Cambis Infanterie

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Origin and History

The regiment was created on January 23, 1676, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), by Louis-Victor de Rochechouart, Duc de Vivonne. It was raised in the town of Messina in Sicily, part from a battalion of La Marine Infanterie, part from Sicilian recruits. It took part in the naval battle of Palermo and in the capture of Merilli and Taormina. In December 1677, it sailed for France. In 1678, it joined the Army of Flanders and took part in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the capture of Philipsbourg, Mannheim and Frankenthal. In 1689, it took part in the defence of Bonn. In 1691, it was transferred to Piedmont and took part in the capture of Villefranche, Montalban, Sant’Ospizio, Nice, Veillane, Carmagnola and Montmélian. In 1692, it was sent back to Flanders where it took part in Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi. In 1694 and 1695, it campaigned in Germany; and in 1696 and 1697, on the Meuse.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment served in Flanders. In 1702, it took part in the combat of Nijmegen and in the defence of Kaiserwerth; and in 1703, in the Battle of Ekeren. In 1705, it campaigned in the Army of the Moselle. In 1707, it was attached to the Army of the Rhine and took part in the capture of the Lines of Stollhofen and in the submission of Palatinate. From 1708, the regiment was attached to the Army of Flanders. The same year, it took part in the Battle of Oudenarde; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet; in 1710, in the defence of Douai; in 1711, in the combat of Arleux; and in 1712, in the Battle of Denain and in the capture of Marchiennes, Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. In 1713, the regiment took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

The regiment often changed its name: Vivonne, Thianges, de Mortemart, de Laval, de Tonnay-Charente... From 1676 to 1749, the regiment belonged to the Maison de Rochechouart. The family counts four colonels of the regiment.

In 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment took part in the siege of Kehl; in 1734, in the attack of the Lines of Ettlingen and in the siege of Philisbourg; and in 1735, in the combat of Klausen.

In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment joined the Army of Flanders. In 1743, it was transferred to the Army of the Rhine and took part in the Battle of Dettingen where his colonel was killed. In 1744, it participated in the recapture of the Lines of the Lauter, in the combat of Suffelsheim and in the siege of Freiburg; in 1745, in the capture of Kronembourg. It was then transferred to the Army of Flanders and took part in the combat of Mesle and in the capture of Ghent. In 1746, it participated in the Battle of Rocoux; in 1747, in the conquest of the Dutch Flanders and in the siege of Berg-op-Zoom; and in 1748, in the siege of Maastricht.

From 1745 to 1748, it took part in the various campaigns in Flanders.

The regiment counted two battalions.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 62nd. It was under the command of:

  • from February 1, 1749 to December 21, 1762: Jacques-David, Marquis de Cambis d'Orsan

On December 21, 1762, when the French army was reorganised, the regiment was disbanded and incorporated into Royal Infanterie.

Service during the War

In 1756, the first battalion of the regiment took part in the amphibious expedition against Minorca and in the capture of Fort St. Philip. Meanwhile, the second battalion remained in Provence to protect the coasts against any British enterprise.

By August 1 1757, the regiment was garrisoning Béziers and Narbonne in Languedoc.

In 1758, the 2nd battalion was part of the reinforcements sent from Brest to Louisbourg aboard du Chaffault's Squadron. It arrived at Louisbourg on May 31. A few days later, a British army landed nearby and undertook the siege of Louisbourg. The battalion was captured at the capitulation of the fortress at the end of July. It was brought back to Tavistock, West Devon, Great Britain.

In March 1759, the second battalion was exchanged and returned to France. In the summer and autumn, a few companies of the regiment were assigned to Thurot's Squadron which was blockaded in the harbour of Dunkerque by a British squadron under the command of Commodore William Boys. In October, Boys' Squadron was driven from his station by a gale. On October 15 at 5:00 p.m., Thurot seized the opportunity, slipped out through a thick fog and made to the northward. He then sailed for Ostend, Göteborg and later Bergen.

In January and February 1760, a detachment of the battalion took part in the famous expedition against the Irish Coasts. On February 28, on its way home, the squadron was attacked by the British. Several soldiers of the detachment were wounded. The detachment was finally taken prisoners and brought to Ramsey on the Isle of Man then to Belfast where it arrived on March 2. On May 10, it was freed and transported to France. The regiment spent the rest of the campaign of 1760 as well as the campaign of 1761 on garrison duty.

In 1762, the regiment was part of the French corps sent to the king of Spain for the planned invasion of Portugal, which was allied to the British. The regiment left France in March 1762. On August 25, it was at the capture of Almeida and those of a few little places on the Portuguese border. In then remained cantoned in Andalousia till the signature of the peace preliminaries.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes militaires 1758,
La Chesnaye 1759 and Etat militaire 1761
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold and silver with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold and silver with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers of the French Infantry (Taccoli, in his work published in 1760, depicts a grenadier of this regiment wearing a bearskin with a red back edged with a braid of alternating yellow and white rectangles)

Neckstock black
Coat grey-white with alternating copper and pewter buttons down to the waist on the right side
Collar none (red in 1759)

N.B.: the manuscript of 1757 as well as Taccoli illustrate a red collar

Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none

N.B.: curiously, the manuscript of 1757 illustrates red lapels with alternating copper and pewter buttons

Pockets horizontal pockets (2 pewter buttons and 1 copper button on each pocket)
Cuffs red with 2 pewter buttons and 1 copper button
Turnbacks none (Taccoli shows white turnbacks)
Waistcoat red with alternating copper and pewter buttons; horizontal pockets, each with 2 pewter buttons and 1 copper button
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli) with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli) with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Officers

n/a

Musicians

n/a

Colours

The colonel flag was white with a white cross. Ordonnance flags had four white cantons, each with three red waved lines, and a white cross.

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

N.B.: the manuscript of 1757 illustrates a totally different ordonnance flag with a white cross and alternating red and green cantons

References

Bakshian, Aram Jr., Soldiers of New France - French and Indian War, The Armchair General Vol. 1 No. 3, 1968

Bunel, Arnaud, Vexillologie française

Manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I", Musée de l'Armée, Paris

Menguy, Patrice; Les Sujets du Bien Aimé

Mouillard, Lucien, Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris: 1882

Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

Rogge, Christian; The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757, Service Historique de l'armée de terre

Taccoli, Alfonso; Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760

Vial J. L.; Nec Pluribus Impar

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.