La Sarre Infanterie
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Origin and History
The regiment was raised in Lorraine by the Maréchal de La Ferté on 20 1651 during the Fronde (1648-1653). The same year, it took part in the capture of Vichery and Mirecourt, in the siege of Chasté, and in the capture of Épinal and Ligny. In 1652, it participated in the combat of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine and in the recapture of the Castle of Ligny; in 1653, in the capture of Rhétel and Mouzon, and in the siege of Belfort;
In 1654, the regiment took part in the relief 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 and in the siege of Valenciennes (Vauban was then captain in this regiment) where it suffered heavy losses. In 1657, it was at the siege of Montmédy. In 1658, it took part in the siege of Gravelines and in the capture of Oudenarde and Furnes.
In 1661, the seven companies posted at Bar evacuated this town which had been retroceded to the Duke of Lorraine. They then went to Nancy where they participated in the demolition of the fortifications. In 1663, the regiment took part in the occupation of Marsal. In 1664, part of the regiment joined the French contingent sent to the assistance of the Holy Roman Empire against the Turks. It then fought in the Battle of Saint-Gotthard where it played a decisive role. In 1665, the rest of the regiment was sent against the Bishop of Münster. In 1666, this detachment took part in the combat of Ouden-Bosch.
In 1667, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment took part in the sieges of Tournai, Douai, Lille and Charleroi; and in 1668, in the siege of Dôle.
In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the occupation of Vizet and in the sieges of Zütphen and Nijmegen; in 1673, in the capture of Maastricht, in 1674, in the attack of the outpost of Burghausen, in the Battle of Sintzheim, and in the combats of Ensheim and Turckheim; in 1675, in the siege of the Castle of Dachstein, in the combats of Offenburg and Altenheim, and in the relief of Haguenau and Saverne; in 1676, in the combat of Kokersberg; in 1677, in the attack on the camp of Prince Charles de Lorraine, and in the siege of Freiburg; in 1678, in the attack of the the bridge of Rheinfeld, in the combats Seckingen and Kinzig, in the capture of Kehl and of the Castle of Lichtenberg and in the capture of the fort of Gravenstadt near Strasbourg; and in 1679, in the affair of Minden.
After the war, it assumed garrison duties in Freiburg. In 1681, a detachment of the regiment took part in the occupation of Strasbourg. In 1683, the regiment went to the camp on the Sarre River. In 1684, it took part in the siege of Luxembourg.
In 1685, the regiment received the title of “La Sarre”. In 1686, it was at the camp of Maintenon and worked at the canal destined to bring water from the Eure River to Versailles. The regiment suffered heavy losses from illness and exhaustion during these works.
At the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was so seriously understrength that it could not participate in the two first campaigns. In 1690, a battalion of the regiment joined the Army of Germany while the other served in Piedmont where it fought in the Battle of Staffarda. In 1691, the entire regiment served in the Alps where it took part in the capture of Veillane, Carmagnola, Coni and Montmélian. In 1692, the first battalion joined the Army of Flanders where it took part in the siege of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi. In 1693, the first battalion took part in the siege of Huy, in the Battle of Landen and in the capture of Charleroi. In 1694 and 1695, the first battalion continued to serve in Flanders. In 1695, it was at the bombardment of Bruxelles. In 1696, it was transferred to the Army of the Rhine. Meanwhile, the second battalion had remained in Piedmont where it served until 1696.
In 1697, the second battalion of the regiment was disbanded.
On 1 February 1701, a second battalion was raised and used for garrison duties.
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 27 December 1691: Jean-Charles Comte de Vaudrey
- from March 1704: N. Fabry, Comte de Montcault
- from 1 August 1709 until 15 September 1730: Henri Fabry de Montcault, Comte d'Autrey
In 1715, the second battalion of the regiment was disbanded.
Service during the War
On 1 February 1701, a second battalion was raised and used for garrison duties. The same year, the first battalion was sent to Italy. On 1 September, it took part in the Battle of Chiari where it was attached to Vaudrey's Brigade deployed in the first line of the infantry centre. By 3 December, it was posted at Goito in the Duchy of Mantua.
