La Couronne Infanterie

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

Origin and History

Ensign of La Couronne Infanterie circa 1715
Note: the motto appeared on these colours only at the end of the 18th century - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

This regiment was the first to be raised during the reign of Louis XIV, on 25 June 1643. It recruited in Troyes. It was initially known as La Reine-Mère Regiment in honour of Queen Anne d'Autriche.

In 1643, the regiment initially campaigned on the Rhine, taking part in the siege of Rothweil. It then participated in the siege of Meringen near the source of the Danube where it had to surrender. Its soldiers were brought to Augsburg and Regensburg and several of them managed to escape. In 1644, the regiment campaigned in Flanders, taking part in the siege of Gravelines. In 1646, it took part in the siege of Mardyck and in the capture of Lencke, Bourbourg, Menin and Cassel, in the storming of Lillers, and in the sieges of Béthune and Saint-Venant; in 1646, in the sieges of Courtrai, Mardyck, Berghes and Dunkerque; in 1647, in the capture of La Knocque, in the sieges of Dixmude and Lens; in 1648, in the siege of Ypres and in the combat of Lens.

During the Fronde (1648-1653), in 1649, the regiment took part in the blockade of Paris and in the sieges of Cambrai and Condé. It then spent the rest of the year at Guise. In 1650, the regiment was sent to Guyenne where it was stationed in Nérac. It participated in the relief of Cognac and was then transferred to Champagne where it took part in the siege and in the battle of Rhétel. In 1652, it contributed to the victories of Bléneau, Étampes and Faubourg Saint-Antoine.

In 1653, the regiment was sent to Catalonia where it participated in the siege of Girona and in the disastrous combat of Bordilly. It was then sent to Foix to replenish its ranks. In 1654, it fell in an ambush while crossing the Pyrenees. It later took part in the relief of Roses and in the capture of Puycerda. In 1655, it was at the reduction of Cap de Quiers. In 1657, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it participated in the capture of La Mothe-aux-Bois. In 1658, it took part in the siege of Dunkerque. At the end of the war, the regiment was reduced from 20 to 10 companies.

In 1666, at the death of Queen Anne d'Autriche, the regiment took the name of the Province of Artois. It was renamed “La Couronne” during the siege of Maastricht in 1673 where it had distinguished itself as the king watched operations.

In 1667, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment campaigned in Flanders; in 1668, in Franche-Comté.

In 1670, the regiment took part in the occupation of Lorraine and contributed to the capture of Épinal, Chasté and Longwy.

In 1671, the regiment was increased to two battalions.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was sent to Kayserswerth on the Rhine. It then participated in the sieges of Orsoy, Rheinberg, Duisburg and Utrecht. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht where it brilliant conduct earned it the privileges of a royal regiment and the title of “La Couronne”. In 1674, it was sent to Franche-Comté where it participated in the capture of Besançon and Dôle. It was then transferred to Lorraine. Its first battalion then fought in the Battle of Seneffe and its second, in the Battle of Ensheim. In 1675, the entire regiment fought in the Battle of Turckheim, in the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg, in the disastrous combat of Consarbrück, and in the defence of Trier. In 1676, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it took part in the siege of Condé, covered the siege of Bouchain and contributed to the capture of Landrecies and Aire. It then garrisoned Arras. In 1677, it took part in the Battle of Cassel, in the combat of Morville, near Pont-à-Mousson, in the combat of Sainte-Barbe, near Metz, and in the capture of Freiburg. In 1678, the regiment returned to Flanders where it took part in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, and in the Battle of Saint-Denis. In 1679, the regiment campaigned in Germany and took part in the affair of Minden.

After the peace, the regiment was put in garrison in Saarbrück. In 1684, it took part in the siege and capture of Luxembourg before being sent to Flanders.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was sent to repair the fortifications of Landau, a task that it resumed in 1689. The first battalion then took part in the conquest of Palatinate. In 1690, the entire regiment served under the Dauphin. In 1691, the regiment campaigned in Piedmont where it took part in the capture of Nice. In 1692, it was recalled to serve on the Meuse, taking part in the siege of Namur. In the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, the regiment was sent to Germany but was soon redirected towards Italy where it took part in the Battle of Marsaglia. It continued to serve under Catinat until the signature of peace with the Duke of Savoy in 1696. It then returned to France. In 1697, it campaigned on the Meuse.

In 1698, the regiment took part in the camp of Compiégne. On 23 September, it incorporated the disbanded Hautefort-Bosen Infanterie.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted two battalions.

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

  • since 26 July 1698: Louis, Marquis de Polastron
  • from 11 May 1707: René François de Froulay, Chevalier de Tessé (became colonel of Champagne Infanterie in 1712)
  • from 27 February 1712 till 10 March 1734: Jean Baptiste, Comte de Polastron

Service during the War

Since May 1700, the regiment was stationed in Marsal.

