1st Bragança Infantry
Origin and History
The regiment already existed in 1664 when it was known as the Terço de Bragança.
On April 20 1762, the regiment was divided into two distinct units.
During the Seven Years' War, the 1st regiment was under the command of:
- Francisco Luís Pequeno
After the war with Spain, on May 10 1763, one of these units took back its original name of “Bragança”.
Service during the War
At the beginning of the campaign of 1762, the regiment was attached to the corps operating in the Tras-os-Montes region under the command of lieutenant-general Cary.
Traditionally, since about 1660, the Portuguese infantry wore dark blue uniforms. During the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714) almost all infantry units wore alvadia (light gray uniforms). These new uniforms were introduced for economic reasons, this type of fabric being much cheaper.
It is now believed that, from 1750, there was a progressive abandon of alvadia uniforms and a return to more traditional Portuguese uniforms. However, it seems that most of the changeover took part sometime after 1759 since, till this date, cloth orders indicated white as the most common colour.
At the outbreak of the war in 1762, there was neither enough uniforms nor cloth for recruits in military warehouses, so it was necessary to use all cloth available. Besides, as there was no central warehouse, every colonel was responsible for the ordering of uniforms. Therefore the fabric was bought from contractors who would cut and turned it into uniforms "more or less" along the official lines.
It must also be noted that the use of gaiters was introduced into the Portuguese infantry only in 1762.
|Coat||dark blue lined red with one white button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||dark blue with 2 rows of white buttons, very narrow white buttonholes and horizontal pockets (also with white buttons and white buttonholes)|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet.
The officers wore a uniform very similar to the one worn by privates with the following distinctions:
- a gold laced tricorne with a red/blue cockade
- a thin golden lace at the collar
- red lined red waistcoat laced gold with 2 rows of small white buttons united by very narrow white buttonholes; pockets edged gold
- officer stick of natural wood with a silver handle with a silver cord and tassel
- sword (golden hilt with a silver tassel; black scabbard with golden locket and chape)
The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates with the following differences:
- duty gorget
- white laced collar
- white laced lapels
- white laces on the seams, around the pockets and along the edges of the coat
- white laces disposed in a zigzag pattern on the sleeves, on the lapels and under the pockets of the coat
- white laced dark blue waistcoat with laces disposed in a zigzag pattern and along the edges
The drums had ochre barrels.
The exact pattern of the Portuguese colonel colours during the Seven Years' War is unknown.
The ordonnance colours were chosen by the colonel of the regiment. For the moment, we have found no source depicting specific colours for this regiment.
Please refer to our article on the Portuguese Line Infantry Colours for more information.
Amaral, Manuel, O Exértico Português em finais do Antiguo Regime
Kirby, Mike, The Portuguese Army - Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3
Ribeiro Rodrigues, Manuel A.; 300 Anos de Uniformes Militares do Exército de Portugal 1660-1960, Exército Portugués and Sociedade Historica da Independéncia de Portugal, 1998
Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues, Joseph O'Neil and Juan José Torres and the Asociación Cultural de Modelismo Histórico Alabarda for the information and counselling provided for this article.