Auvergne Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on 6 March 1597 by the Baron du Bourg de Lespinasse when the Spaniards marched on Amiens. It initially was a gentleman regiment bearing the name of its commanding colonel.

In 1600, the regiment took part in the conquest of Savoy and in the capture of Chambéry and Montmélian. In 1601, it was reduced to its colonel company. In 1610, the regiment was stationed in the provinces of Bresse and Lyonnais.

In 1613, the regiment was sent to the support of the Duke of Mantua whose possessions in Monferrato were threatened by the Duke of Savoy. The regiment had not yet embarked in Provence when the Duke of Savoy came to an agreement.

In 1615, the regiment took part in the siege of Creil and in the surprise attack on Sens. In May 1616, it was once more reduced to its colonel company but was immediately re-established in August, taking part in the capture of Donzy and Autrain. It then remained for five years in the Province of Bourbonnais.

In 1621, during the Huguenot rebellions (1620–1628), the regiment took part in the sieges of Saint-Jean-d'Angely and Nérac; in 1622, in the expedition on Riez Island, the capture of the Castle of La Chaume, in the siege of Royan, Tonnains, Saint-Antonin, Négrepelisse, Lunel and Montpellier. From 1622 to 1625, the regiment was stationed in Languedoc. In 1625 and 1626, it served on the frontier of Picardie. In 1627, it took part in the blockade of La Rochelle.

In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment was sent to Piedmont where it distinguished itself at the storming of the defile of Suze. It then took part in the relief of Casale before repassing the Alps to participate in the siege of Privas and Alais. In 1630, it returned to Piedmont and took part in the relief of Casale, in the combat of Veillane, in the capture of Saluzzo and in the storming of the bridge of Carignan. In 1631, after the Treaty of Cherasco, it returned to Provence.

In 1633, the regiment was once more sent to Italy.

In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the siege of Valence and in the capture of Candia and of the Castle of Sartirane. In September, it became a permanent regiment incorporated into the French army. It then took the name of the province of Auvergne. In 1636, the regiment took part in the reduction of Olleggio, Confienza, Palestra, Robbio and Vespola, and in the sanguinary combat of Buffalora; in 1637, in the defence of Asti and in the engagement of Montebaldone; in 1638, in the relief of Brema and in the resupplying of Vercelli; in 1639, in the relief of Casale, in the capture of of Chivasso and in the combat of Quiers; in 1640, in the capture of the castles of Busco, Dronnero and Brodel, in the storming of the entrenchments of Casale, in the siege and capture of Turin; in 1641, in the combat of Ivrea, in the siege of Ivrea, in the relief of Chivasso and in the capture of Ceva, Pianezza, Mondovi and Coni; in 1642, in the sieges of Crescentino, Nice and Tortona; in 1643, in the siege of Trino, in the storming of the bridge on the Stura near Asti. It then returned to France and took its winter-quarters in Guyenne. In 1644, the regiment returned to Italy where it took part in the siege of Santia and in the recapture of the Castle of Asti. In 1645, it took part in the capture of Vigevano and Rocca, and in the combat of La Mora. In 1646, the regiment sailed for the Island of Elbe, it returned to the continent in October and took part in the siege of Piombino. It then sailed back to Elbe and took part in the capture of Portolongone. At the end of 1647, the regiment returned to Italy where it took part in the siege of Cremona till 1648.

In 1649, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia to reinforce Barcelona. In 1650, it defended Barcelona. After its capitulation, the regiment retired to Roussillon. In 1653, it took part in the storming of the defensive works around Castillon d'Ampulias, in the siege of Girona and in the combat of Bordilly; in 1654, in the capture of Villefranche, in the relief of Roses. The, 18 companies went to Toulon where they embarked for Naples. Upon arrival, they took part in the storming of Castellamare. By the end of the year, they were back to Toulon. In 1655, the regiment took part in the siege of Pavia before returning to Catalonia where it was at the capture of Cap de Quiers and at the relief of Solsona.

In 1656, the regiment returned to Italy and was at the siege of Valence. In 1657, it took part in the siege of Alessandria and in the capture of Varas and Novi; in 1658, in the siege of Mortare. After the Treaty of the Pyrenees, it returned to France where it was stationed in Provence.

In 1664, the regiment was part of a French contingent sent to the support of the emperor, threatened by the Turks. On 1 August, it took part in the victorious Battle of Saint Gotthard.

