Maine Infanterie

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

Origin and History

This regiment pretended to trace its origin back to a unit raised in 1604 by M. de Lémond for Henry IV. 

After the siege of Montauban, from 1622 to 1624, a large number of Protestant gentlemen made peace with the king. The powerful House of Bouillon among others rallied to the king. The young Vicomte de Turenne, brother of the Duc de Bouillon, was authorised on 17 January 1625 to raise an infantry regiment as part of the preparations of King Louis XIII for the siege of La Rochelle and an expedition in Valtellina.

On 26 May 1626, Turenne Infanterie was disbanded

On 27 March 1630, Turenne Infanterie was re-established. The regiment was immediately sent to Piedmont for the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31) and took part in the capture of Casale.

In 1631, the regiment was stationed in Lorraine where it remained idle till 1633.

In June 1633, the regiment took part in the reduction of the Castle of Freidemburg near Trier. In September, it was at the siege of Nancy. In 1634, it was among the first regiments to arrive in front of La Mothe, the last and strongest place of the Duc de Lorraine. It was detached for a few days to capture the Castle of Bitche. It then took part in the relief of Heidelberg.

In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the siege of Speyer, in the capture of Binghen, in the relief of Mainz and Zweibrücken and in the retreat on Metz; in 1636, in the siege of Saverne, in the combat of Jussey; In 1637, sent to the Meuse, it took part in the capture of the Castle of Villaune between Verdun and Stenay, and in the sieges of Damvilliers and Ivoy. In 1638, it was transferred to Flanders and took part in the relief of Saint-Omer. It then returned to the Rhine where it was at the siege of Breisach. In 1639, the regiment returned to Flanders and took part in the siege of Hesdin, in the Combat of Saint-Nicolas near Saint-Omer. During the next winter, it detached a few companies to Normandy to get rid of the "Va-nu-pieds". In 1640, the regiment was transferred to Italy and took part in the attack of the entrenchments of Casale, in the siege of Turin. In 1641, it took part in the capture of Montcalvo, in the siege of Ivrea, in the relief of Chivasso and in the submission of Ceva, Mondovi and Coni; in 1642, in the capture of Nice and of the Castle of Tortona; in 1643, in the siege of Trino. It then marched to rejoin Turenne its mestre de camp who had been promoted to Maréchal de France and was now commanding the Army of Germany. In 1644, the regiment distinguished itself in the combats of Freiburg. It cooperated to the capture of Philisbourg, Worms, Mainz, Landau, Mannheim, and Neustadt, and took its winter-quarters in Binghen. In 1645, it took part in the storming of Germesheim, in the capture of Stuttgart, in the Battle of Mariendal, in the siege of Rothemburg and in the Battle of Nördlingen, in the sieges of Heillbronn and Trier; in 1646, in the campaign of Bavaria, in the siege of Augsburg; in 1647, in the siege of Tubingen, in the capture of Aschaffenburg and Darmstadt. In September, the regiment was transferred to Luxembourg where it attacked the suburbs of Montmédy before taking its winter-quarters in Flanders. By the beginning of 1648, the regiment counted only 600 men in 20 companies. It returned to Germany and contributed to the relief of Worms and to the victory of Zusmarhausen where it lost 150 men.

At the beginning of the Fronde (1648-1653), in 1649, Turenne retired to Holland with 8 companies of his regiment who occupied Stenay. Meanwhile, the rest of the regiment, who had remained loyal to the king, served in Flanders. In 1650, Turenne, with the 8 companies who had defected, acted against the court. These companies took part in the siege of La Capelle and in the Battle of Rhétel where Turenne was defeated and his companies annihilated. On 25 May 1651, Turenne Infanterie was disbanded but soon re-established when Turenne made peace with the Cardinal Mazarin. For the campaign of 1651, the regiment initially served in Lorraine, taking part in the siege of Chasté. It was then sent to the Loire where he defended Gergeau. In 1652, it took part in the attack of the suburbs of Étampes, in the siege of Étampes, in the Battle of Faubourg Saint-Antoine, in the sieges of Bar-le-Duc, Château-Porcien and Vervins and took its winter-quarters in Laon. In 1653, it took part in the sieges of Rhétel, Mouzon and Sainte-Ménehould.

