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"Coureur des Bois: Wargamer Myth!" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian27 Jul 2021 11:07 a.m. PST

You were asked – TMP link

Coureur des Bois: Wargamer Myth?

In the tiebreaker round:

34% said "yes, wargamer myth"
29% said "no, not wargamer myth"

John the OFM27 Jul 2021 12:29 p.m. PST

As anti-social loners roaming through the woods, certainly individuals existed.
But as a coherent wargaming unit, not so much.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 2:20 p.m. PST

Ah well, I have 3 figures which look grizzly, and will continue to guide 'Mais Françaises' in our French and Indian skirmish games!
And look! – the sky hasn't fallen on our heads!

John the OFM27 Jul 2021 2:35 p.m. PST

As long as you don't report me for using SYW British in the ‘45, I won't report you

Blasted Brains27 Jul 2021 5:43 p.m. PST

Since the coureur du bois were unlicensed – slightly illegal – traders, of course they were never an official "unit". But they certainly were tapped by the French to the extent they could be to support various expeditions and to interpret with the various native allies. I would rate them below militia and on a par with the less reliable natives. And I will field them on my table regardless!

Now, what role the licensed voyageurs played in the French and Indian War, that is a question for additional study.

Now, here is a question: Did the coureur do bois get along with the voyageurs? Do any of our Canadians on board TMP have any light to shed?

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2021 4:29 a.m. PST

Well there is a recent French book on these. Not read but someone managed to. Looks more of a trapper civilian hunter type mixing with indians. No idea if when levying militia they'd try to get these together, if these were to show up at all, but in some ways as militia was raised from locales, some places deep west or so woukd be with many of these. It can grant the company special abilities compared to those in more "civilized" sgricultural areas.

marco56 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2021 1:20 p.m. PST

I think they were used as scouts and interperters,especially in the 17th century

Lilian28 Jul 2021 5:10 p.m. PST

Seen me too but not read it yet, actually it is rather the paperback version of Gilles Havard's book published 5 years ago at Indes Savantes

there is a review here

In the 1670s, newcomers were required to marry in order to gain access to the right to "enter the wood". There are many people in hiding: "trade" is seen as a marginalized way of life, criminalized by Frontenac as shown in chapter 3: 1672-1681: the construction of a vagrant. The term "coureur de bois" becomes synonymous with bad boy, but their activity and their links with the natives are essential to the colony. The author situates this repressive attitude in European societal developments: the race in the woods becomes the real or imaginary place of marginality, of the return to the savagery of the forest but also the place of debauchery; a life of disobedience and resistance to sovereign authority, a penalization constantly affirmed but little implemented by the administrators often linked to the lucrative trade in skins.
if in 1696 the trade was outlawed, the practice remained. The author shows the indulgence of governors towards coureurs de bois.

Can we talk about a culture of Voyage?
With the precise description of the race: leave, purchase of goods to be exchanged for the skins, the author, following the men of the time, differentiates the "men of the North" who winter in Indian country and the "eaters of bacon 'which deal much less far. Their common point: the comptoir of Missillimakinac : stage for the first, goal of the trip for the second. He also discusses the consequences of the absence on the situation of wives. The marriage with an Indian is misinformed in the sources.

The image of the coureur can be summed up in one pithy formula: the savage, the sword and the cabaret. The discourses of the time which condemn or legitimize this way of life describe the coureur de bois as a young man, often celibate, undisciplined, refusing to work the land often for lack of access to it, eager for social advancement but unpredictable. Enthusiasm and impiety are often denounced.

But they are useful vagabonds for the king and the province. Returning to the hesitations of the legislation and the management of the colony, the author shows the possible parallel with the buccaneers of Saint Domingue and with the help of two texts by Michel Bisaillon and Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont their role in the military defense of the colony.

John Simmons02 Aug 2021 8:08 p.m. PST

So I guess the book is not real?

historygamer03 Aug 2021 1:50 p.m. PST

The question is really based in the poll question – which asked the implied question of whether such figures should be included in a wargame?

marco56 Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2021 4:31 p.m. PST

Here is a book of fiction but based on a ancester of the author.

doc mcb10 Dec 2021 9:45 a.m. PST

I have a few and mix them into a war band. Not a separate unit.

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