The Carignan Regiment

The regiment of Carignan, covered with glory from the war that it delivered against the Turks before its departure from Europe, with its arrival in Canada, gave the country the peace and the confidence which made it prosper quickly.

The French families pride themselves with good reason when, in their ancestry, they count a "Crusader." Reconquering the country of Christ from the barbarians, there is that which is noble. But to enlist oneself in order to be permitted into an immense country, to quit his family and his homeland for that, there is, it seems to me, another crusade; and you are right to flatter yourself by belonging to the family of a soldier of this regiment.

The regiment of Carignan had been raised in France by the prince Thomas Emmanuel Pierre of Savoie, prince of Carignan, thus it carried his name; it had the company of the guards of this famous prince for its nucleus.

This regiment distinguished itself by a large number of battles and, after the peace of the Pyrénées, in 1659, the prince of Carignan made a gift of it to the great king Louis XIV; and this regiment has ever since been assigned to the regular army. In the month of May 1665, in the goal of assuring the peace and the tranquillity in the colony which always was exposed to perish, exterminated by the Iroquois, the king decided to send them a good corps of troops; twelve hundred soldiers of the regiment of Carignan would embark from La Rochelle for Canada. Your ancestor was of this number.

The Abbot Couillard-Després, in his "History of Sorel," tells us of the journey and the arrival of this regiment. This narration is, in general terms, the narration of the journeys and of the arrival of your ancestor. We quote the abbot Couillard-Després, page 38:

"M. de Tracy, lieutenant general of the king, embarked with four companies, to La Rochelle, on two ships, the Brésé and the Téron, towards Cayenne. The fleet made stopovers at Madere Island and at Cap Vert; the Portugese received the Frenchmen magnificently. At Cayenne, M. de Tracy called on the governor to surrender the island to the king of France, which he did without trouble. Having visited the islands of Martinique and of Guadeloupe, April 25, he puts to sail in destination of Canada and he arrived at Quebec, June 30."

"All the Canadian population and the clergy, having at its head the renowned Mgr. de Laval, came out to meet M. de Tracy, who carried the title of Viceroy of the New France. The reception was imposing; never for the foundation of a country had a similar display of military been seen. The four companies of the regiments of Chambellé, of Orleans, of Poitou, of Broglie, which accompanied the viceroy, joined the first four arrivals some days before on the vessel "The Gagneur." "June 18, August 19 and September 12, eight other companies came to reinforce the royal troops. M. Jean Talon, named the Intendant of the country, dismounted in the company of M. de Courcelles who arrived in the capacity of governor. The regiment numbered twelve hundred elite soldiers. The Canadians were in jubilation. The coming of so many good-looking soldiers put joy in all the hearts. There was hope for better days."

The intrepid soldiers of the regiment of Carignan pacified the Iroquois and obtained thus for some time a beneficial peacefulness for the colony. This regiment was disbanded in 1667, and returned to France, except about 400 soldiers and 30 officers who preferred to settle in the colony. The king bestowed some lordships on the competent officers for them to colonize and an allowance of 150 pounds to the sergeants and 100 pounds to the soldiers.

Officers and soldiers of Carignan settled on the edges of the Richelieu which had been the theater of their exploits. The lordships of Contrecoeur, of St Ours, of Verchéres, of Chambly, of Sorel, of Lavaltrie, had for their first Lords from the officers of the regiment of Carignan and for first settlers from the soldiers of this regiment, these latter gathering by preference around their respective leader.

The above biographical statement of Guillaume Renaud was translated from Dictionnaire National des Canadiens François by Lucien Deschenes & Laurettta Trudel.

Translation provided by Richard L. Renaud (7th and 8th great-grandson of Guillaume Renaud).

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