CHAPTER 7: The Military Empire
Canadian Tactics In Louisiana
The Louisiana Garrison
A Crow nation chief in full regalia
(Click image to enlarge)
As part of New France, like Acadia or Canada, Louisiana had had its own troops since 1704, when a permanent garrison was established with the arrival of two Compagnies franches de la Marine, numbering 50 men each. This garrison was increased to four companies in 1715, and then to eight the next year. In 1717 there were 16 companies in Louisiana, which was under the monopoly of the Compagnie d'Occident (and then of the Compagnie des Indes, which succeeded it in 1721 when Louisiana annexed the Illinois) before the number of companies gradually fell back to their original strength. A company of Swiss soldier-workers also served in Louisiana from 1721 to 1725. However, the capture of Fort Rosalie (today Natchez, Mississippi) by the Natchez nation demonstrated the military weakness of Louisiana, which once again became a royal colony in 1731, administered by the Ministry of the Navy. The Ministry sent out five new companies in addition to the eight already in place. The fourth company of Karrer's Swiss Regiment, numbering some 200 officers and soldiers, was also sent out.
The troops in Louisiana were stationed primarily in the many forts lining the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico to the Illinois. Some of the commanding officers were originally Canadians, and officer cadets were also present after 1738. The organization of these troops was similar to that of the Canadian forces. Their weaponry, uniform and type of recruitment were identical. Louisiana also had a militia, whose organization reflected that of the Canadian militia in the Illinois and the militia in the French West Indies.