Lévis Forts National Historic Site
Illustration of the Fort No. 1 pentagon shape© Parks Canada
The three detached forts at Point Lévy were built to counter the destructive effect of the new rifled canon. They were set in a zigzag formation to reinforce the line of defence. If the enemy were to succeed in getting past one of the forts, its troubles were not yet over. Each fort had its own unique system of defence.
Fort No. 1 was designed as an asymmetrical pentagon. While its shape was different from the other two, it nonetheless comprised the same elements of defence.
The ditch was the primary defensive obstacle and skirted around the perimeter of the fort, five metres deep.
Illustration of a Gorge Caponier© Parks Canada
Four caponiers were built to defend the ditch and were designed with gun embrasures and loopholes to better aim the artillery. The head caponier covered the fort from side to side. The left and right caponiers covered the area extending from the flanks to the back of the fort. The gorge caponier protected the rear of the forts.
Drawing of a Terreplein© Parks Canada
The terreplein camouflaged the fort. It was a monumental construction built using tons of backfill taken mainly from the ditch. It provided protection and physical support for the twenty or so canons that would defend the fort.
Behind the terreplein were the parade grounds. This is where the troops would assemble, where the military exercises were carried out and where sports such as cricket were played.
Drawing of a casemate© Parks Canada
Buried under the terreplein were 12 casemates housing the barracks for the garrison. Each one could house 12 soldiers. Each man had 15 cubic metres of personal space. This was the new standard for the British army designed to control promiscuity and prevent epidemics.
Illustration of the Main powder magazine© Parks Canada
For obvious security reasons, the powder magazine was located at a fair distance from the casemates. It had to be readily accessible but well hidden under the terreplein to prevent any accidental explosions. An excellent example of a bombproof magazine!