Chevau-légers de la Garde

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Chevau-légers de la Garde

Origin and History

Chevau-légers de la Garde in 1724. - Source: Alfred de Marbot Tableaux synoptiques de l'infanterie et de la cavalerie...

This company was raised by Henri IV in 1570 when he was king of Navarre. From 1589, the company was known as the Chevau-légers du Roi.

On December 15, 1593 at Tours, the company (100 men) was incorporated into the Garde. It was the oldest of the so-called "Maison Rouge" (the red uniformed companies of the Maison du Roi).

In 1609, Sully wanted to transform this company into a gendarme company, but Lieutenant-Captain La Curée opposed this measure and the unit remained a chevau-léger company.

The company had its quarters at Versailles.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the company was under the nominal command of King Louis XIV however, the company was under the effective command of a lieutenant-captain:

  • from August 1670: N. d'Albert d'Ailly, Duc de Chevreuse
  • from 1704: N. d'Albert d'Ailly, Duc de Montfort
  • from 2 November 1704 to 8 January 1729: Louis-Auguste d'Albert d'Ailly, Duc de Chaulnes

The company was disbanded on September 30, 1787.

Service during the War

In July 1701, the company was posted at Colmar. It was transferred to the Moselle at the end of July.

In January 1702, the company was allocated to the Army of Flanders. As of 28 September, the company formed part of the Army of the Maréchal de Boufflers campaigning in the Low Countries. In November, the company took up its winter-quarters in Paris.

In May 1703, the company formed part of the field army operating in the Low Countries.

In mid-May 1704, the unit crossed the Meuse River at Namur and marched to Luxembourg with the rest of the "Maison du Roi".

On 23 May 1706, the company took part in the Battle of Ramillies, where it was deployed behind the first line of the cavalry right wing.

On 11 July 1708, the unit took part in the Battle of Oudenarde, where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne laced gold, with a black cockade and a white plume
Neckstock white
Coat scarlet with all seams and edges laced gold with golden brandebourgs, silver and gold buttons and silver buttonholes
Collar none
Shoulder straps golden epaulette with a silver fringe (right shoulder)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets laced gold with 6 silver buttonholes (according to Mouillard)
Cuffs black velvet laced gold with 3 silver and gold buttons, 3 silver buttonholes and golden brandebourgs (according to Mouillard)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat buff laced silver
Breeches red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt none
Waistbelt black laced gold with a thin silver braid in the middle
Cartridge Box n/a
Scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth scarlet laced laced silver
Housings scalet laced silver
Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a rifle. For combat, they wore a blackened breastplate and an iron skullcap over their tricorne.

The troopers mounted bay horses.

Officers

Officers wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following differences:

  • a wide golden braid covered with golden foliage pattern sewn over all seams of their coat, cuffs, pockets, housings and on their waistcoat
  • probably a black waistcoat (like the officers of the Gendarmes de la Garde)

Like for all units belonging to the Maison du Roi, the horses of the officers had to be grey.

Musicians

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with silver and golden braids.

The musicians were mounted on bay horses.

Standards

The silken standards had a white field. Both sides had silver and gold embroideries, bearing in their centre an octagonal frame containing a scene depicting thunderbolts falling from the sky with the motto “Sensere gigantes”. Standards were fringed in gold and silver.

Along with those of the Gendarmes de la Garde, the standards of the Chevau-légers de la Garde were deposited each night in the King's room.

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 1, Paris: Hetzel, 1874, pp. 225-228
  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 9-10

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F., Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Mouillard, Lucien; Les Régiments sous Louis XV; Paris 1882

Vial J.-L., Nec Pluribus Impar