Gouvernement du Canada - Commission des champs de batails nationaux Gouvernement du Canada - Canada

The National Battlefields Commission

Plains of Abraham




Opposing Forces

French Army, Canadians and Amerindians The Militia

The Militia, which existed in New France since 1669, comprised all valid Canadian men aged between 16 and 60 years old – which represents roughly between 20 to 25% of the colonial population44. Militiamen were poorly trained and therefore not very efficient when fighting pitched battles in open terrain. They leaned toward ambush tactics that advocated hiding in the woods.

The militiamen who fought alongside the French were recruited in the countryside and in the city, and they had no military training. In times of conflict they were required to take up arms. They had no military uniform of their own so, during each campaign, they were given part of the equipment – a shirt, a hood, a breech cloth, leggings, moccasins and a blanket. The troops had to arm themselves and were expected to have a good supply of lead shots, powder and fuse. The quartermaster supplied a gun to those who needed one, but they had to give it back after each expedition45.

Every parish in the colony had its Militia Company led by a captain appointed by the governor, who was generally someone of importance within the community. Each of the companies belonged to a district. In New France, there were three districts: Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montreal. 

  • Québec District Militia: In June 1759, 5,640 militiamen were gathered in Québec. Never since the city's foundation had so many been mobilized. Vaudreuil also ordered that a number of them – around 600 – be assigned to the five regular army regiments46

  • Montreal District Militia: The Montreal Militia was said to be the most efficient due to the fact that it was composed of travellers who were also fur traders. Consequently, this Militia was trained mostly for ambush tactics in the woods, which earned the men the nickname of "Wolves" by other districts. In 1759, 5,455 militiamen were mobilized, including 4,200 who were dispatched to Québec for the siege. Most were positioned on the Beauport Flats47

  • Trois-Rivières District Militia: In 1759, the Trois-Rivières militiamen numbered 1,300, including 1,100 who were bound for Québec. All of them also occupied the Beauport Flats under the command of Louis de Bonne.


Cavalery :
The Cavalry Corps, established in June 1759, was the first of its kind in Canada. It comprised 200 Canadian volunteers, good cavalrymen under the leadership of five French officers and divided into two companies. The Cavalry Corps was part of the Militia. It was used to keep watch over the banks of the St. Lawrence, check enemy positions, fight whenever necessary and take care of the mail-coach service48.

The cavalry uniform was blue with red collar and cuffs49.

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