Clermont-Tonnerre Cavalerie

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

Origin and History

This gentleman's regiment was raised on February 23 1649.

The regiment took part in the War of the Polish Succession, initially serving on the Rhine in 1733 and 1734. In 1735, it was at Klausen; in 1738 at Béthune.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially campaigned in Bohemia in 1741 and 1742. In 1744, it was in Alsace. It then served in Flanders from 1745 to 1748.

In 1756, the regiment counted two squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the colonel of the regiment was:

  • since February 21 1740: Comte de Clermont-Tonnerre
  • from May 1758 to December 1 1761: Marquis de Noë (aka Noé)

When the French cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Bourbon Cavalerie. Effective incorporation only took place on March 20 1763 when the regiments returned to France at the end of the Seven Years' War.

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. 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 the Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the first line of the right wing. 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.

In April 1758, when the Comte de 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. In May, the regiment changed owner and became known as "Noé". 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 on the right wing of the first line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the second line, under Sourches. 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 second line.

On March 13 1759, upon Broglie's request, d'Armentières sent a corps (1,400 foot and 1,200 horse, including Noé Cavalerie) under the command of d'Auvet to take post at Hachenburg with detachments at Siegen. By May 10, this corps had taken position near Deutz on the right bank of the Rhine. In June, during the offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades and was deployed in the second line of the cavalry right wing. On June 13, as part of d'Auvet's Corps the regiment encamped in front of the defiles near the village of Essentho on the left bank of the Diemel. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the cavalry centre under the command of du Mesnil.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the fourth line of the French army between the Rhine and the Main on the left bank of the Rhine. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Northeim, in the fourth line of the French army. By May 23, 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. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Datterode.

To do: more details for the campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

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

completed when necessary as per Rousselot
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 black cravate
Coat grey white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps regimental lace fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels red, each with 8 pewter buttons arranged 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat grey white lined grey white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather
Waistbelt buff leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with the regimental lace (a blue braid with a crimson stripe)
Housings blue bordered with the regimental lace (a blue braid with a crimson stripe)
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 primary source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.

Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:

  • source not yet available

Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:

  • a white cockade on the tricorne
  • grey white lapels and red turnbacks
  • only 3 buttons on each cuff
  • red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a red braid

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • no turnbacks
  • no lace on the coat and waistcoat
  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs

Musicians

n/a

Colours

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): red field embroidered and fringed in gold;

  • obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
  • reverse: centre device consisting of an allegory depicting a distant sun rising over the countryside with the motto “Spes Altera Mertis”
Clermont-Tonnerre Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert from an original plate by Gilbert Noury


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. 357

Other sources

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

Lienhart, docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig

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

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

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