Thunder Bay Welcomes HMCS Ville de Quebec

Thunder Bay is fortunate this year to be included in the Royal Canadian Navy’s Great Lakes Deployment, a tour of fourteen Canadian and U.S. cities.  Members of the Canadian Corps of Voyageurs were honoured to join staff from Fort William Historical Park, as well as numerous representatives from the City of Thunder Bay, Fort William First Nation and local Canadian Forces staff in welcoming the arrival of the Ville de Quebec (VDQ) the morning of Wednesday August 15th 2012.

CCV salute

The crew of the VDQ favoured us all with a single shot from their ceremonial gun, answered by members of the CCV Honour Guard and FWHP Canon Crew.

VDQ and Fort staff exchange ceremonial fire

The VDQ will be in port for 5 days and tours of the ship will be available.  We encourage anyone who can spare the time to come down to Pool 6 and see the VDQ – it is an experience.

Once the crew of the VDQ was officially welcomed by FWFN and City of Thunder Bay, those in attendance were afforded the opportunity of a guided tour.  This is just one of the benefits of being a member of the CCV as we often get to take part in events ahead of the general public.

 

 

CCV Salute

Members of the CCV are often called out for Honour Guard duty at Fort William Historical Park.  On August 14th 2012, we were called out for another VIP arrival, a Deputy Assistant Minister from the Ontario Government.

VIP Salute

 

Battle for Fort William – Day 2

British drill in preparation for the return of the Americans.

NWC partners continue to debate their position on whether to fight the Americans on open ground or not.  British regulars, militia and Native warriors stand by, anxiously.

American reinforcements arrive by boat and exchange fire with British on the warf.

photo courtesy FWHP

photo courtesy FWHP

 

photo courtesy FWHP

 

the battle field

The Americans, determined to gain the Fort as their prize, advance onto the field and fire upon the British.

Both side close in on each other quickly, with the British slowly gaining the upper hand.

During the battle, a tent on the British side catches fire, temporarily pushing back the voyageur militia until the fire can be extinguished.

photo courtesy FWHP

 

photo courtesy FWHP

The British dispense with the annoyance of the fire and continue to beat back the American assault.  Eventually the Americans realize their effort is fruitless and they offer their surrender to the British.

photo courtesy FWHP

photo courtesy FWHP

British stand by to ensure the battle is over and their casualties can be collected and brought to the surgeon.

The Americans collect their casualties and leave the field.

photo courtesy FWHP

British camp after the battle.

Cleaning muskets in the Armourer’s shop after the battle.

Still looking for more pictures?  See Day 2 Gallery post.

Battle for Fort William – Day 1

It’s 1814 and the Northwest Company has endured the loss of several cargo schooners. Supplies and warehouses at Sault Ste Marie have been burned and now the Americans, camped just outside the palisade at Fort William are planning to attack.

British Camp

The partners must decide what to do – do they fight for their lives and property or do they order their employees to stand down in an effort to avoid bloodshed. This of course is a scenario that we can only speculate about, as no battle at Fort William with the Americans ever did take place historically.

Spotting the Americans

However, Fort William Historical Park has portrayed this event in an effort to celebrate the War of 1812 Bi-centennial and to illustrate period military tactics to visitors.  Corps members were just happy to show up and shoot at Americans – or should we say, to shoot at each other as CCV members were needed to provide re-enactors on both sides of the battle field.

British take cover as skirmish begins

Day 1 began with the spotting of the Americans camped outside the Fort. British forces within the Fort mustered quickly and before they knew it, were drawn into a skirmish with the Americans, who were determined to test their resolve.

Americans attempt to advance, then fall back

British watch while Americans fall back

With the initial skirmish over, each side returns to their respective camp.

American camp

Later, an American boat is seen on the river, bringing reinforcements. British Credit union order and Canadian Corps of Voyageurs assemble on the warf. The Americans initiate another skirmish and both sides continue to return fire until the American boat passes by completely.

American reinforcements on their way

Marching to the warf

One last volley

The Native leaders have already pledged their assistance in fending off the Americans. The partners meet in the Great Hall and have a heated discussion regarding the events of the day and the pending battle. At last they decide to fight – British regulars and militia are mustered to defend the Fort, whatever the cost.

Americans prepare to advance

British return fire

Each side closes in fully and casualties increase. Eventually, the commanding officers meet and discuss a truce. The Americans believe they have taken the field and issue an ultimatum – the Fort must surrender by the next day or the Americans will return and complete their task of taking the Fort by force.

Both sides close in despite their casualties (photo courtesy FWHP)

A truce is discussed (photo courtesy FWHP)

Both sides collect their dead and wounded and retire from the battle field.

Removing the casualties (photo courtesy FWHP)

 

Want to see more pictures? See the Day 1 Gallery post.

 

Prepare for Battle!

CCV member assists Fort Staff rolling musket tubes for Battle

The Americans have declared war and it is only a matter of time before Fort William is likely to be attacked.

Well, it’s actually just two weeks away!  Staff at FWHP and members of the CCV have been making ready for The War of 1812 Bicentennial Salute, set for July 28th and 29th at Fort William Historical Park.

 

There is still time to volunteer for this event – please see the FWHP site for contact information.