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Subject > Armed Forces > Military Ceremony and Honours

Date > 1600

To the Sound of the Drummer's Beat

Type: Document

Fortified towns like Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Louisbourg were all governed by military staffs. The lives of French soldiers and Canadian civilians alike were regulated by the different drum beatings of the garrison, from La Diane at dawn to La Retraite at sunset.

Site: National Defence

Drummer, régiment de Carignan-Salières, 1665-1668

Type: Image

This reconstruction by Michel Pétard shows a drummer of the régiment de Carignan-Salières during the regiment's service in New France. He is wearing the livery of the princes of Carignan. The Carignan coat of arms is painted on his drum; the central shield of the arms shows a white cross on a red field. The drummer's role was to communicate the orders of his commander through patterns of drum beats. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

The Nature of the Militia

Type: Document

Participation of the general populace of New France in the militia provided an important link between a hierarchical absolutist government and a population known for being proud and independent. Although membership was non voluntary, this was not resented by the men involved.

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

La Salle claims Louisiana for France

Type: Image

Robert Cavelier de La Salle is shown taking part in a ceremony where he claimed Louisiana for France on 6 April 1682, after having descended the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Even in the wilderness, the ceremony was done in full regalia with all the formalities.

Site: National Defence

Both Rewards and Condemnation

Type: Document

Both Hertel de La Fresnière and Le Moyne were ennobled for their contributions. However, the tactics of Canadian warfare brought only scorn from the officers of the metropolitan French army. Only a change in European warfare in the mid-eighteenth century began to change this.

Site: National Defence

Cross of Malta carved in a stone bearing the date 1647

Type: Image

When the Château Saint-Louis in Quebec was built, this Cross of Malta was carved in a stone bearing the date 1647. Charles Huault de Montmagny was governor at that time. He was knight of the Order of Malta as was at least one other of his officers in Canada. The stone was found in 1784 during renovations to the governor’s residence and eventually incorporated into a courtyard entrance of the Château Frontenac Hotel.

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

Specialized Militia Companies

Type: Document

In the towns of Canada, there developed over time units of militia of specialized nature. Examples include companies of artillery and 'reserve companies' of bourgeois used for guard and ceremonial duties.

Site: National Defence

The White Flag As A Battle Flag

Type: Document

With origins in the Wars of Religion of the early seventeenth century, an all white flag symbolized France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was flown over military outposts and from ships' masts throughout the existence of the colony of New France.

Site: National Defence