Origin and History
This regiment has Italian origins. Indeed, the so called "Mazarin-Italien" regiment was raised by Cardinal Mazarin on May 7 1642 for the expedition in Roussillon. When Mazarin retired in 1651, the regiment was given to Philippe de France Duc d'Anjou and brother of the king. It was then named "Anjou Étrangers". At the death of his uncle, Gaston de France, Philippe inherited the title of Duc d'Orléans. In April 1660, Anjou Étranger was amalgamated with another regiment raised in 1647 for the Duc d'Anjou and formed "Orléans Infanterie".
The regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship).
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Italy in 1733 and 1736.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Bavaria and Bohemia in 1742. On June 27 1743, it took part in the Battle of Dettingen. Then from 1744 to 1748, it served in Flanders.
Although the Duc d'Orléans was officially the colonel of the regiment, the effective commander was the lieutenant-colonel. During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 27th and was under the effective command of:
- since April 7 1746: Charles Auguste de La Cour, Comte de Baleroy
- from April 29 1757: Charles Olive Floris Campet, Comte de Saujeon
- from March 14 1758: Gilbert de Chauvigny, Comte de Blot
- from November 30 1761 to 1775: Anne André Marie de Crussol, Comte de Montausier
Service during the War
In 1755, the regiment was at the camp of Richemont on the Moselle River.
In 1756, the regiment was transferred to the coasts of Bretagne.
In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine in Germany for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées's Main Corps. It took part in the submission of Kassel and in the conquest of Hesse. On July 26, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was part of the centre under Contades. 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. It then entered into Hanover with the Maréchal de Richelieu. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory 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 second line of the French army at Göttingen. During the retreat of the French armies after the defeat of Rossbach and the Hanoverian counter-offensive, the regiment made a diversionary attack on Lachtenhausen while the army was forcing the passage of the Aller River on December 25.
From March 30 to April 4 1758, after the retreat of the French army towards the Rhine, the regiment was in the first line of Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in Kempen and Krefeld. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Allied 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. It was placed in the centre of the second line. At 2:00 a.m. on June 12, a detachment of 200 men under Lieutenant-Colonel de Blot repulsed an enemy attack on the Abbey of Kamp launched from the Heights of Alpen. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the second line under Harvé. Its lieutenant-colonel, the Comte de Blot, was wounded during the battle. 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 Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the infantry right wing of the second line.
By May 10 1759, the regiment was part of the corps under the command of the Comte de Noailles who had taken position near Deutz on the right bank of the Rhine. In June, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades and was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre. On June 13, as part of d'Auvet's Corps the regiment encamped in front of the defiles near the village of Essentho on the left bank of the Diemel.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the third line of the French army along the Rhine and the Main from its mouth. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Seligenstadt, still in the third line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the first line of the infantry centre of Broglie's Army. For the campaign of 1760, the regiment was brigaded with Auvergne Infanterie. On July 10, the regiment was part of the left wing of Broglie's Grande Armée who came to the support of the vanguard around noon in the Combat of Corbach. By July 23, the regiment was at Wasbeck under the personal command of the Duc the Broglie. On October 4, M. de Maupéou's Corps (including this regiment) left for the Lower Rhine. On October 16, the regiment reached Moers.
On July 16 1761, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen and, later during the campaign, in the siege of Meppen.
The following description has been verified against the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" and Taccoli's book published in 1760.
|Coat||grey-white with copper buttons down to the waist on the right side
|Waistcoat||red with a single row of copper buttons; horizontal pockets with copper buttons|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Drummers wore the livery of the House of Orléans: red background lined blue, with two white and blue braids bordered by white and red checkered pattern.
Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.
Ordonnance Colours: a white cross and blue and feuille morte (dead leaf) opposed quarters. The ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1660 to 1791.
Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I, Musée de l'Armée, Paris
Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
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
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
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.