Boulonnais Infanterie

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

Origin and History

Ensign of Boulonnais Infanterie circa 1720 - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

The regiment was created on 5 September 1684. Indeed, expecting a Coalition to form soon against France, Louis XIV raised 30 new regiments from September 1 to 30 for the defence of the various places of the realm. By raising one regiment a day, he avoided problems of precedence among these new regiments.

The regiment assumed garrison duty until 1690, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), when he was sent to Germany. In 1693, it was transferred to Piedmont and fought in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, it campaigned in the Alps. In 1695, it returned to the Rhine. In 1696, it served on the Meuse. In 1697, it took part in the siege of Ath.

In 1698, the regiment integrated the men of the disbanded Villefort Infanterie.

On the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment initially counted a single battalion but, on 1 February 1701, it was increased to two battalions.

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

  • from 5 September 1684: Henri-Emmanuel Hurault, Marquis de Vibraye (promoted to maréchal de camp in 1702)
  • from 6 January 1703 to 6 March 1719: Louis-Alexandre Verjus, Marquis de Crécy (then aged 21, had already served for six years including 1 year as mousquetaire, 2 as captain of cavalry and 3 as colonel; promoted to brigadier on 29 March 1710 and to maréchal de camp on 1 February 1719)

Since 1692, M. Demilleraye was lieutenant-colonel of the regiment.

Service during the War

On 1 February 1701, the regiment was increased to 2 battalions. It occupied Bruges in the Spanish Netherlands in the name of Philip V.

On 11 June 1702, the regiment was at the combat of Nijmegen. Afterwards, its second battalion was sent to Alsace where 10 coys assumed garrison duty in Belfort and 3 coys in Landskrone. The first battalion, who had remained in Flanders, was brigaded with Charolais Infanterie and Sillery Infanterie under M. de La Mothe. In July, the first battalion went to the camp of Bruges and later took its winter-quarters in Charlemont and Givet.

On 30 June 1703, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ekeren. Its first battalion was then transferred to the Corps of the Moselle under M. de Pracontal. By October, it was in Luxembourg. This battalion then passed the Rhine but arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Speyerbach (15 November) and in the siege and recapture of Landau. For its part, on 14 August, the second battalion came out of Strasbourg to escort a convoy of 2,000 ammunition carts. In August and September, it took part in the Siege of Alt-Breisach. On 6 September, when the place capitulated, it formed part of the garrison. The two battalions were thus reunited at Breisach.

In 1704, the regiment served in Bavaria under Tallard. It was brigaded with Royal Infanterie. On 13 August, this brigade took part in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim. Its colonel and most of the first battalion were taken prisoners (1 lieutenant-colonel, 10 captains, 9 lieutenants, 10 sub-lieutenants and 308 soldiers) while the second battalion managed to escape. The second battalion was then billeted in Lorraine.

In 1705, the second battalion campaigned on the Moselle.

In 1706, the regiment was re-established at two battalions and was initially stationed on the Rhine. In May, it was transferred to Flanders.

In 1708, the regiment was part of the troops destined to the expedition against Scotland under the Chevalier de Forbin. After the cancellation of this expedition, the regiment joined the Army of Flanders. On 11 July, it fought in the Battle of Oudenarde where it was brigaded with Picardie Infanterie (3 bns) and O'Brien Infanterie (1 bn). During the siege of Lille, it formed part of the corps of the Comte de La Mothe who conducted a diversion in Maritime Flanders. On 30 September, the regiment fought in the Engagement of Wijnendale. On 20 October, it took part in another action at Leffinghe. It took its winter-quarters in Sant-Jooris.

On 11 September 1709, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet where it was brigaded with Royal Infanterie and Royal-Italien Infanterie. By 22 September, the regiment was at the camp of Ruesnes and counted: 13 captains, 17 lieutenants, 12 sub-lieutenants and 750 soldiers.

By April 1710, the regiment formed part of the garrison of Aire. In May, it was at the camp of Cambrai, deployed in the second line where it was brigaded with Royal Roussillon Infanterie and Lafond Infanterie. In October, it was transferred to Saint-Omer.

By May 1711, the regiment was in Ypres and counted 1,100 men. By 1 June it counted 1,250 men.

On 24 July 1712, the regiment took part in the Battle of Denain along with Solre Infanterie and Limousin Infanterie. It then participated in the Siege of Douai and in the capture of Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.

In 1713, the regiment served with the Army of Germany where it was brigaded with La Reine Infanterie. It took part in the siege and capture of Landau, in the attack of Vaubonne's lines, and in the siege of Freiburg where Lieutenant de Lavergne was severely wounded.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Funcken, Lienhart & Humbert, Marbot, Susane
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 blue lining; brass buttons on the right side and 1 brass button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps grey-white fastened with a brass button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 8 brass buttons (horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons as per Funcken)
Cuffs blue, each with 3 brass buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue; brass buttons
Breeches grey-white
Stockings blue 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.

Other interpretations

Marbot illustrates an entirely grey-white uniform (coat, waistcoat and breeches with brass buttons.

NCOs

no information found yet

Officers

no information found yet

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 and four green cantons. Each canton was traversed by a two adjacent diagonal bands: violet and isabelle (coffee). The ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1684 to 1791.

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


References

Clerc, Capitaine: Historique du 79e régiment d'infanterie, Paris: Berger Levrault, 1896

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. 121

Lienhart, Constant and René Humbert: Les Uniformes de l'Armée Française de 1690 à 1894, Leipzig 1899 - 1902

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

Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 7, pp. 91-94

Acknowledgement

Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article