Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fort Chambly

If you are in the same boat as I was , you would ask what is Fort Chambly?  Why didn't I ever learn something about Fort Chambly when I was a school kid?  Why didn't I hear something about Fort Chambly when I learned about Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) and Fort Frederic (Crown Point)?   I don't know the answers to these questions but I can now say that the Mylott-Glode-Poissant-Bissonnette-Beauvais families would never have existed in Québec and live in the Richelieu region if it was not for Fort Chambly. Perhaps it was the French-English language divide that never came close enough to pass information along to families south of the border to to learn about it and want to travel to see it.  It is north of the 49th- but not far! So just get your car onto the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87), head north, pass Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls, keep going pass the exits for the Adirondack High Peaks, pass though Plattsburgh, go across the border. Once you are in Québec stay on Hiway 15 towards Montréal (but don't go there), take route 30 east (l'est) instead and turn onto Boulevard Cousineau and into Chambly.  Head towards the river and you can't miss the Fort.

I visited the fort on a cold and rainy late September day. The sky was gray and the Richelieu River with its rapids at Chambly was swollen and there was no way to stay dry even walking around the stone walls.

The rapids  that prevented offensive maneuvers on the fort

In the distance: the steeple of St Joseph's Chuch in the Village

Many of the forefathers of families noted in this blog came from Old France as soldiers in the Carignan-Salieres regiment in 1665 to defend New France from Iroquois incursions. The original Fort Chambly, east of Montréal, was built by these men and called Fort St Louis.  It probably looked like the image below...

It was eventually burned down by Iroquois and reconstructed in 1702. It served as the base camp for raids into colonial New England and New York and served as a supply location for scouting parties and later relaying to Fort St Frederic and Fort Carillon.

Just like Carillon (Ticonderoga) the fort fell into disrepair after the War of 1812 and the Fenian Raids by Irish sympathizers on English forts in Canada.  Just as Fort Carillon was rescued and restored by the Pell family, Fort Chambly was rescued by private philanthropy in the name of Joseph-Octave Dion.

Abandoned chimmey inside the fort

Here is a list of stories on this blog about the forts in the Champlain-Richelieu Valleys:

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