Origin and History
The regiment was raised on January 6 1652.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine from 1733 to 1735. In 1736, it was stationed at Sarrelouis.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, from 1742 to 1748, the regiment took part in the various campaigns in Flanders.
By 1756, the regiment counted two squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- since 1748: Marquis de Lénoncourt
- from 1758: Marquis de Toustain
When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Royal-Lorraine Cavalerie (former Des Salles Cavalerie). Effective incorporation took place only on April 14 1763 at Montreuil-sur-Mer.
Service during the War
By August 1 1757, the regiment had joined the French army in Germany. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line in the area of Bremen.
In February 1758, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was on the left wing of the second line of the Army of the Comte de Clermont in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in the area between Cologne and Neuss. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Army 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 and was placed on the right wing of the first line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the first line, under FitzJames. At about this period, the regiment changed owner and became known as "Toustain". 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 the Marquis de Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the left wing of the first line.
On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it was attached to the first line of the cavalry centre deployed behind the Wartberg under the command of the Comte de Beaupréau. In June, at the beginning of the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the “Right Reserve” under the command of the Duc de Broglie who had taken position at Friedberg in Hesse. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of Broglie's Corps.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the fourth line of the French army between the Rhine and the Main on the left bank of the Rhine. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Uffenheim, still in the fourth line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right wing of the first line of Broglie's Army. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Trebur.
To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|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||black cravate|
|Coat||grey white lined grey white with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons|
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.
Evolution of the uniform during the war
Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.
Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:
- a white rosette on the tricorne
- coat, cuffs, lapels and turnbacks edged with the regimental braid (woollen braid with 2 rows of white and blue squares)
- only 2 buttons on each cuff
- only 3 buttons on each pocket
- grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid (woollen braid with 2 rows of white and blue squares)
Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757 (more probably depicting the uniform of 1748):
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a red braid
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- no shoulder strap
- no turnbacks
- no lace on the coat and waistcoat
- Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
- brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs
no information available yet
Colours (in 1753)
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): green field embroidered and fringed in gold
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”.
- reverse: the arms of Heudicourt (fond de gueules, bande de sable & carneaux d'argent = red background, a black diagonal band with silver oblongs) and the motto “Si factus illabitur orbis”
N.B.: That the regiment was still carrying standards showing the arms of Heudicourt in 1753, when it was the property of the marquis de Lénoncourt, is not strange : both families were united following a marriage at the end of the 17th century, the chief of the family becoming Sublet, marquis de Heudicourt et Lénoncourt.
The 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, p. 336
Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Lienhart, docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
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
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.