As the Iroquois raids intensified, the main French settlements established militia units for defence. Montreal established the first unit, the Fraternité de la très Sainte-Vierge, in 1650. A year later, Governor d'Ailleboust of New France ordered the formation of militia units at Trois-Rivières and Quebec. The commander at Trois-Rivières, Captain Pierre Boucher, organized the men into squads and carried out drill exercises, established guard units, and assigned armed patrols to protect the farmland around the settlement.
While the militia units did not have formal uniforms, they adopted distinctive coats. The Montreal militia wore blue coats, the Trois-Rivières detachment white, and the Quebec militia red.