Monday, March 30, 2009

Régiment de Carignan-Salières 1665

New Copplestone Castings French Musketeer

Régiment de Carignan-Salières musketeer 1665

I just found this great blog with lots of stuff for the period of Louis XIV which will no doubt help me with my new Copplestone figures.

One of the many pictures on the blog shows a soldier of the régiment de Carignan-Salières by Francis Back who did the pictures for the Osprey on the armies of Louis XIV, which I will try to pick up tomorrow from Foyles (although Foyles no longer seem to keep the complete range of Ospreys as they used to).

Formed by a merger of the Carignan Regiment and the Salières Regiment in 1659 they first saw action against the Ottomans. In 1665 1200 men of the regiment were sent to Quebec City in New France (Canada) to protect settlers from the depredations of the Iroquois.

The Iroquois were the dominant nation at that time with over 2,000 warriors compared with only 3,200 French settlers in the whole of New France.

However, despite expeditions to seek out their foe the regiment found little sign of them, other than a few skirmishes, as they had been badly hit by a smallpox epidemic.

The route of the September 1666 expedition

Given a determined expedition by the regiment in September 1666 the Iroquois, rather than fight, signed a treaty with the French. The regiment was disbanded in 1794.

The regiment returned to France in 1668 but King Louis XIV encouraged soldiers to remain in New France to boost the colonial population by granting estates to the officers and land and livestock subsidies to the men.

450 of them did so and, as a result, many French Canadians of today can trace their ancestry to someone in the regiment, to the extent that Quebecois holiday agents offer holidays to trace the areas where the officers of the regiment came from.


The regiment was one of the first in the French army to wear a uniform and I think it is a very attractive one; the muted browns, grey and buffs being ideal to chase Iroqouis in the forest.

The troops left their pikes in France but carried the new bayonet. The drummers wore a much brighter uniform based on the livery of the Prince de Carignan.

The regiment's standard

So I think I will paint this figure as above ready to fight the Iroquois. Conquest miniatures make Iroquois but most of them have flintlock muskets. I suspect bows would have been more likely at this time and they do a woodlands indian pack with bows if I paint enough for a skirmish but, as others have observed, the Copplestone figures aren't really animated enough for skirmish wargaming. Nevertheless I travel to Canada a lot and may even have to go to Quebec City again in May so a few figures from this historically important unit would not go amiss I think!

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