Irish Infantry Organisation

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At the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War, the French Army counted six Irish regiments. According to the ordonnance of January 1757, each Irish regiment had a single battalion of 13 companies. Their organisation differed from the organisation of the French infantry regiments.

Since the regulation issued in January 1757, each Irish regiment counted a single battalion.

Composition and Organisation of a Brigade

The brigade was a formation which existed only in time of war. French and foreign regiments consisted of 1, 2 and more rarely 3 or 4 battalions. This made for very small combat units. Therefore, 2 to 4 infantry regiments were grouped into a single brigade consisting of 5 or 6 battalions.

The brigade was placed under the command of the senior officer who ranked as brigadier or, when several brigadiers were present, by the most senior brigadier. The rank of brigadier was created in 1667 during the reign of Louis XIV. It was suppressed by the regulation of March 7 1788. The brigadier had no specific uniform and wore the uniform of his own regiment.

In contemporary relations, most of the time only the brigade was referred to. Since the brigade was designated by the name of its senior regiment, we often lose track of the position or progression of certain infantry regiments “lost” because they were incorporated within a brigade. Usually foreign regiments were grouped into distinct brigades (Swiss brigades, German brigades, etc.). Two senior regiments were not usually incorporated into the same brigade but would rather be associated to more recent regiments.

Composition and Organisation of a Regiment

Regiments were ranked according to their seniority. This was THE rule regulating precedence in the French army of this period. However, they were always designated by a name.

Orders were given in English.

Regimental Staff

The regimental staff consisted of:

  • 1 colonel
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 major
  • 1 aide-major
  • 1 chaplain
  • 1 surgeon-major
  • 1 maréchal-des-logis (quartermaster)
  • 1 interpreter
  • 2 ensigns
  • 12 cadets

The regulation of January 1 1755 had restored the privilege of the colonel and lieutenant-colonel to command the two senior companies, this permission had previously been abolished in February 1749.

A regulation dated December 25, 1758, granted “provostship” to Rooth Infanterie and Berwick Infanterie. Therefore, each of these two regiments now included:

  • 1 provost
  • 1 provost-lieutenant
  • 1 clerk
  • 1 justice executioner

Organisation of a Battalion

Irish regiments counted 13 companies per battalion: 12 fusilier companies and 1 grenadier company. Thus each battalion totalled 54 officers (including 2 ensigns) and 705 men.

Furthermore, there were 2 ensigns to carry the colours. These ensigns were assisted by 12 cadets.

Exceptionally, Lally Infanterie counted only 27 officers and 540 men.

Organisation of a Fusilier Company

A fusilier company consisted of:

  • 4 officers
    • 1 captain
    • 1 second-captain
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 second-lieutenant
  • 7 NCOs
    • 3 sergeants
    • 4 corporals
  • 4 ansepessades (lance-corporals)
  • 43 fusiliers
  • 1 drummer

Organisation of a Grenadier Company

A grenadier company consisted of:

  • 4 officers
    • 1 captain
    • 1 second-captain
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 second-lieutenant
  • 5 NCOs
    • 2 sergeants
    • 3 corporals
  • 3 ansepessades (lance-corporals)
  • 36 grenadiers
  • 1 drummer

In wartime, grenadiers were converged with grenadier companies of other regiments.


Bacquet, Capitaine d’infanterie: L’infanterie française au XVIIIe siècle – L’organisation, Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1907, pp. 63-64

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

Vial, Jean-Louis: Nec Pluribus Impar