Ferrar Dragoons

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

Origin and History

This tercio of dragoons was raised in Flanders on 7 February 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97) by the Prince of Steenhuysen. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the Battle of Leuze; in 1692, in the Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen, in 1694, in the siege of Huy; in 1695, in the attack on the Fort Kenoque.

On 31 March 1701, all Spanish dragoon tercios serving in the Spanish Netherlands were reorganised along the lines of the French dragoon regiments at the request of the Maréchal de Boufflers.

The successive colonels of the tercio/regiment were:

  • from 7 February 1689: Prince of Steenhuysen
  • from 13 April 1701: Don Nicolás Ferrar
  • from 1706: Don Antonio Pignatelli
  • from 1710: Don Pedro Chateaufort

N.B.: this regiment must not be confused with the Ferrari Dragoons who were raised in Southern Italy during the War of the Austrian Succession.

In 1713, the regiment was renamed “Vendôme” and in 1718, Frisia.

Service during the War

On 10 June 1702, the regiment engaged the British cavalry as the Allies were retreating towards Nijmegen.

In 1703, the regiment formed part of the army under the command of the Duc de Bourgogne who campaigned on the Lower Rhine. In August and September, the regiment was at the Siege of Alt-Breisach. From 10 October, it participated in the Siege of Landau. On November 15, it fought in the Combat of Speyerbach. On November 17, Landau surrendered and the regiment returned to the Spanish Netherlands.

In 1705, the regiment was assigned to the Army of the Elector of Bavaria who laid siege and captured Huy on 1 June. The regiment then took part in the defence of the Lines of Brabant which were forced by the Allies. The regiment occupied a defile to cover the retreat.

On 23 May 1706, the regiment fought in the Battle of Ramillies.

In 1707, the regiment joined Villars' Army operating in Germany. On 22 May, it took part in an attack on the Lines of Stollhofen.

On 26 August 1709, as part of the corps of Lieutenant-General Comte de Bourg, the regiment attacked and defeated the Austrians encamped at Rumersheim, capturing all their artillery colours and standards. The Austrians lost 1,000 men killed, 800 men drowned, and 1,500 men taken prisoners.

In 1710, the regiment evacuated the Spanish Netherlands and marched through France to Catalonia. Upon arrival, it was renamed “Vandoma”. On 10 June, it joined the army encamped at Balaguer. On 13 June, it was forced to retire to Belcayre and Bellmunt; and on 14 June, between Ibars and Berbens. On 30 June, it was attached to a corps under the command of the General Baron de Huart who was sent to reinforce the Spanish troops fighting the rebels in the Rivagorza region. This corps made itself master of the bridge of Naval, relieved the Castle of Ainsa, driving back the migueletes encircling the castle. It then recrossed the Cinca and destroyed a bridgehead at Medianos. By the end of July, the insurgents had been driven out of Aragon At the end of July, most of Huart's force retired to Roussillon but the regiment was ordered to joined the King's Army. On 27 July, it fought in the Battle of Almenar. The regiment then retired towards Lérida where it bivouacked. On 12 August, it retired from the region of Lérida to Saragossa. On 20 August, it fought in the Battle of Saragossa. The remenants of the regiment took refure in the mountains near Soria. It was then reorganised in Old Castile and marched to Extremadura. On 8 November, it was reviewed by King Philip V at Casatejada on the banks of the Tagus. On 8 December, it took part in the Combat of Brihuega. On 10 December, it fought in the decisive Battle of Villaviciosa and pursued the Allies up to the Cinca.

In 1711, the regiment was posted on the right wing of the first line. When Gerona surrendered, on 25 January, the regiment was detached under the command of General Marquis de Arpajou in the mountains of Aragon and Catalonia. In August, this force captured the Castle of Arenys, taking the Austrian General Schower prisoner. The division then marched on Benasque and Castell-Ileó who surrendered in mid-September.At the end of October, the regiment took up its winter-quarters.

In 1712, the regiment continued to campaign in Catalonia.

In 1713, the regiment operated against the insurgents in Catalonia, escorting convoys and taking part in the blockade of Barcelona.

In 1714, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Barcelona. It then sent detachments to fight the insurgents.

Uniform

The distinctive colour of the regiment is described as grey,red or dark red, depending on the source. For the following section, we have assumed a red distinctive.

Troopers

Uniform in 1706 - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore
Uniform Details in 1706
Headgear Troopers: blue fatigue cap with a red flap

Grenadiers: dragoon mitre cap with a red front flap edged yellow and a blue cap with an red pompom

Neck stock white
Coat blue with red lining; copper buttons
Collar none
Shoulder straps yellow aiguilette on the right shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat no information found
Breeches buff leather
Leather Equipment
Bandolier natural leather (white for grenadiers)
Waistbelt natural leather worn above the coat (white for grenadiers)
Cartridge Box black leather
Scabbard natural leather with a white metal tip
Footgear black leather gaiters fastened with straps
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red bordered in yellow
Housings red bordered in yellow with the golden monogram of Philip V
Blanket roll no information found


Grenadier Uniform in 1706 - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore

Troopers were armed with a sword, two pistols and a musket.

Other interpretations: The Conde de Clonard (Vol. XV, p. 347ff) gives the uniform from 1703-1718 as green with red distinctions.

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

no information found

Guidons

Colonela Guidon - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore using a template contributed by Gilbert Noury

no information found on the ordonnance guidon of this regiment

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. XV, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 347-359

Other sources

Caballipedia - Regimiento de Caballería Villaviciosa

Acknowledgements

Michele Savasta Fiore for the research on the uniforms and guidons of this regiment.