Dauphin Infanterie

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

Origin and History

Ensign of Dauphin Infanterie circa 1700 - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

The regiment was created by Louis XIV for his son the Dauphin de France on 15 June 1667. Initially the regiment ranked 45th.

During the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment served with the Army of Flanders and assumed garrison duty in Charleroi after the capture of this city. In 1668, the regiment campaigned in Franche-Comté and distinguished itself at the sieges of Besançon and Dôle. It was then charged to demolish the fortifications of Dôle which it evacuated on 10 June to go to Tournai.

In 1669 at Tournai, the remnants of the regiment of the Marquis de Linières was incorporated into Dauphin Infanterie who also inherited its rank (16th), just after Lyonnais Infanterie.

In 1670, the regiment campaigned in Lorraine under M. de Créqui, taking part in the sieges of Epinal, Chasté and Longwy. In 1671, it was increased to 70 companies; till then Louis XIV wanted that his son, even though he was still a child, had only a lieutenant-colonel. He changed his mind and created a charge of colonel-lieutenant for the regiment.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment formed part of the Army of Holland and was at the siege of Orsoy, Rheinberg, Doësbourg and Nijmegen and at the affair of Bommel Island. The regiment was then transferred to Turenne's Army and took its winter-quarters on the Moselle. In January 1673, it took part in the expedition in the estates of the Elector of Brandenburg and was at the capture of Unna, Kamen and Soëst. After pushing the enemy back to the Elbe, it returned to its winter-quarters. In May, a detachment of the regiment took part in a combat near Bois-le-Duc against the garrison of Crèvecoeur, later making itself master of Crèvecoeur and razed it before retiring to Kayserswerth. From June the rest of the regiment took part in the siege of Maastricht where, on 24 June, it distinguished itself in the storming of the covert way of a defensive work, losing 37 officers and 224 men. The regiment then participated in the siege of Trier before taking its winter-quarters in Burgundy. In 1674, the regiment took part in the siege of Besançon and in the capture of Dôle where it distinguished itself so much that Louis XIV gave regiments to seven of its captain. After the conquest of Franche-Comté, the regiment was sent to Trier and then to Soissons where it took its winter-quarters. In 1675, it formed part of the Army of the Low Countries and covered the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg; taking its winter-quarters in Avesnes. However in November, it was sent to Brittany to quench troubles. In 1676, it returned to Flanders and took part in the siege of Condé, Bouchain and Aire, in the relief of Maastricht. Meanwhile in May 9 companies were besieged in Philisbourg during three months, capitulating only when all ammunition had been exhausted. In 1677, the regiment took part in the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai, and in the relief of Charleroi. It took its winter-quarters in Cassel. In 1678, it took part in the siege of Ghent. Increased to 3 battalions, it then participated in the capture of Ypres and in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

After the peace, the regiment was sent to Huy. On its return to France, a battalion was sent to Hesdin, the other to Montreuil. The Chantereine battalion, which had always been detached on the Rhine, remained in Freiburg.

In 1680, the regiment was in Lille where it was reviewed with, for the first time, the Dauphin de France at its head. In 1681, the regiment was transferred from Valenciennes to Freiburg to work at the fortifications. In 1682, it worked at the fortifications of Longwy. In 1 683, it was at the camp of Molsheim. In 1684, it formed part of the army who covered the siege of Luxembourg. In May 1685, it was called to Versailles for the instruction of the Dauphin and then went to Boulonnais.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment joined the army commanded by the Dauphin. Brigaded with Picardie Infanterie, it took part in the siege of Philisbourg and in the conquest of Palatinate. At the end of the campaign, the regiment entered into Mainz. In 1689, it was besieged in Mainz, losing 4 captains, 9 lieutenants or ensigns and 300 soldiers in its defence. After the capitulation, it was sent to Strasbourg to replenish its ranks. In 1690, the regiment joined the Army of Germany. In 1691, it was transferred to the Army of Flanders and took part in the siege of Mons where it stormed a work whose defenders were armed with forks and scythes. To perpetuate the memory of this brilliant action, Louis XIV decided that all sergeants of the grenadiers of the regiment would from then on be armed with forks instead of muskets. The regiment completed the campaign under the Maréchal de Luxembourg, assisting to the combat of Leuze. During winter, its third battalion was re-established in Tournai. In 1692, the regiment took part in the siege of Namur where it greatly distinguished itself, and in the Battle of Landen where it lost 3 officers and 126 men killed and 41 officers and 296 men wounded. The regiment then went to Douai to replenish its ranks. In December, it took part in the siege of the Castle of Créqui and in the capture of Furnes. In 1693, the regiment started the campaign with the Army of the King but was transferred to the frontiers of Germany in June. In 1694, it formed part of the Army of Flanders. In 1695, it took part in the defence of Namur and in the defence of Fort Guillaume. After the capitulation of Namur, the regiment was sent to Lorraine and stationed in Saint-Mihiel and Bar-le-Duc. In 1696, it campaigned on the Meuse. In 1697, it covered the siege of Ath.

