815, included the 112-gun H.M.S. ST. LAWRENCE, required the construction of a blockhouse and extensive dockyard facilities. This naval presence continued, albeit at a diminished level, until the 1850's. Kingston's Martello towers, the largest of which is in Fort Frederick, were built 1846 - 1851 when a threat of war with the United States developed during the Oregon Crisis. The Point has been occupied by the Royal Military College since 1876. Naval facilities still standing on the College grounds include the Naval Hospital, Guardhouse, and the "Stone Frigate" (1820). Few sites have played so long or so important a role in the defence of Canada.

The Martello Tower, which now houses the Royal Military College of Canada Museum, has four floors; the lower floor (ordnance and barrack store rooms), main floor, second floor, and the gun platform. Fort Frederick was to be the most heavily armed of all the Kingston Martello towers. It was capable of firing over the parapet of the main battery into Navy Bay and the commercial harbour, and of sweeping most of low-lying Point Frederick. The tower had three 32-pounder guns on the top gun platform, each with an effective range of approximately 2,000 yards or 1,830 meters. They could fire solid shot, hollow shell, or "hot shot". Each gun was manned by one officer and six men, and could be fired and reloaded again in 90 seconds. The 32-pounder carronades within the tower on the main and second floor could fire grape or solid shot to a distance of 400 meters. The ramparts had six 32-pounder guns, two 5.5-inch howitzers, two 24-pounders, and one 8-inch rifled Armstrong gun. The Armstrong gun could fire a 100-pound round to a range of approximately 4.5 miles or 7.3 kilometers. The tower was not fully armed until 1863. However, after the introduction of rifled guns in the 1860's, the tower became obsolete as a defensive structure. It was then used as barracks for British troops until their withdrawal from Canada in 1870.
(excerpted from the Fort Frederick-RMC Museum brochure)

Some details:

Map of Fort Frederick

courtesy of Royal Military College of Canada Museum
Map of Fort Frederick.


photo by Larry Zarysky - Photo Decor Ltd.
A postcard of an aerial view of Fort Frederick and the Royal Military College.


Fort Frederick on approach from the ferry.


The Fort Frederick Martello Tower.


One of the 32-pounder guns on the top gun platform.


Another 32-pounder gun on the top gun platform.


A remnant of the original Fort Frederick Blockhouse Battery from 1813.
It was leveled in 1846 to make way for the present fort.


courtesy of Parks Canada
The Point Frederick Blockhouse, from a c. 1900 watercolor.


Some of the defensive ramparts outside the tower, along with a 32-pounder gun.


A rifled 8-inch Armstrong gun.
Downtown Kingston and the Victoria Martello Tower in background.


Some of the defensive ramparts outside the tower, along with a 32-pounder gun.


The main sally port in the defensive stone wall between the tower and the College grounds.


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