The American invasion
© Parks Canada / Illustration by G.A.Embleton
In 1775, the War of Independence between revolutionaries of the 13 colonies and Britain breaks out. A few months later, they occupied île aux Noix. General Schuyler used it as a base for the attack on Montreal. One year later, in reaction to the resistance encountered at Quebec City and the British counter-attack, the Americans retreated to the island, which provided them with a strategic refuge for their troops. Following their withdrawal from île aux Noix, the island became the southernmost British defensive position on the Richelieu.
© National Archives of Canada / Capitaine Rudyard / C-40335
The British then considered the island to be a major frontier post, and decided to fortify it. The original intention was to adapt the remains of the French fortification to contain a small garrison. First, some blockhaus were built on the island in 1776. Then, in 1778, the British started the construction of a fortification inside some of the French ramparts, as planned by the engineer Twiss. This fortification, in which a small garrison could be stationed, was finished in 1779 and supplemented with three redoubts in 1782.
The border with the newly founded United States was to remain a source of conflict, with clashes erupting sporadically. Finally, the ongoing state of tension between England and its former colony was to build up into another full-blown war.