Manso Cavalry

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Manso Cavalry

Origin and History

After the failed coup led by the pro-Habsburg Prince di Macchia in the Viceroyalty of Naples in September 1701, the viceroy asked for reinforcements. On 5 October, as he arrived in Milan, the Prince de Vaudémont received this request and decided to send him 10 Spanish cavalry companies (8 companies of Coppola Cavalry and 2 companies of Monroy Dragoons), soon followed by 1 Spanish battalion. The cavalry arrived at the end of October. On 3 November, the Duke de Escalona formed these 10 companies into a new Neapolitan cavalry regiment, each company being placed under the command of a captain coming from the high nobility of Naples. Pedro Manso de Zuniga, formerly lieutenant-colonel in Santiago Viejo Cavalry, assumed command of the regiment. However, the captains of the regiment did not accept him as commander because of his origins. Philip V intervened and solved the problem by forming the Guardia de Italia from five of the companies, placing them under the command of Gaetano Coppola, Prince de Montefalcone. Meanwhile, Pedro Manso retained command of a cuirassier regiment consisting of the five other companies sent from Milan and of 2 companies raised in Naples. By 1 June, the latter regiment counted 53 officers and 255 soldiers in 7 companies, all dismounted to the exception of the colonel. In October, 7 companies left for Milan where a review established its strength at 58 officers, 265 soldiers and 260 horses in 7 companies when reviewed. It seems that another 5 companies had been raised by that time. These 5 companies remained at Naples.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:

  • since 6 May 1702: Pedro Manso de Zuniga
  • from 25 April 1704 to July 1707: Juan Tovar y Castilla

In July 1707, the regiment was disbanded after its surrender at Capua.

Service during the War

In 1707, the regiment took part in the defence of Capua where it was taken prisoners and disbanded.


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Uniforms of officers differed from those of privates and NCOs by the finer material used. Their waistcoat, saddle cloth and housings were edged with a wide golden braid. They always wore a tricorne notwithstanding the headgear worn by soldiers.

The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • colonel: a baton with a gold knob
  • lieutenant-colonel: a baton with a silver knob
  • sargento mayor: a baton with a silver topped knob
  • captain: silver or golden epaulettes (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on both shoulders
  • lieutenant: silver or golden epaulette (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on the right shoulder
  • cornet: silver or golden epaulette (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on the left shoulder


The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • sergeant : baton without knob and halberd
  • mariscal de logis (quartermaster): small woolen epaulette (red or of the distinctive colour of the regiment)
  • brigadier: swagger stick
  • corporal of squadron: swagger stick
  • second corporal of squadron (rank suppressed in 1706): swagger stick


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Dragonas Magazine


Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article.