De Vienne Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> De Vienne Cavalerie

Origin and History

The regiment was created January 6, 1647, after the failure in front of Lerida, by Joseph d'Ardenne d'Aragon, Comte d'Illes. It was then placed under the command of the Viceroy of Catalonia.

In 1647, the regiment took part in the second siege of Lerida and in the capture of Ager; in 1648, in the reduction of Tortosa. It then garrisoned Barcelona until 1652, taking part in the defence of the place in 1650 and 1651.

In 1653, the regiment took part in the siege of Girona and in the combat of Bordils; and in 1654, in the capture of Villefranche and Puigcerdá. In 1655, it was at the camp of Quiers and at Solsone. In 1657, it was transferred to Italy. In 1658, it returned to Catalonia..

On April 18, 1661, the regiment was disbanded, only the mestre de camp company was kept.

On April 1, 1668, the regiment was briefly re-established in Metz and Gorze at four companies, to be reduced to its mestre de camp company on May 14 of the same year.

On March 3, 1672, on the eve of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment was once more re-established. It served in Flanders in 1672 and 1673. In 1674, it took part in the Battle of Seneffe before being transferred to Alsace where it fought in the combats of Entzheim and Mulhouse. In 1675, it captured 300 Brandenburger dragoons at Ruffach before being recalled to the Low Countries, where it participated in the capture of Huy and Limbourg. In 1676, it was at the capture of Condé, Bouchain and Valenciennes and in 1678, it fought in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

On August 8, 1679, the regiment was reduced to a single company, which was momentarily incorporated into Grignan Cavalerie.

On January 15, 1684, the regiment was briefly re-established until 26 September.

On August 20, 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was definitively re-established and joined the Army of the Rhine before Philippsburg. In 1689, it was transferred to Flanders, where it fought in the Battle of Walcourt. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons and in the Battle of Leuze; in 1692, in the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi. From 1694 to 1697, the regiment was assigned to the guard of the coasts of Flanders. In 1697, the regiment campaigned on the Moselle.

In 1698, the regiment was at the camp of Compiègne.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment served in Germany. In 1702, it took part in the Battle of Friedlingen; in 1703, in the sieges of Alt-Breisach and Landau, and in the Combat of Speyerbach; in 1704, in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim; in 1705, in the campaign on the Moselle; in 1706, in the capture of Drusenheim, Lauterbourg and the Marquisat Island; and in 1707, in the expeditions in Franconia and Swabia. In 1708, the regiment served with the Army of the Rhine. In 1709, it was transferred to the Army of Flanders and fought in the Battle of Malplaquet, suffering very heavy losses. In 1710 and 1711, it was stationed in Franche -Comté. In 1712, it served on the Rhine. In 1713, it took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

In 1714, the regiment was at the camp on the Meuse.

In 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment, now known as d'Aumont, took part in the siege of Philippsburg. It then remained on the Rhine until 1735, when it took its quarters in Beauvals.

In 1741, at the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment initially served in Westphalia. In 1742, it took part in the invasion of Bohemia and in the relief of Braunau. In January 1743, it returned to France but soon joined the Army of the Rhine. It was present at the defeat of Dettingen. The same year, it became the property of Prince Camille de Lorraine, later known as Prince de Marsan. In 1744, the regiment took part in the capture of Menin, Ypres and Furnes; in 1745, in the victorious Battle of Fontenoy (May 15); in 1746, in the capture of Bruxelles and in the Battle of Rocoux (October 11); in 1747, in the Battle of Lauffeld (July 2) and in the siege of Berg-op-Zoom; and in 1748, in the siege of Maastricht.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Caen and Valognes; in 1750, at Bouchain and Valenciennes; in 1751, at Luxeuil; in 1753, at Landau; and in 1754 at Plobsheim and then at Neufchâteau.

In 1756, the regiment counted two squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from February 1, 1749: Comte de Vienne
  • from January 1, 1762 to February 24, 1774: Jean-François Marquis de Damas d'Antigny

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1, 1761, the regiment was amalgamated with Moustiers Cavalerie to form a new regiment: Royal-Navarre Cavalerie. Effective amalgamation seems to have taken place only on April 11, 1763 in Languedoc.

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the war, in 1756, the regiment was stationed at Thionville.

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées and took part in the invasion of Hanover. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées' main corps. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters near Werl in Westphalia, 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 placed in the second line at Issum and Kerken. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by an Allied army under 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 first line, under d'Armentières. 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 Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the right wing of the first line.

On April 13, 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the second line of the cavalry centre deployed behind the Wartberg under the command of the Comte de Beaupréau. On October 19, the regiment was part of the force sent by Contades to reinforce d'Armentières on the Lower Rhine.

By May 23, 1760, 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, which arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Montabaur and surroundings.

N.B.: from May 1759 some sources identified the regiment as Damas Cavalerie even though the Marquis de Damas became owner of the regiment only in 1762...

At the beginning of February 1761, the regiment was posted in the area of Siegen. By June, it was part of the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 16, it was present at the Battle of Vellinghausen. By mid-August, the regiment was in Wesel.

In 1762, the regiment served on the coasts of Languedoc.

Uniform

Troopers

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

completed when necessary as per 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 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 red fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels red, each with 6 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red fastened with a pewter button
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat grey white lined red
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 (white woollen braid with red central stripe)
Housings blue bordered with the regimental lace (white woollen braid with red central 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:

  • a white rosette on the tricorne
  • coat, cuffs, lapels and turnbacks edged with the regimental braid (white woollen braid with red chain link stitches)
  • grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid (white woollen braid with red chain link stitches)
  • grey white breeches
  • only 3 buttons on each cuff and on each pocket

Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757 (more probably depicting the uniform of 1748):

  • a white cockade on the tricorne
  • a grey white shoulder strap on the left shoulder
  • 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 shoulder strap
  • 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

no information available yet

Standards (in 1753)

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): red field embroidered and fringed in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”.

de Vienne Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Copyright Kronoskaf

References

The 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. 138-145
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 339

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)

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

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