The fact that Auvergne Infanterie, Leuville Infanterie and Bourbonnais Infanterie were all created during the same year gave rise to endless argumentations about their respective ranking. In 1666, Louis XIV had to edict a regulation stating that each regiment would alternate for the 7th, 8th and 9th ranks on a yearly basis.

In 1667, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment was part of the four brigades who accompanied Louis XIV in Flanders. It took part in the sieges of Tournai, Douai and Lille. In 1668, it took part in the conquest of Franche-Comté.

In 1670, the regiment campaigned in Lorraine where it took part in the sieges of Épinal and Chasté.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Orsoy, Rheinberg, Wesel and Emerich, in the capture of Doësburg and Utrecht, in the combat of Woërden, and in the expedition of the Duc de Luxembourg in Holland. In 1673, it covered the siege of Maastricht; in 1674, it fought at the Battle of Seneffe; in 1676, it operated against the bandits who desolated the banks of the Rhine and then fought at Kokersberg. In 1677, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders, taking part in the sieges of Valenciennes, Cambrai and Saint-Omer. It then returned to the Rhine where he was at the siege of Freiburg. In 1678, it initially served in Flanders, taking part in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres. In June, it returned to the Rhine where it fought at the combat of Rheinfeld and took part in the attack of the entrenchments of Seckingen, in the sieges of Kehl and of the Castle of Lichtemberg. In 1679, it fought at the battle of Minden.

In 1684, the regiment took part in the siege of Courtrai; in 1684, one of his battalion was at the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Philipsburg. In 1689, it took part in the conquest of Palatinate; in 1690, in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons; in 1692, in the siege of Namur and in the combat of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the siege of Furnes. In July, its grenadiers distinguished themselves at the attacks of Oppenheim and Wingemberg. Meanwhile the rest of the regiment marched to the Alps where it took part in the defence of Pignerol and in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1696, the regiment took part in the siege of Valence which was interrupted by the conclusion of peace with the Duke of Savoy. The regiment then marched to Germany where it campaigned till the Treaty of Ryswick.

On 30 December 1698, Talende Infanterie, raised in 1695, was incorporated into Auvergne Infanterie.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted two battalions.

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

  • since 15 January 1695: Claude-François de Bouthillier, Marquis de Chavigny
  • from 1 April 1703: Jean-Louis de Wassinghac, Chevalier d'Imécourt
  • from 4 January 1705 to 5 June 1716: David d'Alba

Service during the War

In December 1700, the regiment went to Italy to occupy Lombardy in the name of King Philip V of Spain.

In 1701, during the Imperialist invasion of Northern Italy, the regiment initially served under Catinat and then under Villeroy. On 1 September, it took part in the Battle of Chiari where its brigade, along with Normandie Brigade was charged to attack the village of Chiari by the right. Villeroy thought that the village was defended only by a few hundreds men. The two French brigades drove back outposts and made themselves master of fortified houses and of a nearby church. They then stormed two entrenchments but, when they reached the third, they bore the brunt of the fire of the Imperial regiments entrenched in Chiari and were forced to retreat.

For the campaign of 1702, the regiment was attached to Vendôme's Army. On 26 July, it took part in the combat of Santa Vittoria. It then participated in the capture of Reggio and Modena. On 15 August, it fought at the Battle of Luzzara. It then took part in the capture of Luzzara and Borgoforte. It then took its winter-quarters in Guastalla where its colonel, the Marquis de Chavigny, died.

At the beginning of 1703, the second battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel de Bourgueil left Italy to join Villars's Army in Germany. On 30 September, it took part in the Battle of Höchstädt where Bourgueil was severely wounded. Meanwhile, the first battalion had remained in Italy where it served under Vendôme once more. It accompanied him in his expedition on the frontiers of Tyrol. On 26 July, it was present at the combat of San Benedetto, where the French forced the passage of the mountains, then at the capture of Bersello, Nago and Arco, and at the bombardment of Trento. However, the goal of the expedition, which was to effect a junction with the Army of Bavaria, was not accomplished and Vendôme had to retire to Monferrato where the two battalions were reunited and took their winter-quarters.

