The Organization of New France

The Organization and Number of Troops in New France

Compagnies franches de la Marine in Canada

Compagnies franches de la Marine in Canada

Caption: Compagnies franches de la Marine in Canada

The organization of troops in New France varied by colony and period, as well as by whether they were foot soldiers or artillerymen. The following tables indicate the official numbers of troops in the Compagnies franches de la Marine in New France.

In general, all officer positions were actually filled. There was even a group of surplus officers. Discharged in the late 1680s, when seven companies were done away with, they served thereafter in other companies as extra officers. The last of them retired during the 1720s.

The situation among ordinary soldiers was very different. Their actual numbers were almost always lower than the official numbers prescribed by royal order. About 100 places usually went unfilled; it could be slightly more or less depending on the arrival of recruits.

In 1750 there were almost 1,700 soldiers in New France instead of the 1,500 officially required. However, this surplus was exceptional and of short duration. Five years later there were barely 1,300.