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Origin and History
The regiment was raised by the Marquis de Calvisson on 20 March 1635.
In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment was sent to Italy where it took part in the siege of Valenza, and in the capture of Candia and of the Castle of Sartirane. In 1636, it fought in the Combat of Buffalora. In 1637, it took part in the defence of Asti and in the Combat of Montebaldone; in 1638, in the reliefs of Brema and Vercelli; in 1639, in the Combat of Cencio, in the relief of Casale, in the recapture of Chivasso and in the combat on the road leading to Quiers; in 1640, in the affair of Chérasco and in the siege of Turin; in 1641, in the Combat of Ivréa, in the relief of Chivasso, in the capture of Coni and in the storming of the Castle of Démont; in 1642, in the siege of the Castle of Tortone; in 1643, in the siege of Trino; in 1644, in the capture of the Castle of Sartirane, in the siege of Santia. In 1645, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Catalonia where it participated in the siege of Balaguer, in the capture of Rocca de Vigevano, and in the Combat of the Mora. In 1646, the regiment returned to Italy and participated in the capture of Piombino, in the siege and capture of Portolongone on Elba Island. It was then sent back to Catalonia where it served in the siege of Lérida. In 1647, the regiment returned once more to Italy. In 1648, it was recalled to Catalonia for the siege of Tortosa. In 1649, it campaigned in Spain before being sent to Casale in Montferrato where it assumed garrison duties.
In 1651, during the Fronde (1648-1653), the regiment was recalled to France.
In 1652, the regiment retuned to Piedmont. In 1653, it was sent to Roussillon where it took part in the capture of Caslillon. It was then transferred to Italy where it fought in the Combat of the Roquette on the banks of the Tanaro, and in the capture of Carpignano. In 1654, it remained in Crescentino. In 1655, it assumed garrison duties in Piedmont. In 1656, it took part in the siege of Valenza; in 1658, in the siege of Mortare. In 1659, the regiment recrossed the Alps and was stationed in Languedoc.
In 1662, the regiment was sent to the Province of Boulonnais to quench a revolt. It then assumed garrison duties in Arras where it remained until 1669.
In 1669, the regiment was assigned to the relief expedition sent to Crete to assist the Venetians against the Turks. In September, the regiment returned to France where it once more formed part of the garrison of Arras until 1674.
In 1674, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment participated in the siege of Fort Navagne near Maastricht, and in the Battle of Séneffe. In 1675, it took part in a combat on the banks of the Scheldt near Weler; in 1676, in an expedition in Waasland, in a skirmish at the bridge of Locker, in the capture of Condé, and in the sieges of Bouchain and Aire; in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres and in the Battle of Saint-Denis. After the Treaty of Nijmegen, the regiment returned to Arras where it assumed garrison duties.
In 1684, the regiment was attached to the King's Army who covered the siege of Luxembourg. On 15 June of the same year, the regiment took the name of the Province of Limousin.
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 and Frankenthal; in 1689, in the campaign of Germany; in 1690, in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, the regiment was increased to two battalions and transferred to Piedmont where it participated in the capture of Villefranche, Montalban, Sant'Ospizio, Nice, Veillane and Carmagnola, and in the siege of Montmélian. In 1692, the regiment returned to Flanders and participated in the siege of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi. In 1693, it was transferred to the Army of the Rhine. In 1694, it served in Piedmont, being assigned to the garrison of Pinerolo where it remained until 1696. In that year, it took part in the siege of Valenza before returning to France. In 1697, the regiment served on the Meuse.
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 May 1684: Louis de La Palud de Bouligneux, Comte de Meilly
- from January 1703: N. du Bois, Marquis de Givry
- from 8 April 1706 to 10 March 1734: Nicolas-Léon Phelippes de La Houssaye
Service during the War
At the end of 1700, the regiment was sent to Northern Italy.
In 1701, the regiment served in Northern Italy under the successive command of Catinat and Villeroy. On 5 June, a strong Imperial corps of infantry and 4,000 horse marched by Verona along the Adige and encamped near San Martino. Catinat immediately sent the Limousin Infantry Brigade (5 bns of Limousin, Maulevrier and La Fère) to Isola-Rizza. On 21 June, Catinat sent 4 bns (Limousin and Maulevrier) from Legnago to Ponte-Molino. On 1 September, it was at the Battle of Chiari where its colonel, the Comte de Bouligneux, was wounded. By 3 December, the regiment occupied Ostiglia. The regiment was then thrown into Mantua where it distinguished itself on many occasions during the long blockade.