In 1704, the regiment took part in the siege of Vercelli where it was attached to Albergotti's Corps, charged to guard the entrenchments. It was more actively involved in the siege of Ivrea. On 7 September, its two grenadier companies stormed an advanced work whose capture brought the surrender of the place. The regiment then took part in the long and difficult siege of Verua. On 29 October, it was charged to attack the Fort of Guerbignano by the left. It stormed the fort and established itself in it. A soldier named Gabaret, was promoted officer on the spot by Vendôme. The colonel of the regiment, M. d'Imécourt, was killed on 26 December, just after his promotion to maréchal de camp.

In January 1705, the regiment was given to M. d'Alba. On 1 April, the regiment took part in the attack of the Fort of the Island in front of Verua. Its grenadiers distinguished themselves at the storming of the curtain facing the Po. The regiment suffered heavy losses during the siege of Verua. Soon afterwards, the army undertook the siege of Chivasso. On 4 July, the grenadiers of the regiment launched an assault on the covert way which had just been demolished by a mine. The enemy made a courageous sortie but was driven back into the place. After the capture of Chivasso, the regiment rejoined the Army of Lombardy. On 20 July, the grenadiers of the regiment distinguished themselves once more under the command of Captain de Reppe in a reconnaissance on the post of Tredeca-Navigli, between Vendôme's camp and Zenivolta, attacking and driving back a detachment of 500 men. On 16 August, the regiment fought at the Battle of Cassano where Colonel d'Alba was seriously wounded. On 16 October, along with La Marine, it stormed the entrenchments of Gumbetto. It then took its winter-quarters at Dezenzano.

On 19 April 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Calcinato where it contributed to the success of the action. Shortly after wards, Vendôme was forced to march to the support of the army besieging Turin. On 27 July, the regiment entered into the lines surrounding Turin and, on 7 September, assisted to the defeat at the Battle of Turin. Reduced to 440 men, the regiment completed the campaign under the command of the Comte de Grancey who, on 9 September, obtained a last victory for the French arms in Italy at the Battle of Castiglione.

In 1707, the regiment was transferred to Spain where he arrived after the Battle of Almansa (25 April). It then took part in the siege of Lérida. On 11 October, it stormed the covert way and by 10:00 p.m. Firmly occupied a portion of the fortifications. On 14 October, the town was occupied and the citadel capitulated a few days later.

On 13 June 1708, the regiment invested Tortosa, making himself master of an outpost and taking 120 Spaniards prisoners. In the night of 9 to 10 July, Captain Lauzières was killed during the attack of the covert way.

In 1709, the regiment started the campaign in Spain under Maréchal de Bezons. In July, it was transferred to Roussillon to clear the country of the bands of Migueletes operating there.

In 1710, the regiment was attached to Berwick's Army on the frontier of Dauphiné. However, when Vendôme was sent to Spain to command a Franco-Spanish army, he asked Philip V to obtain the regiment from Louis XIV. The king of Spain gracefully agreed to his request and the regiment was transferred to Spain. Philip V had once said “I know only one way to put Auvergne to flight, it is to beat the mass.” Indeed, several officers and soldiers of the regiment came from Upper Languedoc and were undeclared Protestants. Upon its arrival in Spain, the regiment was sent to the siege of Girona. On 29 December, the breach seeming practicable at Fort Rouge, the Duc de Noailles sent a lieutenant and 8 grenadiers of the regiment to reconnoitre it. The lieutenant came back wounded and reported that the enemy had prepared three mines. However, these mines were exploded too early and the grenadiers made themselves master of the fort.

On 3 January 1711, the grenadiers of the regiment, led by Colonel d'Alba, stormed the Santa-Maria bastion. On 4 January Girona capitulated. The regiment then distinguished itself at the capture of Seu d'Urgell, Vénasque and Cardonne. It continued to serve in Catalonia till peace, spending most of its time in the blockade of Barcelona.

In 1714, the blockade of Barcelona was transformed into a siege. On 12 September, the regiment distinguished itself in the general assault of the city.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Funcken, Marbot
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced white with a white cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with pewter buttons on the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps grey-white fastened with a pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs grey-white, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat grey-white with pewter buttons (violet with pewter buttons and white laced buttonholes as per Funcken)
Breeches grey-white
Stockings white fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters none at the beginning of the war, white later
Leather Equipement
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 with violet and black opposed quarters. The ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1636 to 1791.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury


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 3, pp. 388-415

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. 105

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