In April 1701, the regiment was transferred to the Spanish Netherlands and initially occupied Namur. By October, it was in Upper Guelderland. By December, it formed part of the garrison of Venlo.

In May 1702, the regiment set off from Venlo for the camp of Wachtendonk, under the command of the Duc de Bourgogne. By 10 September, it was attached to the Army of the Maréchal de Boufflers encamped at Beringen near Limbourg in the Low Countries. In mid-September, the regiment was sent to Xanten before being transferred to Tallard's Corps at the camp de La Chapelle Saint Jean. The regiment then marched to Bonn where it took its winter-quarters.

In April 1703, the regiment took part in the defence of Bonn. On 13 May, during a sortie, it nailed 10 guns and 6 mortars. In this affair, Colonel de Polastron, Major de Lamotte and several captains and lieutenants were wounded; Captains de Guillaucourt and d'Aultry-Varennes, as well as Lieutenants de Clèmes, Molzin, Saint-Cerny and Gigy were killed. At the end of the siege, the regiment retired to Luxembourg, then to the camp of Orloff in Germany. In August, it took part in the siege of Breisach where, on 26 October, it drove back a sortie. From October, it was at the Siege of Landau where, on 13 November, it participated in an attack. When the main army marched to stop an Allied relief force, the regiment was left behind with Touraine Infanterie to form the head of the trenches in front of Landau. On 16 November, they received the capitulation of the place. Captain Desmoulins and Lieutenant Tesnac had been killed during the siege. In December, the regiment was at Rouffach where it received orders to leave for Spain under the command of Berwick. Its itinerary passed by Besançon, Moulins (where it integrated 220 men contributed by the militia), Limoges (200 additional militiamen), then Bayonne, Vitoria, Burgos, Valladolid and the Portuguese border.

In 1704, the 1st battalion was at the Torre and the 2nd at Lozoyos. The regiment took part in the campaign in Portugal. On 8 May, it was at the capture of Salvaterra do Extremo; on 10 May, at the capture of Segura; on 13 May, at the capture of Mousanto; on 23 May, at the capture of Castelho-Branco; and on 8 June, at the siege and capture of Portalegre. After the failure of that campaign, the regiment went to Ceuta Rodrigo to cover the troops besieging Gibraltar. It then marched to Alversa where it remained till the end of September. From there, the regiment went to Toro, in the Province of Léon, where it received reinforcements from the militia of Périgueux and Libourne. During this period, its two grenadier companies took part in the siege of Gibraltar where they suffered heavy losses: Lieutenants de Lanzac, Jenny and Sous-Lieutenant Beauregard were killed; Captain de Fleury wounded.

On 25 April 1705, the regiment set off from Toro. The 2nd battalion of Médoc Infanterie was temporarily attached to the regiment as its third battalion. The 1st battalion was posted at Carceret; the 2nd, at Garouvillas; and the 3rd (II./Médoc Infanterie), at Porto-Suello. The regiment then marched to the region of Talavera where a corps was assembling under M. de la Puebla for an expedition against Elvas in Portugal. After this expedition, the regiment returned to Talavera which was besieged by the Allies. However, the Maréchal de Tessé arrived at the head of his army and forced the Allies to abandon the siege. The regiment was then sent to Barbastro in Aragon, under the command of Lieutenant-General d'Asfeld, where it received reinforcements from the militia of Castelnaudary).

In 1706, during winter-quarters, the village of Grao, who refused to submit to the king, was burnt. A few days later, a combat took place in San Esteban de Littera where Captain de Fleury was killed and some 90 men lost. In March, the regiment set off from Barbastro to join the King's Army at Fraga. This army then marched on Barcelona to besiege the city. In May, the French lifted the siege of Barcelona during which Captains de Saint Vincent, Cany and Grandnom had been killed. The army then returned to France, where the Allies had made significant progress, but soon returned to Spain by Perpignan, assembling at Atienza. An artillery duel took place while the army was at Atienza. The army then took the road to Madrid and encamped at San Possuelo. From there, the army marched against the Kingdom of Valencia. A large detachment (including the 2 grenadier companies of the regiment) under Lieutenant-General Hessy made itself master of Cuenca. In this action, Captain Pelletier was killed and Sous-Lieutenant Ravy wounded. The army then marched on Cartagena which was captured. In this affair, Captain de Marcieu was killed and Captain Bonnel wounded. The regiment took its winter-quarters in the Mancha: its 1st battalion in Motta del Cuerbo; its 2nd, in Alcampo. Militia from the Généralité of Bordeaux rejoined the regiment during winter.

