Origin and History
This gentleman regiment was raised in Lorraine in 1589 by the Comte de Vaubecourt and joined the army of Henry IV in France. On May 6, 1598, this regiment was disbanded and its companies returned to Lorraine. The same year, they followed the Comte de Vaubecourt to Hungary where they distinguished themselves against the Turks at the capture of Raab. In 1606, Vaubecourt and his regiment entered once more in the French service and assumed garrison duty in Sédan. On April 24, 1610, when France was arming against the House of Austria, the regiment was finally admitted into the ranks of the French Royal Army. The same year, to the exception of its colonel company, it was disbanded.
On August 31, 1616, the regiment was re-raised and, from that date, has always been part of the Royal Army. By 1619, it was quartered in Verdun and ceded 400 men to replenish the ranks of Picardie Infanterie. In 1622, then counting only 200 men, the regiment defended Mouzon.
In 1624, the regiment marched from its quarters in Champagne, passed through Switzerland and joined Normandie Infanterie in its expeditions, taking part in the passage of the Steig, in the attacks of a bridge on the Rhine, of Pio-Domo, Platemale, Puschiavo, Tirano, Sondrio, Morbegno, Traone, Dubino, in the sieges of Chiapino and Bormio, in the combat of Campo and in the siege of Chiavenna. In 1625, the regiment took part in the recapture of the entrenchments of Cercino and Traone. It then returned to France. In 1626, it replenished its ranks. In 1627, it was sent to the siege of La Rochelle.
In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment campaigned in the Alps, distinguishing itself at the attack of Pas-de-Suze and in the assault of the Spanish entrenchments in front of Casale. It then returned to the Rhône Valley and took part in the capture of Alais and Privas. In 1630, it took part in the combat of Veillane, in the capture of Saluzzo and in the attack of the bridge of Carignan. Two of its companies heroically defended the Fort of Briqueras. In 1631, the regiment returned to France where its 12 companies garrisoned Toulon.
In 1632, the regiment occupied the mountains above Privas, which had become the heart of the rebellion. One of its detachment captured the Comte de Lestranges, one of the main leaders of the rebels. The regiment was present at the Battle of Castelnaudary. In 1633, the regiment, who had taken its winter-quarters in Bresse, took part in the conquest of Lorraine and was at the capture of Haguenau, Saverne, Lunéville and Nancy. In 1634, it took part in the sieges of Bitche and La Mothe, and in the reliefs of Philisbourg and Heidelberg.
In 1635, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the engagement of Fresche, in the assault of Spires, in the capture of Vaudémont and of the Castle of Moyen, and in the retreat of the army from Mainz to Metz. In 1636, it went to Picardie where it contributed to the recapture of Corbie before taking its winter-quarters in Langres. In 1637, it took part in the siege and capture of Landrecies. The regiment remained in this place, rebuilding the fortifications, till 1642. In that year, it was attached to the Army of Picardie before being transferred to Roussillon. In 1643, the regiment was sent to the Army of Italy and took part in the siege of Trino; and in 1644, in the sieges of Finale and Asti. The regiment returned to France at the end of this campaign and took its quarters in Angoulême. In July 1644, it returned to Italy and took part in the capture of Ponzone, and in the siege of the Citadel of Asti. In February 1645, it was transferred from Piedmont to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Roses, in the battle of Llorens and in the capture of Balaguer; and in 1646, in the siege of Lérida. In 1647, the regiment was transferred to Turenne's Army in Germany where it took part in the capture of Oberlinghen, Tubingen and Bicklingen, and in the assault on Montmédy. In 1648, the regiment was subdivided in two detachments: 15 coys remained in Flanders while 15 coys served under Turenne in Germany where they took part in the combat of Zusmarhausen, in the capture of the Castle of Heidenheim and in the assault on the Castle of Wasserbourg. In 1649, when Turenne rebelled against the king, two third of the 15 coys rejoined the coys stationed in Flanders where they took part in the passage of the Scheldt. By 1653, the regiment was posted at Vitry but was sent to Verdun before taking part in the siege of Rhétel. In 1654, it took part in the siege of Stenay; in 1655, in the siege of Landrecies and Condé; in 1656 in the siege Valenciennes; in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy and Mardyk, and in the capture of Bourbourg; and in 1658, in the siege of Dunkerque, in the Battle of the Dunes and in the sieges of Ypres and Gravelines.
In 1664, the regiment was part of the contingent sent by Louis XIV to the assistance of the emperor, threatened by the Turks. It took part in the Battle of St. Gotthard. By 1665, the regiment had returned in Germany and took part in the siege of Erfurt. On its return to France, the regiment garrisoned Ardres and was reduced to 4 companies, the other companies being incorporated into Champagne Infanterie.
In June 1669, the remaining 4 companies embarked at Toulon to relieve Candie (present-day Heraklion), besieged by the Turks. The expedition failed and the regiment was back in France by August. In 1671, the regiment was increased to 16 companies.
In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Maseyk, Genappe and Grave; and in 1673, in the siege of Maastricht before assuming garrison duty in Trier. In 1674, it joined the Army of Germany and fought under the command of Turenne at Seintzheim, Ensheim and Mulhausen. In 1675, it played a decisive role at the Battle of Turckheim and took part in the siege of Dachstein, in the combat of Altenheim and in the relief of Haguenau and Saverne. At the end of the year, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders where it took part in the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire. In 1677, it returned to the Rhine where it took part in the combat of Kokersberg and in the siege of Fribourg. In 1678, it initially campaigned in Flanders where it was at the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, before returning to Germany where it took part in the combat of Langendentzlingen, in the combat of Seckingen, and in the sieges of Kehl and of the Castle of Lichtemberg. In 17679, it fought in the combat of Minden.
