Palisade/3rd line of defense Earthworks

The Third Line of Defense takes its name from the fact that it was built last. A map drawn by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Bruyeres in September of 1813 shows two lines of defense built previously farther to the west along Burlington Heights. The third line extended from the northern edge of Burlington Heights to a gun battery that would have been located under the current intersection of Dundurn and York Boulevard. Since no documents related to the third line of defense have been found, we rely on archaeology to understand what the fortification looked like.  The line seems to have been constructed using a natural berm which the army added to in order to make it bigger and easier to defend. There is some evidence for a vertical log palisade along the front edge of the earthworks. Typically vertical palisades were tall enough for a soldier to safely stand behind without being exposed to enemy fire.  Small holes were cut at chest height so that soldiers could fire through the logs at attacking troops.

Archaeological work carried out in 1994 found that the third line of defense did not have a large ditch in front of it. This is surprising because the usual method for making an earth fortification was to dig a large ditch and pile the dirt on one side (in effect, doubling the size of the earth wall)  The troops building the third Line of Defense probably had to scrape the shallow topsoil from a wide area in order to have enough to build the earthworks.