Artois Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Artois Infanterie

Origin and History

Ensign of Artois Infanterie circa 1715 - Source: adapted from an illustration of Philippoteaux in Louis Susane's Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

The regiment was raised on 24 April 1610 for the Comte de Beaumont Saint-Vallier when Henri IV made his great preparations to fight the Habsburg. It was disbanded after the assassination of Henry IV a few weeks later.

The regiment was re-established on 15 August 1615 and disbanded for a second time on 6 May 1616. It was definitively re-established a gain on 9 September of the same year. From then on, it belonged to the regular regiments later designated as “Petits-Vieux”, ranking 6th among them until 1670.

In 1617, the regiment took part in the capture of Château-Porcien and Rhétel. It then garrisoned Tours before being transferred to Bretagne where it participated in the capture of the Castle of Concarneau

In 1621, during the Huguenot rebellions (1620–1628), the regiment took part in the sieges of Saint-Jean-d'Angély, Clérac and Montauban; in 1622, in the siege of Tonneins and Sainte-Foix. It then garrisoned Sainte-Foix during four years. In 1627, then counting 15 companies, it participated in the blockade of La Rochelle and in the relief of Saint-Martin de Ré. In 1628, the regiment incorporated Chastelier-Barlot Infanterie.

In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment campaigned in Piedmont, taking part in the attack on the Pas-de-Suze and in the submission of Privas. In 1630, it took part in the capture of Conflans, Miolans and Montmélian, in the combat of Veillane and in the capture of Casale. In 1631, it returned to France.

In 1632, the regiment served in Provence and fought in the battle of Castelnaudary and in the capture of Pézénas and Béziers. In 1633, it was transferred to the Army of Germany, capturing Trier, storming Freydembourg and besieging Nancy. In 1634, it took part in the siege of La Mothe and in the relief of Heidelberg and Philisbourg; in 1635, in the combat of Fresche, in the storming of Spires and in the siege of Vaudémont; in 1636, in the defence of Haguenau; in 1637, in the sieges of Landrecies, Maubeuge and La Capelle; in 1638, in the sieges of Saint-Omer and Renti.

In 1639, the regiment was transferred to Piedmont where it participated in the capture of Benne and Chivasso, and in the combat of Quiers. In 1640, it took part in the capture of the castles of Busco, Dronnero and Revel, in the battle of Casale and in the siege of Turin; in 1641, in the siege of Coni; in 1642, in the sieges of Nice and Tortona; in 1643, in the siege of Trino; in 1644, in the siege of the Castle of Sartiranne and in the capture of the Citadel of Asti.

In 1645, the regiment, then counting 25 companies, was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Roses. It then returned to Italy where it participated in the siege of Vigevano and in the combat of the Mora. In 1646, the regiment took part in the expedition in Tuscany and in the unsuccessful siege of Orbitello before returning to Piedmont. It then re-embarked for Tuscany where it participated in the capture of Piombino and in the siege of Portolongone on the island of Elba. In 1647, the regiment took part in the blockade of Cremona and in the combat of Civitale near Bozzolo; in 1648, in raids in the region of Cremona, in the combat of Casal-Maggiore and in the battle and siege of Crémona; in 1649, in the occupation of Santia before returning to Dauphiné.

In 1650, during the troubles of the Fronde (1648-1653), the regiment was recalled to form part of the Army of Guyenne. It distinguished itself in the combat of Blanquefort. It was then transferred to Picardie and Champagne where it participated in the siege of Rhétel. In 1651, then counting 800 men, it escorted Mazarin when he returned to France. In 1652, it had to quench an uprising in Anjou and took part in the defence of the bridge of Gergeau and in the battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.

In 1653, during the last years of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the defence of Picardie and in the sieges of Rhétel and Sainte-Ménehould. In 1654, it garrisoned various places in Flanders and participated in the capture of Beverloo. From 1655 to 1657, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Le Quesnoy. In 1658, it joined the Army of Champagne.

In 1660, the regiment was sent to garrison Metz where it remained for seven years.

