Les Troupes de la Marine

Many people with ties to Avoyelles and Pointe Coupée Parishes have ancestors who were members of a New France military unit originally called the Troupes de la Marine.

In 1682, the new Governor of New France, Joseph-Antoine le Fèbvre de La Barre, found the colony on the brink of war with the Iroquois after a lengthy period of relative calm since the signing of a peace treaty with the Iroquois in 1667. The Iroquois were now constantly raiding French settlements and blocking commercial routes to the interior of the Canadian colony - jeopardizing the fur trade. Le Fèbvre de La Barre made a request to the Minister of the Army that France send troops. King Louis XIV responded by ordering the recruitment and dispatch of naval troops to replace the French regulars. They would be called the Troupes de la Marine. These troops originally were recruited from the French mainland from among males sixteen years and older who were at least 5'5" tall. There were problems, however, with the recruitment of soldiers to Canada. The climate and constant fighting with Iroquois scared many French from signing up. The first three companies of "Navy troops" arrived in New France in 1683 comprising about 160 men. Many of the initial troops that arrived, however, were raw, unfit for battle and, overall, poorly supplied. One of the reasons for the inefficiency of the Troupes de la Marine, was due to the rivalry between the Colbert family, who were Ministers of the Marine, and the Le Tellier family whom were in charge of the Troupes de Terre (Land Troups). These bad relations led to the Colbert family sending significantly more naval officers to serve on land than officers from the Troupes de Terre. The number of companies sent to New France continued to increase in the following years. By 1684, the force had been transformed into a permanent body independent of the Army and France's Navy. In 1685, the number of soldiers per company was increased. The troops served to defend the major towns of the colony and had detachments scattered across the small fur trading posts that were very important to the economy. However, by 1689, it became clear the forces onboard ships were unable to fully defend the French colonies on land as needed. As a result, another force was formed with that specific mission in mind. It was called the "Compagnies Franches de la Marine" and the Troupes de la Marine were absorbed into this group. They were regular land units rather than naval troops - a distinction that would be more suitable to the protection of New France. The Compagnies Franches de la Marine were the forerunners of the Canadian Permanent Force. In the fall of 1690, three companies of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine successfully fought against the English as they as they attempted to besiege Québec.

Ancestors with ties to Louisiana who appear to have been members of the Troupes de la Marine. (There may be others.)

Pierre Dulignon, Sieur de la Mirande
Augustin Juneau (Jouineau) dit LaTulippe
François Letard dit St. Onge
Michel Jean Moineau dit Jeanmoneau
Louis Quay dit Dragon
Jean Fourneau dit Brindamour
Pierre Jamme dit Carriére
Moïse Morin dit Chenevert
Pierre Jamme dit Carriére

Per Wikipedia: "The first two units of the Louisiana "Compagnies Franches de la Marine" were created in 1703. In 1714, they were augmented to four companies, being doubled in 1716. Each of these had three officers and 50 enlisted men. By 1731, Louisiana became a royal colony, leading its troops to be incorporated into the "Compagnies Franches de la Marine".[18] In 1721, there were eight companies(about 400 men, maintained by the East India Company). By 1732, this grew to thirteen companies (about 650 men, after the handover of the colony to the Crown by the East India Company). Later, in 1750, thirty-seven companies, totaling about 1,300 men. Within the next four years, the company was suppressed, with the workforce being found in other units."

Additional reading

Wikipedia - Troupes de la marine
Troupes de la marine
The Compagnies franches de la Marine 1683-1760

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