The First Soldiers of New France

Few Soldiers To Fight The Iroquois

Pressure From the Iroquois Grows

French soldier armed with matchlock muskets of the 1640s

Caption: French soldier armed with matchlock muskets of the 1640s

In 1642, well supplied with muskets and correspondingly more bellicose, the Iroquois attacked Fort Richelieu, which had just been built astride their route. Their skill in handling their new weapons surprised the French. In addition, despite the exposure of the site, soldiers were in such short supply that the garrison of this strategically vital fort had to be reduced to about ten men. The guerilla warfare was constant. Any soldier who ventured outside the fortifications, if only to hunt, was headed toward almost certain death. Finally abandoned toward the end of 1646, Fort Richelieu was burned by the Iroquois in February 1647.