For the campaign of 1702, the first battalion initially formed part of the reserve placed under the command of the Prince de Vaudémont. On 1 December, it took part in the capture of Bondanella. The same year, the second battalion continued to assume garrison duties. From March to September, it took part in the defence of Landau. On 12 September, after the capitulation of the place, its garrison marched out with the honours of war and was escorted up to Billigheim and Weissenburg.
On 13 January 1703, the first battalion took part in a victorious combat against 3,000 Imperialists entrenched near Bondanella. In this action, captains de Courcelles, La Mothe and de Maisons were wounded. Later, during the year, the first battalion participated in the expedition in Tyrol, in the combat of Stradella and in the combat of Castelnuovo de Bormio. It was then cantoned in Monferrato, taking its winter-quarters in Passerano. The same year, the second battalion continued to assume garrison duties until the end of the year when it was sent to Spain to serve under the command of the Maréchal de Berwick.
In 1704, the first battalion took part in the siege of Vercelli where its colonel, M. de Montcault, was wounded. It then participated in the sieges of Ivrea and Verrua. The same year, the second battalion continued to serve in Spain.
On 1 March 1705, the first battalion took part in the assault on the Fort de l'Ile, defending Verrua. It was charged along with Leuville Infanterie to take the bridge. On 4 July, during the siege of Chivasso, the grenadiers of the regiment, along with those of Auvergne Infanterie drove back a sortie. On 16 August, the first battalion fought in the Battle of Cassano where it distinguished itself. On 16 October, it took part in the attack on the entrenchments of Gumbetto. It took its winter-quarters in Gazzolo. The same year, the second battalion continued to serve in Spain.
In June 1706, after the disastrous Battle of Turin, the first battalion continued to serve in Italy under the command of M. de Medavi until the end of the year. The same year, the second battalion continued to serve in Spain.
In the first days of 1707, the first battalion was recalled to France for the defence of Provence. It encamped in the lines of Toulon, on the Sainte-Anne Heights. On 15 August, it distinguished itself in the attack of the outposts of the Allies. Along with Limousin Infanterie, it drove a considerable corps out of the Mountain of La-Croix-Faron. When the Allies evacuated Provence, the first battalion took its cantonments around Exilles. The same year, the second battalion continued to serve in Spain where, on 25 April, it took part in the Battle of Almansa, deployed in the centre of the first line.
On 11 August 1708, the first battalion distinguished itself at the capture of Césanne.
In 1709, the first battalion was transferred to the Army of Flanders where it was brigaded with Royal-Marine Infanterie. On 11 September, the first battalion fought in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet where it defended the Sart Woods. His colonel, the Comte de Montcault, was killed in action and its lieutenant-colonel, M. d'Aubarède, was grievously wounded. The remnants of the regiment took refuge in Douai where it was soon joined by the second battalion.
In 1710, the entire regiment distinguished itself under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles-Louis-Alexandre Despréaux in the defence of Douai, resisting during 52 days. After the capitulation of Douai, the second battalion was sent to Dauphiné, while the first continued to serve in Flanders.
In 1711, the first battalion took part in the Combat of Arleux.
In 1712, the first battalion took part in the Siege of Douai and then in the capture of Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. The same year, in December, the second battalion was sent to Catalonia to relieve Girona.
In 1713, the first battalion took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg. The same year, the second battalion assumed garrison duties in Girona where it remained until 1715.
|Coat||grey-white with blue lining; yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||red with yellow buttons|
|Stockings||red fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap|
|Gaiters||none at the beginning of the war, white later|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
For the uniform circa 1720, Marbot illustrates a grey-white coat with red cuffs and yellow buttons, a red waistcoat and red breeches.
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.
Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.
Ordonnance Colour: a white cross with first and fourth cantons crimson, second and third cantons black. The ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1686 to 1791.
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. 332-346, 355
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. 111
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"
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.