Royal Corse Infanterie

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Origin and History

Private of Royal Corse Infanterie circa 1757 - Courtesy of The New York Public Library

In 1738, France intervened in Corsica at the request of the Republic of Genoa to quench the whims of independence of the island. However, after the end of the rebellion, the Genoans imposed so harsh conditions that the French decided to offer Corsicans to serve in the French Army. On August 10, 1739, a royal decree created the “Royal-Corse Infanterie.” The regiment, which initially consisted of twelve companies, was raised under the supervision of M. de Maillebois who commanded the French troops in Corsica. Only the colonel and the lieutenant-colonel were French, all other officers were chosen among the most influential leaders of Corsica. In November, the four first companies embarked at Calvi For France. They were soon followed by the rest of the regiment.

During the first campaigns of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment initially guarded the frontiers with Flanders. In 1743, it was initially posted at Berghes but was sent to Dunkerque in preparation of the planned expedition in Scotland. At the beginning of 1744, it embarked for Scotland but a storm having caused heavy damages to the fleet, the expedition was canceled and the regiment rejoined the army of the Maréchal de Saxe and served at the sieges of Menin , Ypres and Furnes. In 1745, it formed part of the Eu Brigade and fought in the Battle of Fontenoy. It then took part in the reduction of Tournai, Oudenarde, Termonde and Ath. In 1746, it formed a brigade with Dauphin Infanterie and fought in the Battle of Rocoux. At the end of the campaign, the regiment was placed in garrison at Antwerp where it spend the first five months of 1747. It then contributed to the capture of Lierre. During the Battle of Lauffeld, it was charged to guard the town of Tirlemont and was not involved in combat. It then served at the siege and capture of Berg-op-Zoom. In 1748, it took part in the siege of Maastricht.

In 1749, the regiment returned to France where it was placed in garrison in Bouchain.

On the eve of the Seven Years' War, this regiment counted only one battalion.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 103rd, it was under the nominal command of king Louis XV and under the effective command of its successive lieutenant-colonels:

  • from August 15, 1739: Claude-Alexandre de Villeneuve, Comte de Vence
  • from January 18, 1760 to November 27, 1765: Jean-Alexandre-Roméo de Villeneuve, Vicomte de Vence

On December 21, 1762, the regiment was incorporated into Royal Italien Infanterie. Effective incorporation took place in March 1763 at Perpignan. The regiment would be re-established in 1765.

Service during the War

On April 23 1756, fearing for the coasts of Provence which were only guarded by II./Cambis Infanterie and five poor quality militia battalions, Richelieu ordered the regiments of La Viefville Saint-Chamond Infanterie and Royal Corse to reinforce this area.

By August 1, 1757, the regiment had been transferred to the Isle de Ré in the Aunis country.



Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes Militaires 1756 and 1758, Abrégé du Dictionnaire Militaire 1759
Etat Militaire 1758, 1760 and 1761

completed where necessary according to the illustration in the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757"
and Taccoli's illustration in "Teatro Militare dell' Europa" of 1760"
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Neck stock black
Coat grey-white lined grey-white with 12 yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side at the small of the back
Collar green
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 yellow buttons
Cuffs green, each with 4 yellow buttons and 4 narrow white buttonholes
Turnbacks none (Taccoli and Raspe both show grey-white turnbacks)
Waistcoat red with 2 rows of 12 yellow buttons each, grouped 2 by 2; and 12 narrow white buttonholes
Breeches white
Gaiters white with small black buttons
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard natural leather

Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.


Officers wore uniform quite similar to those of the privates with the following differences:

  • gold laced tricorne
  • silver gorget
  • no turnbacks
  • a wooden cane


The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: Jocelyne Chevanelle


French Royal Livery - Source: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


The colonel flag was white with a white cross sown with golden fleurs de lys; carrying the golden motto “Per Haec Regnum” on the horizontal branch of the cross. Ordonnance flags had a white cross sown with golden fleurs de lys and carrying the golden motto “Per Haec Regnum” on its horizontal branch; with 4 green cantons.

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf


The 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 7, pp. 320-325
  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 214

Other sources

Anonymous: Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, Vol. 1, ca. 1757

Funcken, Liliane et Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

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

Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part I, Vol. II, Madrid, 1760

Vial J. L.; Nec Pluribus Impar