Vermandois Infanterie

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Origin and History

The regiment was created on December 24, 1669 for service at sea under the name of “Régiment de l'Amirauté” which was soon afterwards changed to “Régiment de l'Amiral de France”, in honour of the young Comte de Vermandois, son of Louis XIV and of Mademoiselle de La Vallière.

In August 1670, a detachment of the regiment embarked at Brest for service with Duquesne's Fleet in an expedition to the Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands. In March 1671, that fleet returned to Brest. On December 18 1671, the regiment abandoned service at sea and joined the army at Amiens, taking the name of the Province of Vermandois which it retained throughout the Ancien Régime. It garrisoned Guise during the following winter.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Orsoy and Rheinberg, in the passage of the Rhine, and in the capture of Doesbourg, Deventer and Utrecht. It then garrisoned Kampen until June 1673, then taking part in the siege of Maastricht and in the defence of Bonn. In 1674, the regiment served in Flanders under the Prince de Condé and fought in the Battle of Seneffe and took part in the affairs of Ensheim and Mulhausen. In 1675, it took part in the Combat of Turckeim, in the capture of Colmar, in the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg, in the disastrous combat of Consaarbrück; in 1676, in the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire, in the relief of Maastricht and in the Combat of Kokersberg; in 1677, in the capture of Freiburg; in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres; and in 1679, in the Combat of Minden.

In 1684, the regiment took part in the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege of Philisbourg. It remained in Germany until 1690 when it was transferred to Flanders. On 1 July, it fought in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, the regiment took part in the siege of Mons and in the campaign on the Moselle; in 1692, in the capture of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi; in 1694, in the march to Espierres; in 1695, in the bombardment of Bruxelles; and in 1697, in the siege of Ath.

In 1698, the regiment took part in the training camp of Compiègne.

On the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment counted a single battalion but was soon increased to two battalions in February 1701. These two battalions sent to the Spanish Netherlands and initially occupied Namur. In 1702, the regiment fought in the Battle of Friedlingen. In 1703, it took part in the Siege of Kehl, in the expedition to Bavaria, in the attack on the entrenchments of the Hornberg Valley, in the Combat of Munderkirchen, in the Battle of Höchstädt and in the capture of Augsburg; in 1704, in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim and in the defence of Landau; after the surrender of the fortress, it was allowed to retire to Strasbourg. In 1705, the regiment served on the Rhine where it participated in the capture of the Castle of Werth and in an attack against the entrenchments in front of Lauterbourg, In 1706, it took part in the relief of Fort-Louis, in the capture of Drusenheim and in an expedition against the Marquisat Island. In 1707, the regiment participated in Villars' raids in Swabia and Franconia. In 1708, it remained on the defensive along the Rhine. In 1709, it was transferred to Dauphiné. At the end of 1710, the regiment was sent to Spain where it took part in the siege of Girona. In 1711 and 1712, the regiment campaigned in the Alps. In 1713, it rejoined the Army of the Rhine and took part in the capture of Landau and Freiburg.

In 1715, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion as before the war.

In 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served on the Rhine where it was employed in the attack on the Lines of Ettlingen and in the siege of Philisbourg. In 1735, it took part in the siege of Klausen.

In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment joined the Maréchal de Maillebois in Westphalia. In 1742, it marched to the frontier of Bohemia and took part in the winter campaign in Bavaria, contributing to the capture of Elnbogen and Kaaden and taking part in the relief of Braunau and in the defence of Landau and Deckendorf. In 1743, it participated in the defence of Dingolfingen. In 1744, it served on the Moselle where it fought in the combat of Saverne, attacked the entrenchments of Suffelsheim and took part in the siege of Freiburg. In 1745, it served on the Rhine. In 1746, it was transferred to Flanders and took part in the sieges of Mons, Saint-Ghislain an Charleroi and in the Battle of Rocoux. On October 27, 1746, the regiment was re-established at two battalions. In 1747, it fought in the Battle of Lauffeld. In 1748, it escorted a convoy destined to the siege of Berg-op-Zoom. On November 15, 1748, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion.

On March 10, 1749, the regiment was once more increased to two battalions by the incorporation of the disbanded Vexin Infanterie.

In 1753, the regiment was at the training camp of Saarlouis.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 45th and was under the command of:

  • from February 1, 1749 until June 5, 1763: César-Jean-Baptiste de Valence-Combes, Marquis de Thimbrune

The new organisation, dating from December 1762, assigned the regiment to the service of harbours and colonies.

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment took part to the amphibious expedition against Minorca. On June 27, the regiment participated in the storming of the Fortress of St. Philip where one of its grenadier companies formed part of the left attack against the redoubts of Strugen and Argyle; while the other was at the attack of the centre against the lunette Caroline and the West Redoubt. Captain de Kerjean and Lieutenant de Charmont were killed; while Captains de Chasteignier and Eveillon and one grenadier lieutenant were among the wounded.

The regiment garrisoned Minorca till 1762 when it returned to France where it was initially stationed in Rochefort.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes militaires 1758,
La Chesnaye in 1759 and Etat militaire 1761
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers

Neckstock black
Coat grey-white
Collar red
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets vertical double pockets decorated with a blue braid (6 copper buttons grouped two by two on each single pocket)

N.B.: laced red in 1761

Cuffs red with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


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

Officers

n/a

Musicians

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


Colours

The colonel flag was white with a white cross. Ordonnance flags were yellow, red, green and violet. Ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1669 to 1791.

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

References

This 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 6, pp. 108-119, 122-123

Other sources

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

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (an interesting 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

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar