Origin and History
This Swiss regiment was raised on February 25, 1758 after an agreement between the King of France and Guillaume Baron de Rinck-Baldenstein and Prince-Bishop of Basel. It mostly recruited in the Sundgau and Sisgau, in the country of Delle and Porentruy, and in the districts neighbouring Basel and Geneva. Most of the officers were Alsatian gentlemen.
The regiment counted 12 companies organised in two battalions.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from March 1, 1758 to June 22, 1783: Jean-Baptiste-Ferdinand-Sébastien Baron d'Eptingen (promoted to brigadier on July 25, 1762; and to maréchal de camp on January 3, 1770)
Service during the War
In 1758, the regiment assembled at Strasbourg.
At the beginning of 1759, the regiment joined the French army operating in Western Germany. On April 13, the regiment did not take part in the Battle of Bergen, being left behind as garrison in Frankfurt. By June, it garrisoned Hanau.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Oberursel, still in the first line. By May 23, it was attached to Diesbach's Brigade deployed of the right flank of Broglie's Army. On July 10, the regiment fought in the Combat of Corbach where it formed part of the leading brigade of the reinforcements personally led by Broglie (6 brigades), arriving piecemeal on the scene. In this affair, the colonel of the regiment, the Baraon d'Eptingen, was wounded. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Hirschfeld.
By April 15, 1761, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine and formed part of Gantès's troops occupying Friedberg, Butzbach and Assenheim.
For the campaign of 1762, the regiment was attached once more to the Army of the Upper Rhine. On June 24, it took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal where it was attached to Stainville's Corps. Along with Waldner Infanterie, it was thrown against the Highlanders who were debouching from the woods near Wilhelmsthal, and drove them back. In this combat, the regiment lost Captain Bertin, killed; and Captain Courvoisier, Captain Hugel and 3 lieutenants, wounded.By July 12, still part of Stainville's Corps, the regiment was posted at Kassel. On September 21, it fought in the Combat of Amöneburg. At the end of November, it returned to France.
At the end of the war, the regiment was placed in garrison in Strasbourg. In May 1763, it was transferred to Neuf-Brisach.
|Coat||red lined yellow with 2 white buttons and 2 white laced buttonholes on each side under the lapels
|Waistcoat||yellow edged white with one row of yellow button and, on each side, white laced buttonholes; horizontal pockets with white buttons and white laced buttonholes|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
N.B.: the distinctive colour seems to have changed to blue in 1761 or 1762.
N,B.: Susane mentions a white distinctive for this regiment from 1758 to 1779.
Colonel colour: white field with a white cross, carrying the arms of the Bishop of Basel surmounted by a scroll with the mention “REGt SUISSE d'Eptingen” and with a lower scroll carrying the motto “Pro rege et patria”. Golden fleurs de lys sown across the entire flag.
Ordonnance colours: a white cross; each canton consisted of seven flames: red, yellow, black, red, black, yellow, red.
The article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 7, pp. 355-356.
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 203.
Chartrand, R.: Louis XV Army, vol. 3 – Foreign Infantry, Osprey
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris, 1882
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
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
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.
Fabrizio Davi for the information about the early uniform