Du Roy Cavalerie

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Origin and History

Portrait of the Comte de Châtillon in the uniform of Mestre de Camp of Royal Cavalerie - Source: Tischbein

The regiment was raised on May 27 1635 by the Maréchal de Vivonne when the carabins companies were grouped together. It first chef was the Cardinal de Richelieu. On February 16 1646, the regiment took the title of du Roy and was incorporated into the French cavalry.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment was involved in various campaigns from 1733 to 1735.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was initially stationed in Westphalia in 1741. In 1743, it served in Alsace and, from 1744 to 1748, in Flanders.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Pontivy; in 1750, at Béthune; in 1751, at Laon; in 1752, at Landrecies; in 1753, at Mézières; in 1754, at Maubeuge; and in 1755, at Mézières.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 5th among the line cavalry. The king was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the successive Mestres de Camp Lieutenants commanding the regiment were:

  • since June 15 1748: Marie François Auguste de Matignon, Comte de Gacé (sells his regiment in April 1762 and dies on February 8 1763 at the age of 32)
  • from April 17 1762 to November 14 1762: Louis Gauchez, Duc de Châtillon (formerly colonel of Royal Roussillon Infanterie, dies of smallpox on November 14 1762 at the age of 25)
  • from December 1762: Armand Joseph de Béthune, Duc de Charost

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was increased to 4 squadrons, each of them consisting of 4 companies of 40 troopers, for a total of 640 troopers. The 2 additional squadrons came from Archiac Cavalerie which was incorporated into Du Roy Cavalerie.

Service during the War

Du Roy Cavalerie after the reorganisation of 1761 - Source: Raspe 1762 from Zahn's collection

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War in 1756, the regiment was stationed at Saint-Dizier.

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. 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. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Burich in Ostfriese, in the fourth line of the French army.

In April 1758, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine during the Allied winter offensive in Western Germany, 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 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. It was placed on the right wing of the second 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 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 September 29, it took part in the failed surprise attack on Bork.

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. It was deployed in the second line of the cavalry right wing. 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 May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the left reserve of the first line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Saint-Germain. On September 29, the regiment was part of the reinforcements sent by Broglie to Prince Xavier's Richt Reserve.

To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762


Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1756 - 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 probably a black cravate
Coat blue lined red with 8 pewter buttons on the chest and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps with regimental lace
Lapels red
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 kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat blue lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth
Saddlecloth lace - Source: PMPdeL
blue bordered with a braid at the king's livery
Housings blue bordered with a braid at the king's livery
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.

Officers

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

  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs

Musicians

King's Livery - Source: PMPdeL

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with braids at the king's livery alternating with silver braids.

Colours

Regimental standards (4 standards): blue field embroidered and fringed in gold

  • one side: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
  • other side: centre device sown with golden Fleurs de Lys
Du Roy Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert from a 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, pp. 325-326

Other sources

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

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

Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV; Paris 1882

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolaus: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg, 1762

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

Vial, J.-L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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

Acknowledgements

Jean-Louis Vial for information on the commanders of the regiment