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Origin and History
This regiment is older than what its rank indicated. He had initially been raised in 1661 by Charles II under the title of “Royal-Irlandais” from the remnants of the Irish units in the French service which had been disbanded after the Treaty of the Pyrenees. This regiment returned to Great Britain when Charles II was recalled.
The regiment was soon renamed “Gardes Irlandaises” defended the crown of James II up to the last moment. After the capitulation of Limerick, the regiment entered into the French service and, on 9 October 1689, embarked for Brest.
For many years, Louis XIV, for the sake of James II, maintained the regiment out of the French Army, as an auxiliary unit which initially served on the coasts of Normandie.
In 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment received James' authorisation to join a French army campaigning in the Low Countries and took part in the siege of Huy. In 1693, it fought in the Battle of Landen. It later took part in the capture of Charleroi.
On 27 February 1698, after the signature of the Treaty of Ryswick, the “Gardes Irlandaises” were disbanded and its officers and soldiers joined the same day a new regiment of fifteen companies which took the name of its colonel, Lord Dorrington.
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 27 February 1698 to 12 December 1718: William Lord Dorrington (promoted to maréchal de camp on 23 December 1702, and to lieutenant-general on 26 October 1704)
Service during the War
In 1701 and 1702, the regiment served in Alsace under the Maréchal de Catinat.
In 1703, the regiment formed part of the brigade of Dauphin Infanterie. In February and March, during the campaign on the Rhine, it contributed to the siege and capture of Kehl. At the end of April, it took part in the attack of the Lines of Stollhofen. In May, it accompanied Villars in his march to the Danube, taking in the combats of Hornberg and Munderkingen, and, on 20 September, in the Battle of Höchstädt where it distinguished itself when it marched to the relief of Bourbonnais Infanterie surrounded in the village of Bollstadt. It concluded this campaign by the occupation of Kempten, Augsburg and Ulm.
On 13 August 1704, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim where it was attached to Marsin’s Corps. It then retreated to the Rhine and took up its winter-quarters at Metz.
In 1705, the regiment campaigned on the Rhine.
In 1706, the regiment took part in the relief of Fort-Louis and in the capture of Drusenheim, Lauterbourg and the Marquisat Island.
In 1707, under Villars, the regiment took part in the attack on the Lines of Stollhofen, in the capture of Ettlingen, Pforzheim, Wynhing (probably Winnenden) and Schorndorf, and in the combat of Seckingen.
In 1708, the regiment was transferred to Flanders.
On 11 September 1709, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet where it defended the Sart Woods. After the battle, it was thrown into Béthune and contributed to the wonderful defence of M. du Puy-Vaubau who resisted during 35 days of open trenches.
In 1711, the regiment took part in the attack on Arleux.
On 24 July 1712, the regiment took part in the victorious Battle of Denain. It then contributed to the in the Siege of Douai and in the recapture of Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.
In 1713, the regiment returned to the Rhine and took part in the siege and recapture of Landau, in the siege and capture of Freiburg. Its grenadiers distinguished themselves on the night of 4 to 5 August when they made themselves master of the “Pâté” of Landau despite the stubborn resistance of its defenders.
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 7, pp. 241-244