Dauphin Dragons

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Dauphin Dragons

Origin and History

The regiment was raised at Tournai 14 September 14, 1673 by the Marquis de Sauveboeuf. After his death at the combat of Konzer Brücke, in August 1675, King Louis XIV gave the regiment to Monseigneur Louis, Dauphin de France on August 29, 1675.

In 1673, during of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment took part in the capture of the Castle of Sarrebourg. In 1674, it participated in the Battle of Seneffe and in the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg; in 1675, in the Battle of Konzer Brücke, where its mestre de camp was killed, and in the defence of Trier; in 1676, in the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire; in 1677, in the capture of Valenciennes, in the Battle of Cassel and in the capture of Saint-Omer; and in 1678, in the capture of Ghent and Ypres and in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1681 and 1682, the regiment was at the camp of the Sarre; and in 1683 at the camp of the Saône. In 1684, it covered the operations of the siege of Luxembourg. In 1685, it was at the camp of the Saône. In 1686, it was posted on the frontier with the Duchy of Savoy.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment joined the Army of Flanders and fought in the Combat of Walcourt. In 1691, it took part in the Battle of Leuze; and in 1692, in the capture of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, it was at Heidelberg. In 1695, it took part in the defence of Namur. It was then stationed on the Meuse River until the end of the war.

In 1701, at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was stationed in the Low Countries. In 1702, it was sent to Italy, where it fought in the Combat of Santa Vittoria and in the Battle of Luzzara where it suffered so heavy losses that it was barely fit for duty. In 1703, it took part in the offensive in South Tyrol]] and in the capture of Asti; in 1704, in the sieges of Vercelli, Ivrea and Verrua; in 1705, in the Battle of Cassano; and in 1706, in the disastrous Battle of Turin. From 1707 to 1710, the regiment was stationed in Dauphiné. It was then transferred to Flanders. In 1713, it campaigned in Germany and took part in the siege of Landau.

In 1729, the regiment was quartered in Carignan.

From 1733, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served in Italy and is mentioned at the siege of Pizzighetone and and at the Battle of Guastalla.

In 1738, the regiment was cantoned in Conflans, between Metz and Verdun.

In 1741, at the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment formed part of the Army of Bohemia and took part in the failed invasion of Bohemia and in the defence of Prague. By 1743, it was back at Épinal. In 1744, the regiment was sent to Flanders, where it was at the sieges of Menin and Ypres. In 1745, it was transferred to the Alps. In 1746, it campaigned in Provence and fought in the Battle of Piacenza. In 1747, it was at the camp of Gap and then at the camp of Valence in Provence. In October 1748, it was sent to Strasbourg.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Le Puy; in 1751, at Strasbourg; in 1752, at Sainte-Foy and Bergerac; in 1753, at Libourne; in 1754, at Bergerac; in 1754, at Selestat, and in 1755, at Valence.

In 1756, the regiment counted 4 squadrons and ranked 6th.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the nominal command of the Dauphin de France.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the effective command of its successive mestres de camp lieutenant:

  • from January 1, 1748: Charles François d'Hervilly, Comte de Canisy
  • from March 27, 1761 to January 3, 1770: Alexandre de Cadrieu, Comte de Lostange de Sainte-Alvère

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was assigned to the guard of the coasts of Guyenne and was posted at Libourne.

By August 1, 1757, the regiment was garrisoning Blanquefort in the Bordeaux Country.

In 1759 the regiment was transferred to the region of Dunkerque and Bergues.

In 1761, the regiment joined the French army operating in Germany. At the beginning of June, it was attached to the Army of the Lower Rhine. In mid-July, at the time of the Battle of Vellinghausen, it formed part of the corps of the Prince de Condé.

