Royal-Piémont Cavalerie

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Origin and History

Trooper of Royal-Piémont Cavalerie in 1735 – Copyright: Michel Pétard
Only small details of the uniform and armament changed before the Seven Years' War

The regiment was originally raised in Turin by the Duke of Savoy. On August 9 1671, it was ceded to Louis XIV while he was arming against the Dutch Republic. On May 6 1690, the regiment became “Royal Piémont”.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment initially served in Italy in 1734. In 1735, it was at Bayeux.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served with the Army of the Rhine in 1741. In 1742, it took part in the campaign of Bohemia. In 1744, it served in Provence. From 1745 to 1748, it took part in the campaigns in Flanders.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Maubeuge; in 1750, at Joigny; in 1751, at Charlesville; in 1752, at Bourges; in 1754, at Belfort; in 1755, on the Moselle.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 10th among the line cavalry. The king was the nominal Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:

  • since November 15 1752: Marquis de Gamaches
  • from April 8 1757 to January 3 1770: Comte de Talleyrand

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 Talleyrand Cavalerie which was incorporated into Royal-Piémont Cavalerie.

Service during the War

Royal-Piémont Cavalerie after the reorganisation of 1761 - Source: Raspe 1762 from Zahn's collection

In 1757, the regiment is first mentioned in service duty after the Convention of Klosterzeven, when 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 on the right wing of the second line. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the area of Aurich in Ostfriese, in the fourth line of the French army.

From March 30 to April 4 1758, the regiment was with Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine, in the first line of the right wing. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in the second line at Kevelaer, Weeze and Uedem. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by an Allied army under 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. It 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 Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the beginning of October, the regiment was attached to Chevert's Corps which was sent to reinforce Soubise's Army in Hesse. On October 10, it was at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was part of Chevert's corps which won the day by turning the Allied left flank.

In 1759, the regiment was stationed at Évreux in Normandy.

By May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the Reserve of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of M. d'Auvet. 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. On October 3, Ségur's Corps (including this regiment) was dispatched towards Hachenburg and Cologne. On October 13, the unit arrived at Neuss with Castries. On October 16, it fought in the Battle of Clostercamp where it was deployed in the second line of the left wing. At the end of the battle, the regiment along with 1 squadron of Balincourt Cavalerie, led by the Comte de Thiard de Bissy, came forward and handled very roughly the British squadrons who had come forward to cover the retreat of the Allies. However, the fight with the British cavalry gave the infantry time to rally, and to make their retreat in good order.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1761 to 1762


Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761
completed when necessary as per Funcken and Mouillard
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 probably a black cravate
Coat blue lined red (lined blue from 1761) with 4 pewter buttons under the lapels and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps blue and white epaulets
Lapels red bavaroise down to the pockets, each with 7 (as per Funcken) pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red (blue from 1761)
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with copper buttons
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat blue lined red (lined blue from 1761)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth
Saddlecloth lace - Source: PMPdeL
blue bordered with a white braid (an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with blue, red and white squares from 1761 as illustrated)
Housings blue bordered with a white braid (an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with blue, red and white squares from 1761 as illustrated)
Blanket roll n/a


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

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

Musicians

King's Livery - Source: PMPdeL

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with braids at the king's livery alternating with silver braids.

Standards

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): blue 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”; one golden fleur de lys in each corner

Royal-Piémont Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: PMPdeL


References

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. 331-332

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F.: 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

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.