In his private diary entries of 1759, Sir William Johnson provided information about the fall of Fort Rouillé, also known as Fort Toronto.
In 1759, British forces had laid siege to Fort Niagara. Initially second-in-command, Johnson was in charge after the death of Brigadier-General John Prideaux, and on July 25th the French garrison at Fort Niagara surrendered.
On July 28th, Johnson would write the following:
The evening of the 27th, I sent 3 whale boats with a party of above 30 men to reconnoitre Fort Toronto, and on their return, propose to send to destroy it.
And on the 30th:
At night Lieutenant Francis returned from Toronto, and reported that the enemy had burned and abandoned that post, and destroyed many things which they could not take along, viz. working utensils, arms, &c.
On August 22nd, Johnson described a meeting with "the Chippaway sachem, Tequakareigh," and other members of the Six Nations. At that meeting, trade and peaceful relations between the English and Six Nations were proposed, as long as relations with the French were broken off. Tequakareigh...
also desired I would send some person to the Mississagay town, near where Toronto stood, to hear what he should say to that nation...
Credit: Photo reproduced with the kind permission of Alan L. Brown at www.ontarioplaques.com.
By 1759, British forces were putting increased pressure on French positions in the area. Fort Niagara had fallen in July after a nineteen day siege. Québec City would be placed under siege for three months before falling in September.
Feeling that Fort Rouillé could not be defended, the decision was made in July 1759 by the fifteen troops stationed there to set fire to the fort and retreat to Montréal.
When it was destroyed, the fort was approximately 180 x 180 feet, and was made up of five buildings: the senior officers' quarters, the soldiers' quarters, a smithy, a magazine house and a kitchen.