A strategic site!
Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site
A Site to be defended!
From the War of Independence until the 1850s, cannons were mounted on the Coteau-du-Lac ramparts. This fortification had to remain protected, since it was the closest fort upstream from Montreal. The most impressive artillery pieces consisted of 24-pound cannons, mounted atop pivoting platforms to allow quicker positioning. Located at the upstream entrance of the canal and on the cloverleaf-shaped bastion, they were pointed towards the river. These 24-pound cannons, loaded with about 8 pounds of gunpowder, could fire projectiles as far as 1 km. Enemies who wanted to get past the fort by sailing on the St. Lawrence then found themselves under British fire.
As for the ramparts’ serrated shape, it was designed to leave the defenders no dead ground, thus giving the attackers no cover when approaching wall bases. To protect the fort from ground attacks, 18-pound cannons pointed inland through the ramparts’ embrasures.
Did you know? The barrel of a 24-pound cannon can measure up to 9 ½ feet (2.896 m) long and weigh up to 50 ½ quintals (5636 lb or 2562 kg). Lifting such a weight to install and remove cannons from their platforms is a delicate manoeuvre requiring the use of a lifting device called hoisting shears.
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