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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada


Extracts of Matters of Historical Interest from "The Huissier, News For and About the Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff" By The Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff


(July 28, 2003)

Artillerymen and Drummers
by Sandy Balcom

Although the members of the Marine infantry companies at Louisbourg received specialized artillery training as early as 1735, an artillery company was only formed there in 1743. Viewed as an elite unit, this company took the role of grenadiers when not performing artillery duties. These artillerymen not only received higher pay but also a distinctive uniform. The coat was blue faced red similar to the regiments of Royal Artillery and Bombardiers in the French army. The dark colour scheme was considered appropriate to the artillery function as it showed the ill effects of black powder smoke less than a light colour. The colour combination also received a certain international acceptance with British and later the Americans using it for their artillery units. The Louisbourg company had red small clothes and stockings, but in matters of cut, it basically followed the lead of the Marine infantry companies. The clothing buttons were white metal and the hat braid silver.

As commands were frequently given by drum calls, officers had to be able to distinguish drummers at a glance. Consequently these specialists were clothed very distinctly. Again emphasizing royal control in both the military and the colonies, the drummers of the Marine troops wore a coat with the King's livery colours - blue faced red. The coat was further distinguished by the King's livery lace or braid on it. While the Marine drummers stood out from their fellow soldiers, the distinctions between the artillery and infantry drummers were fairly subtle. The distinguishing marks were the colour of their buttons and hat braid - silver for the artillery and gold for the infantry. The drummers of the Karrer regiment had the privilege of wearing a uniform in their colonel's livery colours and decorated with his livery lace.