In 1654, as the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59) continued, the regiment took part in the screening of the siege of Stenay, in the relief of Arras, in the sieges of Le Quesnoy and Binch; in 1655, in the relief of Le Quesnoy, in the siege of Landrecies, in the capture of Condé and Saint-Ghislain, in the capture of the Castle of Brifeuil. In October, the regiment took its winter-quarters at Le Quesnoy, it then consisted of 900 men. In 1656, it took part in the unsuccessful siege of Valenciennes, in the siege of La Capelle; in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy, Cambrai and Saint-Venant, in the capture of Waters, Bourbourg and La Mothe-aux-Bois, in the relief of Ardres and the capture of Mardyk. In 1658, the regiment counted 1,200 men. It was at the siege of Dunkerque and fought in the Battles of Dunes where it greatly distinguished itself. It then took part in the capture of Berghes, Dixmude, Furnes, Oudenarde and Menin, in the siege of Ypres

In 1659, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees, Turenne offered his regiment to King Charles II of England to help him to regain his throne; but the regiment did not need to intervene and Charles II was restored to the throne of England in 1660.

In 1663, the regiment contributed 20 companies to the small army who occupied Marsal. In 1664, the entire regiment was part of the relief force sent to Hungary to fight against the Turks. It distinguished itself in the Battle of St, Gotthard who saved the Empire. It then returned to France with 4 guns captured during this battle. In 1665, the regiment took part in the siege of Lochem and took its winter-quarters in Holland.

In 1666, the rank of the regiment was fixed, it came immediately after Aquitaine Infanterie. It retained this rank until 1775.

In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment campaigned in Flanders and was at the capture of Charleroi, Ath, Tournai, Douai, Lille and Alost, remaining in Lille as garrison. In 1668, a detachment (100 men) of the regiment captured the Castle of Vinendal.

In 1671, the regiment was at the camp of Dunkerque.

In 1672, when the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78) broke out, the regiment was at the capture of Maseyck, Burich, Rees, Saint-Trond, Tongres, Orsoy, Arnhem, Skenke, Nijmegen, Doësbourg, Crèvecoeur and Bommel Island, and at the siege of Zutphen before assuming garrison duty in Naërden. In 1673, it campaigned in Germany and took its winter-quarters in Frankfurt. In 1674, it covered the débouchés of Franche-Comté from Alsace and a detachment fought in the Battle of Sintzheim. The same year, the regiment also took part in the affair of Ladembourg, in the Battle of Ensheim; in 1675, in the victorious Battle of Turkheim, before taking its winter-quarters in Verdun. It was then sent to Colmar and surprised the town of Neubourg. After the death of Maréchal de Turenne, killed by a cannonball on 27 July, the regiment was given to Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duc du Maine. The regiment distinguished itself at the defence of the bridges of the Rhine and at the Combat of Altenheim. In 1676, it was transferred to the Army of Flanders, took part in the siege of Condé et and covered the sieges of Bouchain and Aire. In 1677, it took part in the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai, and in the Battle of Cassel; in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, in the Combat of Saint-Denis and in the campaign on the Rhine;

By 1684, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Thionville but was sent to the siege of Luxembourg

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was attached to the Dauphin's Army and contributed to the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim, Frankenthal and Mainz. In 1689, it distinguished itself during the defence of Mainz. After the capitulation Mainz, the regiment joined the Army of Flanders. In 1690, the regiment took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons and in the campaign on the Moselle; in 1692, in the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, the regiment was transferred from Namur to Germany. In 1694 and 1695, it was employed in the Low Countries where it took part in the combat of Tongeren and in the bombardment of Bruxelles. In 1696 and 1697, it campaigned on the Meuse.

N.B.: during these years, a militia battalion named "Maine" served in the Alps.

In 1698, the regiment went to the camp of Compiègne. On 30 December, the soldiers of the "Fusiliers de XiménèsÈ were incorporated into the regiment.

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 owned by:

  • since 14 August 1675: Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duc du Maine

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

  • since 1 March 1700: N., Marquis de Séguiran
  • from 15 July 1703: François Arnauld de Courville
  • from 15 June 1707 until 15 March 1718: Alexandre de Dammartin, Marquis de Belrieux

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment occupied a few places in the Spanish Netherlands.

On 11 June 1702, the regiment took part in the Combat of Nijmegen.

On 30 June 1703, the regiment distinguished itself at the victorious Battle of Ekeren against a Dutch army under General Obdam. During this battle, the regiment crossed a canal under the fire of the Dutch posted behind a dyke. Once across the canal, it was charged by cavalry. The regiment then subdivided itself in small platoons who opened fire on the Dutch cavalry, repulsing it. In this battle, the regiment lost the Colonel-Lieutenant Marquis de Séguiran killed in action, M. de Courville wounded and taken prisoner, Lieutenant-Colonel de Boham wounded and captain de Belrieux wounded. On 1 December, the regiment was sent to Spain as part of the corps of the Duc de Berwick, being the most senior regiment of the 19 battalions of this corps.

