Origin and History
The regiment was among the 37 regiments raised at the death of Philip IV of Spain in 1665, when Louis XIV resolved to renew his claims on Flanders, Artois and Hainaut. It was completed by January 15 1667. On March 20 1688, it was given to the second grandson of Louis XIV: Philippe d'Anjou and known as “Anjou Cavalerie”.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine from 1733 to 1735.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially operated in Bavaria from 1743 to 1745. It was then transferred to Flanders where it campaigned from 1746 to 1748.
After the war, the regiment was stationed at Bourges in 1749; Neuf-Brisach, in 1751; Montpellier, in 1752; and Plobsheim, in 1753. On September 10 1753, it was renamed “Aquitaine Cavalerie”.
In 1754, the regiment was stationed at Libourne.
The regiment counted 2 squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the Duc d'Aquitaine was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:
- since October 10 1755 until January 3 1770: Duc de la Trémoille
When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was increased to 4 squadrons, each of them consisting of 4 companies of 40 troopers, for a total of 640 troopers. The 2 additional squadrons came from Hericy Cavalerie. The newly formed regiment was renamed Artois Cavalerie.
Service during the War
In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed at Besançon.
In 1757, the regiment joined Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées's main corps. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the right wing. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Emmerich on the Lower Rhine, in the fourth line of the French army.
From March 30 to April 4 1758, after the retreat of the French army towards the Rhine, the regiment was with the Comte de Clermont's army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine, in the first line of the right wing. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in the villages of Till, Moyland, Huisberden, Warbeyen, Grieth, Kaltenberg, Hasselt and Bedburg in the area of Kleve. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp, where it was placed on the right wing of the first line, until June 12. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the second line, under de Muy. During this battle, the brigade was one of the few who took an active part in the fighting to cover the retreat of Saint-Germain's Division. In Mid August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine now under the Marquis de Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the beginning of October, the regiment was attached to Chevert's Corps which was sent to reinforce Soubise's Army in Hesse. On October 10, it did not take part in the Battle of Lutterberg because it was part of Castries' detachment left on the opposite bank of the Fulda.
By May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. On October 4, M. de Maupéou's Corps (including this regiment) left for the Lower Rhine. On October 13, the unit arrived at Neuss with Castries.
To do: details on the campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|Headgear||black tricorne (reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat) laced silver, with a black cockade on the left side fastened with a black silk strap and a small pewter button|
|Neck stock||probably a black cravate|
|Coat||royal blue lined red (from 1760-61: lined blue and edged with the regimental lace) with 10 pewter buttons (as per Raspe) and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||yellow leather jerkin fastened with hooks and eyes|
|Greatcoat||royal blue lined red (lined blue from 1761)|
Troopers were armed with a carbine, two pistols and a sabre. They were also supposed to wear a breastplate under their coat during battle but this regulation was not always followed.
Evolution of the uniform during the war
Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.
Lienhart and Humbert show the following differences in 1757:
- gold lace and white cockade at the tricorne
- blue shoulder strap with a pewter button
- 4 buttons on each pocket
Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- a red collar
- each lapel edged with the regimental lace
- coat lined blue, and consequently blue turnbacks, edged with the regimental lace
- turnbacks attached with a small pewter button
- blue waistcoat edged with the regimental lace and blue breeches (maybe the “dressed uniform”)
N.B.: by 1761 the regimental braid seems to have been aurore (light orange) with red and blue lizards
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
- brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs
No information available yet.
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): royal blue field fringed and embroidered in gold
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold; one golden fleur de lys in each corner
- reverse: sown with fleurs de lys; in each corner a “Prince de France” crown with an escutcheon charged with 3 fleurs de lys
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 351
Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.