The militia forces in Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Quebec were on almost constant duty. They accompanied the farmers to the fields during the day, detachments regularly patrolled the St. Lawrence River, and guards stood at their posts on the walls of the settlements every night. The existing militia unit in Montreal did not have sufficient men to perform all the required duties. Montreal, situated close to the main Iroquois invasion route on the Richelieu River, was far more vulnerable to raids than Trois-Rivières and Quebec. Consequently, Sieur de Maisonneuve raised an additional militia force in Montreal.
The Soldats de la Sainte-Famille de Jésus, Marie et Joseph consisted of 20 squads of 7 men each. The force provided additional guards for workers in the fields and relieved the Montreal militia for nightly guard duty on the walls of the town. Following the arrival of French regular troops in 1665, Maisonneuve disbanded the Soldats de la Sainte-Famille de Jésus, Marie et Joseph in 1666. In three years, the unit lost only eight men to Iroquois war parties.