1st Peniche Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Portuguese Army >> 1st Peniche Infantry

Origin and History

The unit was raised as the “Terço de Peniche”. Its first mention dates from 1659 when it took part in the battle of the Elvas.

In September 1762, the regiment was divided into two distinct units: the 1st and 2nd Peniche regiments.

During the Seven Years' War, this 1st regiment was under the command of:

  • brigadier Lourenço de Melo

On May 10 1763, the two units were reunited into a single regiment.

Service during the War

At the beginning of the campaign of 1762, the regiment was assigned to the Portuguese corps operating in the province of Beira under lieutenant-general Townshend.

Uniform

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.

Privates

Although we have no detailed description nor illustration of the uniform of this regiment. It seems that in 1759, it had a white uniform with red as distinctive colour (300 Anos de Uniformes Militares do Exército de Portugal 1660-1960 p. 52). However, it seems most unlikely that both 1st Peniche Infantry and 2nd Peniche Infantry still wore identical uniforms in 1762. At least one of them had probably adopted a new uniform by this time.

Uniform Details in 1759 as per
the book 300 Anos de Uniformes Militares do Exército de Portugal 1660-1960
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, probably with a red/white cockade
Grenadier black bearskins with a red flame probably piped with a thin white lace.
Neckstock white
Coat white lined white
Collar probably red
Shoulder Straps probably white
Lapels probably red
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 buttons
Cuffs probably red with 3 buttons
Turnbacks white
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard none


N.B.: no source mentions the colour of the buttons

Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet.

Officers

no information available

Musicians

no information available

Colours

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.

References

Amaral, Manuel, O Exértico Português em finais do Antiguo Regime

Pereira Sales, Ernesto Augusto; O Conde de Lippe em Portugal, Vila Nova de Famalicao: Publicacoes da Comissao de Historia Militar, 1936

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

Acknowledgment

Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues and Joseph O'Neill for the information and counselling provided for this article.