Humières Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised according to a decree issued on 26 October 1629 by the Marquis Louis de Nettancourt, formerly captain in Vaubécourt Infanterie, at the moment when Louis XIII was arming against the Duke of Savoy.

The regiment received its baptism of fire in 1631 during the siege of the Citadel of Verdun. In 1633, it took part in the siege of Nancy; in 1634, in the capture of Bitche, La Mothe, Saverne and Haguenau, in the occupation of Mannheim and in the relief of Heidelberg. At that time, it counted 14 companies.

In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the combat of Fresche in Alsace, in the reduction of Spires and Vaudémont, and in the pursuit of Gallas' Corps in Champagne; in 1636, in the relief of Colmar and Haguenau, and in the siege of Saverne. In 1637, the regiment was transferred from the Rhine to Flanders where it contributed to the capture of Landrecies, Maubeuge and La Capelle, and to the defence of Maubeuge. In 1638, it took part in the siege of Saint-Omer. At the end of the year, the regiment returned to Lorraine and was at the capture of Blamont and Lunéville and at the siege of Alt-Breisach. After the capture of Alt-Breisach, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Kreuznach.

From 1639 to 1648, the regiment campaigned in Germany where it also recruiter. Consequently, it became exclusively composed of German soldiers. It was thus treated as a foreign regiment, a situation that would persist until 1687.

In 1639, the regiment provided a detachment for the relief of Bingen. In January 1640, the entire regiment took part in the passage of the Rhine; in 1642, in the victory of Kampen and in the storming of Leicknich; in 1643, in the siege and capture of Rothweil and in the defeat of Dutlingen; in 1644, in the Battle of Freiburg, in the conquest of Philisbourg, Worms, Mainz, Landau, Mannheim and Neustadt, in the relief of Spires and Baccarat, and in the capture of the Castle of Kreuznach; in 1645, in the storming of Germesheim, in the capture of Stuttgart, in the defeat of Marienthal, in the capture of Rothemburg and in the Battle of Nördlingen. In 1646, the regiment saw no action. In 1647, it took part in the siege of Tübingen, and in the capture of Aschaffenburg and Darmstadt. In 1648, the regiment counted only 250 men at the opening of the campaign.

At the beginning of the Fronde (1648-1653), in 1649, the regiment returned to France but was soon recalled on the Rhine where it was at the capture of Condé. In 1650, it took part in the Battle of Rhétel. In 1651, it was transferred to the northern provinces. In 1652, it took part in the siege of Étampes and in the Battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine; in 1653, in the sieges of Vervins, Rhétel, Mouzon and Sainte-Ménehould.

In 1654, during the Franco-Spanish War, the regiment took part in the siege of Stenay, in the attack of Arras and in the siege of Clermont-en-Argonne; in 1655, in the siege of Landrecies, and in the capture of Condé and Saint-Ghislain; in 1656, in the siege of Valenciennes; in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy and Gravelines, and in the capture of Oudenarde where it assumed garrison duty until 1660.

In 1660, the regiment was sent to Champagne where it mutinied when its soldiers heard that it would be disbanded. Finally, the regiment was maintained on a reduced foot of 4 companies of 100 men each.

In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment was increased to 11 companies by the incorporation of 7 German companies who had been kept to garrison various places. During the campaign of Flanders, it remained at a camp near Rocroi to secure the frontier.

In 1669, the colonel left with all his 7 German companies to relieve Candia (present-day Heraklion) on Crete Island, besieged by the Turks. The colonel was killed during a sortie and his troops totally annihilated.

In 1670, due to these losses, the regiment counted only 4 companies. The same year, an ordonnance attributed the 23rd rank to the regiment. In 1671, the regiment was increased to 16 companies.

