Grancey Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was created by a decree issued on 3 February 1630, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), for the Comte de Grancey. It incorporated remnants of old compagnies franches.

In 1630, on the year of its creation, the regiment took part in the occupation of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, in the attack on Veillane. At the beginning of 1631, it was disbanded but immediately re-established on 8 July, campaigning in Lorraine and contributing to the capture of Vic.

In 1632, the regiment was sent to Languedoc where it took part in the Battle of Castelnaudary. It then marched to the Rhine where it was at the siege of Trier. In 1633, it took part in the siege of Épinal; in 1634, in the capture of Haguenau, Bitche and La Mothe, and in the relief of Heidelberg and Philisbourg; in 1635, in the campaign on the Rhine.

On 8 December 1635, when King Louis XIII associated several of his best infantry regiments to provinces of his kingdom, the regiment was renamed “Perche”

In 1636, the regiment took part in the siege of Saverne and then followed his commander to Montbéliard where he had been appointed as governor. In 1637, the regiment operated around Basel and Montbéliard, relieved Héricourt, captured Sainte-Ursanne, besieged Saint-Hippolyte, stormed Isle-sur-le-Doubs. In 1638, it took part in the relief of Lure and in a combat near Montbéliard where it was virtually annihilated.

In 1639, the regiment was re-established as a gentleman regiment of 12 companies under the name of “Grancey”. In April, it participated in the siege and battle of Thionville where it was once more almost completely destroyed. The remnants of the regiment retired to Metz.

In 1640, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment was assigned to the Army of Flanders and was at the siege of Arras, In August 1641, it was transferred to Lorraine and contributed to the capture of Bar-le-Duc, Pont-à-Mousson, Saint-Mihiel , Ligny, Gondrecourt and Neufchâteau, to the siege of Mirecourt, and to the storming of Jonvelle. In 1642, the regiment was increased to 30 companies and contributed to the siege and capture of Dieuze. It was then transferred to Roussillon and, on its way, fought in an engagement near the Castle of Rey and took its winter-quarters in Franche-Comté. In 1643, it took part in the siege of Thionville; in 1644, in the siege and capture of Gravelines where it then assumed garrison duty for eight years. In 1652, the regiment defended Gravelines against the Spaniards but was forced to surrender. In 1653, the regiment was transferred to Italy where it contributed to the capture of Serravalle, to the defence of the Tanaro and to the capture of Carpignano, taking its winter-quarters in the Saint-Martin Valley. In 1654, it took part in the combat of the Bormida; in 1656, in the siege of Valencia. It then returned to France. In 1657, it was at Thionville. In 1658, it took part in the siege of Dunkerque and in the recapture of Gravelines where it assumed garrison duty.

In 1664, the regiment was part of the relief force sent by King Louis XIV to Hungary to assist the Imperial Army against the Turks. It fought in the Battle of St. Gotthard. In 1666, it was recalled to France.

In 1669, the regiment was part of the relief corps sent to Candia (present-day Heraklion) on the Island of Crete. It returned to France the same year.

In 1671, the depleted regiment was increased to 20 companies.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the conquest of Holland and in the capture of Orsoy. During the following years, it assumed garrison duty in the conquered places. In 1675, it took part in the combat of Consaarbrück; in 1676, in the relief of Maastricht; in 1677, in the capture of Saint-Ghislain; and in 1678, in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1683, the regimen took part in the siege of Courtrat.

In 1688, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim, Spires, Worms, Oppenheim, Trier and Frankenthal; in 1689, in the defence of Bonn. In 1690, the regiment was transferred to Italy where it contributed to the capture of Cahours, fought in the Battle of Staffarda and took part in the capture of Saluzzo and Susa. In 1691, it took part in the capture of Nice, Veillane, Carmagnola, the Castle of Montmélian and Villefranche, and in the recapture of Susa; in 1692, in the defence of Susa and Pinerolo; in 1693, in the Battle of Marsaglia. From 1693 to 1696, the regiment continued to serve in Piedmont. In 1696, it took part in the siege of Valencia before being transferred to the Meuse. In 1697, it was at the siege of Ath.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted one battalion.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, this gentleman regiment was commanded by:

  • since 1 April 1693: François Rouxel de Médavy, Marquis de Grancey
  • from 23 March 1707 to 13 October 1730: Adolphe-Charles de Romilley, Marquis de La Chesnelaye

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment served on the Rhine. By July, it formed part of the Army of the Moselle under the command of the Lieutenant-General Comte de Tallard. By the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Gray in Franche-Comté.

