Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1616. Initially it was a gentleman's regiment who belonged to the House of Villeroy, governing the province of Lyonnais. In 1635, it joined the ranks of the French regular army, wearing from now on the name of the province of Lyonnais.
The regiment counted two battalions. When the French army was reorganized in December 1762, it was increased to four battalions by integrating the disbanded Nice Infanterie.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment first served in Westphalia (1741), then on the Danube (1742). In 1743, it was present at Dingelfing. In 1744, it was transferred to on the Var in Provence. It spent the last years of the war in Italy.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 15th and was under the command of:
- Since February 1 1749 to June 5 1763: Gabriel Louis François de Neuville, Marquis de Villeroy
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment was part of the Lower Rhine Army under d'Estrées. At the end of June, it was encamped at Bielefeld with d'Estrées' main corps. On July 26, the regiment was at the battle of Hastenbeck where it was part of the centre under de Contades. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the Lower Rhine Army from July 31 to August 2. During the conquest of Hanover, it participated to the capture of Hameln, Minden and Hanover. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed in the centre of the first line. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the third line of the French Army in Nienburg. After the defeat of Rossbach and the violation of the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, all French armies retreated. The regiment then left the camp of Halberstadt and marched on Celle (Zell). On December 25, the regiment fought for the passage of the Aller River. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the third line of the French Army in Nienburg.
In March 1758, during the Spring offensive of Ferdinand of Brunswick, the regiment was part of the French garrison of Minden which was attacked by an Allied corps led by General Kilmanseg. On March 15, the garrison of Minden surrendered without opposing any serious resistance. The regiment was later exchanged and sent back to France to guard the French coasts.
In 1761, the regiment was at Belle-Isle when the British attacked. After the surrender of the island, it was transferred to Germany. On July 16, it was present at the battle of Vellinghausen where it formed part of the Reserve Corps under Prince de Condé.
On July 23 1762, the regiment took part to the combats on the Fulda.
At the end of the war, the regiment was stationed in Nîmes.
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Until around 1734, even though the drummers of the regiment were supposed to wear the King's Livery, the duc de Villeroy (who had been the governor of the Dauphin and had been charged to oversee his education) was authorised by the King to use the livery of his own house: green background lined and braided orange.
However, from 1748, the regiment was not the property of the House of Villeroy anymore and the King's Livery was reintroduced for his musicians.
The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.
The colonel flag was white with a white cross. The ordonnance flags had a white cross with blue and black quarters in opposition.
Evrard P.; Praetiriti Fides
Menguy, Patrice; Les Sujets du Bien Aimé
Mouillard, Lucien; Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882
Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891
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.
Vial J. L.; Nec Pluribus Impar