Mestre de camp Général Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Mestre de camp Général Cavalerie

Origin and History

From the first attempt at regimental organisation in 1635 until the definitive institution of permanent regiment in 1671, several persons successively assumed the charge of mestre de camp général of the French cavalry. Each of them had his own regiment and each was entitled to designate his regiment as "Mestre de Camp Cavalerie".

The regiment which would later be known under the permanent designation of "Mestre de Camp Cavalerie" had been originally raised by César de Cambout de Coislin on 24 January 1638. It was part of the 36 cavalry regiments organised according to an ordonnance dated the same day.

In 1638, during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), the regiment took part in the siege of Saint-Omer; in 1639, in the siege of Hesdin; in 1640, in the siege of Arras; in 1641, in the siege of Aire; in 1643, in the battles of Rocroi and Thionville; and in 1644, in the siege of Gravelines. In 1646, it garrisoned Béthune. In 1648, it took part in the Battle of Lens.

In 1648, the regiment was reduced to free companies as several other cavalry regiments.

On 1 January 1657, Armand de Cambout, Duc de Coislin re-established the regiment. In 1657, it took part in the sieges of Montmédy, Saint-Venant, Ardres and Mardyck; in 1658, in the Battle of the Dunes and in the capture of Dunkerque, Bergues, Gravelines, Oudenarde and Ypres.

On 18 April 1661, the regiment was disbanded with the exception of a single company. On 5 December 1665, when the Duc de Coislin became mestre de camp général the regiment was re-established and designated as Mestre-de-camp-général Cavalerie, a title that it would retain until 1790. It now ranked second in the French Line Cavalry. In 1666, the regiment (9 companies) spent the entire year at the training camp on the plateau of Compiègne.

In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667-68), the regiment campaigned in Flanders; and in 1668, in Franche-Comté. At the end of the war, it was reduced once more to a single company.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment (6 companies organised in 2 squadrons) took part in the siege of Duisburg; and in 1673, in the siege of Maastricht. In 1674, the regiment participated in the conquest of Franche-Comté and was at the sieges of Besançon and Dôle. It then fought in the Battle of Seneffe where it distinguished itself. In 1675, the regiment was at the capture of Liège, Dinant, Huy and Limbourg; in 1676, at the capture of Condé, Bouchain and Aire and in 1677, at the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai, and at the capture Saint-Omer and at the relief of Charleroi. In 1678, it was at the capture of Ghent and Ypres and at the Battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1681, the regiment operated in Alsace. In 1684, it was at the investment of Luxembourg and in 1688 at the camp on the Saône.

In 1688, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was at the capture of Philippsburg, Mannheim and Frankenthal; in 1689, at the Combat of Walcourt; in 1691, at the siege of Mons and at the Combat of Leuze; in 1692, at the capture of Namur and at the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, at the Battle of Landen and at the capture of Charleroi; in 1695, at the bombardment of Bruxelles; and in 1697, in the siege of Ath.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted 3 squadrons.

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

  • from 6 October 1679: Joseph de Pons de Guimera, Baron de Monclar
  • from 1690: Conrad Marquis de Rosen (promoted to maréchal de France in 1703)
  • from 25 March 1703 26 February 1714: Léonor-François Marquis de Montpeyroux

Service during the War

In 1702, the regiment was at the Combat of Nijmegen.

In 1703, the regiment was sent to the Rhine. In August and September, it was at the Siege of Alt-Breisach. In October and November, it was at the Siege of Landau. On 15 November, it fought in the Combat of the Speyerbach, where it was deployed on the left wing of the first line.

In 1704, the regiment campaigned in Germany. On 13 August, it fought in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing of Tallard's Army. Part of the regiment was taken prisoners along with its chief, the Marquis de Montpeyroux.

In 1705, the regiment replenished its ranks.

In 1706, the regiment was attached to Villars's Army of the Rhine and took part in the affairs of Drusenheim and Lauterbourg.

In 1707, the regiment took part in Villars's advance in Franconia and Swabia.

In 1708, the regiment campaigned in Flanders under Villars.

On 11 September 1709, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet.

In 1711, the regiment campaigned in Flanders.

In 1713, the regiment campaigned on the Rhine and was at the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

Uniform

To do

Standards

Regimental standards: red silken standards bordered and fringed in gold.

  • obverse: sown with golden flames; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun with the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold.
  • reverse: sown with golden flames.

N.B.: the regiment did not carry any white standard.

Tentative Reconstruction
Regimental Standard - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 12-20