The regiment then spent a few years in Lorraine. In 1684, it was at the siege of Luxembourg.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment left Lille and advanced on Philisbourg. In 1689, it took part in the combat of Walcourt, in the capture of Mannheim and Frankenthal and in the defence of Mainz; in 1690, in the Battle of Fleurus; and in 1691, in the siege of Mons, in the bombardment of Liège. In 1692, the regiment joined the army assembling in Normandie for the aborted expedition in Ireland. The regiment was then sent to Dauphiné and then to Piedmont where it joined Catinat's Army. In 1693, the regiment took part in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, it was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the Battle of the Ter, and in the sieges of Palamos, Girone, Ostalrich and Castelfollit; and in 1695, in the defence of Palamos. By 1696, the regiment was back in Piedmont where it took part in the siege of Valencia. In 1697, it campaigned on the Moselle.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), the regiment was sent to Landau. In 1702, it took part in the defence of Landau which surrendered with the honours of war after a siege of five months. In 1703, the regiment, who had been promptly re-established, took part in siege of Kehl, in the passage of the gorges of Hornberg, in the Combat of Munderkirchen, in the Battle of Höchstädt and in the capture of Ulm and Augsburg. In 1704, it fought in the Battle of the Schellenberg but was forced to take refuge in Donauwörth. Unable to take the field, the regiment was then thrown into Augsburg. After the disastrous defeat of the Franco-Bavarian army at the Battle of Blenheim, the regiment joined the remnants of the army and recrossed the Rhine, taking position at Huningue. In 1705, it remained at Huningue. In 1706, it was sent to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Barcelona. In 1707, it fought in the Battle of Almansa and took part in the siege and capture of Lérida, and in the capture of Morella. In 1708, the regiment took part in the siege of Tortosa, in the capture of Dénia, Pons and Aulot, and in the passage of the bridge of Montanana. In 1709, it took part in the capture of the Castle of Alicante. In 1710, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it took part in the brilliant defence of Aire where it lost half its effective strength. In 1711, it guarded Saint-Omer before being transferred to Alsace. In 1712, it returned to Flanders at about the time of the Battle of Denain, taking part in the sieges of Douai, du Quesnoy and Bouchain. In 1713, it was sent to Alsace where it took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.
By the time of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship).
N.B.: Christian Rogge gives four battalions for this regiment.
When the army was reorganised in 1762, the regiment took the name of the Province of Guyenne. However, the Chevalier de Chatellux retained his command until 1771.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 11th and was commanded by:
- from December 1, 1745: Louis Marquis de Mailly
- from January 15, 1758: César Marie Marquis de Talaru
- from November 5, 1761 to April 17, 1771: Chevalier de Chatellux
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment left Cambrai to join the army of Maréchal d'Estrées (Army of the Lower Rhine). At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées' main corps. On July 26, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck, where it was part of the center under Contades. It lost more than 150 men during this battle. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. In October, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Saxony. On November 5, under the Comte de Lorges, it took part to the Battle of Rossbach, where it was placed in the second line of the centre. Once more, it suffered heavy losses during this battle. After this defeat, it retreated on Hanover. At the end of the year, it took up its winter quarters at Paderborn, Bielefeld and Rehda; in the fourth line of the French Army.
In January 1758, the regiment retreated again, first on Hildesheim, then on Wesel in March. From Wesel, it returned to France where it was assigned to the protection of the coasts of Bretagne and cantonned in Brest. On June 5, during the first British expedition against the French Coasts, a detachment of the regiment formed part of the French force defending Cancale, near Saint-Malo, it retired when a superior British force landed under the protection of the fleet.
In 1759, the regiment contributed 200 men to serve with the the fleet.
In 1760, the regiment remained stationed on the Coasts of France. It took up its winter-quarters in Saint-Omer.
By June 1, 1761, the four battalions of the regiment had joined Army of the Lower-Rhine under the command of the Prince de Soubise at Wesel. On July 16, the regiment was present at the Battle of Vellinghausen, where it was deployed on the left of the second line of the infantry centre. On August 9, it was part of the reinforcements of 10,000 men sent by Soubise to the Army of the Upper-Rhine for its enterprise against Hameln. This contingent was placed under the command of Lieutenant-General de Lévis. In September, the regiment occupied the Sabbaburg forest to cover the right flank of the army. It was vigorously attacked in this forest but managed to retire without major losses. In November 1761, it was renamed Chatellux.
For the campaign of 1762, the regiment was once more allocated to the Army of the Lower Rhine under the Prince de Soubise. By July 12, the regiment was posted at the camp of Helsa under M. de Guerchy. On July 14, Guerchy sent the battalion of grenadiers and chasseurs of the present regiment to force the Allies to retire behind the Eder River. At 6:00 p.m., Guerchy finally retired towards Melsungen and reoccupied his old camp on the right bank of the Fulda. From December 19, the entire French army still operating in Germany abandoned its cantonments and marched to Butzbach, converging on Frankfurt. Germany had to be evacuated by December 31. The regiment was directed towards Landau.
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
The drummers of the regiment wore the livery of the colonel: Mailly from 1745 to 1758, Talaru from 1758 to 1761 and Chatellux from 1761 to 1762.
The colonel flag was white and the ordonnance flags had a white cross with quarters alternatively red and violet.
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 4, pp. 50-70
Chesnaye des Bois (de la), Aubert: Etrennes militaires, Paris, 1756, 1758, 1759
Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately been closed)
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
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.