Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada
Natural Wonders & Cultural Treasures
The War of 1812 and the Naval Shipyard
Soldier in the 1st Regiment of Foot (Royal Scots), British army, 1813.
© Parks Canada / illustration by G.A.Embleton
Twenty years later, the Anglo-American war (1812-1814) triggered a new series of military operations. At that time, the English were busy fighting Napoleon in Europe. As they had few troops stationed in North America, they were forced to remain on the defensive during the first year of the war.
On the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River front, naval strength was destined to play a major role. In response to the American fleet which patrolled the lake, the British built a naval base and shipyard at île aux Noix. They wasted no time starting up shipbuilding operations. Several warships, including the brig Confiance, were turned out at the île aux Noix shipyards. They confronted American vessels, most notably during the battle of Plattsburg in the fall of 1814. The Americans, with a superior, better-organized fleet, emerged victorious from this battle, the last to take place on Lake Champlain.
Drawing of a British fleet on Lake Champlain, 1776.
© National Archives of Canada / C.Randle / C-13203
The naval shipyard at île aux Noix continued its activities during the year following the end of the hostilities. However, the ensuing period of calm spelled a downturn in production. During the 1820s, the naval garrison was substantially reduced, and in 1834, the shipyard was closed down completely.