Bourgogne Infanterie

From Project WSS
Jump to navigationJump to search

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

Origin and History

Ensign of Bourgogne Infanterie circa 1725 - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

On 1 March 1668, after the first conquest of Franche-Comté, Louis XIV created the regiment of Bourgogne Infanterie. It consisted of 24 companies for a total of 2,000 men under the command of the Comte de Roussillon (former governor of Besançon for the king of Spain). Indeed, the regiment had been created for the noblemen of the recently conquered province who wanted to abandon their allegiance to Spain and to join the French Army. At its creation the regiment ranked 47th in the infantry of the French Army.

In 1669, after the death of the Comte de Roussillon, the regiment was given to the Marquis de Chamilly.

On 6 March 1672, Chamilly incorporated Saint-Léger Infanterie into his own regiment, thus inheriting the rank (46th) of this disbanded regiment and increasing his regiment to 33 companies.

In May 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment marched from Charleroi to Kayserwerth on the Rhine, then to Burich, Wesel, Groll and Deventer. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht and then garrisoned Grave. In 1674, the first battalion of the regiment distinguished itself at the defence of Grave where it was virtually annihilated. Meanwhile, the second battalion took part in the battles of Sintzheim and Ensheim. The two battalions then served in garrisons at Oudenarde (1st) and Charlemont (2nd). In August 1675, the second battalion marched to the relief of Trier. In 1676, the two battalions of the regiment took part in the siege of Condé and covered the siege of Bouchain. In 1677, the regiment participated in the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai, and in the Battle of Cassel; an in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres. It then briefly garrisoned Mons before returning to Alsace.

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

From 1684 to 1689, the regiment was in garrison in Flanders.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment joined the Army of the Moselle and took part in the storming of the Castle of Kockheim. In 1690, the regiment was transferred to the Meuse and took part in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, it first campaigned on the Rhine before being transferred to Italy where it participated in the capture of Nice, Villefranche, Montalban, Sant'Ospizio, Veillane and Carmagnola, in the relief of Susa, and in the capture of the Castle of Montmélian. In 1692, it contributed to the defence of Pinerolo and Susa. In 1693, one battalion remained in the places while the other was sent on the Rhine. In 1694, one battalion campaigned on the Rhine with Normandie Infanterie. In 1695, the two battalions were reunited in Italy. In 1696, the regiment took part in the siege of Valencia before returning to France. In 1697, it served on the Meuse, covering the siege of Ath.

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 28 April 1698: Thomas Dreux de Brezé, Marquis de Dreux
  • from 26 October 1704: N. de Rigaulet
  • from 17 November 1704 until 9 April 1724: Joachim-Adolphe de Seiglières de Boisfranc, Marquis de Soyecourt

A regulation dated 10 April 1715, reduced the regiment to a single battalion.

Service during the War

In December 1700, the regiment was sent to Provence.

By 8 January, the regiment was stationed in Antibes. It was selected to be sent to the Duchy of Milan. For the campaign in Italy, it was brigaded with Normandie Infanterie. On 9 July, the regiment supported the troops who fought in the Combat of Carpi. On 1 September, it took part in the Battle of Chiari where it was deployed on the extreme left of the first line of the infantry centre. Its colonel, the Marquis de Dreux, was wounded in a thigh.

By 21 March 1702, the regiment was stationed in Sabionetta. On 26 July, during the Combat of Santa Vittoria, it formed part of the Reserve of the Vendôme and saw no action. On 15 August, at the Battle of Luzzara, it was once more part of the Reserve. It then took part in the capture of Luzzara, Guastalla, Borgoforte and Governolo. The Austrian commander of the latter place had been instructed to evacuate it after destroying it. On 25 December, he was preparing to execute these orders when Grenadier Lieutenant Bibion, of the regiment, noticed activities and, suspecting the project of the Imperialists, dashed forward over the palisade with a few grenadiers, penetrated into Governolo, extinguished fires set at the castle and magazines, and saved the place. This officer was rewarded for his brave conduct by the Cross of Saint-Louis. The regiment took its winter-quarters in Governolo.

