The Organization of New France

The Organization and Number of Troops in New France

The Artillery Companies

Insofar as the artillery companies were concerned, the imposing number of artillery pieces on the Louisbourg fortifications eventually required a corps of specialists in addition to the squad of 16 infantrymen whom a master gunner had been training as gunners since 1735. Therefore, in 1743, Île Royale was given permission to form the first colonial artillery unit in the history of the French army: the Compagnie des canonniers-bombardiers. It comprised only one captain, one lieutenant, two sergeants, two corporals, 12 bombardiers, 13 gunners and one drummer - in other words two officers and 30 men. After 1750, it increased in size to three officers and 50 men.

In Quebec City, the artillery school established in 1698 trained one soldier from each company, in rotation. It was sometimes called an artillery "company," but a real company of canonniers-bombardiers was not formed in the town until 1750. It included four officers and 50 artillerymen. Most of them remained in Quebec City, but detachments were sent to Montreal and various forts.

Recruits for the canonniers-bombardiers were drawn from among the best soldiers in the infantry companies who showed an aptitude for artillery. These men, who served as grenadiers when they were not artillerymen, were better paid and stood in the place of honour during military reviews, on the right of the line. When on parade, they marched before the infantry. Their uniforms were blue and red, and they were entitled to sabres instead of swords. These soldiers may well have worn mustaches as well, like the grenadiers in the home army and the artillerymen of the Navy Bombardiers in France.