Gendarmes d'Aquitaine

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Gendarmes d'Aquitaine

Origin and History

This company was created from the remnants of two companies of cavalry on December 19 1669 for the first duc d'Anjou, second son of Louis XIV. The unit was reorganised in 1690 and given to the duc d'Anjou (future king of Spain) who died on July 9 1746.

On September 10 1753, the company took the name of Gendarmes d'Aquitaine for a grandson of Louis XV.

On March 23 1762, the company was given to the comte de Provence (the future Louis XVIII) and renamed Gendarmes de Provence.

For the organisation of this company, please refer to Gendarmerie de France Organisation. At war, it was the junior company of the third squadron of the Gendarmerie de France, paired with the Gendarmes Bourguignons.

Until 1763 the headquarters of the Gendarmerie de France were at Châlons-sur-Marne while the company was quartered in Nivernais and Limagne. Louis XV assigned the company to Lunéville to guard his father-in-law Stanislas Leczinski, duc of Lorraine and of Bar.

During the Seven Years' War, the company was under the nominal command of the duc d'Aquitaine while a captain-lieutenant assumed effective command:

  • since January 1 1748: comte de Flavigny
  • from April 19 1760: marquis de Lyons
  • from 1762 to 1770: marquis de Houdetot

The company was disbanded in 1788.

Service during the War

In 1757, the eight squadrons of the Gendarmerie de France, including this company, were sent to reinforce the Lower Rhine Army. They joined the main body in Hessen in August. At the end of the year, they took their winter quarters in the county of Hanau in Hessen.

By July 1758, all Gendarmerie squadrons had joined Soubise's army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On October 10, the Gendarmerie was present at the battle of Lutterberg where it was placed on the left wing of the first line. It was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle.

In 1759, the Gendarmerie de France took part to the battle of Minden where it repeatedly charge the British and Hanoverian infantry, being repulsed each time and suffering heavy losses.

In 1761, the company took the field with the army of Soubise. It was present at the battle of Vellinghausen on July 16 but was not engaged.

In 1762, the company formed part of Condé's Lower Rhine army. It was present at the action of Nauheim on August 30 but was not engaged.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: PMPdeL
Uniform Details as per
the Etrennes Militaires of 1758 and Etat Militaire of 1761
Headgear black tricorne laced silver, with a black cockade
Neckstock black cravate
Coat scarlet lined scarlet, bordered with a silver braid, with silver buttons and silver buttonholes, and a silver braid on each sleeve
Collar scarlet laced silver
Shoulder straps green laced silver fastened with a silver button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets laced silver with 3 silver buttons and 3 silver buttonholes
Cuffs scarlet cuffs en botte laced silver with 3 silver buttons
Turnbacks none
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff laced silver
Breeches scarlet (probably buff at war)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff bandoleer laced silver (carrying the green distinctive colour of the company since 1730)
Waistbelt green laced silver
Cartridge Box n/a
Scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth scarlet laced silver
Housings
Gendarmes d'Aquitaine Housing Device - Source: PMPdeL

scarlet laced silver with the crowned duke's cipher embroidered in silver

Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a sabre (silver handle and green cord), a pair of pistols and a rifle.

The horses of the troopers were of various colours. A green rosette was knotted at their mane and tail.

Officers

No information available yet.

Musicians

No information yet on the uniforms worn by trumpets.

As the junior company of its squadron, the unit did not carry a kettle-drum.

The musicians were mounted on grey horses.

Colours

Gendarmes d'Aquitaine Standard – Source: Gilbert Noury

The silken standard had a blue field heavily decorated with silver and gold embroideries, fringed in gold and silver and bearing a central scene depicting two trees in a plain and a golden star in the sky with the motto “Virtute auctorem refert”.

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. 20-21

Other sources

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

Menguy, Patrice, Les Sujets du Bien Aimé

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

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

Vial J.-L., Nec Pluribus Impar