In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment served in the Duchy of Luxembourg. In 1668, it contributed to the conquest of Franche-Comté and took part in the siege of Dôle.

In 1669, the regiment formed part of the relief expedition sent to the help of the Venetians defending Candia (present-day Heraklion) in Crete against the Turks. The regiment suffered heavy losses in this unsuccessful expedition.

In 1670, the regiment was reduced to four companies of 70 men each.

In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment campaigned in Holland. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht. The same year, the regiment received the name of the Province of Artois when the regiment previously known by this name received the privilege of becoming a royal regiment under the name of La Couronne Infanterie. The new Artois Infanterie ended the campaign at Stenay and at the camp of Sédan where it remained for several months. In 1674, it took part in the Battle of Séneffe, in the Battle of Ensheim and in the combats of Mulhausen and Turckheim; in 1675, in the combat of Consaarbrûck and in the defence of Trier suffering very heavy losses. In 1676, the regiment was rebuilt. In 1677, it took part in the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai; in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres. It was then transferred to Germany. In 1679, it fought in the combat of Minden.

In 1681, the regiment garrisoned Freiburg and took part in the occupation of Strasbourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim and Franckenthal. In 1689, it garrisoned Luxembourg. In 1690, it was transferred to the Alps where it contributed to the capture of Cahours, fought in the combat of Staffarda and participated in the capture of Barges and Susa. In 1691, it took part in the reduction of the Vaudois and in the capture of Villefranche, Montalban, Nice, Veillane, Carmagnola, Montmélian and Coni. In 1692, the regiment returned to Meuse where it took part in the siege of Namur and in the bombardment of Charleroi. In 1693, it fought in the Battle of Landen and was at the siege of Charleroi. In 1697, it took part in the siege of Ath

Just before the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted one battalion.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since 1697: Philippe d'Orléans, Marquis de Rothelin
  • from 9 May 1703 to 6 March 1719: Claude-Guillaume Testu, Marquis de Balincourt

Service during the War

On 1 February 1701, the regiment was increased to two battalions and was used for the occupation of the Spanish Netherlands. However, all orders of battle of 1701 list only one battalion which suggests that the newly raised second battalion was probably used to garrison towns near the frontier. On 20 July, the first battalion was on the march to Upper-Guelderland. By 3 October, this battalion was still posted in Upper-Guelderland but destined to be transferred to places in French Flandre. By 31 December, a battalion of the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the Electorate of Cologne.

At the end of April 1702, the first battalion of the regiment was still posted in the Electorate of Cologne. By 10 March, the second battalion was stationed at Fort-Louis in Alsace. At the end of April, both battalions were attached to the Army of the Rhine. By 10 September, the first battalion, then counting only 317 men, was attached to the main army of Maréchal de Boufflers encamped at Beringen near Limbourg in the Low Countries. The first battalion took its winter-quarters in Douai.

In 1703, the regiment served under Villars at the Siege of Kehl and distinguished itself in the attack on the Lines of Stollhofen. It fought valiantly in the affairs of the Hornberg Valley and of Munderkirchen. On 20 September, it took part in the Battle of Höchstädt where its brigade, passing the Danube at Donauwörth during the night, charged the Imperialists during their retreat and captured a large number of prisoners. On 14 November, the regiment participated in the capture of Kempten. It then assumed garrison duties in Ulm.

At the beginning of 1704, the regiment was still garrisoning Ulm. At the end of July, when Tallard arrived in Bavaria, he asked to Marsin to replace four of his battalions, which he considered mediocre, by the four battalions of Artois Infanterie and Provence Infanterie. In the first days of August, these four battalions then set off from Ulm to join Tallard's Army. On 13 August, the regiment fought in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim where it was initially placed in the village of Blenheim. When, because of Tallard's bad manoeuvres and of the weakness of the cavalry, the victorious Allies had managed to encircle Blenheim, 17 of the best French battalions were left without orders. The regiment, encouraged by its lieutenant-colonel, M. de Sivières, launched a furious sortie with Provence Infanterie against seven British battalions guarding one of the main avenue. After making some progress they were driven back into Blenheim. When the soldiers of the regiment learned that their generals had capitulated, they ripped they colours up.