On 2 February 1704, the regiment arrived at Vittoria in Spain. It then took part in the campaign of Portugal where it was at the capture of several places (Salvaterra, Segura, Ponhagarzia, Ucepedo, Cebreros, Idanhanova, Mousanto, Castelbranco, Portalègre, Castel-de-Vide, Montalvan, Marvan).

In 1705, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful Siege of Gibraltar under the Maréchal de Tessé. It then marched to Barcelona.

In January 1706, Tessé, informed that “Migueletes” from Catalonia were entering in large number in the Kingdom of Valencia, sent the regiment to guard the passages on the frontier. There were a combat near Caniz where M. de Courville was wounded once more. Once back to Barcelona, the regiment was charged to guard the entrenchments on the Height des Capucins. On 8 April, the garrison made a sortie in this direction but was repulsed by the second battalion. On 21 April, the regiment took part in the storming of Montjouy. The captain of grenadiers de Besnac was the first on the breach, immediately followed by Lieutenant-Colonel de Belrieux. When the siege was lifted, the regiment was once more sent to Portugal. On 29 August, it took part in a combat on the bank of the Tagus. It was then sent to the Kingdom of Valencia. On 18 October, it arrived in front of Elche, 8 km from Alicante, and contributed to the capture of this city. Lieutenant-Colonel de Belrieux was severely wounded at a heel. The regiment finished the campaign at the siege of Cartagena.

On 24 April 1707, Colonel-Lieutenant de Courville, at the head of 100 picked men, made himself master of the Castle of Ajora, a very strong place occupied by “Migueletes” who were harassing the foragers of the Franco-Spanish army. During the capitulation, soldiers started to plunder; the garrison fought them back and M. de Courville had his left arm smashed by a musket shot. He was transported to the Castle of Almanza where he would die on 9 May. On 25 April, the regiment, led by Lieutenant-Colonel de Belrieux, took part in the Battle of Almansa where it was deployed on the right of the second line. Behind the Reales Guardias Españolas and the Reales Guardias Valonas. Five British battalions (Southwell's Foot and Wade's Foot), after routing the Spanish cavalry, tried to turn the right wing of the Franco-Spanish army. Seeing this manoeuvre, Berwick immediately sent Maine Brigade against them. At 30 paces, the British battalions opened a devastating fire but the French brigade continued its advance. At point blank range, it stopped and fired a single volley, killing a large number of British soldiers. The brigade then engaged in hand to hand combat and routed the British. The regiment then passed to the first line at the side of the Reales Guardias Españolas and continued to fight. After the battle, the inhabitants of Valencia, who had watched the engagement from the walls of the city, placed a commemorative plate engraved with gilt letters on the facade of the City Hall. The text mentions:

“Cuando empeso à pelear el regimenlo du Maina, entoncès empesaron à llamar: Vittoria! Vittoria!”

After this memorable battle, the Marquis de Belrieux was promoted to Colonel-Lieutenant of the regiment. Maine then went to the siege of Lérida. After the capture of this place, it returned to the Kingdom of Valencia. On 15 December, it contributed to the submission of Morella.

In 1708, the regiment took part in the siege of Tortosa. In the night of 9 to 10 July, its two grenadier companies, supported by its first battalion, attacked the covert way, driving back 300 men and establishing a lodgement which was destroyed by a mine at daybreak. During this siege, the regiment had 1 lieutenant killed and two captains wounded.

In July 1709, the regiment was recalled to France for the defence of Dauphiné.

At the end of 1710, the regiment was sent to Flanders.

In 1711, the regiment took part in the attack on Arleux.

On 24 July 1712, the regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Denain. It then took part in the Siege of Douai and in the sieges of Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.

In 1713, the regiment was sent to the Rhine and contributed to the capture of Landau and to the defeat of Vaubonne's Imperial Corps entrenched at Freiburg. It then took part in the siege of Freiburg.

On 15 November 1714, the soldiers of the disbanded Aunay Infanterie and Épinay Infanterie were incorporated into the regiment.

On 5 January 1715, the soldiers of the disbanded Marquis de Valence Infanterie were incorporated into the regiment.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Rousselot, Marbot, Lienhart & Humbert, Funcken, Susane
Headgear
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 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 horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs blue, each with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue with copper buttons and aurore (light yellow) laced buttonholes arranged 2 by 2
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

no information found yet

Officers

no information found yet

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment wore the livery of the House of Maine: red field lined blue with a braid consisting of three smaller braids (one yellow between two blue braids).

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colour: a white cross with yellow and crimson opposed cantons.

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 4, pp. 405-429, 434

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.