La Reine Infanterie

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

Origin and History

Ensign of La Reine Infanterie circa 1695 - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

The regiment was raised on 3 October 1634 for the Sieur de Boyons.

In April 1638, when the famous Jean de Werth was taken prisoner in the Battle of Rheinfeld by the Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weymar, he was sent from Nancy to Paris under the escort of 400 musketeers of the regiment commanded by the Lieutenant-Colonel de Paleville. In July of the same year, the regiment took part in the siege of Remiremont where its colonel was mortally wounded, and in the Battle of Rheinau. On 15 November, it became the property of the Marquis d'Huxelles. In 1639, the regiment took part in the capture of Morhange and of the Castle of Moyen. In 1640, it campaigned in Lorraine. In 1641, it was attached to the Army of Champagne an fought in the Battle of Marfée (aka Battle of Sedan). In 1642, it was sent to Roussillon. In 1643, it took part in the reliefs of Mirabel, Flix and Cap-de-Quiers; in 1644, in the defence of Lérida, and in the capture of Castillon; in 1645, in the siege of Roses; in 1646, in the sieges of Orbitello, Piombino and Portolongone; in 1647, in the combat of Cividale near Bozzolo; in 1648, in the combat de Casalmaggiore and in the Battle of Cremona.

In 1649, the regiment was recalled to France to quench the Fronde (1648-1653) and participated in the siege of Cambrai and in the capture of Condé. In 1650, it took part in the pacification of Burgundy, in the siege of Bellegarde. In 1651, it was stationed in Burgundy to watch this province. In 1652, it initially guarded the bridge of Gergeau and later fought in the combats of Étampes and Faubourg Saint-Antoine. In 1653, it took part in a second siege of Bellegarde before being transferred to the Army of Champagne with which it took part in the sieges of Rhétel, Mouzon and Sainte-Ménehould.

In 1654, the regiment took part in the siege of Belfort, in the combat of Arras, in the combat of Clermont en Argonne, and in the siege and capture of Clermont; in 1655, in the sieges of Landrecies and Condé, and in the capture of Saint-Ghislain; in 1656, in the unsuccessful siege of Valenciennes and in the relief of Saint-Ghislain; in 1657, in the siege of Montmédy; in 1658, in the sieges of Dunkerque and Gravelines where its mestre de camp, the Marquis d'Huxelles, was mortally wounded. The Cardinal de Mazarin became the new proprietor of the regiment.

On 11 February 1659, Mazarin incorporated one of his own regiments into this newly acquired regiment who took the name of “Mazarin-Français”

On 12 March 1661, after Mazarin's death, the regiment became the property of Queen Marie-Thérèse and became known as “La Reine”. The same year, the old regiment of Limousin was incorporated in La Reine Infanterie.

In 1666, the regiment participated in the camp of Monchy.

In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment took part in the capture of Berghes and Furnes. Twelve companies of the regiment were then left in Furnes as garrison while the rest of the unit continued the campaign. In 1668, all companies which were not garrisoning Furnes took part in the submission of Franche-Comté.

In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Zutphen, in the capture of Deventer, Utrecht and Bommel Island, and in the winter expedition in Holland; 1in 1673, in the defence of the Fort of Waarth; in 1674, in the Battle of Seneffe and in the relief of Oudenarde; in 1675, in the combats of Turkheim and Altenheim, in the capture of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg, and in the reliefs of Haguenau and Saverne; in 1676, in the sieges of Condé and Aire; in 1677, in the sieges of Valenciennes, Cambrai and Saint-Omer, in the Battle of Cassel; and in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, and in the Battle of Saint-Denis. When peace was signed with Spain and the Dutch Republic, the regiment was sent to Germany until the signature of the treaty with the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1684, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege of Philisbourg and in the capture of Mannheim, Frankenthal and Mainz, before taking its winter-quarters in Heidelberg. In 1689, it drove back a party of 600 Hessians raiding the neighbourhood of Heidelberg. It then took part in the conquest of Palatinate. In 1690, it served once more in Germany. In 1691, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it participated in the siege of Mons. In 1692, it took part in the siege of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque, and in the bombardment of Charleroy; in 1693, in the campaign on the Moselle before returning to Flanders and being sent to Germany and then back to Flanders. In 1694, the regiment was assigned to the guard of the Coasts of Normandy. In 1695, it campaigned on the Rhine. In 1696, it returned to Flanders. Part of the regiment was then stationed at Potte on the Scheldt and another part on the coast of Lower-Britanny. In the winter of 1696-1697, the three battalions of the regiment were assembled in Strasbourg. In 1697, the entire regiment served on the Rhine.

In 1698, the regiment took part in the training camp of Compiégne.

