Dauphin Dragons

From Project Seven Years War
Jump to: navigation, search

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on September 24 1673 by the Marquis de Sauveboeuf. After his death at the combat of Consaarbruck, in August 1675, King Louis XIV gave the regiment to Monseigneur Louis, Dauphin de France.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Italy in 1733.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially took part in the failed invasion of Bohemia in 1741. In 1743, it was back at Épinal. In 1745 and 1746, it served in the Alps. In 1747, it was at Valence in Provence.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Le Puy; in 1751, at Strasbourg; in 1752, at Bergerac; in 1753, at Libourne; 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:

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

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was assigned to the guard of the coasts of Guyenne.

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

In 1761, the regiment joined the French army operating in Germany.

On July 12 1762, the regiment took part in the combat of Hohenkirchen.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Ibrahim90
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
Neckstock 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 mostly 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:

  • 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.