Coureurs-des-bois toy soldiers 54mm 1/32 War Austrian Succession SYW
More Coureurs-des-bois
07 Nov 2018 / Nino /

Here are the masters of three more Canadian Militiamen, or perhaps Coureurs-des-Bois, all wearing the usual mix of European and Native American items.

The running Militiaman is dressed just like my other Canadians (see here), in a coarse linen shirt and cloth breech-clout, while his standing-and-firing mate also wears wool leggings, or mitasses, a convenient choice for marching through tall grass, or the thick undergrowth of an Eastern Woodland forest.

The man in a shortened hooded capote and fur-trimmed stocking cap is a Militia Officer, his rank revealed by the gilt gorget worn at the chest. The cadet son in a wealthy family of the Canadian landed gentry, he has taken the field to defend his family’s property as well as his own interests in the fur trade with the western tribes…

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I have based my Canadians mainly on early 18th Century pictorial evidence of Coureurs-des-Bois in shirts and capotes, going bare-legged, or wearing mitasses. I was also inspired by the description given in his journal by English settler Robert Eastburn, who was taken captive by a party of French and Indians in March 1756 at the Great Carrying Place, NY. On their way back to Canada “… the French carried several of their wounded Men all the Way upon their Backs; many of them wore no Breeches in their Travels in this cold Season, being strong, hardy Men…”.

Soldiers of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine (Independent Companies of the Navy) serving in the many remote wilderness outposts of French America would look pretty much the same as my Canadians, although they would be armed with military muskets (see previous post here) as opposed to hunting guns (here), as well as retain items of military equipment  such as powder flask and cartridge box.

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Sources

Eastburn, R., A faithful Narrative, of the many Dangers and Sufferings, as well as wonderful and surprising Deliverances of Robert Eastburn, during his late Captivity among the Indians: together with some remarks upon the Country of Canada, and the Religion and Policy of its Inhabitants; the whole intermixed with devout Reflexions. ECCO Print Editions.

Chartrand, R., The French soldier in Colonial America, Museum Restoration Service, 1984.