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Subject > Armed Forces > Land Forces

Date > 1600

The Navy's Troops Outside North America

Type: Document

The French Ministry of the Navy was responsible for warships, coastal defence and management of the colonies. As a result, it maintained troops in France and the West Indies as well as in North America.

Site: National Defence

Quebec batteries firing on Phips' ships during October 1690

Type: Image

Part of Quebec's defences is shown firing upon the invaders’ ships during October 1690. The upper town was protected by a good wall with intermittent batteries. There were more defensive works up towards the Chateau Saint-Louis near Cape Diamond. In the lower town, facing the harbour, there were two strong French shore batteries armed with heavy 18 and 24-pounder naval cannon. Inland, a line of earthworks punctuated with 11 redoubts enclosed the city from the western side. This 19th century print is inaccurate in some details (for instance, the Château Saint-Louis which only had one storey in 1690) but gives a good sense of the general action. (Library and Archives Canada, C-006022)

Site: National Defence

Canadian Militia Prior to Confederation

Type: Document

This report discusses the growth and development of the Canadian Militia from its beginnings in early New France until Confederation in 1867.

Site: National Defence

Compagnies franches de la Marine in Canada

Type: Document

The organization of the Compagnies franches de la Marine in New France varied depending on the type of company and the period involved. However, one constant was that the companies were kept up to strength in officers, and were usually short of common soldiers.

Site: National Defence

Pay

Type: Document

A soldier's pay was never high, and very seldom adjusted as the cost of living increased. From 1797 to 1867, the rate was a shilling (12 pence) a day, from which deductions were made for food, clothing and other expenses. Little money would be left to spend as a man wished.

Site: National Defence

The Artillery Companies

Type: Document

The amount of artillery at Louisbourg led to the creation of an artillery company there in 1743. There was a school for artillery training at Quebec, which became the nucleus for a second company in 1750. Gunners wore distinctive uniforms and were considered elite soldiers.

Site: National Defence

The Military Wedding

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, marriage for the common British soldier was governed mostly by custom. Marriage involved 'leaping over the sword', where bride and groom did just that in the presence of the man's companions. Official permission was needed in theory, but seldom given.

Site: National Defence

Soldiers' Wives

Type: Document

As units moved from posting to posting within the British empire during the 18th and 19th centuries, some soldier's wives (up to 6 per company) were transported with their husbands at government expense. Before each move, a lottery was held. Losers were abandoned without support.

Site: National Defence

Compagnies franches de la Marine in Acadia

Type: Document

Originally a detachment from Canada, the troops in Acadia were eventually reorganized to the standard model. Their strength was kept well up because of the colony's isolation.

Site: National Defence

Compagnies franches de la Marine in Plaisance

Type: Document

The garrison of Placentia was often short of men at first - only 9 men remained of a company in 1690, the rest having become fishermen or labourers for the local inhabitants. Later on, this extreme weakness was overcome.

Site: National Defence