In February 1702, the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment was killed during an engagement near Mantua. On 24 February, the Lieutenant La Paumelle, sent in a raid outside of Mantua, successfully repulsed an attack near Casliglione-Mantovano. On 20 April, this same lieutenant was killed while leading another raid. On 25 May, the Imperialists were forced to raise the blockade of Mantua. In late July, the regiment rejoined the army. On 15 August, it fought in the Battle of Luzzara. Prince Eugène de Savoie tried to attack the Franco-Spanish army by surprise but a captain of the regiment climbed on the dyke of the Zéro and discovered the Imperialist army deploying in order of battle behind the dyke. He immediately gave the alarm. In recognition for his service, this captain was charged by Vendôme to bring the news of the battles along with captured colours to the Court at Versailles. While relating the battle to King Louis XIV, he became so troubled and confused that the young Duchesse de Bourgogne burst out laughing. The captain immediately recovered his composure and gravely replied “Do you really believe madam that it is as easy to report a battle as it is to M. de Vendôme to win it.” Meanwhile, the regiment took part in the capture of Luzzara, Guastalla and Borgoforte.
In 1703, the regiment was initially attached to a corps placed under the command of the Prince de Vaudémont, governor of Milan for the King of Spain. The regiment assisted Normandie Infanterie during the blockade of Brescello. On 10 May, the regiment then rejoined Vendôme's Army and took part in the expedition in Tyrol. It took its winter-quarters in the region of Montferrato.
In 1704, the regiment took part in the siege of Vercelli and Ivréa and started the siege of Verrua which lasted till 1705.
In 1705, the regiment was placed under the command of the Grand Prieur de Vendôme. On 19 April, it opened the trench in front of Mirandola. On 31 May, while the rest of the regiment was fighting at the farmhouse of Moscolino, its two grenadier companies were guarding the entrenchments of the bridgehead of the Chiesa. The regiment then rejoined the army of the Duc de Vendôme. On 16 August, it fought in the Battle of Cassano. It later took its winter-quarters in Carpenedole.
On 19 April 1706, the regiment fought in the Battle of Calcinato where it received orders to charge the flank of an enemy column advancing against the centre. This manoeuvre, perfectly executed by the Brigadier Destouches and engaged with much vigour, was instrumental in the victory. Shortly afterwards, the regiment was sent to the siege of Turin. On 7 September, it was present at the disastrous Battle of Turin. Two days later, it took part in the victorious Battle of Castiglione, under the command of the Comte de Grancey. Despite this victory, the French army was forced to repass the Alps. The regiment then took its cantonments in Provence.
In 1707, the regiment participated in the successful defence of Toulon where it was charged of guarding the Heights of Sainte-Anne. On 15 August, assisted by La Sarre Infanterie, it drove the Allies out of their positions at Croix-Faron.
In 1708, the regiment served in the Maurienne. It contributed to the capture of Césanne. At the end of the campaign, it was transferred to Flanders.
On 11 September 1709, the regiment took part in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet, It then remained on this frontier till 1711.
On 28 June 1711, the regiment set off from Flanders to reinforce the Army of the Rhine.
At the beginning of 1712, the regiment was recalled to Flanders. On 24 July, it fought in the Battle of Denain. The regiment later took part in the Siege of Douai and in the recapture of Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.
In 1713, the regiment took part in the siege and recapture of Landau. It then participated in the siege of Freiburg. On 13 October, it distinguished itself by repulsing a sortie of the garrison of Freiburg. After the capitulation of Freiburg, the regiment assumed garrison duties in this place.
|Coat||grey-white with red lining; copper buttons on the right side and 1 copper button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||red with copper buttons|
|Breeches||red (grey-white as per Lienhart & Humbert and Susane)|
|Stockings||red (white as per Funcken) 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.
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; each canton gironnés green, crimson and aurore The ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1684 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. 107-118, 124
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.