The National Battlefields Commission
Plains of Abraham
The Troupes de la Marine (Navy troops), or Compagnies Franches de la Marine, had been in New France since 1683, they were made up of professional soldiers stationed here, who were for the most part of Canadian origin at the time of the Seven Years' War. They got their name from the fact that they were directly answerable to the Ministry of the Navy, not to the Ministry of War. They did not form regiments but companies, which were not answerable to the regular army. These soldiers were unused to European style fighting, but they were well-disciplined and efficient.
It is not easy to determine the exact number of soldiers belonging to the Compagnies Franches de la Marine who, in 1759, served alongside Montcalm in Québec. The historian René Chartrand estimates that there were between 800 and 1,00040 of them, whereas C.P. Stacey believes their numbers to be 1,10041. The Troupes de la Marine also fought in the Battle of Sainte-Foy.
The uniform worn by these soldiers consisted of a greyish-white justaucorps with turnback cuffs, a jacket and blue breeches and stockings. They wore white gaiters that came up to their thighs, and black metal buckle shoes. The tricorn was trimmed with gold braid42.
Since the 17th century, in New France, the artillery was manned by informal units comprised of soldiers from the Troupes de la Marine trained for that purpose. It was only in 1750 that a company of gunners artillerymen was set up in Québec. At the time, it consisted of colonial soldiers who were the most highly skilled to fulfill these duties. During the siege of the city, professional artillerymen from the French Corps Royal de l'Artillerie joined this unit. At the same time, gunners artillerymen were also backed by experienced sailors serving with the batteries set up along the coast, or on ships, and by Militia gunners and a laborers' unit43.
The uniforms of gunners artillerymen consisted of a blue justaucorps with red turnback cuffs and breeches. Their tricorn was trimmed with a silver braid.