After a distinguished career at sea during the Napoleonic Wars, in 1819 Captain Robert Barrie accepted the post of Commissioner of the Dockyard at Kingston, Upper Canada, and commander of Royal Navy assets on the Great Lakes. In the post-War of 1812 environment, his role involved administering an under-resourced force that might be required to fight the Americans at short notice. Barrie lived with his family in a small garrison town, and travelled by canoe to remote naval stations, experiencing a very different life than his sea-going colleagues. Letters he sent to relatives in England reveal his day-to-day concerns in this distant outpost of empire.
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