Canadian Military History Gateway
Date > 1600 > 1660-1669
Subject > Soldiers, Warriors and Leaders > Population Groups > European
With more troops available, new tactics could be used to defend Canada. Strong garrisons for the towns and new forts to block Iroquois attacks along the Richelieu River were created.
This early-20th century engraving shows the climax of the legendary 1660 defence of Long-Sault against the Iroquois by Adam Dollard des Ormeaux and his men. One of the French defenders is shown holding a keg of gunpowder above his head. This makeshift bomb would fall back inside the fort and kill much of the garrison.
Both Britain and France needed strong navies to protect their coasts, fishing fleets and colonies. The peak of French naval power was during the 1690s, when it dominated the coasts of England. Defeated in 1692, the French navy declined in quality and strength from that point on.
The addition of 1,200 new Frenchmen to a colony of only 3,200 made a big impact on the community. The Régiment Carignan-Salières was quickly deployed to fortifications along the Richelieu River.
The Iroquois pressed their advantage, raiding and spreading fear among the colonists. A French attempt to force a pitched battle was unsuccessful.
This reconstruction by Michel Pétard shows a drummer of the régiment de Carignan-Salières during the regiment's service in New France. He is wearing the livery of the princes of Carignan. The Carignan coat of arms is painted on his drum; the central shield of the arms shows a white cross on a red field. The drummer's role was to communicate the orders of his commander through patterns of drum beats. (Canadian Department of National Defence)
The governor’s influence extended locally, regionally and across the continent.
Until the 1660s, especially in the Montreal area, no one in the French settlements really felt quite safe from surprise attacks by hostile Iroquois warriors. Many Canadian settlers, including women, learned to handle firearms during the 1650s.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, armies did not necessarily travel in ranks and even marching in step was uncommon until the middle of the 18th century. French soldiers of the régiment de Carignan-Salières posted in Canada from 1665 would have a similar appearance when on the move.
Because of the constant Iroquois surprise attacks on settlers at Montreal between 1660 and 1665, the nursing nuns at the hospital also kept a lookout and would ring their bell to give the alarm whenever they spotted something suspicious.