Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada

The War of 1812

Tension in the Colony
It is June of 1812, and the United States has declared war on Great Britain! Tension has been simmering between these two nations for many years and for many reasons.

One reason is that the US resents the British Royal Navy's practice of halting American vessels, and then forcibly removing any sailors suspected of deserting the Royal Navy. For Great Britain, this has been a way to strengthen their navy in the fight against Napoleon in Europe; for the United States, this is a violation of American neutrality.

Another reason has to do with the hostile clashes between First Nations peoples and American settlers in the West. Many Americans believe that the British support and encourage the First Nations to resist further westward expansion.

Furthermore, to many American leaders, British North America is desirable territory to obtain. Conquering the colonies would fulfill their vision of the US occupying all of North America.

Now British North America must respond to the call to war. New Brunswick is valued for providing an overland route to Canada's interior, and as an outpost for Halifax. In order to protect New Brunswick, the city of Saint John must be reinforced. Adding a Martello tower to the city's defence system will help prevent a possible land attack from the west. It has been decided that the most strategic position for the tower is Carleton Heights, located on the western side of the city.

Construction got underway in 1813, and was finally completed in 1815. However, by that time, the war was over.