Hessy Infanterie

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

Origin and History

Up to the reign of Louis XIV, to the exception of the Gardes Suisses, no Swiss regiment had been maintained on a permanent basis in the French Army. They usually served for four years before being sent back home and replaced by new units. In 1671, Louis XIV charged Pierre Stuppa, a captain in his Gardes Suisses, to negotiate with the Swiss Cantons the creation and cession of four regiments. Contracts were signed on 14 August of the same year. The four regiment arrived in France at the beginning of 1672 and were admitted in the French service on 17 February. The present regiment was initially under the command of François Pfiffer de Wyher.

In 1672, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the new regiment campaigned in Holland. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht. In 1674, it fought in the Battle of Seneffe. In 1675, it took part in the covering of the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg; in 1676, in the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire; in 1677, in the siege of Saint-Omer, in the Battle of Cassel and in the capture of Saint-Ghislain; and in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, and in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1683, the regiment contributed to the capture of Courtrai and Dixmude. In 1684, ir covered the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment fought in the Combat of Walcourt. In 1690, under his new colonel, Gabriel Hessy, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, it took part in the siege of Mons. In 1692, the regiment was transferred to the Alps. In 1693, it took part in the defence of Pinerolo and in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1696, the regiment returned to Flanders where it took part in the siege of Ath.

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 commanded by:

  • from 20 December, 1689 to 30 November, 1729: Gabriel Hessy

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment was recalled to Flanders where it worked at the defensive lines of Antwerp.

In 1702, the regiment was present at the affair of Nijmegen. It then garrisoned took part in the capture of the Chartreuse de Liège before taking up its winter-quarters in Waasland.

On 30 June 1703, the regiment campaigned in Flanders.

In 1704, after the defeat suffered by the Army of Germany, the regiment was dispatched to the Rhine. Its 2nd and 3rd battalions were thrown into Landau and took part in the defence of the place. After the capitulation of Landau, thse two battalions were placed in garrison in Phalsbourg and Sarrebourg, while the 1st battalion returned to Flanders.

In 1705, the entire regiment was sent to the Army of Spain placed under the command of the Maréchal de Tessé. It initially served at the unsuccessful siege of Gibraltar and then marched to the relief of Badajoz.

In 1706, the regiment served under the Maréchal de Berwick. In October, detached alone, it forced the garrison of Cuença (2,000 men) to surrender as prisoners of war. It then took part in the capture of Cathagena.

On 25 April 1707, the regiment was at the Battle of Almansa. It then took part in the submission of the Kingdom of Valencia.

In 1708, the regiment took part in the capture of Lérida and Tortosa and in the cannonade of Puente-Major.

In 1709, the regiment took part in the defeat of General Franckemberg near Girona. It was later sent back to Languedoc.

In 1710, the regiment returned to Flanders.

In 1712, the regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Denain and in the siege of Le Quesnoy where it lost Captain de Balthazard. On 17 October, his three grenadier captains were wounded during the attack of the covert way and of the lunette of Bouchain.

In 1713, the regiment was sent to the Rhine and contributed to the recapture of Kayserslautern and Landau. Lieutenant La Harpe was killed in front of Landau.


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The 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 6, pp. 344- 347

Other sources

Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris, 1882

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 199