In July 1703, the regiment was part of Vendôme's Army who advanced towards South Tyrol. The regiment was left at Desenzano on Lake Garda. On 8 September, its grenadier companies contributed to the occupation of the Heights of Gaza. At the end of September, the regiment was selected to form part of the Army of Piedmont. On 26 October, its grenadier companies distinguished themselves once more at the Combat of San Sebastiano. The regiment ended the campaign with the capture of Asti and Villanova d'Asti in the region of Monferrato.

On 4 January 1704, the regiment took part in the storming of the entrenchments of Stradella defended by the rearguard of Starhemberg's Army. After reconnoitring the positions, Vendôme launched an attack at two different places with 32 grenadier coys who rapidly made themselves master of these places. On 11 January, the regiment was at the combat of Castelnuovo de Bormia. By 18 January, it was quartered in Asti. In mid-February, it was posted at in Castello d'Agogna. From May to July, the regiment took part in the siege of Vercelli where, on 21 June, the Colonel de Dreux was wounded at the head by a musket ball. The same evening, despite his wound, he assumed the guard of the trenches. After the surrender of the garrison of Vercelli (21 July), the regiment participated in the siege of Ivrea in August and September. On 21 September, during the siege of the castle of that town, the grenadiers of the regiment distinguished themselves when they drove a sortie back to the covert way.

From October 1704 to April 1705, the regiment took part in the Siege of Verrua. On 1 March 1705, during the assault on the Island Fort, the regiment was charged to attack the curtain. After the capture of Verrua, the regiment participated in the siege of Chivasso. On 16 August, it was present at the Battle of Cassano but did not take part in combat. On 16 October, it took part in the attack on the entrenchments of Gumbetto.

On 19 April 1706, the regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Calcinato where it fought alongside with La Marine Infanterie. In August and September, it took part in the siege of Turin and, on 8 September, in the Battle of Castiglione. It then retreated to France where it was stationed in Provence.

In 1707, the regiment contributed to the defence of Toulon where it was posted in the entrenched camp of Sainte-Anne. It completed the campaign in Dauphiné.

In 1708, the regiment was stationed in Exilles in Savoie and took part in the attack on Cesana Torinese.

In 1709, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders where it was brigaded with Piémont Infanterie. On 11 September, it was at the Battle of Malplaquet.

In 1711, the regiment took part in the attack on Arleux and distinguished itself in an action near Hordain where its two battalions, assisted by the battalion of Bigorre Infanterie, virtually annihilated two Allied battalions. In this engagement, soldiers made a considerable booty which was further increased by the ransom paid for several generals and senior officers.

On 24 July 1712, the regiment was at the Battle of Denain. From August to September, it took part in the siege and recapture of Douai, Marchiennes, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.

In 1713, the regiment campaigned on the Rhine where it served in the siege of Landau, contributed to the defeat of General Vaubonne and ended the war gloriously by the siege of Freiburg. On the night of 12 to 13 October, the grenadiers of Laval Infanterie had just stormed the covert way of the “Fort de l'Escargot” when the explosion of a mine buried all of them to the exception of four grenadiers. A terrible combat ensued between the garrison and one company of grenadiers of Bourgogne Infanterie who had until then been kept in reserve. This company resisted alone to all attempts of the garrison, thus allowing the trench guards to come to its relief. The brave captain of this company, M. de Pina, was killed in the melee.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Susane, Lienhart & Humbert, Funcken, Marbot
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a white or a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a white or a black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps grey-white fastened with a yellow button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs grey-white (red as per Marbot in 1720), each with 4 yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red with yellow buttons
Breeches grey-white (red as per Marbot and Funcken in 1720)
Stockings white 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 golden fleur de lys and a white Burgundy cross.

Ordonnance Colour: white field with golden fleur de lys and a red Burgundy cross.

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 6, pp. 77-85, 92

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. 113

Lienhart, Constant; Humbert, René: Les Uniformes de l'Armée Française de 1690 à 1894, Vol. III, Leipzig 1899 – 1902

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

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