Cambrésis Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Cambrésis Infanterie

Origin and History

The regiment was formed on September 11, 1684 from the third battalion of Piémont Infanterie and took the name of the Province of Cambrésis. Indeed, expecting a Coalition to soon form against France, Louis XIV raised 30 new regiments from September 1 to 30 for the defence of the various places of the realm. By raising one regiment a day, he avoided any problem of precedence among them. The regiment was given to the Comte de Châteaurenaud.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment joined the Army of the Alps. The same year, it took part in the capture of Cahours; in 1690, in the Battle of Staffarda; and in 1696, in the siege of Valenza. In 1697, it was transferred to the Army of Flanders.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment joined the Army of Italy. In 1702, it took part in the defence of Cremona and in the Battle of Luzzara; in 1703, in the expedition in South Tyrol; in 1704, in the sieges of Vercelli, Ivrea and Verrua; in 1705, in the capture of Verrua and in the Battle of Cassano; and in 1706, in the siege and Battle of Turin. From 1707 to 1710, the regiment served in the Army of Dauphinée. In 1711, it was transferred to the Army of Flanders. In 1712, it took part in the Battle of Denain and in the capture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.

During the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served on the Rhine from 1733 to 1735.

From 1739 to 1741, the regiment was stationed in Corsica.

In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment served in Flanders. In 1744, it took part in the defence of the province of Alsace. In 1745, it took part in the capture of Kronembourg; in 1746, in the sieges of Mons, Charleroi and Namur and in the Battle of Rocoux; and in 1747, in the defence of Provence and in the conquest of Nice. In 1748, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Var.

On the eve of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted only one battalion.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 80th and was under the command of:

  • from August 22, 1743: Charles-Pierre, Marquis de La Châtre-Nançay
  • from May 7, 1758: Armand-Charles de La Galissonnière, Vicomte de Barrin
  • from July 25, 1762 to November 27, 1765: Louis-Charles Le Pellerin de Gauville

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was stationed in Bretagne.

By August 1, 1757, the regiment was with the French army on the Weser. It then took part in the conquest of Hanover. At the end of the year, it took up its winter-quarters in Germany in the first line of the French Army in the area of Langenwedel near Verden.

In April 1758, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in Borth and Ossenberg near Krefeld. During the night of May 29 to 30, a battalion of the regiment, posted at Homberg and Essenberg, was surprised and put to flight by Wangenheim at the head of a small Allied detachment who had crossed the Rhine. 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 until June 12 and was placed in the centre of the first line. On August 5, its grenadier company was detached from Cologne to form part of Chavigny's advanced guard and took part in the combat of Mehr where it was engaged in the fighting inside the village.

In May 1760, the regiment embarked for Ile de France and India.

In 1763, the regiment returned to France (it would be sent back to Saint-Domingue the next year).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes militaires 1758,
and Etat militaire 1761
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade (white cockade as per Taccoli)
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers of the French Infantry

Neckstock black
Coat grey-white with copper buttons down to the waist on the right side
Collar none (white in 1761)

N.B.: the manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli both illustrate a red collar

Shoulder Straps white fastened with a copper button (left shoulder only)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets in the shape of an escutcheon, each with 9 small copper buttons arranged three by three in patte d'oie
Cuffs red narrow cuffs, each with 6 small copper buttons
Turnbacks none (Taccoli's work published in 1760 illustrates white turnbacks)
Waistcoat red with a single row of copper buttons; horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Waistbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard black with white metal fittings
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 a white cross and each canton consisted of 2 red, one green and one yellow triangles. Ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1684 to 1775.

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

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 8, pp. 223-225

Other sources

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

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

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a very interesting website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

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

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