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CHAPTER 5: The Compagnies Franches de la Marine of Canada

Canadian Tacticians (1 page)


There was no other solution than to adopt new methods of waging war suited to the country. Canadians, who had long observed Amerindian ways and were very familiar with the countryside, were the ones who developed these tactics. Among them, Charles Le Moyne and Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière had a decisive influence.

While still young soldiers, one in the Montreal garrison and the other in Trois-Rivières, Le Moyne and Hertel de La Fresnière took part in numerous skirmishes with the Iroquois. Both were captured and adopted by the Iroquois, and spent their time profitably learning the language and studying Iroquois customs.

Upon regaining his liberty, Charles Le Moyne turned to business and did well. He also acted as an interpreter for various governors, without abandoning his military activities. He was in command of the Montreal volunteers in 1666 at the time of the expeditions of the Carignan-Salières Regiment. He fathered numerous sons, to whom he passed along his observations on the art of war as it should be practised here. Several of these sons died sword in hand. They were Le Moyne de Longueuil, de Sainte-Hélène, de Maricourt, de Châteauguay, and d'Iberville - great names in early Canadian military history.

For his part, Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière was born to arms, so to speak, in Trois-Rivières in 1642, for his father served in the garrison, having arrived from France in 1626. Young Hertel therefore became a soldier himself before eventually going into business, like Charles le Moyne. Hertel also served as an interpreter and as a militiaman during the campaigns of the Carignan-Salières Regiment. He too had many sons, who followed his footsteps into battle, among them his namesake, as well as de Moncours and de Rouville - a dynasty of distinguished officers.