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Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life > Recruitment and Demobilization

Date > 1600 > 1690-1699

A Canadian Military Elite is Born

Type: Document

The officers of the Compagnies franches de la Marine became more and more Canadian in nature as time passed. Eventually, a majority of these men were born in the colony, and the French-born officers also established strong roots in Canada.

Site: National Defence

Recruiting Sergeants

Type: Document

Recruiters would entice potential volunteers with false tales of the easy, glorious life they would lead in the military, and told stories of riches to be won. Getting the men drunk also played an important part in recruiting practices.

Site: National Defence

Compagnies franches de la Marine in Canada

Type: Document

The organization of the Compagnies franches de la Marine in New France varied depending on the type of company and the period involved. However, one constant was that the companies were kept up to strength in officers, and were usually short of common soldiers.

Site: National Defence

Officers Make a Difference

Type: Document

The officers of the Compagnies franches de la Marine made an important impact in the colony. The high proportion of officers in the companies allowed the sons of local gentlemen a military role, first as cadets and later as officers.

Site: National Defence

Where Did They Come From?

Type: Document

The regular soldiers of New France were recruited in France, not Canada. The habitants showed no interest in military life as a career. Instead, professional recruiters for the Troupes de la Marine hunted for volunteers in Paris and around the great ports of France.

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

Compagnies franches de la Marine in Plaisance

Type: Document

The garrison of Placentia was often short of men at first - only 9 men remained of a company in 1690, the rest having become fishermen or labourers for the local inhabitants. Later on, this extreme weakness was overcome.

Site: National Defence

Marriage and Colonization

Type: Document

Soldiers who finished there term of enlistment were often encouraged to marry and settle in New France, to increase the population of the colony. These men were an important source of new colonists, and were given land to start farms.

Site: National Defence

Nobles and Commoners

Type: Document

The French nobility wanted to forbid commoners positions as military officers. Louis XIV favoured competence above all else, but his successors gradually capitulated. The colonial forces were attractive to non-noble officers, since the nobility preferred to stay in France.

Site: National Defence

Recruitment

Type: Document

Most of the British army was recruited in Great Britain. By the mid-19th century, half of the men were English or Welsh, one third Irish and the remainder Scottish. Recruits were (in theory) volunteers signed up by a regimental recruiting party, and service was for life (until 1847).

Site: National Defence