Condé Cavalerie

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

Origin and History

This unit is one of the 12 cavalry regiments organised following an order dated May 16, 1635. His first mestre-de-camp was Louis de Bourbon, Duc d’Enghien.

Upon its creation, the regiment was immediately sent to Italy. In 1636, it was recalled to Bourgogne, where it took part in the siege of Dôle. On July 30 of the same year, it was reduced to a single free company.

On January 24, 1638, the regiment was re-established and served in the Pyrenees, where it took part in the siege of Fuenterrabia. It was then sent to Piedmont. In 1640, it was at the siege of Turin. In 1641, it took part in the capture of Ivrea, in the combat of Chivasso, in the capture of Piannezza and Mondovi and in the siege of Coni. In 1642, it was transferred to Roussillon, where it contributed to the reduction of Collioure, Perpignan and Lérida. In 1643, it took part in the affairs of Villalonga, Martorell, Tamarit and Lérida. In 1644, it was sent to Germany, where it took part in the combat of Freiburg, Philippsburg, Mainz and Landau. In 1645, it participated in the battles of Marienthal and Nordlingen, in the capture of Heilbronn and Trier, and in the siege of Dunkerque.

On December 26, 1646, the regiment took the name of “Condé”, which it would retain throughout the Ancien Régime.

In 1647, the regiment returned to Catalonia and was at the second siege of Lérida.. Recalled to Paris in 1649, the regiment then followed its mestre-de-camp and joined the Fronde. It was officially disbanded on January 20, 1650, but continued to fight against royal troops.

On February 26, 1651, the regiment was re-established but soon disbanded on September 13. It then campaigned in the Spanish service for several years.

On November 7, 1659, the regiment re-integrated the French service. It garrisoned various places in Picardie. On April 18, 1661, it was reduced to a single company.

On December 7, 1665, the regiment was re-established to its full strength. In 1667, it took part in the capture of Tournai, Douai and Lille; in 1668, in the capture of Baccarat and Rambervillers. On May 24, 1668, it was once more reduced to a single company.

On August 9,1671, the regiment was re-established and was never reduced or disbanded afterwards during the Ancien Régime.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment campaigned in Holland. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht; in 1674, in the Battle of Séneffe; in 1675, in the capture of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg; in 1676, in the campaign on the Sarre River; and in 1677, in the Battle of Kochersberg.

In 1682, the regiment was at the camp of Artois; and in 1683, at the camp of the Saône.

In 1684, the regiment formed part of the Army of Roussillon and was present at the Combat of the Ter and at the siege of Girona.

From 1685 to 1687, the regiment was at the camp of the Adour.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment joined the Army of Flanders. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus; and in 1693, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Ath.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment served with the Army of Flanders. In 1702, it took part in the combat of Nijmegen and in the Battle of Friedlingen; in 1703, in the Siege of Kehl, in the Combat of Munderkingen and in the Battle of Höchstädt; and in 1704, in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim]]. It was then sent back to Flanders. At the end of 1705, the regiment returned to the Rhine. In 1706, it was transferred to Flanders. In 1708, it returned to Germany. From 1709 to 1712, it campaigned in Flanders. In 1713, it took part in the campaign on the Rhine.

In 1727, the regiment was at the camp of the Sambre; and in 1730, at the camp of the Saône.

In 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment was sent to Germany, where it took part in the Siege of Kehl. In 1734, it was at the siege of Philippsburg. In 1735, it fought in the Battle of Clausen. After the war, the regiment was sent to Bretagne.

In 1741, at the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was sent to Westphalia, and then campaigned in Bavaria and Bohemia. In 1742, it retreated from Prague. On June 27, 1743, it fought at the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, it was on the lines of the Lauter. In 1746, it was at the sieges of Bruxelles, Anvers, Mons and Namur, and at the Battle of Rocoux on October 11. On July 2, 1747, it fought in the Battle of Lauffeld. In 1748, it took part in the siege of Maastricht.

After the war, the regiment was stationed at Valenciennes and Saint-Quentin in 1749 and 1750; Rethel and Givet, in 1751; Neufchâteau, in 1752 and 1753; and at Condé, in 1754 and 1755.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, Louis-Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the successive Mestres de Camp Lieutenants commanding the regiment were:

  • from February 18, 1749: Amable-Charles Chevalier de la Guiche
  • from February 20, 1761 to April 13, 1780: Pierre-Joseph de Foix, Comte de Toulouse-Lautrec

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1, 1761, the regiment was increased to four squadrons, each of them consisting of four companies of 40 troopers, for a total of 640 troopers. The two additional squadrons came from Toulouse-Lautrec Cavalerie who was incorporated into Condé Cavalerie. However, effective incorporation only took place at Lille in 1763.

Service during the War

In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed at Epinal and Sedan.

In 1757, the regiment marched from Epinal and Sedan to join the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées. From April 27 to June 17, it was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the left 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 left wing of the first line. It was later transferred to the Army of Saxony led by Soubise. On November 5, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Bezons Cavalerie and Lastic de Saint-Jal Cavalerie in Saint-Germain's Corps. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Nees 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 Gooch, Asperden, Nieukloster (present-day Kessel), Ottersum, Hommersum in the Gooch/Gennep/Meuse area. 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 second line, until June 12. 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 left wing of the second line.

In June 1759, 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 first line of the cavalry right wing. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry centre under the command of the Duc de FitzJames. On August 15, during the French retreat, the regiment, who had suffered heavily at Minden and was now too weak to serve adequately, was sent to the rear at Marburg where it arrived on August 19.

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 Ingelheim, in the fourth line of the French Army. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right wing of the first line of Broglie's Army. By September 19, the regiment was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps, forming part of the third line of his left column. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Arnstein.

In 1761 to 1762, the regiment was stationed in Paris.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1758 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761

completed when necessary as per Rousselot and Raspe
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 (steel grey as per Raspe) lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the left lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder strap red fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels red, each with 8 pewter buttons (grouped 2 by 2)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons (only 3 visible on Raspe's illustration)
Turnbacks red fastened with a pewter button
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat grey white (steel grey as per Raspe) lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather
Waistbelt buff leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth buff carrying the arms of the Prince de Condé bordered with a crimson braid
Housings buff carrying the arms of the Prince de Condé bordered with a crimson braid
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:

  • a white cockade on the tricorne
  • coat of a darker (stelle grey) shade of grey
  • coat and cuffs edged with a crimson braid
  • turnbacks edged with a crimson braid
  • steel grey waistcoat edged with a crimson braid (maybe the “dressed uniform”)

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

  • white cockade at the tricorne
  • grey white lapels, cuffs and turnbacks
  • 3 buttons on each cuff
  • 4 buttons on each pocket
  • red saddle cloth and housing bordered with a crimson 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

As per René Chartrand, the uniform was ventre de biche (interpreted as light buff in his illustration) and laced with white and crimson braids. The cuffs and collar were red.

Standards

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): embroidered and fringed in silver;

  • obverse: blue field; center device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold
  • reverse: ventre de biche (reddish oranged white) field; centre device consisting of a silver sun kindling a pyre in the open field surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto “Da materiam splendescam”
Tentative Reconstruction
Regimental Standard - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

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

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 365-375
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 354-355

Other sources

Chartrand, René: Louis XV's Cavalry

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

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

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.