After the Treaty of Ryswick, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Valenciennes. In 1698, it was at the camp of Compiègne. On 30 December, it incorporated Bellisle Infanterie, raised in 1695. In 1699, the regiment was at Tournai; in 1700, at Givet.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted three battalions.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was owned by the Dauphin de France and commanded by:

  • since 21 February 1694:. Charles-François-Anne, Marquis de Montberon
  • from January 1704: Jean-Baptiste de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Comte de Maure
  • from 15 April 1710 to 21 August 1734: Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre, Marquis de Chastes

Service during the War

In 1701, the 3 battalions of the regiment occupied Malines for Philip V and took their winter-quarters in Liège.

In 1702, the regiment took part in the Combat of Nijmegen.

In 1703, the regiment was transferred to Alsace where it served under Villars. It took part in the siege of Kehl, in the attack of the Lines of Stolhoffen and in the occupation of the Kinzig Valley. It then penetrated into the Black Forest and, on 1 May, distinguished itself at the storming of the entrenchments of the Hornberg. It grenadiers, turning the rightmost mountain, overwhelmed a piquet of 300 men, taking more than 100 prisoners (including 5 officers), and attacking the entrenchments from the rear while the rest of the army attacked them frontally. The entrenchments were soon taken but the castle still resisted. Captain de Quincy, at he head of a piquet of the regiment, made himself master of the castle. The following day, Villars wrote to the king:

“The Dauphin Brigade, led by the Comte de Montberon, is the one who attacked first and has very well done. »

The regiment penetrating deeper into Germany assisted at the Combat of Munderkirchen. On 20 September, it took part in the Battle of Höchstädt where one of its battalion lost a colour when cavalry hidden in a wood suddenly attacked it. However, the regiment rallied and made incredible efforts to compensate for this failure, losing 14 captains killed and 8 wounded. Among the dead were captains du Bousquet, Belleroche, La Serre, Vallière, Quincy and Danglas. In a letter that Villars wrote to Minister Chamillard about this battle, he mentioned:

“the Comte de Montberon, who is a good subject and who has been outraged by the bad manoeuvre of his regiment, attributes this to the great number of old soldiers who had been laid off at peace, inspectors wanting only tall young men”.

The same year, the regiment also took part in the sieges of Ulm and Augsburg and took its winter-quarters in Ulm where its colonel-lieutenant, M. de Montberon, died of smallpox.

In 1704, the regiment formed part of the army of Maréchal de Marchin. On 13 August, the regiment fought in the Battle of Blenheim where the behaviour of its colonel was subject of complaints. After this disastrous defeat, the regiment retired to the camp of Sierck and took its winter-quarters in Strasbourg.

In 1705, the regiment was serving with Villars when he forced the Lines of Wissembourg. In August, the regiment received orders to leave Alsace and to march towards Piedmont. However, new orders received on its way, redirected it towards the County of Nice. It then took part, under Berwick, to the siege of Nice, opening the trench on 11 December.

