Not long after the French arrived in Wisconsin, they started building forts. At these forts were garrisoned soldiers of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine (literally “Independant Companies of the Navy”). These were the troops that were sent to France’s colonies including Canada. Although soldiers, the role of these men in Wisconsin was usually not fighting in wars (with some exception… the Fox Wars). Their main duty was to be a presence of the King in the colonies; providing protection, keeping the peace, conducting diplomacy with the Natives, and enforcing the King’s law (in the west, this particularly dealt with the fur trade) .
The above image is a combination of two seperate images of members of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine like what would have been stationed here in Wisconsin. The man on the left is a common soldier and the man on the right is a sergent major.
Soldier of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine from around 1750. This is the old uniform that I no longer own. I am currently reconstructing a more proper one for the period of the 1730s. As of 2013, I am complete with all but the outer coat (justeacorp) and really need to finish it.
Above and below: Three “marines” in winter. This type of clothing is more common than a full uniform for the Compagnies Franches de la Marine here in Wisconsin. This is a combination of uniform, civilian clothing, and American Indian clothing. These photos were of the same men at the same event, only on different years. The only noticeable differences are in slight variations of what items they are wearing. The uniform clothes I am wearing in the bottom picture (far right) is the start on my new, 1730s uniform.