Gendarmes de la Garde

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Gendarmes de la Garde

Origin and History

Gendarme de la Garde ordinaire du Roi - Source: Lucien Mouillard, Les Régiments sous Louis XV

This company was created by Henri IV in 1609 for his son Louis who was then Dauphin de France. When Louis acceded to the throne, under the name of Louis XIII, he incorporated the unit into the Maison du Roi on April 29 1611.

During the reign of Louis XV, this company formed a squadron of 210 gendarmes divided up into 4 brigades. One of these brigades always served to guard the king. The company consisted of:

  • 1 captain (the king)
  • 1 captain-lieutenant
  • 3 sub-lieutenants
  • 3 ensigns
  • 3 guidons
  • 1 commissaire à la conduite
  • 10 maréchaux des logis
  • 2 quartermasters
  • 8 brigadiers
  • 8 sub-brigadiers
  • 4 standard bearers
  • 4 aides-majors
  • 4 trumpeters
  • 1 kettle-drummer
  • 178 men

During the Seven Years' War, the company was under the command of:

  • since July 1734: Captain-Lieutenant Prince de Soubise de Rohan

The company was disbanded on September 30 1787

Service during the War

By August 1 1757, the company was stationed at Versailles. The unit did not take part to the early campaigns of the Seven Years' War.

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 1758 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 gold, with a black cockade and a white plume
Neckstock n/a
Coat scarlet with all seams laced gold and with golden brandebourgs
Collar none
Shoulder straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets laced gold with 6 golden buttonholes (according to Mouillard)
Cuffs black velvet laced gold with 3 yellow buttons and 3 golden buttonholes (according to Mouillard)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat buff laced gold
Breeches red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt none
Waistbelt covered with golden laces
Cartridge Box n/a
Scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth scarlet laced laced with two golden braids: a thin outer braid and a wider inner braid
Housings red laced gold
Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a rifle. For combat, they wore a blackened breastplate and an iron skullcap over their tricorne.

The troopers mounted bay horses.

Officers

Gendarmes de la Garde officer in 1724. - Source: Alfred de Marbot Tableaux synoptiques de l'infanterie et de la cavalerie...

Officers wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following differences:

  • a wide golden braid covered with golden foliage pattern sewn over all seams of their coat, cuffs, pockets, housings and on their waistcoat
  • Black waistcoat

Like for all units belonging to the Maison du Roi, the horses of the officers had to be grey.

Musicians

Uniform of the musicians in 1758 - Source: PMPdeL
Gendarmes de la Garde kettle-drummer in 1724. - Source: Alfred de Marbot Tableaux synoptiques de l'infanterie et de la cavalerie...

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a scarlet coat heavily laced with golden braids.

The saddle cloth, housings as well as the aprons of the kettle-drums and the pennants of the trumpets were blue decorated in gold.

The musicians were mounted on grey horses.

Colours

The satin standards had a white field decorated with golden embroideries and bearing a central scene depicting thunderbolts bursting out of a cloud with the motto “Quo jubet iratus Jupiter”.

Along with those of the Chevaux Légers de la Garde, the standards of the Gendarmes de la Garde were deposited in the King's room.

Gendarmes de la Garde Standard – Source: PMPdeL

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. 2-6

Other sources

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

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin, 1903, Appendix 10

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (an interesting website which seems to have disappeared from the web)

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

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

Vial, J.-L.: Nec Pluribus Impar