Origin and History
This gentleman's regiment was raised on March 12 1652.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Bavaria in 1742. From 1743 to 1745, it operated on the Rhine. In 1746, it was transferred to Flanders where it campaigned till 1748.
In 1754, the regiment was stationed at Gray.
In 1756, the regiment ranked 29th and counted two squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the colonel of the regiment was:
- since January 1 1748 until December 1 1761: Marquis de Marcieux
When the French cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Royal-Pologne Cavalerie. Effective incorporation seems to have taken place only on March 24 1763 at Niort.
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées. From April 27 to June 17, it was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt, in Prussian territory, from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the left wing of the first line. It finally took its winter-quarters in the first line in the area of Bremen.
In April 1758, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed between Neuss and Krefeld. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick 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 second line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the second line, under de Muy. 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 up the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the left wing of the first line.
In June 1759, during the offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of Contades and was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing. On August 1, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry centre under the command of the Duc de FitzJames. On August 15, during the French retreat, the regiment, who had suffered heavily at Minden and was now too weak to serve adequately, was sent to the rear at Marburg where it arrived on August 19.
For the rest of the war, the regiment was stationed on the coasts of France.
|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 red 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|
|Greatcoat||grey white lined red|
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 a cockade on the tricorne
- coat, lapels, and turnbacks edged with the regimental braid (isabelle (coffee) braid with yellow blue stitches)
- grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid (isabelle (coffee) braid with yellow blue stitches)
- only 3 buttons on each cuff and on each pocket
Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a white braid
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- 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
Regimental standards (4 damask standards): green field embroidered and fringed in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
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. 334-335
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.