In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was sent to the Low Countries. In 1673, it gained seniority and climbed to the 22nd rank. The same year, it campaigned once more in the Low Countries. In 1674, 12 companies of the regiment defended Grave where they greatly distinguished themselves. After the capitulation of Grave, these companies were sent to Charleroi to assume garrison duty. In 1675, they took part in the capture of Thuin-sur-Sambre while the rest of the regiment fought in the combats of Turkheim and Altenheim. In 1676, the entire regiment took part in the capture of Condé, Bouchain and Aire; in 1677, in the siege of Freiburg; in 1678, in the attack of the bridge of Seckingen, in the reduction of Kehl, and in an affair near Strasbourg. The same year, after the departure of Douglas Infanterie, the regiment received the 20th rank which it kept until 1775.

In 1679, the regiment campaigned on the frontier of Alsace and fought in the Battle of Minden.

In 1684, the regiment was attached to the Army of Roussillon and took part in the combat of Ter and in the siege and storming of Girona, suffering heavy losses. It was then sent to Roussillon to re-established itself. The regiment then served as garrison in Perpignan until 1686 when it was sent to Piedmont.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was garrisoning Casale. In 1689, it was ordered to return to Roussillon where it joined the army of the Duc de Noailles and took part in the siege of Campredon. In 1690, it was transferred to Flanders and fought in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, it took part in the siege of Mons and in the combat of Leuze. In 1692, the regiment received a second battalion which had just been raised in Montreuil from detachments contributed by infantry regiments Feuquières, Brie, Dauphiné and Bassigny. The 2 battalions assembled at Menin and participated in the siege of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi. In 1693, the regiment took part in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi; in 1695, in the bombardment of Bruxelles. In 1696, the regiment was transferred to Italy where it took part in the siege of Valencia. In 1697, it returned to Flanders and participated in the siege of Ath.

In 1698, the regiment was part of the camp of Compiègne and then assumed garrison duty in Calais.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted 2 battalions.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by successive colonels:

  • since 12 March 1689: Louis-François d'Aumont, Duc d'Humières
  • from 9 February 1702: Louis-Joseph de Béthune, Marquis de Charost
  • from 1 October 1709: Michel-François Chevalier de Béthune
  • from 2 April 1712 to 10 March 1734: Charles-François d'Estaing, Marquis de Saillant

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment was sent to the Spanish Netherlands. By mid-February, it was stationed in Bruxelles. By 3 October, it occupied Aarschot in the name of King Philip V of Spain. By the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Waasland.

In 1702, most of the regiment, under its new colonel, the Marquis de Charost, assumed garrison duty in the Citadel of Liège. Meanwhile, a few companies were thrown into Kayserswerth which they bravely defended. Captain de Blacy and most of its grenadiers were killed defending the place, and Lieutenant de Quay was severely wounded. After Boufflers' advance on Nijmegen, the two battalions were reunited in the Citadel of Liège which was soon besieged. By 22 October, the Allies had created a practicable breach and launched an assault on the citadel. The second battalion initially repulsed two attacks but the Allies managed to turn its positions by the city gates. Attacked in front and in rear, the battalion was finally forced to retire after losing 300 men. Among them, 13 officers were killed on the breach: captains La Villemeneust, Tolleville, La Levretière, Francval, Langentée and Lesquen; and 7 lieutenants. The remnants of the regiment surrendered as prisoners of war and were sent to the Dutch Republic.

In 1703, the men of the regiment were exchanged. As they arrived in France, they were sent to Béthune which had been designated as assembly place for the regiment. There, they were joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Tournin with 400 men, including about 100 men returning from the defence of Bonn. Others came from hospitals or from the Lines of Ghent where many soldiers had managed to escape after the capture of Liège.

In 1704, the regiment started the campaign in Flanders. After the disastrous Battle of Blenheim where a Franco-Bavarian army had been utterly defeated, the regiment was sent to the Rhine to cover the retreat of this army.

In 1705 and 1706, the regiment remained on the Rhine, taking part in the siege of Haguenau where Major La Tour was wounded, in the relief of Fort-Louis, in the capture of Drusenheim, Lauterbourg and Marquisat Island.

