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Origin and History
The regiment was created from Jacobite followers on 3 December 1688 when James II fled from Great Britain and took refuge at the Court of Louis XIV. It was initially designated as the “Queen's Guards” and was commanded by the Marquis d'Autrin.
In March 1689, the regiment accompanied James II when he sailed from Brest and landed in Kinsale in Ireland with an army of 20,000 men, captured Dublin and vainly laid siege to Londonderry. The regiment then took part in the capture of Athlone. In 1690, it took part in the battle of the Boyne. In 1691, it was with the army assembled at Kinsale and fought in the battle of Aughrim. After the capitulation of Limerick, the regiment returned to France.
In 1693, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment received James' authorisation to join a French army campaigning in Italy under the command of Catinat. It took part in the capture of the defiles of Veillane and in the battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, it was transferred to the Low Countries. In 1695, it took part in the siege and capture of Dixmude. In 1696, the regiment returned to Italy where it took part in the siege of Valenza. In 1697, it was transferred to Catalonia, participating in the attack on Rosas and in the siege and capture of Barcelona
On 27 February 1698, after the Treaty of Ryswick, the regiment entered in the French service where it was designated as “Bourke Infanterie”.
By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted a single battalion.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:
- from 18 June 1699 to 8 June 1715: Lieutenant-Colonel Raymond Count Bourke (Walter Bourke according to Susane)
On 8 June 1715, after the Treaty of Utrecht, the regiment was transferred to the Spanish Army where it was initially known as “Regimiento del Principe de Astúrias” (aka “Wachop Infantry”).
In 1718, the regiment was renamed “Regimiento de Irlanda”. It was disbanded in 1818.
Service during the War
In May 1701, the regiment part of the Army of the Rhine. In July, it was sent to Northern Italy where it campaigned under the command of the Maréchal de Catinat during the Imperialist invasion of Northern Italy. It was initially posted on the Adige. On 1 September, it fought in the Battle of Chiari.
In 1702, the regiment was brigaded with Dillon Infanterie and formed part of the garrison of Cremona. On 1 February, Prince Eugène de Savoie made an unsuccessful attempt to storm Cremona where the regiment distinguished itself, recovering a battery of six pieces captured by the Austrians. It later took part in the siege of Castiglione. On 15 August, it fought in the Battle of Luzzara where it was deployed on the left wing. It then took part in the siege of Guastalla.
In 1703, the regiment campaigned once more in Italy, taking part in the siege of Vercelli which surrendered on 27 June. It then accompanied the Duc de Vendôme who advanced in Trentino in a vain attempt to effect a junction with the army of the Elector of Bavaria.
In March and April 1704, the regiment fought in several encounters in Upper Italy, taking part in the sieges and capture of Vercelli and Ivrea. It then marched to Verrua to open the trench.
In 1705, the regiment took part in the Siege of Verrua which surrendered on 9 April after a fierce defence. It was then sent to participate in the blockade of Mirandola. It later received orders to reinforce the corps of the Duc de la Feuillade who had laid siege to Chivas which capitulated on 28 July. On 16 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Cassano where it was deployed on the left of the first line. It suffered heavy losses and was saved by the charge of a dragoon brigade.
On 19 April 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Calcinato. After the disastrous Battle of Turin, on 7 June, the regiment retired on Pinerolo and then retreated to France.
In 1707, the regiment operated in Languedoc against the insurgents of the Cevennes. It took part in an engagement at Nacher where Major Matthew O'Kennedy was wounded.
On 11 July 1708, the regiment fought in the Battle of Oudenarde. After the defeat, it retired to Ghent.
On 11 September 1709, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet where it defended the Sart Woods. After the battle, it retired towards Le Quesnoy supported by the cavalry.
In 1710, the regiment took part in the defence of Saint-Venant which was forced to capitulate on 29 September. The garrison obtained the honours of war.
In 1712, the regiment took part in an attempt to relieve Landrecies. On 24 July, it fought in the victorious Battle of Denain. It then took part in the siege of Marchiennes which surrendered on 30 July; in the Siege of Douai and in the recapture of Le Quesnoy.
On 27 June 1713, the regiment took part in the capture of the bridge of Mannheim, in the siege and recapture of Landau, in the attack on the entrenchments of Hornberg and in the siege and capture of Freiburg which surrendered on 1 November.
In 1714, the regiment was part of the 40 battalions sent to assist the Spanish army in the siege of Barcelona. On 11 September, it took part in the storming of Barcelona. It then remained in this city as garrison.
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This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books, which are now in the public domain:
- Clonard, Conde de, Historia Orgánica de las Armas de Infantería y Caballería, vol. X, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 137-164
- Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 8, p. 287
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.