Milice du district de Trois-Rivières

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Milice du district de Trois-Rivières

Origin and History

In 1649, a flying camp was established with 40 men to patrol the banks in the area of Trois-Rivières with a small gunboat. However, the Iroquois easily eluded their watch, hiding among the islands and into the reeds bordering the rivers.

In 1651, M. d'Ailleboust formed all male citizens of Trois-Rivières into squads. Local militia took the name of their respective captain. The militiamen of Trois-Rivières wore a white tuque.

In 1657, Lauson disbanded the flying patrol raised in 1649.

In 1674, Governor Frontenac organised all valid men (between 16 and 60 years old) of the various parishes into militia companies which would serve in wartime. The captain of each company was chosen by the settlers. Militia company assembled once a month for training.

In 1696, Frontenac organised a large expedition against the Iroquois. The expeditionary force (2,200 men) consisted of 4 regular battalions and 4 militia battalions from various governments.

By 1711, the militia of Trois-Rivières could field 400 men.

In 1744, a French force of 60 regulars and 700 militiamen from unspecified origin (Québec, Trois-Rivières or Montréal) took part in an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Port-Royal (present-day Annapolis) in Acadia. In 1745, 1,300 militiamen from various part of Canada were sent to reinforce Louisbourg which finally surrendered on June 28 to a force of Provincials from New England. In May 1746, Ramezay at the head of 680 militiamen from Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal marched towards Acadia to make raids in various locations. In February 1747, the vanguard of this column (240 men) under Coulon de Villiers, attacked the British garrison of Grandpré (present-day Horton) and forced them to surrender. Ramezay's column finally returned to Canada in June of the same year.

Service during the War

During the Seven Years' War, the militia of Canada were involved in numerous campaigns, sieges and battles. However, most sources don't specify the origin of the various militia units. It is therefore quite difficult to ascertain the exact role played by the militia of Trois-Rivières. Detachments of the militia of Trois-Rivières might have been present at the following campaigns and actions:

However, it is certain that, in February and March 1757, militiamen from Trois-Rivières took part in the winter raid against Fort William Henry.

As per a census, in January 1759, there were 1,313 men fit for militia duty in the Government of Trois-Rivières. On May 20, Governor Vaudreuil sent a letter to all captains of militia to instruct them to prepare their company for active duty. During the summer, the militia of the Government of Trois-Rivières took part in the defence of Québec. In June, the militia of Trois-Rivières (about 1,100 men) was posted on the right wing in the entrenchments of Beauport. On July 31, 100 men of the militia of Trois-Rivières took part in the Combat of Beauport where the French repulsed Wolfe's landing attempt. On September 13, at the Battle of Québec, the militia of Trois-Rivières was posted on the left wing.

By March 1760, combined with the Milices du district de Montréal, the militia of Trois-Rivières contributed 500 men to the expedition against Québec (notwithstanding the numerous militiamen incorporated into the French regular line infantry for this operation). Despite a victory at the Battle of Sainte-Foy on April 28, the French army was forced to retire towards Montréal when a British relief fleet arrived at Québec. The militia of Trois-Rivières was also among the troops who faced the British three pronged attack against Montréal.

Uniform

Militiamen had no uniforms. At the beginning of a campaign, they were supplied with a shirt, a hood, breeches, mitasses, moccasins and a blanket.

Officers

no information found

NCOs

no information found

Musicians

no information found

Colours

no information found

References

This article contains text translated from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Bibaud, M.: Histoire du Canada, sous la domination française, Montréal: John Jones, 1837, pp. 314-315
  • Tricoche, Georges: Les milices françaises et anglaises au Canada 1627-1900, Paris: Charles-Lavauzelle, pp. 9-54

N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.