Commissariat de la Marine

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> French Navy >> Commissariat de la Marine

Origin and History

The Commissariat de la marine (Admiralty Board) was officially created by the decree of March 16 1650. It did not cease to evolve and, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, it comprised:

  • intendants (quartermasters generals)
  • commissaires généraux (commissioners generals)
  • commissaires ordinaires (ordinary commissioners)
  • commissaires des classes (class commissioners)
  • gardes-magasins (store keepers)
  • écrivains généraux (general clerks)
  • écrivains ordinaires (ordinary clerks)

A regulation dated March 23 1762 specified the hierarchy and size of this administrative body:

  • 4 intendants
  • 7 commissaires généraux
  • 34 commissaires ordinaires
  • 24 commissaires des classes
  • 8 gardes-magasins
  • 108 écrivains for service in the great harbours
  • 40 écrivains or clerks for service in the quartiers (small harbours)

The ordonnance of March 25 1765 gives the following organisation:

  • 3 intendants
  • 6 commissaires généraux
  • 40 commissaires ordinaires
  • 25 commissaires des classes
  • 70 sous-commissaires de la marine and sous-commissaires des classes
  • 8 gardes-magasins
  • 15 élèves commissaires (apprentice commissioners)
  • 76 écrivains


Uniform from 1746 - Source: Jean-Louis Vial

The regulation of October 26 1756, confirmed the rule by which the commissioners of the Navy had adopted the uniform of the Commissaires des Guerres (War Commissioners).

As per the regulation of March 27 1746, these War Commissioners wore an iron grey coat lined red and edged gold with red cuffs.

The ordonnance of March 25 1765 created a uniform specific to the officers of the Admiralty of the Navy: an iron grey coat lined with scarlet serge; crimson velvet cuffs; gilt buttons of the same design as those of Navy officers; laces according to grade; black tricorne laced gold.



Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article.