Berry Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years' War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Berry Cavalerie

Origin and History

The regiment was initially raised on December 13 1648 in Catalonia. It was later disbanded and recreated onDecember 15 1667. A few years later, on January 30 1673, it was reorganised. In 1689, the regiment was given to the third grandson of Louis XIV: the duc de Berry and known as “Berry Cavalerie”.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Italy in 1734 and 1735.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially operated in Westphalia in 1742. In 1743, it served in Bavaria. It was then transferred to Flanders where it campaigned from 1744 to 1748.

After the war, the regiment was stationed at Orléans in 1749, Calais in 1750, Nogent-le-Rotrou in 1751, Besançon in 1753, Gray in 1754, and Angers in 1755.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the Duc de Berry was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:

  • since February 1 1749: marquis de Valbelle
  • from December 1 1762 to 1780: marquis de Lambert

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 Lusignan Cavalerie who was incorporated into Berry Cavalerie.

Service during the War

In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed at Saumur.

In 1757, the regiment joined the Lower Rhine Army commanded by the maréchal d'Estrées. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées' main corps. On August 16, the regiment was among the force sent by the duc de Richelieu to occupy the Duchy of Brunswick who had submitted to the French domination after the battle of Hastenbeck. It was detached to Wolfenbüttel under M. de Voyer. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the first line of the French Army in Wolfenbüttel.

In April 1758, when the comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Kleve, Donsbrüggen, Nütterden, Zyfflich and Niel; between Kleve and the German-Dutch border. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by the 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 to the battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the first line, under Armentières. 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 Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the right wing of the first line.

In 1760, the regiment was part of the force under the prince de Condé at Friedberg.

To do: details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761

completed when necessary as per Raspe, Funcken and Mouillard
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
Neckstock probably a black cravate
Coat royal blue lined red with 3 pewter buttons under the lapel (as per Raspe) and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps white epaulettes (from 1761: ponceau red)
Lapels red with 7 pewter buttons (from 1761: buttons grouped 3 by 3)
Pockets horizontal pockets with 4 pewter buttons (as per Lienhart and Humbert)
Cuffs red with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Gloves buff
Waistcoat yellow leather jerkin fastened with hooks and eyes (from 1761: edged in ponceau red)
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat royal blue lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with a light blue braid decorated with white squares (as per Lienhart and Humbert)
Housings blue bordered with a light blue braid decorated with white squares
Blanket roll n/a


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:

  • white cockade at the tricorne
  • blue shoulder strap with a pewter button and a white aiguillette
  • 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
  • 9 pewter buttons gouped 3 by 3 on each lapel
  • turnbacks attached with a small pewter button
  • buff waistcoat edged red and blue breeches (maybe the “dressed uniform”)

Officers

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

Musicians

No information available yet.

Colours

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): royal blue field fringed and embroidered in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold; in each corner the arms of Berry and a golden fleurs de lys

Berry Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: PMPdeL


References

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. 345

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F., Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Menguy, Patrice, Les Sujets du Bien Aimé

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.