In March 1707, the regiment rejoined the army assembling under Berwick at Chinchilla. This army then marched on Montalègre and Almansa. On 25 April, the regiment took part in the Battle of Almansa where it lost some 300 men: Colonel de Polastron, Battalion Commander Patrocle, Captains Flomont, Ferrien, Chalvet, Lormois and d'Eperville, Lieutenants de Monchy and la Chapelle were killed and close to 30 officers wounded. In this battle, the two battalions of the regiment were deployed on the left of the first line. With Orléans Infanterie, they attacked the centre of the Allied army, driving back the first and second lines. However, a Dutch brigade threatened the flank of the two isolated regiments who were forced to retire and to rally. The Allies suffered an important defeat. Berwick's Army then entered into the Kingdom of Valencia and laid siege to Tortosa. Part of the army marched on Catalonia, and besieged and captured Mequinenza where Lieutenant Dutaisaque was wounded. A camp was established under Lérida in preparation for the siege. The regiment was attached to a corps who set off from this camp and encamped at Alfaras. In August, 12 battalions and 12 squadrons were assembled under the Lieutenant-General d'Arennes to pass the Pyrenees by the Aure Valley and to march to the relief of Toulon. On its way at Saint Gaudens, this corps received new orders instructing it to return to Spain and to join the troops besieging Lerida which finally surrendered on 11 November. The regiment then took its winter-quarters in Huesca where it received militia from Amiens as reinforcement.

On 1 May 1708, the regiment set off from Huesca to join the Army of the Duc d'Orléans at Fraga to participate in the siege of Tortosa where Lieutenant Carlier was wounded. After this siege, the regiment was sent to plain of Urgel and to Balaguer from where it was detached to join d'Asfeld for the sieges of Denia and Alicante Captains de Sorny and Deschasses were wounded at Denia, Lieutenant Dutaisaque at Alicante. The regiment took its winter-quarters in Valencia where it was joined by militia from Montauban.

In 1709, the regiment set off from its winter-quarters for the camp of Aytona in Aragon, under the Maréchal de Bezons. It was then detached under the Lieutenant-General d'Arennes, sent with a corps to Catalonia. It was then redirected on Roses, then on Girona, pursuing the enemy until 2 September and contributing to the capture of the Lieutenant-General von Frankenberg. The regiment was then sent to Bisbal where it hunted down parties of Catalan Migueletes.

At then end of April 1710, the regiment followed the Maréchal de Berwick to Dauphiné. At the beginning of winter, the regiment returned to Spain where it took part in the siege of Girona. Captains de Chabons, Briançon and Lieutenant Duprayet were killed during this siege. After the surrender of Girona, the regiment went to Figuières.

In June 1711, the regiment rejoined the Corps of the Comte de Muret, assembling near Prades. It returned to Spain through Cerdanya, burning Seu d'Urgel and Gery on its way. It then took its quarters in Balaguer. The regiment took part in the siege of Prats-del-Rey and, in November and December, in the Siege of Cardona where it lost about 500 men: Commander Bonnel, Major d'Aultry, Captains Crouy, Dumottet, Moussselard and de Pointis were killed; Captain de Mienville was taken prisoner and later died in captivity. Lieutenants de Florignac, de Martin and de la Baume were also killed; and Captain de la Cardonnière and Lieutenant Patavin wounded. Furthermore, the Austrian Guido Starhemberg Infantry captured the colonel colour of the regiment.

At the beginning of 1712, the regiment took its winter-quarters in Valencia. In June, it joined the army assembling under Lérida. It took its winter-quarters in Aragon.

In 1713, the regiment was once more stationed under Lérida. It was then transferred to a corps under the Duc de Popoli destined to the siege of Barcelona where the regiment would remain for the next 14 months.

On 3 July 1714, the trench was opened in front of Barcelona. During the siege, Captains d'Espagnes, Montaut and Cambronne, and Lieutenants Noguès, Desportes, de Pointis and des Rouvières were killed; Colonel de Polastron, Captains le Brun, de Marcieu, de Vraces, d'Aulry and Carlier, and Lieutenants Olivier, Desroses, Feuillerat, Boisset and Poncet wounded. Most losses took place during the assault of the Sainte-Claire Bastion in August.

In 1715, the regiment remained for 15 days in Barcelona after the surrender of the city. It then set off for Mataro. At the end of May, it took part in the expedition against Majorca, under the command of d'Asfeld. After the landing and the surrender of the island, the regiment returned to Blanes, then In August to Perpignan.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Rousselot, Lienhart and Humbert, Funcken, Marbot
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a black or white cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a black or white cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with blue lining; pewter buttons on the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps grey-white fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs blue, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue with small pewter buttons
Breeches blue
Stockings blue 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.

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.

Please note that in the accompanying illustration, the drummer carries a drum at the arms of Navarre. The drum barrel should be royal blue decorated with golden fleurs de lys.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Royal Livery - Source: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


Colours

Colonel colour: white field with a white cross carrying a golden Crown of France lined red in the centre.

Ordonnance colour: blue field with a white cross carrying a golden Crown of France lined red in the centre. Ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1673 to 1771.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury


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. 184-200

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. 110

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

Poli, Oscar de: Le régiment de la Couronne, Cercle héraldique de France, 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.

Acknowledgement

Jean-Pierre Loriot for the intitial version of this article