In March 1762, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine. On June 24, it was present at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal, where it formed part of the right vanguard under the command of M. de Castries. By July 12, it was at the camp of Helsa in Guerchy’s Corps and took part in the engagement of Hohenkirchen. On August 19, it formed part of Poyanne’s column. On November 20, when Louis XV issued his instructions regarding the French armies serving in Germany, specifying which units should return to France right away and which should stay in Germany until the final evacuation, the regiment was among those chosen to remain in Germany.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1757 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753,
the Liste Générale des Troupes de France of 1754,
the Etrennes Militaires of 1758 and Etat Militaire of 1760 and 1761

completed where necessary as per Raspe
Headgear blue fatigue cap with a blue turn-up edged with a white braid speckled with blue
or 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 white button
Neck stock black cravate
Coat blue lined blue with white buttons and white laced buttonholes arranged 2 by 2 down to the pocket and a white button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps left shoulder: blue shoulder strap edged white and fastened with a small white button

right shoulder: fringed white epaulet speckled with blue

Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pocket flaps, each with 3 white buttons and 3 white laced buttonholes
Cuffs blue, each with 4 white buttons and 4 white laced buttonholes
Turnbacks blue
Gloves buff
Waistcoat blue with white buttons on one side and white laced buttonholes on both sides grouped 2 by 2
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat blue
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather stitched white
Waistbelt buff leather stitched white
Cartridge Pouch red leather
Scabbard black leather with copper fittings
Footgear buckled shoes with oiled calf leather soft bottines (sort of leather gaiters) or, for foot service, white gaiters
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth
Dauphin Dragons Regimental Lace - Source: Nec Pluribus Impar
blue bordered with a white braid speckled with blue
Housings blue bordered with a white braid speckled with blue


N.B.: the fatigue cap was supposed to be worn only for the king's review, for foraging or when the regiment's chief ordered to wear it. In fact, dragoons often wore their fatigue cap during campaigns.

Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet, a pistol and a sabre. Carabiniers were armed with a rifle instead of a musket.

Evolution of the uniform during the war

Throughout the war the French dragoon uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary sources for the uniform at the start of the conflict are the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753, the Liste Générale des Troupes de France of 1754 and the Etrennes Militaires of 1758. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.

Raspe's publication illustrating the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:

  • a white cockade at the tricorne
  • no laced buttonholes on the coat, pocket flaps, cuffs and waistcoat
  • only 3 buttons on the cuffs
  • black cavalry boots

In December 1762, a regulation introduced a brand new green uniform with violet as the distinctive colour.

Officers

The uniforms of the officers were similar to those of the troopers with the following differences:

  • the coat was made of Elbeuf woollen cloth (or of a woollen cloth of identical quality)
  • linings were made of woollen cloth as well
  • no braids on the coat or waistcoat but only silver buttonholes with silver plated wooden buttons
  • Raspe publication illustrates a plain blue waistcoat without edging or laced buttonholes
  • saddle cloth and housings bordered with a silver braid (5.41 cm wide for captains and 4.06 cm wide for lieutenants)
  • standard cavalry officer sword (gilt copper hilt, 83.92 cm long)

Officers were also armed with a musket and a bayonet and carried a cartridge pouch containing 6 cartridges. This musket was shorter than the muskets carried by troopers.

The maréchaux-des-logis and sergeants had similar uniforms made of Romorantin woolen cloth. Their coats and waistcoats had no silver buttonholes. They carried sabres like the maréchaux-des-logis of the cavalry regiments. Their saddle-clothes and housings were bordered with a 2.7 cm wide silver braid.

Musicians

Drummers wore a coat similar to the one worn by the musicians of the cavalry. Musicians were always shaved and had no moustache. They were usually mounted on grey horses.

Dauphin Livery - Source: Nec Pluribus Impar

Since this unit belonged to the Dauphin de France, drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with an aurure (light orange) braid.

Guidons

Regimental guidons (4 gros de Tour linen swallow-tailed guidons) blue field sown with alternating golden fleurs de lys and golden dolphins and fringed in silver and gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll edged bearing the motto “In Periculo ludunt”

Dauphin Dragons Regimental Guidon – Source: Jean-Louis Vial of Nec Pluribus Impar

References

This article is partly a translation Jean-Louis Vial's article “Dauphin Dragons” published on his website Nec Pluribus Impar. The article also incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 1, Paris: Hetzel, 1874, pp. 328-336
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 428-429

Other sources

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

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who 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: Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757

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