The Organization of New France

Care Of Body And Soul

"Frater Soldiers"

Most surgeons lived in towns. One or two would be attached to the local hospital and paid by the Ministry of the Navy. Sometimes surgeons could be found in large forts, such as Chambly, Saint-Frédéric, Niagara and Detroit. Very occasionally, surgeons would accompany large expeditions, but generally, soldiers posted to remote forts or undertaking raids on New England had to improvise as best they could. In order to compensate for the lack of physicians and surgeons, almost all companies had a "frater" or soldier with some knowledge of first aid for the sick and wounded. This soldier usually served as the barber as well. He knew how to handle surgical lancets - small, very sharp knives used for minor surgery such as extracting bullets. In return for their services, "fraters" received a modest supplement to their pay.

Nevertheless, soldiers wounded on raids were in a perilous position. They were not abandoned, but ran a high risk of dying en route as a result of hemorrhage or exhaustion.