In 1705, the Colonel de Balincourt slowly re-established the regiment.

In 1706, the regiment was sent to Roussillon where M. de Legall was assembling a corps for the siege of Barcelona. In March, this corps entered in Catalonia and undertook an unsuccessful siege of Barcelona

In 1707, the regiment served under the command of the Duc de Noailles who captured Bascara, the Castle of Calabous, Llivia and Puycerda.

On 24 May 1708, the regiment was at the cannonade of Puente-Major where its grenadier-captain de Compis was wounded. The regiment also took part in the siege of Tortosa.

In 1709, the regiment took part in the storming of Châtillon, Bascara and Figuières. On 2 September, it contributed significantly to the victory of Girona on Field-Marshal Starhemberg. Along with Normandie Infanterie and La Couronne Infanterie, it was then charged to clear the region of the Catalan “Migueletes”.

On 25 July 1710, guided by a traitor, M. de Cetséans, former colonel of Santerre Infanterie whose officers had ousted him, the British managed to attack Agde and Sète by surprise. When the Duc de Noailles was informed of this attack, he hastily assembled his best battalions, drove the enemy out of Agde and, after a stubborn combat, forced those occupying Sète to re-embark. Some 600 British soldiers, pursued by French dragoons, had taken refuge in a fort located at the extremity of the mole of Sète. They were supported by a frigate. Captain d'Auzé, at the head of the grenadiers of the regiment, rushed on the mole, climbed the walls of the fort and and returned to Sète with 72 prisoners, including two officers. In this action, the grenadiers lost only 1 men killed. In December, the regiment went to the siege of Girona where Lieutenant de Brie was killed. After the capitulation of Girona, it returned to its winter-quarters in Roussillon.

From 1711 and 1713, the regiment continued to serve in Roussillon where it saw little action.

In 1714, when it was resolved to capture Barcelona, the regiment took part in the blockade of the city. On 12 July, it opened the trenches with Normandie Infanterie. On 13 July, it had to drive back a vigorous sortie during which Lieutenant d'Escoublant had a leg smashed. On 14 August a combat took place on the Santa-Clara Bastion. The brave Captain d'Auzé, the hero of Sète, distinguished itself once more by his intrepidity. Wounded three times by musket balls, he retired from the fight only the time to have his wounds tended and came back to fight alongside his grenadiers. On 11 September, a general assault was launched against Barcelona. The regiment with Auvergne Infanterie was charged with the attack in the centre. They stormed the Santa Clara Bastion. After its return to France, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Rousselot, Marbot, Susane, Funcken
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a white or black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a white or black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with grey-white lining; copper buttons on the right side and 1 copper button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Strap grey-white fastened with a copper button (left shoulder only)
Lapels none
Pockets escutcheon shaped pockets, each with 9 copper buttons
Cuffs grey-white, each with 6 copper buttons (3 buttons according to Marbot)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red with copper buttons and aurore brandebourgs (white without brandebourgs according to Marbot)
Breeches grey-white
Stockings red fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters none at the beginning of the war, white later
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard black with white metal fittings
Footwear black shoes with a brass buckle


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

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

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.

Please note that in the accompanying illustration, the drummer carries a drum at the arms of Navarre. The drum barrel should be royal blue decorated with golden fleurs de lys.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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


Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colour: a white cross; yellow and sky blue opposed cantons. These ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1673 to 1771.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: 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 5, pp. 260-280, 290

Other sources

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle, p. 55

Lemau de la Jaisse, P.: Abregé de la Carte Générale du Militaire de France, Paris, 1734, p. 111

Marbot, Alfred de and E. Dunoyer de Noirmont: ‎Les uniformes de l'armée française, T1 "1439 à 1789"‎

Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

Rousselot, Lucien: Infanterie française (1720-1736) (II)

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.