Voluntarios de Aragon
Origin and History
The Voluntarios de Aragon were raised in Saragossa by Don Joaquin de Fondevilla y Andiano according to a royal warrant issued on February 26 1762. A large number of young people came from all parts of the kingdom to join the new unit. Recruitment started on March 15 and by May 1, the completed regiment was ready to be reviewed. It consisted of:
- 1 lieutenant-colonel
- 2 adjutants
- 1 chaplain
- 1 surgeon
- 1 tambour-major
- 6 companies,each of:
- 1 captain
- 1 lieutenant
- 1 sub-lieutenant
- 4 sergeants
- 6 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 88 volunteers
The first and second companies were formed with young men from Saragossa and its vicinities; the third companies with young men from Catalayud, Daroca, Teruel and Albarracin; the fourth with young men from Huesca, Barbastro and Benabarre; the fifth, with young men from Tarazona; and the sixth, with young men from Jaca and Cinco Villas.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from March 15 1762: Lieutenant-Colonel Don Joaquin de Fondevilla y Andiano
This light unit was later assigned to the Army of Costa Firme (present-day Venezuela, Panamá and part of Columbia).
Service during the War
On May 15 1762, the two first companies set off for Castile, soon followed by the third and fourth companies a few days later. In the first days of June the two last companies joined them in Castile. In mid-June, the entire battalion rejoined the army assembling at Alcañizas under the command of General Don Pedro Cevallos. It then went to Zamora where it formed a column of 1,800 foot and 600 horse with the Voluntarios a Caballo and the Voluntarios de Cataluña under the command of Colonel Don Alejandro O-Reylly. This column then took part in the invasion of Portugal, penetrating into the Province of Beira and covering the Siege of Almeida in August until its surrender. The unit then followed the army of the Count of Aranda who advanced in Portugal by the towns of Pinel, Castelrodrigo, Trabedas and Clorico. During this march, the unit constantly cleared the way of any enemy. It then occupied Castelo Branco. After wards, it took part in a reconnaissance towards Vila Velha on the banks of the Tagus. The unit then assisted at the capture of the Talladas. During the defence of the region of Escalos de Cima, the unit took part in many reconnaissances towards Campo Maior, Marvao, Onghela and Castelo de Vide. During this campaign, the unit lost 360 men to illness.
In 1763, after the Treaty of Paris, the unit went to Ciudad-Rodrigo. It was then transferred to Castile.
Soldiers did not wear uniforms but they were each given a blue anguarina (a type of loose coat with sleeves but no collar or waist, which usually reaches the thighs, it was worn above other clothes tightly fitted to the body; this type of coat originated from Hungary and was initially called a Hungarina) with red distinctives..
Officers carried a fusil instead of the usual spontoon.
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This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts translated from the following book which is now in the public domain:
- Clonard, Conde de, Historia Orgánica de las Armas de Infantería y Caballería, vol. XIII, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 418-456