In 1706, the regiment formed part of the Army of Piedmont and took part in the siege of Turin where it suffered heavy losses when a mine exploded. Captain de Boisperche was killed and Major de Montmiral wounded. In September, when Prince Eugène de Savoie attacked the French lines, the 3 battalions of the regiment were placed in a redoubt in front of the army from where they could cover the retreat. But, retreating soldiers having broken the bridge on the Po, the last two battalions were encircled and forced to surrender as prisoners of war. For its part, the first battalion had suffered such heavy losses that the regiment was virtually annihilated. Two days after the battle, the remnants of the regiment (only 150 men) assembled at Pinerolo.

The king designated Besançon as quarters for the regiment. The first battalion promptly replenished its ranks.

In 1708, the first battalion campaigned in Flanders. On 11 July, it took part in the Battle of Oudenarde where it was not engaged but protected the retreat of the defeated army, retiring itself to the camp of Meldert where it remained during the siege of Lille. When the army separated, the battalion returned to Besançon.

From 1709 to 1712, the regiment remained in the Lines of Wissembourg.

In 1712, the reorganised 3 battalions formed part of the Army of Flanders. Two battalions thrown into Le Quesnoy where invested in June by General Fagel and taken prisoners. Directed to Holland, most men managed to escape on the way. By the end of the campaign, the regiment, almost at full strength, was on the Rhine.

In 1713, the regiment took part in the siege of Landau. On 28 July, while it assumed trench duty along with Brendlé Infanterie and Chartres Infanterie, M. de Valory, siege engineer, proposed to Lieutenant du Cimetière to reconnoitre with 30 grenadiers a place of arms beyond the river. Du Cimetière accepted and passed the river with water waist-high. He reached the opposite bank with only three men nearby. In this moment, he shouted: “To me grenadiers, kill, kill!”. Defenders, believing that they were facing a large detachment, abandoned their post and Lieutenant du Cimetière made himself master of this defensive work. He then asked for workers and received 200 men from La Brosse Infanterie and Alsace Infanterie. Meanwhile, the defenders had realized that the French had only a few men and had sent men to recapture the place of arms. However, a volley at point blank made while they were getting over the parapet killed 20 of them and the rest fled. After the capture of Landau, the regiment took part in the siege of Freiburg.

After the peace, on 14 January 1714, the regiment incorporated Paysac Infanterie and, on 21 January, Bouhyer Infanterie.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Delaistre, Rousselot, Susane, Funcken, Lienhart & Humbert, Marbot
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a white cockade (black as per Delaistre and Funcken)
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a white cockade (black as per Delaistre and Funcken)
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with blue lining; 14 copper buttons on the right side and 1 copper button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps grey-white fastened with a small copper button
Lapels none
Pockets double vertical pockets (9 copper buttons arranged in patte d'oie on each single pocket)
Cuffs blue slit cuffs, each with 9 small yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue edged yellow with 36 small copper buttons in 2 rows with yellow trimmed buttonholes
Breeches blue
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.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms very similar to those of privates with the following differences:

  • gold laced tricorne
  • waistcoat edged with a golden braid
  • golden strap to fasten stockings

Fusilier sergeants were armed with a partizan and a sword; grenadier sergeants with a fork and a sword.

Officers

Officers had uniforms made of finer cloth. These uniforms were quite similar to those of privates with the following differences:

  • gold laced black tricorne with a white plumetis
  • golden gorget
  • gilt buttons
  • no shoulder strap

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. The centre of the cross carried the arms of the Dauphin and its branches the motto of the regiment “RES PRAESTANT NON VERBA FIDEM”.

Ordonnance colours: a border of alternating azure blue and gold squares (its width being half of the width of the white cross). Azure squares were decorated with a golden fleur de lys; golden squares, with an azure blue dolphin with red beak, fins and tail. The inner part of the colour had four cantons and a white cross. The centre of the cross carried the arms of the Dauphin and its branches the motto of the regiment “RES PRAESTANT NON VERBA FIDEM”. Each canton was subdivided into eight triangles, alternatively azure blue, crimson, green and yellow.

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 4, pp. 258-278

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. 107

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"‎

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

Rousselot, Lucien: Infanterie française (1720-1736) (II)