French Army Regular Soldiers
In mid-February of 1757 Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, Governor of parish of Trois Rivieres, assembled a detachment for the surprise attack of Fort William Henry. This detachment was made of four divisions including 250 French Army regulars. These troops consisted of volunteers from regiments in winter quarters. An Account of two Expeditions in Canada, in the Course of the winter of 1757, expresses the composition.
composed of fifteen hundred men, to wit; five pickets of troops of the Line, one of which was grenadiers drawn from four companies under the command of Captain de Poulalieres of the Royal Rousillon grenadiers
In a letter from Marquis de Montcalm to Monsieur de Pauly, April 21, 1757, Montcalm listed what regiments volunteered soldiers for these five picket companies.
This detachment consisted of 50 grenadiers and 200 volunteers from the battalions of La Sarre, Royal Rousillon, Languedoc and Bearn.
The French army soldiers who composed the part of the March raid on Fort William Henry had their regulation uniforms. The soldiers of the Languedoc and Bearn regiments received complete new uniforms from the French naval ministry when they arrived in Canada in 1755. The Royal Roussillon and La Sarre soldiers had just arrived in Canada in the summer of 1756 with their French Army uniforms on them. However, for active campaign service in North America these French Army soldiers received the Canadian colonial allotment of clothing. An anonymous list of supplies from French Army Archives in 1756 records the quantity of this clothing.
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)
Nippes for 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.
Detachments from Languedoc, La Reine, and Royal Roussillon almost certainly had the clothing, “for soldiers employed in winter expeditions.” Even if these items had not been issued from stores in Montreal, they are also listed in the inventory of the magazine at Carillon. Stores at Fort Carillon in 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 issuance of these items is corroborated by other French Army officers like Guillaume Meriten de Pradals, of the La Sarre Regiment. He listed on June 4, 1756:
One pair of mittens,
Two pairs of mitassse which are of heavy woolen stuff.
For snow one pair of snowshoes,
One sealskin for sleeping, the soldiers,
A bearskin for us in the winter.
Donning their winter Canadian clothing, armed with their French soldier’s accoutrements and arms, Captain Basserode’s French regulars marched from Fort Carillon to ambush Roger’s Rangers.
Hats and Caps
Best: Knit red yarn bonnet or tuque.
Acceptable:Bonnet de police or fatigue cap. Soldiers’ chapeau bound in faux gold or silver lace worn in and around the barracks.
Unacceptable: Fur cap, voyageur cap.
Best: Hand-stitched white or blue-and-white striped linen or 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 neck-stocks with brass buckles..
Acceptable: Black wool crepe or silk cravats. Linen or cotton neckerchief.
Unacceptable: Leather neck-stocks, wool scarves.
Breeches or Culotte
Best: Hand-finished and well-fit, white tricot or serge breeches with cloth covered buttons. Underneath hand-finished unbleached linen under breeches.
Acceptable: Well-fit, white woolen breeches with minor visible machine stitching.
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.
Best: Hand-finished and well-fit, sleeved veste made of blue or red tricot or serge, lined in serge, with brass or white metal domed rimmed buttons.
Acceptable: Well fitted sleeved veste made of blue or red 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 or red cloth regimental collars and cuffs, regimental shaped pocket flaps, white serge lining, and domed-rimmed brass or white metal buttons.
Acceptable:Well-fit, Habit of white wool cloth, with blue or red regimental collars and cuffs, white or 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:French Army Epee d’Soldat carried addition to a bayonet in the waist belt.
Acceptable: Older pattern Epee d’ Soldat or Bayonet only carried in a white buff soldiers’ waistbelt.
Unacceptable:Cassetete or tomahawk.
Best:Red or Russia leather demi-giberne with a buff leather strap, with leather pulverin or powder corne.
Acceptable: Similar style demi-gibernes, 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.
Unacceptable: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.