The Militia in New France

When Montréal was founded, the new colonists were rapidly confronted by a fearsome enemy: the Iroquois. Unfortunately, there was no regular army on Montréal soil until 1665, when the Carignan-Salières regiment landed here. In the meantime, militias capable of resisting Iroquois attacks were set up.  

On January 27, 1663, Chomedey de Maisonneuve created the Sainte-Famille militia to protect Ville-Marie and its inhabitants. It was made up of 139 voluntary colonists, divided into 20 squads. A corporal was elected by the members of each squad. The Sainte-Famille militia was headed by Zacharie Dupuy, future owner of the fief of Verdun.

In 1779, King Louis XIV ordered all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 to enlist in the militia and be trained in armed forces skills. European war tactics were quickly abandoned by the militiamen, who instead adopted the equipment (canoe, snowshoes, moccasins and gaiters) as well as the blitz, guerrilla warfare type tactics of their Aboriginal allies. The militiamen had to train once a month and also take part in big assemblies (musters) once or twice a year.