Canadian Military History Gateway
Date > 1600 > 1660-1669
Subject > Strategy and Tactics
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.
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.
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.
The administrative centres of New France - Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Louisbourg and New Orleans - each had a governor with a small staff of his own. This 'garrison staff' was responsible for the military administration of the town.
A party of men under Dollard des Ormeaux, commander of the Montreal garrison, was surprised by a much larger group of Iroquois. Besieged at a disused Algonquin fort at Long-Sault on the Ottawa River, the Frenchmen and their Huron allies were wiped out.
French strategy in Acadia and Newfoundland centred around controlling access to the St. Lawrence River. Competition with Britain and her American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries led to the fortification and garrisoning of the region.
This model represents the original Fort Chambly. The original wooden log structure was built in 1665 and was typical of the early forts in Canada.