Origin and History
The regiment was created on 13 September 1684. Indeed, expecting a coalition to soon form against France, Louis XIV raised 30 new regiments from September 1 to 30 for the defence of the various places of the realm. By raising one regiment a day, he avoided any problem of precedence among these new regiments.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was increased to 20 companies. The same year, it took part in the capture of Philisbourg, Manheim, Frankenthal and other places in Palatinate. In 1689 and 1690, it campaigned on the coasts of Normandy. In 1691, it was sent to the Alps where it participated in the submission of Montmélian and Chambéry. In 1692, it served in Flanders and was at the siege of Namur and at the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, it took part in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi. In 1694 and 1695, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Meuse. In 1695, it defended Namur.
On 1 February 1701, the regiment, which initially counted a single battalion, was increased to two battalions.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by
- from 4 March 1696: Joseph de Mesmes, Marquis de Ravigan
- from 22 January 1709 to 1 August 1734: Pierre de Thomé
Service during the War
On 1 February 1701, the regiment, which initially counted a single battalion, was increased to two battalions. It initially served in Flanders.
In 1702, the regiment was at the combat of Nijmegen. On 27 June, it took part in an engagement at Moock where several of its grenadiers were wounded.
In 1703, the regiment was transferred to the Army of the Rhine. In February and March, its first battalion served under Villars at the Siege of Kehl. In the night of 23 to 24 April, this battalion took part in the attack of the Lines of Stollhofen. It then followed Villars in Bavaria. In May, Lieutenant-Colonel Desroberts, with 100 men of the battalion and 50 horse, was charged to levy contributions in Swabia. He surprised and ransomed the towns of Freding and Ebengheim. Attacked on its way back by 200 Imperial cuirassiers and 30 hussars, he sustained a terrible struggle in which he was wounded; but he forced the enemy to retire. During this campaign this battalion also took part in the Combat de Munderkirchen, in the Battle of Höchstädt (20 September) and in the capture of Kempten, Ulm and Augsburg. Colonel de Ravignan deserved particular praise for his conduct at Höchstädt. During this campaign, the second battalion remained on the Rhine as part of Tallard’s Army. In August and September, it took part in the Siege of Alt-Breisach; and in October and November, in the Siege of Landau. On 15 November, it fought in the Combat of Speyerbach. It was then sent to Bavaria where it was placed in garrison in Ulm.
On 13 August 1704, the regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim. Its first battalion formed part of Marchin’s Corps and its second was attached to Tallard’s Corps. After this disastrous defeat, the remnants of the regiment were thrown into Brisach, along with Saintonge Infanterie. Together, they repulsed the attempt of Prince Eugène de Savoie to capture that place.
In 1705, the regiment continued to serve on the Rhine.
In 1706, the regiment took part in the relief of Fort-Louis, in the capture of Drusenheim, Lauterbourg and Marquisat Island.
In 1707, the regiment took part in the capture of the Lines of Stollhofen and of Schorndorf, in the conquest of Suabs-Gemunden and in all of Villars’ expeditions on the banks of the Rhine.
In 1708, the regiment was sent to Flanders and was thrown into Lille, participating in the defence of this city. On the night of 26 to 27 August, 400 men of the regiment made a sortie, attacked the Magdeleine Chapel and razed the siege works of the enemy. In this action, Colonel de Ravignan and Captain La Gaze were wounded. When the city of Lille finally surrendered, the regiment retired to the citadel and continued to resist. After the capitulation of the Citadel of Lille, the regiment was sent to the coasts of Normandy. It replenished its ranks during the winter.
In 1709, the regiment rejoined the Army of Flanders. On 11 September, it fought in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet. When it left the battlefield, it took refuge in Bouchain.
In 1711, the regiment was besieged in Bouchain by the Dutch General Fagel. After a stubborn resistance, it capitulated with the honours of war. However, Marlborough disapproved the terms of the capitulation and the regiment was treated as prisoners of war and sent to Tournai; its officers were even sent to the Dutch Republic.
A battalion was formed with the soldiers who managed to escape but this unit was not employed for the rest of the war.
In 1714, the regiment incorporated the disbanded Blacons Infanterie and the free companies of Caudemberg and Guise.
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. 139-143