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Origin and History
Up to the reign of Louis XIV, to the exception of the Gardes Suisses, no Swiss regiment had been maintained on a permanent basis in the French Army. They usually served for four years before being sent back home and replaced by new units. In 1671, Louis XIV charged Pierre Stuppa, a captain nin his Gardes Suisses, to negotiate with the Swiss Cantons the creation and cession of four regiments. Contracts were signed on 14 August of the same year. The four regiment arrived in France at the beginning of 1672 and were admitted in the French service on 17 February. The present regiment (12 companies of 200 men each) had been raised in Berne and was always composed of inhabitants of this city.
In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the new regiment immediately joined the Army of the Netherlands and took part in the siege of Nijmegen. In 1673, it was at the siege of Maastricht and in 1674, at the Battle of Seneffe. In 1675, it was transferred to Roussillon where it participated in the siege and capture of Bellegarde. In 1676, it garrisoned Bellegarde. In 1677, it took part in the Combat of Espouilles and in 1678, in the siege of Puigcerdà before returning to France.
In 1684, the regiment served at the siege of Luxembourg.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment returned to Roussillon. In 1689, it took part in the capture and defence of Campredon. In 1690, a detachment of grenadiers of the regiment defeated a party of migueletes near Loscot. In 1691, the entire regiment took part in the storming of Seu d’Urgell; in 1693, in the capture of Roses; in 1694, in the Battle of Torroella and in the sieges of Palamos, Girona, Ostalrich and Castelfollit. In 1695, one battalion occupied Ostalrich while the two others relieved Castelfollit. In 1697, the entire regiment took part in the siege of Barcelona.
By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted three battalions.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:
- from 17 January 1701 to 9 May 1728: Charles de Villars-Chandieu
Service during the War
In 1701, the regiment joined the Army of Flanders.
In 1702, the regiment took part in the combat of Nijmegen.
In 1703, the regiment fought in the Battle of Ekeren.
In 1704, the regiment campaigned between the Rhine and the Moselle. On 8 August, it was under the walls of Namur in the corps of the Marquis de Bedmar.
On 23 May 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies.
On 11 July 1708, the regiment was at the Battle of Oudenarde where it fought with great courage. Captain Henry Leisler was killed during this battle. The two first battalions then threw themselves into Ghent while the third went to Lille where it took part in the defence of the place under Boufflers. Two assaults were repulsed with considerable losses. After three months of siege, the situation had become unbearable and an important breach had been created in the fortifications. On 8 December, Louis XIV formally ordered to surrender the place. The army marched out of Lille with the honours of war.
On 11 September 1709, the regiment fought stubbornly in the Battle of Malplaquet.
In 1712, the regiment was at the defence of Arras where it lost Captain Martin Winger during a bombardment. On 24 July, it took part in the victorious Battle of Denain. Then from August to September, it was at the siege and recapture of Douai. It also took part in the recapture of Le Quesnoy where it lost Captain Wisching; and in the recapture of Bouchain where it lost Captain Steiner and Lieutenant Gaudard, both killed.
In 1713, the regiment joined the Army of Germany and took part in the siege of Landau. In the night of 4 to 5 August, one of its grenadier company participated in the storming of “Le Pâté” while the rest of the regiment drove back a sortie during which Major Mannlich, Captains Villars and Samuel Roy and Lieutenant Willemais were killed.
|Coat||garance red with blue lining; pewter buttons on the right side. Blue trimmed buttonholes on the left side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||blue with pewter buttons|
|Stockings||white 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.
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Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.
Ordonnance Colour: a white cross; each canton carrying 8 flames (blue, red, yellow, white).
The 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 6, pp. 300- 309
Lemau de la Jaisse, P.: Abregé de la Carte Générale du Militaire de France, Paris, 1734, p. 115
Marbot, Alfred de and E. Dunoyer de Noirmont: Les uniformes de l'armée française, T1 "1439 à 1789"
Molard, J.: Historique du 63e régiment d'infanterie, Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1887
Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891