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

Since 1661, the regiment was under the nominal command of the Queen of France. However, Queen Marie-Thérèse had died in 1683.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was under the effective command of:

  • since 20 March 1693: Louis d'Ornaison, Comte de Chamarande
  • from 29 January 1702: N. D'Ornaison, Marquis de Buzançois
  • from 27 October 1706: Louis-Pierre-Maximilien de Sully, Duc de Béthune
  • from 28 April 1711 to 21 August 1734: Daniel-François de Gelas de Voisins de Lautrec, Chevalier d'Ambres

On its return to France in 1715, the regiment incorporated the men of the disbanded Eppeville Infanterie.

Service during the War

In mid-February 1701, the three battalions of the regiment were sent to the Spanish Netherlands where they occupied Luxembourg in the name of the new king of Spain, Philip V. By 20 July, the regiment was attached to the army under the command of the Maréchal de Villeroy. In October, the regiment was stationed in Upper-Gelderland. By December, it occupied Roermond, Wert and Stockem.

On 8 June 1702, the regiment set off from these places and marched to join the Army of Germany. In September, the regiment set off from Strasbourg with Villars and marched to Huningue, On 14 October, it fought in the Battle of Friedlingen where its brigade was posted in the first line besides Champagne Brigade and Bourbonnais Brigade. The regiment took its winter-quarters in Bitche and Homburg.

In February and March 1703, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Kehl. On 4 March, it stormed the covert way of the hornwork. In this action, Captain Lescarmoussier and Lieutenant Chevalier were killed. The regiment then contributed to the attack of the Lines of Stollhofen and followed Villars in his march to Bavaria through the Black Forest, taking part in the combats in the Hornberg Valley and at Munderkirchen. On 20 September, it fought in the victorious Battle of Höchstädt and then participated in the capture of Kempten, Augsburg and Ulm.

In 1704, the regiment was attached to Marsin's Corps operating in Bavaria. On 13 August, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim. It then retreated to the Rhine and took its winter-quarters in Strasbourg. Early the same year, a detachment of the regiment was sent to guard the passes of the Alps in Provence. In June, the company of Captain de Lème defended the Castle of Cuébris for seven days before being relieved by the Comte de Grignan.

In 1705, the regiment initially served on the Moselle under Villars. On 17 August, it set off from this region to march to Italy.

In 1706, the regiment took part in the siege of Turin. On 22 June, its grenadiers drove back a sortie. On 16 July, its colonel, the Marquis de Buzançois, was killed in action. After the disastrous outcome of the siege of Turin, the regiment returned to France and its 779 remaining men rejoined Villars in Alsace.

In 1707, the regiment took part in each expedition undertaken by Villars, in the capture of the Lines of Stollhofen and in the capture of Ettlingen, Pforzheim, Winhing and Schorndorf.

In 1708, the regiment rejoined the Army of Flanders. On 11 July, it took part in the Battle of Oudenarde. During the ensuing siege of Lille, it remained in the camp of Meldert under the command of the Marquis d'Hautefort.

In 1709, the regiment served under the Comte Albergotti. On 11 September, it bravely fought in the Battle of Malplaquet where it took part in Villars' famous charge against the British who occupied the Sart Woods, in which the maréchal was wounded at a knee and the colonel of the regiment was equally wounded.

In 1710 and 1711, the regiment continued to serve in Flanders.

In 1712, after the victorious Battle of Denain (24 July), the brigade of the regiment was among the six brigades sent under the Maréchal de Montesquiou to seize Marchiennes. The regiment also distinguished itself in the capture of Fort de Scarpe during the Siege of Douai and in the siege of Le Quesnoy.

In 1713, the regiment was sent to the Army of the Rhine where it took part in the siege and recapture of Landau, in the defeat of General Vaubonne near Freiburg and in the siege of Freiburg. On 2 October, the defenders of Freiburg launched a sortie with 400 men against the left of the French trench. The regiment rapidly took position along the trench and fired a devastating volley, stopping the attackers. However, the latter rallied and a second volley at point blank was necessary to force them to retire precipitously into the covert way.

In 1714, the regiment was sent to Spain where the Catalans still refused to deposit arms. It then took part in the siege of Barcelona. On 11 September, it formed the head of one of the four columns who stormed the place.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Rousselot, Lemau de la Jaisse, Susane, Lienhart & Humbert, Marbot, Funcken
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a white or black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a white or black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with grey-white 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 pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets pockets in the shape of an escutcheon, each with 9 pewter buttons (4 on each side and 1 at the point)
Cuffs red, each with 5 pewter buttons (3 according to Susane, Funcken and Lienhart & Humbert)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue with pewter buttons and white woollen buttonholes
Breeches blue (Susane mentions grey-white breeches)
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.

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

Drummers and fifers wore the Queen's Livery: red field heavily decorated with a blue braid decorated with interlaced white cords of a pattern similar to that of the King's Livery.

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colours: a white cross, green and black opposed cantons. These ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1661 to 1721 when golden fleurs de lys and 4 golden crowns were added on the white cross.

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. 79-97, 106

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 mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.