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York Redoubt was a key element in the defence of Halifax Harbour. It was located on a bluff overlooking the harbour entrance. It played an important communication role using signal flags to keep the Citadel informed of ships' movements. York's fortifications were originally built in 1793 at the outbreak of war between Britain and France. Over the years the site was enlarged and strengthened., Bland depicted an area near York Redoubt's fortification. The signaling tower is illustrated in the background. A complex system of flags would have been used as a means of communication between the various points in the Halifax Harbour defense system. There is a man and a dog walking down a path that leads through the rocky terrain and into the foreground., Item is on fol. 24, page 48, verso, and consists of an image of an area near York Redoubt.
Bland, Lieut.-Colonel James Fox active 1846-1886 : Nothing is known about James Fox Bland before Dec. 8, 1846, when he purchases a commission as an ensign in the 76th Regiment of the British Army. Bland remains with this regiment his entire career, until 1870. The 76th served in Corfu in 1846-1847, so he may have joined the regiment there. Monthly Army returns indicate that Bland arrived in British North America from Malta on April 25, 1853, and joined the 76th in Fredericton. He was absent from the regiment (possibly on a North American tour) from July 25-September 30, 1853. He was promoted lieutenant on Oct. 14, 1851, and captain on Feb. 15, 1856. Although official records indicate that he should have been in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia until September 1857, LAC has recently acquired a sketchbook by Bland indicating that he was serving in the Crimean campaign in 1854, being in Constantinople in July 1854, and in Scutari in September 1854. He then left and travelled from there via Athens and the Mediterranean to Halifax, Nova Scotia, presumably arriving sometime in the late fall of 1854. There is an illustration published in the Illustrated London News of May 10, 1855, concerning Barracks on Melville Island, near Halifax, credited to Bland, so he must have been there for some time prior to the publication of the image.
Bland seems to have remained with his regiment in Nova Scotia throughout 1855 and 1856, according to the dates of many of the sketches, the last of which was done in Halifax harbour in August 1857. The 76th regiment left Nova Scotia on September 30, 1857 on board the "Java" for Cork, Ireland. In October 1863 the 76th sailed to India from England, and remained there for some years. During this time, Bland was promoted, on April 8, 1868, becoming the chief inspector of musketry in Madras, still with the rank of captain, but on April 1, 1870, he is promoted to major, shortly before he retires on half-pay on June 7, 1870. He receives the rank of Lieut-Colonel on October 1, 1877, while still on half-pay. Sometime before 1882, he retires from the army, and his name disappears from Army lists for good after 1893, although no record of his death has been located.