Brabante Cavalry

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Brabante Cavalry

Origin and History

The regiment was created by an ordonnance issued by the Governor of the Spanish Netherlands on 18 December 1694. In 1695, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia. On 25 November, the ten companies, under the command of the Count de Tilly, were incorporated in the Spanish Army.

In 1696, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in a combat at Hostalrich. In 1697, it took part in the defence of Barcelona until its surrender on 10 August.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted 3 squadrons.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:

  • from 8 February 1702: Comte d'Aguilar
  • from 5 May 1705: Diego de Cardenas (formerly lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, promoted to maréchal de camp in 1709)
  • from 4 March 1707: Jacques de la Rosière
  • from 1714: Gregorio Pimentel

Service during the War

On 6 December 1701, the regiment embarked at Barcelona and sailed to Italy.

In 1702, the regiment served in Lombardy. On 18 June, it crossed the Po. On 15 August, it was present at the Battle of Luzzara where it was deployed on the right wing of the first line. By 5 November, it counted 3 squadrons for a total of 290 men.

In 1703, the regiment campaigned in the region of Piacenza. On 27 July, it occupied the defile of Aquanera. On 26 October, it took part in the Combat of San Sebastiano against 3,000 Imperial horse.

By 27 January 1704, the regiment was part of d'Estaing's Corps posted at Mortara on the Agogna near Pavia. From 19 May to 21 July, it assisted at the siege of Vercelli. From 2 to 30 September, it was at the siege of Ivrea.

In 1705, the regiment was at the siege of Verrua. It then took part in engagements at Montedemo and Crema. On 16 August, it distinguished itself in the Battle of Cassano.

On 19 April 1706, the regiment fought in the Battle of Calcinato. On 2 June, it joined the army besieging Turin. On 7 September, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Turin. It then retired to Pinerolo where it received orders to march towards Germany to join Villars's Army.

On 22 May 1707, the regiment took part in the attack on the Lines of Stollhofen and in the ensuing campaign in Swabia. By July,it was assuming garrison duty in Dôle (Franche Comté).

In 1708, the regiment was sent to the Spanish Netherlands and was at the Battle of Oudenarde (11 July) and at the actions of Berchen and Denain.

On 11 September 1709, the regiment fought in the Battle of Malplaquet. After this defeat, it was forced to retire to Spain.

In 1710, the regiment joined the Army of Aragon. On 2 June, it took part in the reconquest of Estradilla. During the retreat to Aragon, it fought in the Battle of Almenar where it drove back the Allied cavalry. On 13 August, it routed the Allied cavalry once more at Peñalva. On 20 August, it took part in the Battle of Saragossa. On 12 December, it fought in the decisive Combat of Villaviciosa.

In 1711 and 1712, the regiment fought against the insurgents.

In 1714, the regiment was sent to reinforce the troops besieging Barcelona.

Uniform

The following uniform is a tentative reconstruction based on the fact that the regiment had a grey uniform with blue distinctive.

Privates

Uniform in 1703- Source: Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne laced white, with a red cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey with blue lining; pewter buttons (probably) on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder straps blue ribbons at the shoulders
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with pewter buttons (probably) (we assume the presence of 4 buttons in our plate)
Cuffs blue, each with pewter buttons (probably) (we assume the presence of 4 buttons in our plate)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat probably blue with pewter buttons (probably)
Breeches probably blue
Leather Equipment
Bandolier natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather worn above the coat
Cartridge Box natural leather ventral cartridge box
Scabbard black leather with a white metal tip
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth no information found
Housings no information found
Blanket roll no information found


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pistol and a carbine.

Officers

Uniforms of officers differed from those of privates and NCOs by the finer material used. Their waistcoat, saddle cloth and housings were edged with a wide golden braid. They always wore a tricorne notwithstanding the headgear worn by soldiers.

The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • colonel: a baton with a gold knob
  • lieutenant-colonel: a baton with a silver knob
  • sargento mayor: a baton with a silver topped knob
  • captain: silver or golden epaulettes (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on both shoulders
  • lieutenant: silver or golden epaulette (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on the right shoulder
  • cornet: silver or golden epaulette (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on the left shoulder

NCOs

The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • sergeant : baton without knob and halberd
  • mariscal de logis (quartermaster): small woolen epaulette (red or of the distinctive colour of the regiment)
  • brigadier: swagger stick
  • corporal of squadron: swagger stick
  • second corporal of squadron (rank suppressed in 1706): swagger stick

Musicians

Trumpeters probably wore a “reversed colours” uniform: blue coat with grey distinctive.

Standards

The regimental standards were made of crimson damask embroidered and bordered in gold. The centre device consisted of a silver escutcheon carrying two red rings.

Tentative reconstruction: Brabante Cavalry Standard – Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

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. XIV, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 324-328

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

Acknowledgment

Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article.