Officially established in 1669, the militia was composed of every man between the ages of 16 to 60 years able to bear arms. The militia companies were divided by parish in the country, and by neighbourhood in the towns. Every company was headed by a captain appointed by the Governor General of the colony. It was the captain's responsibility to communicate orders and put them into effect throughout his territory, whether they were issued by the military or civil administrations. In this way, he was the local representative of the Governor and the Intendant. Although militia captains were not paid, they enjoyed considerable prestige and benefited from a number of privileges attached to the position.

The Captain of the Militia
Commission of captain of the 12th Company of the Montréal Militia, granted to Pierre Guy, by Charles de Beauharnois de la Boische, Governor of New France, July 30, 1743