In January 1702, the regiment was transferred to Italy. By 1 May, it was part of the main army in Duguast's Brigade. In mid-July, it was attached to the army under the command of the Prince de Vaudémont, governor of Milan for King Philip V of Spain. This corps should remain in observation during the movements of the army of the Duc de Vendôme. On 15 August, having rejoined the main army, the regiment took part in the Battle of Luzzara, sharing the glory of Piémont Infanterie. During the fourth charge conducted by these regiments, the Marquis de Grancey was wounded at a hand by a musket-ball. He was taken away to have his wound tended but heard that his regiment was shaken by the terrible fire of the Austrians. He then came back to his regiment and encouraged his soldiers who remained master of their position. The regiment later contributed to the capture of Luzzara and Borgoforte. By 5 November, the single battalion of the regiment had been reduced to only 239 men. The regiment took its winter-quarters in Castiglione.

In 1703, the regiment followed Vendôme in his march to Tyrol. On the way, a battalion was left at Desenzano on Lake Garda while the other contributed to the capture of the entrenchments of the Imperialists in the Leder and Nota valleys and to the submission of Riva, Nago, Arco and Torbole. After this expedition the regiment went to the Montferrat where it took its winter-quarters.

In 1704, the regiment served under Albergotti in the sieges of Vercelli and Ivrea. It also started the siege of Verrua where it rendered brilliant services.

On 19 January 1705, the Allies having occupied the village of Santo-Moro, in the vicinities of Verrua, the Comte d'Estaing detached Captain de Mailly of the regiment with his grenadier company and three other grenadiers companies from La Marine Infanterie, Royal Infanterie and Bresse Infanterie to recapture the village. Avoiding the plain, Mailly passed by places reputed impassable, reached the village two hours before daybreak, found the enemy under arms, drove them back and putting them to flight, capturing a lieutenant, a sergeant and 15 soldiers. On 1 March, the regiment along with Auvergne Infanterie attacked the Fort de l'Isle whose capture finally led to the capitulation of Verrua. On 31 May, the regiment took part in an affair near Moscolino where Captain de Montgon was wounded. On 16 August, it fought in the Battle of Cassano where it was deployed in the centre of the infantry which was precisely one of the point where Prince Eugène de Savoie directed his attacks. The Imperialists first managed to drive French troops back but the regiment joined the Irish Bourke Infanterie and returned to the charge, led by Vendôme who had just had his horse killed under him and who had thrown himself among the grenadiers saying: “I come to fight alongside with you.” The charge was terrible; the grenadiers, elated by the presence of the general, crushed all opponents that they met in front of them. However, part of the Allied army had managed to pass the Naviglio. The regiment charged these new opponents, drove them back into the river, killing a large number of them, passed the Naviglio and planted its colours on the opposite bank, maintaining its positions till ordered to retire. On 16 October, along with La Marine Infanterie, the regiment stormed the right of the entrenchments of the Gumbetto, capturing them after a combat of two hours. At the end of this glorious campaign, the regiment took its winter-quarters in the region of Cremona: its first battalion in Volange and its second at Ustiano.

On 19 April 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Calcinato where it was deployed on the extreme left. It was not initially involved in combat but once the French right wing had broken the Allied left, it received orders to pass the Chiesa on the bridge of Calcinato to cut retreat to retreating soldiers. It executed this movement punctually and with vigour, seizing all farmhouses covering the débouché of the bridge and thus contributing to the total defeat of the Imperialists. On 8 September, it fought in the Battle of Castiglione where its former colonel, the Comte de Grancey, defeated the Landgrave of Hesse. However, two days before, the French lines surrounding Turin had been forced by Prince Eugène and the main French army in Italy had been put to flight. Italy was lost and the regiment had to repass the Alps. It then remained in Savoy.

In 1707, the regiment, now known as “La Chesnelaye”, came to the defence of Toulon. After the retreat of the Imperialists, it returned to Savoy where it defended the alpine passes until 1712.

In 1713, the regiment was transferred to the Army of the Rhine. It took part in the siege and capture of Landau where it then remained as garrison after its capitulation.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1706 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Rousselot, Marbot, Funcken, Lienhart & Humbert
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black of white cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black or white cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with red lining; 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 copper button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs red slit cuffs, each with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red (grey-white per Lienhart & Humbert) with copper buttons
Breeches grey-white (red in 1730 as per Marbot)
Stockings red 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.

Other interpretations

The Funcken illustrate a similar uniform but with white metal (pewter buttons and silver laced tricorne) and with pockets in the shape of an escutcheon, each with 7 buttons.

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

The unit being a gentleman regiment, its drummers probably wore the liveries of its successive colonels. Unfortunately, we did not find any information on these liveries.

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colours: a white cross with red and black triangles in each canton. These ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1630 to 1762.

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 5, pp. 55-69, 78

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. 109

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"‎

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

N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.