French Colonial Regular Soldiers
Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil Governor of parish of Trois Rivieres assembled a detachment of fifteen hundred men for the “carrying Fort George by escalade,” beginning in the middle of February, 1757. The detachment was formed into four divisions at St.Jean, departing on February 20th. An account of the advantage acquired by the King’s Arms over the English noted the colonial regular troops were in the order of march.
The second, commanded by Captain du Chat, of the regiment of Languedoc, was composed of two pickets of Regulars, three companies of Colonials, with some Indians,
third, under the command of Captain Coni, of the regiment of Royal Roussillon, and which was composed as the second
The six companies of Colonial Troops made up about one fifth of the expedition. An Account of Two Expeditions in Canada, in the course of the winter of 1757, noted, “The detachment was composed of fifteen hundred men…three hundred Colonials.”
The Canadian colonial regular soldiers in the March raid on Fort William Henry had their regulation uniforms issued to them by the colony through the French naval ministry. The uniform coats or habit were issued every three years. Annually each man was to receive a veste, breeches, a pair of stockings, a hat, two pairs of shoes, two shirts, two cravats, as well as all, “the ordinary items that compose the small clothing furnished for this Colony.” An anonymous list of supplies from French Army Archives in 1756 records the nature of these additional clothing items so necessary for service in Canada.
Equipment for a soldier for the campaign during the summer months.
1 Bonnet (tuque)
2 Cotton Shirts
1 Pair of Mitasses (leggings)
2 Skeins of Thread
1 Steel Striker
6 Gun Flints
1 Gun Worm
2 pots of Brandy for the Campaign
1 Pair of Souliers Tannes (Souliers de beouf)
1 Pound of Tobacco per Month
Issued for soldiers employed in winter expeditions.
2 Pairs of Chaussons (moccasin liners)
Nippesfor the mocassins
1 Deerskin –to make moccasins in the manner of native warriors.
1 Pair of Snowshoes
1 Sealskin-to cover rations on the toboggan.
1 Tarp for 4 men for the tent.
1 Cannoniere (artillery tent) per 10 soldiers.
Stores at Fort Carillon by October of 1757 show a good supply of clothing stores going into the winter of 1757. Moccasins were in good supply at the Fort with a total of 15 hogshead barrels full of them. These were matched by a reserve of 84 pairs of usable snowshoes. Likewise in October of 1757 there were 158 capots, 109 pairs of wool leggings, and 229 blankets on hand. The Troupe de la Marine or colonial regulars had these Canadian winter garments as part of their annual issue of clothing. As with their French army counterparts it was in this dress that they marched out into the snow to try to catch Fort William Henry by surprise.
Best: Hand-stitched correct period cotton shirt with narrow band cuffs made for sleeve buttons (cuff links).
Acceptable:White or blue and white striped linen or correct period cotton shirt with narrow band cuffs with thread buttons or made for sleeve buttons (cuff links) with minor visible machine-stitching.
Discouraged: Checked, striped linen, or wool shirts.
Unacceptable:Cotton calico or plaid shirts.
Best:Black wool crepe or silk cravats.
Acceptable: Linen or cotton neckerchief.
Unacceptable: Leather neck-stocks, wool scarves.
Hats and Caps
Best: Knit red yarn bonnet or tuque.
Acceptable:Soldiers’ chapeau bound in faux gold lace worn in and around the barracks.
Unacceptable: Fur cap, voyageur cap.
Best: Hand-finished, well fit white wool cloth capote with round cuffs and hood closing with a single button at the neck.
Acceptable: Well-fit white wool white, drab, or grey capote with minor visible machine stitching.
Discouraged: Capotes with facing colored cuffs. Blanket coats or capotes from a white-bodied, blue or red striped blanket.
Unacceptable: 19th century trapper blanket coats; Blanket shirts.
Breeches or Culotte
Best: Hand-finished and well-fit, blue tricot or serge breeches with cloth covered buttons.
Acceptable: Well-fit, blue woolen breeches with minor visible machine stitching.
Discouraged:Red, blue, or white wool breechcloths are also acceptable.
Best: Hand-finished and well-fit, sleeved veste made of blue tricot or serge, lined in white serge, with brass domed rimmed buttons.
Acceptable: Well-fit sleeved veste made of blue woolen cloth with minor visible machine stitching.
Unacceptable: Extremely long or baggy vestes or modern upholstery materials.
Best: Hand-finished well-fit, square-cut gilet made of red, blue, or white wool cloth, made without sleeves, with cloth covered buttons.
Acceptable: Well-fit square-cut gilet made of red, blue, or white wool cloth, with minor visible machine stitching.
Unacceptable:Extremely long or baggy gilet or modern upolstery materials.
Best:Well-fit, unadorned blue, red, or white wool mitasse with plain wool or Native garters.
Acceptable: Well-fit white linen gaiters small black leather buttons and leather garters worn in and around the barracks.
Unacceptable: Buckskin leggings, gaiters, or baggy wool leggings.
Best: Vamp or pucker-toe styled Soulier Savage or mocassins.
Acceptable: Soulier du beouf or buckled shoes.
Unacceptable: Modern shoes, boots, or Dyer, Arrow, Minnetonka moccasins, Shoepacks, half-boots or high-lows.
Cold Weather Protection
Best:Blue, red, or white wool mitaines.
Unacceptable: Modern gloves or mittens.
Habit-Optional for wear around the Barracks
Best:Hand-finished, well-fit, Habit of white wool cloth, with blue regiment facings, regimental shaped pocket flaps, blue serge lining, and domed-rimmed brass buttons.
Acceptable:Well-fit, Habit of white wool cloth, with blue regimental facings, blue serge lining, with minor visible machine stitching, or no Habit.
Best: French Military Muskets of 1728 or similar pattern, fitted for a bayonet, with a red Russia leather sling.
Discouraged: British arms, Anglo-American fowlers.
Unacceptable: Canoe guns, Blunderbusses, rifles.
Best: Older Pattern Epee d’Soldat carried addition to a bayonet in the waist belt.
Acceptable: Bayonet only carried in a white buff soldiers’ waistbelt.
Discouraged:Cassetete or tomahawk.
Best: Red Russia leather gargousier carried on buff waistbelt. Leather pulverin or powder corne carried on a narrow buff leather shoulder strap.
Acceptable: Similar style gargousie, no pulverin or corne.
Best: Tin bidon, or gourd slung over the shoulder on a hemp cord or leather thong.
Acceptable: Ceramic, glass canteen, slung over the shoulder on a hemp cord or leather thong.
Unacceptable:Wooden cheese-box canteens, British tin canteens.
Knapsacks and Tumpline’s
Best: Gran haversacs of linen canvas, slung on a buff or red Russia leather strap.
Acceptable: Finger woven or webbing tumplines.
Unncceptable:Two-strap knapsacks, Anglo-American haversacks.
Best: 3-Point blankets. Bear skins hides may also be used.
Acceptable: Check, Dutch, or rose plain white or Hudson Bay blankets.
Unacceptable: Civil War grey blankets modern olive drab blankets.