In 1707, the regiment was attached to Villars' Army during its expedition in Swabia and Franconia, contributing to the capture of Schorndorf where it remained as garrison. At the end of the year, the regiment was transferred to Flanders.

On 11 July 1708, the regiment took part in the Battle of Oudenarde where it lost 50 men from a single cannonshot. After the retreat of the French army, the regiment was sent with Navarre Infanterie to Cadzand Island. During the siege of Lille, it was encamped at Meldert, under the command of the Marquis d'Hautefort. In October and November, it worked at the repair of the fortifications of La Bassée. It then took its winter-quarters in Saint- Omer.

On 4 July 1709, the regiment was with Navarre Infanterie at the capture of Warneton. On 11 September, the regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Malplaquet where its brigade, posted in the woods to the left of the first line, withstood the shock of two large Allied columns (including the British Guards battalions) The second battalion of the regiment opened such a devastating fire that the British were forced to retire out of range. However, they soon came back and planted their colours on the entrenchments covering the regiment who drove them back once more, capturing two colours. Finally, surrounded by new troops, the isolated regiment retreated, opening a passage at the point of the bayonet. It managed to join the main body. However, it charged three more times and its colonel was killed in action. With him died captains Mauny, Dodinghar, Manezy, Salers, La Boussaye, La Mothe and Grousse; and Aide-Major de Peynant. Major de Redon later died of his wounds. Lieutenant-Colonel de La Chauverie was wounded as well as captains d'Ableville and de Soulvignac. The regiment then retired on Péronne and Doullens.

In 1710, Lieutenant-General Comte Albergotti, who had seen the regiment in action at Malplaquet, asked for it for the defence of Douai. On 22 April, the Allies laid siege to Douai who resisted for 52 days during which the regiment distinguished itself. On 8 May, its two grenadier captains (MM. de Montigny and de Courcenay) were wounded in a sortie while defending a demi-lune. On 23 June, the regiment repulsed an attack. Finally, Douai capitulated with the honours of war. During this siege, the regiment had lost more than 300 men and a great number of officers. Among the dead were captains de Courcenay, Dossat, Dodicq, Bonrepos, Tournin, Savigny and Maron. For the rest of the campaign, the regiment formed a single battalion. It took its winter-quarters in Rheims.

In 1711, the regiment was sent on the Rhine where it remained on the defensive for two years.

On 25 June 1713, the regiment opened the left trench in front of Landau. The grenadier company of Captain de Montigny stormed the work known as “Hirondelle”, losing 22 men in the attack. This work was known to be mined. Lieutenant de Gouffreville captured the officer commanding the work and asked him where the fuse of the mine was> The Austrian officer refusing to answer, Gouffreville seized him and said: “Then we will die together”. When the mine exploded, Gouffreville miraculously survived but not his prisoner. In September, the regiment took part in the storming of General Vaubonne's entrenched camp established in the mountains above Freiburg. It then opened the trench in front of Freiburg along with the Gardes Françaises. Its grenadiers drove back several sorties. Its second grenadier company stormed the covert way but lost about 20 men and Captain de Mazereville in this action while the brave Gouffreville was severely wounded.



Uniform in 1710 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Rousselot, Marbot, Lienhart & Humbert, Funcken
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a white or black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a white of black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with royal blue 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 small copper button
Lapels none
Pockets escutcheon shaped pockets, each with 7 copper buttons
Cuffs royal blue, each with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat royal-blue with copper buttons and aurore (light orange) brandebourgs
Breeches royal blue
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

Susanne and Lienhart & Humbert describe a totally different uniform: grey-white coat; light green cuffs; grey-white breeches; grey-white waistcoat (buttons are identical in umber and disposition).

Marbot shows different pockets: 2 vertical pockets on each side, each with 3 copper buttons


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Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colour: a white cross with four green quarters, each charged with a white rhombus

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf


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. 1-19

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. 108

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"‎

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

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.