Origin and History
The regiment was on September 14, 1673 by Jacques de Cassagnet de Tilladet, Chevalier de Fimarcon.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Moselle in 1732. From 1733 to 1736, it campaigned in Italy.
During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. In 1743, it was back in Alsace. In 1744, it was stationed on the Moselle. In 1745 and 1746, it served in Alsace once more. In 1748, it was transferred to Provence.
In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Romans; in 1750, at Huningue; in 1751, at Le Puy; in 1753, at Metz; and in 1754, at Gray.
In 1756, the regiment counted four squadrons and ranked 9th.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from December 1, 1745: Balthazar Urbain, Chevalier d'Aubigné
- from February 20, 1761 until June 1763: Antoine Cléradius de Choiseul La Baume
In 1786, the regiment became the “Chasseurs des Evêchés” or “2ème Chasseur”.
Service during the War
In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed at Saint-Malo.
By August 1, 1757, the regiment had joined the French army in Germany for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of 1757, it took up its winter-quarters in Sonsbeck and Kalkar on the Lower Rhine, in the fourth line of the army.
By June 1761, the regiment was part of Soubise's Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 16, at the Battle of Vellinghausen, the regiment formed part of the corps of the Prince de Condé. By the end of July, it was attached to de Muy's Corps. In September, the regiment was at the action of Ostende.
For the campaign of 1762, the regiment was once more part of the army of the Prince de Soubise on the Upper Rhine. By mid-July, it was at the camp of Helsa. On June 24, the regiment was at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal, where it was attached to the left vanguard under the command of M. de Stainville. On August 30, it fought in the Combat of Nauheim where it formed part of Stainville’s vanguard. On November 20, when Louis XV issued his instructions regarding the French armies serving in Germany, specifying which units should return to France right away and which should stay in Germany till the final evacuation, the regiment was among those which would remain in Germany.
|Headgear||red fatigue cap with a red turn-up edged with a white braid decorated with two red zigzag stripes|
or 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 white button
|Neck stock||black cravate|
|Coat||red lined red with white buttons and white laced buttonholes down to the pocket and a white button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||red (with small light green lapels from 1757) with white buttons on the right side and white laced buttonholes on both sides|
N.B.: the fatigue cap was supposed to be worn only for the king's review, for foraging or when the regiment's chief ordered to wear it. In fact, dragoons often wore their fatigue cap during campaigns.
Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet, a pistol and a sabre. Carabiniers were armed with a rifle instead of a musket.
Evolution of the uniform during the war
Throughout the war the French dragoon uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary sources for the uniform at the start of the conflict are the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753, the Liste Générale des Troupes de France of 1754 and the Etrennes Militaires of 1758. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.
Raspe's publication illustrating the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:
- a black bearskin with a light green bag and tassel instead of a tricorne
- no laced buttonholes on the coat, pocket flaps, cuffs and waistcoat
- no buttons on the cuffs
- black cavalry boots
Raspe's publication illustrating the uniform towards the end of 1761 shows a uniform corresponding to our description from 1757 but with a white cockade at the tricorne and without lapels on the waistcoat.
In December 1762, a regulation introduced a brand new green uniform with lemon yellow as the distinctive colour.
The uniforms of the officers were similar to those of the troopers with the following differences:
- the coat was made of Elbeuf woollen cloth (or of a woollen cloth of identical quality)
- linings were made of woollen cloth as well
- no braids on the coat or waistcoat but only silver buttonholes with silver plated wooden buttons
- Raspe publication illustrates plain red coat and waistcoat without edging or laced buttonholes at the end of 1760
- Raspe publication illustrates a uniform corresponding to our description but with red breeches at the end of 1761
- red breeches
- saddle cloth and housings bordered with a silver braid (5.41 cm wide for captains and 4.06 cm wide for lieutenants)
- standard cavalry officer sword (gilt copper hilt, 83.92 cm long)
Officers were also armed with a musket and a bayonet and carried a cartridge pouch containing 6 cartridges. This musket was shorter than the muskets carried by troopers.
The maréchaux-des-logis and sergeants had similar uniforms made of Romorantin woolen cloth. Their coats and waistcoats had no silver buttonholes. They carried sabres like the maréchaux-des-logis of the cavalry regiments. Their saddle-clothes and housings were bordered with a 2.7 cm wide silver braid.
Drummers wore a coat similar to the one worn by the musicians of the cavalry. Musicians were always shaved and had no moustache. They were usually mounted on grey horses.
Musicians probably wore the livery of the House of Aubigné which is unfortunately unknown. From 1761, musicians probably wore the livery of the House of Choiseul-Beaupré: azure blue field with gold.
Regimental guidons (4 silken swallow-tailed guidons): red field embroidered and fringed in gold;
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a red scroll bearing the motto “NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR”
- reverse: centre device consisting of 2 laurel wreaths with a vertical scroll bearing the motto “IN GEMINO CERTAMINE”
This article is mostly a translation Jean-Louis Vial's article “Aubigné Dragons” published on his website Nec Pluribus Impar. The article also 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. 430-431
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: 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
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1762
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service Historique de l'armée de terre: Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.