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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 17

The Halifax Citadel, 1825-60: A Narrative and Structural History

by John Joseph Greenough


The first plans and estimates for the present (fourth) Halifax Citadel were submitted to the Inspector General of Fortifications on 20 December 1825. Three years later the British government granted funds for the project. and work on it began in August 1828. It was intended to complete the Citadel within six years at a cost of £116,000; the construction continued for 28 years and finally absorbed £242,122.

This report is an attempt to describe the construction of the fortress from its inception to its completion in 1857-60. The report is based almost entirely on primary documentation. chiefly the papers of the Corps of Royal Engineers and the Board of Ordnance in the Public Archives of Canada and the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. The nature of the material is reflected in the character of the paper; it is chiefly concerned with an examination of the workings of the bureaucracy of the Ordnance and Engineer establishments as reflected in the Citadel's construction. It also examines the military and political background of the decision to build the fortress, and the changes in military technology which rendered the work obsolete even as it was being completed.

A number of appendices are included in the report. Appendix A is a list of officers in the Engineer establishment, both in Halifax and London. Appendices B through K discuss various components of the fortress. Since there are many references in the endnotes to plans of the Citadel in the collection of the National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, it was felt advisable to include here as Appendix L the general plan bibliography. Appendices B through L are drawn from the second part of the report appearing in the Manuscript Report Series No. 154 produced by the Branch in 1975.

1 Halifax Citadel: a modern redrawing of th 1846 ground plan. The key is as follows:
A Ditch
B Northwest demi-bastion
C Southwest demi-bastion
D Northeast salient
E Southeast salient
F Redan
G Parade
H North ravelin
I West ravelin
J South ravelin
K Guardhouses
L Cavalier
M North magazine
N South magazine
O Casemates (ramparts)
P Gate and bridge
Q Sally ports
R Tanks
(Drawing by D. Kappler; original in Public Archives of Canada.) (click on image for a PDF version)

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