Origin and History
The regiment was raised by Jean Comte de Balthazard on August 13, 1643 from foreign cavalry regiments in the French service since 1635, among which three Croatian regiments.
In 1645, the regiment took part in the siege of Llorens and Balaguer; in 1646, in the sieges of Lérida; in 1647, in the second siege of Lérida; in 1648, in the siege of Tortosa; and in 1649, in the relief of Barcelona.
In 1650, when after the arrest of the Prince de Condé, the Comte de Balthazard revolted. In 1653. he and his regiment were readmitted into the French service.
In 1653, the regiment served in Catalonia. In 1654, it was sent to Dauphiné but soon returned to Catalonia, where it took part in the sieges of Villafranca, Roses and Puigcerdà. In 1657, it campaigned once more in Catalonia. In 1658, it was sent to Champagne. In 1659, it garrisoned Nancy, where it would remain until 1661.
On April 18, 1661, when the French cavalry was reorganised, the regiment was reduced to a single company. In 1664, this company formed part of the French force sent to the assistance of the Emperor in Hungary.
On 20 May 1667, the regiment was bought from M. Balthazard by the Duc de Vivonne and renamed "Royal-Cravates". In fact the word "Cravate" derives from "Croate" (French word for Croatian) and was designating the typical scarves worn by Croatian cavalrymen. An accessory which became the ubiquitous necktie of today...
In 1667, the regiment campaigned in Flanders and was present at the capture of Douai and Lille.
On February 4, 1672, on the eve of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment was re-established to full strength. The same year, it took part in the capture of Burich, Rees, Arnhem, Skenke, Nijmegen and the island of Bommel. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht and in the relief of Woërden; and in 1674, in the Battle of Seneffe. It then joined Turenne in Germany and fought in the combat of Mulhouse. In 1675, it took part in the Battle of Turckheim before being transferred to Flanders, where it was present at the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg. In 1676, it took part in the capture of Condé, Bouchain and Aire; in 1677, in the capture of Valenciennes and Cambrai; and in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, and in the Battle of Saint-Denis. It was then transferred to the Rhine where it took part in the attack of the bridge of Rheinfeld.
In 1680, the regiment was at the camp in Lower Alsace. In 1684, it was assigned to the Army of Roussillon and distinguished itself in the Combat of the Ter. From 1685 to 1687, the regiment was at the camp on the Adour. In 1688, it was at the camp of the Saône.
In 1689, during of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment joined the Army of Flanders and participated in the Combat of Walcourt. In 1691, it took part in the siege of Mons and and in the Combat of Leuze; in 1692, in the capture of the Castle of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen and in the sieges of Huy and Charleroi; and in 1697, in the siege of Ath.
In 1698, the regiment was at the camp of Coudun, near Compiègne.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession,the regiment was posted at Louvain on the frontier of Brabant. In 1702, it was initially posted in Upper Guelderland and then took part in an offensive on the Lower Rhine. In 1703, it took part in the sieges of Alt-Breisach and Landau, and in the Combat of the Speyerbach; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet; in 1712, in the Battle of Denain, and in the sieges of Douai and Le Quesnoy; and in 1713, in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.
In 1719, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718-20), the regiment crossed the Pyrenees and took part in the capture of Fuenterrabía, San Sebastian and Roses.
In 1727, the regiment was at the camp of the Meuse and in 1730 in Verdun.
In 1733 and 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served on the Rhine and took part in the siege of Kehl and Philippsburg.. On its return to France, it garrisoned Quimper.
In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was posted at Maubeuge and formed part of the army of observation in Flanders. In 1743, it was transferred to Germany and took part in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, it momentarily returned to Maubeuge before being recalled to the Rhine. In 1745, it campaigned in Flanders and fought in the Battle of Fontenoy. In 1746, it took part in the Battle of Rocoux; in 1747, in the Battle of Lauffeld and in the siege of Berg-op-Zoom.
In 1748, the regiment was stationed at Douai, Rennes, Carhaix and then Guincamp; in 1749, at Arras, in 1750, at Tours; in 1752, at Le Quesnoy; in 1753, at Mézières and then Nantes; and in 1755, at Maubeuge.
The regiment counted 2 squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 8th among the line cavalry. The king was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:
- from October 10, 1755 until January 3, 1770: René Mans de Froulay, Comte de Tessé
When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1, 1761, the regiment was increased to 4 squadrons, each of them consisting of 4 companies of 40 troopers, for a total of 640 troopers. The 2 additional squadrons came from Chabrillan Cavalerie which was incorporated into Royal-Cravates Cavalerie.
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was stationed at Le Mans.
Early in 1757, the regiment was transferred to Maubeuge and then to Guise. It then joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the left wing. 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. On August 16, the regiment was among the force sent by the Duc de Richelieu to occupy the Duchy of Brunswick who had submitted to the French domination. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Unna in Westphalia, in the fourth line of the French army.
In April 1758, 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 of Brunswick's Army on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg. On June 2, Prussian Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars captured a standard of Royal-Cravates at Düffelward near Krefeld. The regiment finally joined Clermont's Army at Rheinberg on the same day. It remained in this camp until June 12. It 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. 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 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 the Marquis de Contades and was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry centre under the command of the Duc de FitzJames.
By May 23, 1760, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. By September 19, the regiment was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps, forming part of the third line of his left column.
At the beginning of February 1761, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Lower Rhine and was quartered in the area of Liège. During the same month, 150 men of the regiment were allocated to de Muy's Corps to march on Hachenburg and reinforce the Maréchal de Broglie. By June, the entire regiment was serving with the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 16, the regiment was present at the Battle of Vellinghausen.
On June 24, 1762, the regiment was present at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. By July, the regiment (now numbering four squadrons) formed part of the Army of the Upper Rhine and pas posted near Deiderode. On November 20, when Louis XV issued his instructions regarding the French armies serving in Germany, specifying which units should return to France right away and which should stay in Germany till the final evacuation. The regiment formed part of the troops who remained in Germany. It was posted on the Meuse River.
|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
N.B.: even though the Etats Militaires do not specify it, there are evidences (Van Blarenberghe's miniatures on a precious box painted in 1760 or 1761 and kept at the Hermitage Museum) that this regiment wore bearskin with a red flame and probably a white pompom at the top of the flame
|Neck stock||a black cravate|
|Coat||blue lined red (lined blue from 1761) with 11 pewter buttons and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||buff leather jerkin fastened with pewter buttons and edged with the regimental lace braid|
|Breeches||kid (goat leather)|
|Greatcoat||blue lined red (lined blue from 1761)|
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.
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
- brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs
- the white braid used for buttonholes was white decorated with thin red and blue diagonal stripes (plain white braid from 1764)
- buttonholes had white tassels with some red and blue threads
Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with braids at the king's livery alternating with silver braids.
At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, Royal cavalry regiments carried two distinct models of standards.
carrying a golden royal sun with a gold and silver fringe.
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): blue field embroidered and fringed in gold
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun but without motto, and a golden fleur de lys embroidered in each corner
- reverse: sown with fleurs de lys sans nombre (i.e. the fleurs de lys located near the edge could be truncated)
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 75-85
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 329-330
Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV; Paris 1882
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolaus: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg, 1762
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.