Canadian Military History Gateway
Date > 1600 > 1690-1699
Subject > Strategy and Tactics > Fortifications
A small garrison of Troupes de la Marine arrived in Newfoundland in 1687, where fortifications were gradually established. The garrison suffered from desertion, and was attacked by pirates, English privateers and the English Royal Navy.
Combat for the Canadian militia during raids was a matter of surprise attack from ambush - a volley of musket fire and then a charge with hatchets. The manoeuvres and drill of a European-style battlefield were foreign to them, and there they were best behind fortifications.
With its obvious strategic location, Signal Hill became the site of harbour defences from the 18th century through the Second World War. The last battle of the Seven Years' War in North America was fought here in 1762.
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.
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.
From 1686 to 1697, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville et d’Ardillières (1661-1706) took and retook English Hudson’s Bay Company forts and ships in four different expeditions. He is shown here leading one such attack.
The amount of artillery at Louisbourg led to the creation of an artillery company there in 1743. There was a school for artillery training at Quebec, which became the nucleus for a second company in 1750. Gunners wore distinctive uniforms and were considered elite soldiers.
Cape Merry was once called Knight's Round Point. James Knight sailed into the mouth of the Churchill River to begin construction of a fur trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1717. The cape was later renamed to honour Captain John Merry, who was the Deputy Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company from 1712-18. This page describes the construction of the fort and its cannon battery.
A garrison of Troupes de la Marine was sent to Acadia in 1685. The colony was repeatedly attacked by forces from New England. As a way of striking back, the French (accompanied by Abenaki allies) raided English settlements in Massachusetts.
The Saint-Louis forts and châteaux site is complex. It consists of three elements: the forts, châteaux and gardens. There were a total of four forts and two Châteaux