Monroy Dragoons

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

Origin and History

This tercio of cavalry was raised in the estates of Pavia in Lombardy on 1 May 1684 from five companies of Croatian horsemen. On 9 April 1685, it was increased to twelve companies to form a Tercio de dragones arcabuceros under the command of the Count of Sheldon

In 1687, on the eve of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the tercio was sent to Milan. In 1692, 200 men of the tercio joined the army of the Duke of Savoy and took part in the capture of Pinerolo, Susa, Cassale and Embrun, before occupying Gap. In 1693, the tercio took part in the attack of the Fort of Santa Brigida, outside Pinerolo, and in the Battle of Marsaglia; in 1695, in the siege and capture of Cassale. In 1696, the tercio returned to Lombardy and took quarters at Pavia. It was also known as "Los Dragones Amarillos."

The successive colonels of the tercio/regiment were:

  • from 9 April 1685: Count of Sheldon
  • from 1700: Don Diego de Monroy
  • from at least 1703: Claude Tubieres de Grimoard, Marquis de Caylus
  • from 17??: Count de Itre
  • from 17??: Marquis de Crevecourt
  • from 17??: Count Demetrio Mahony

The regiment was renamed “Pavia” in 1718 and “Leon” in 1826.

Service during the War

In 1701, the tercio set out from Pavia to join the Franco-Spanish army assembling in the Duchy of Milan under the Prince de Vaudémont where it was deployed on the left of the second line along the bank of the Adige. On 14 June, the tercio was cantoned in the village of Segua near Rivoli. On 9 July, it fought in the Combat of Carpi where it suffered heavy losses (other accounts mention the French Mauroy Cavalerie instead of the Spanish Monroy Dragoons). In the night of 31 August to 1 September, the tercio crossed the Oglio near Rudiano and took part in the Battle of Chiari (once more other accounts mention the French Mauroy Cavalerie instead of the Spanish Monroy Dragoons). On 3 September, when the army retired to the camp of Urago near Pavia, the tercio formed part of the rearguard. On 31 October, it was assigned, along with two tercios of Lombard infantry, at the guard of a bridge at Urago and was attacked by surprise by an Imperial detachment (1,000 foot and 1,000 horse) under the Prince de Commercy. On 13 November, it took up its winter-quarters.

For the campaign of 1702, the regiment was assigned to the left wing of the first line. On 13 July, the tercio was reviewed by King Philip V at Cremona. On 16 July, the tercio crossed the Po; and on 22 July, the Taro in an attempt to force the Imperialists to raise the siege of Mantua. On 13 August, it was in the corps of the Prince de Vaudémont for the relief of Borgoforte. On 15 August, the tercio fought in the Battle of Luzzara. In the evening of 16 August, it drove back a sortie launched from Guastalla. On 31 August, it marched to the Oglio.

In 1704, the tercio took part in the Campaign in Piedmont, in the blockade of Turin and in operations on the Adda. On 16 August, it drove back an attack.

On 2 February 1705, the tercio attack Imperialist outposts along Lake Garda and the Adige, capturing 1,000 men, 6 colours and all baggage. On 9 April, it contributed in the capture of Nice. On 11 May, it was at the siege of Mirandola. On 16 August, it fought in the Battle of Cassano.

On 19 April 1706, the tercio took part in the Battle of Calcinato. It then joined the troops defending the Lines of Turin and retired after the defeat at the Battle of Turin on 7 September.

In 1707, when Spain agreed to evacuate Lombardy, the regiment marched through France towards Pamplona where it arrived in May. It then replenished its ranks and received arms and horses. It was on its way to Tudela when it received order to remain in Aragon.

In 1708, the regiment joined the Army of Extremadura

At the beginning of the campaign of 1709, the regiment was deployed on the extreme right of the first line. On 7 May, it took part in the Battle of La Gudiña where it executed a flanking movement and cut the line of retreat of three British regiments, forcing forced them to surrender. In this action, the regiment also captured eight artillery pieces.

In 1710, the regiment was allocated to the Army of Extremadura. At the end of May, 200 of its dragoons were attached to the column of General Montenegro which, on 2 June, stormed Miranda de Douro and captured the 400 men of the Portuguese garrison and 20 pieces. On 14 June, this column made itself masters of Carvajales, capturing 200 men and all the artillery, ammunition and provisions. It then crossed the Leria and advanced on Bragança. It attacked the head of the Puebla bridge which was defended by 100 men who took refuge in the Convent of San Francisco. In August, after the king's defeat in the Battle of Saragossa, the General Marquis de Bay received orders to reinforce the Army of Catalonia which was retreating to Castile, pursued by Archduke Charles. The king reorganised his army in Extremadura. By the end of November, King Philip V had assembled his army at the bridge of Almaráz on the banks of the Tagus. On 9 December, the regiment fought in the Combat of Brihuega; and on 10 December, in the decisive Combat of Villaviciosa, pursuing the Allied cavalry to the opposite banks of the Ebro and Cinca.

In 1711, the regiment initially served with the Army of Extremadura before being transferred to the Army of Catalonia. During the siege of Gerona, it was deployed on the left of the second line.

In 1712, the regiment went from Catalonia to Castile.

According to an order issued on 17 August 1713, the regiment marched to the District of Aragon to fight the Catalan insurgents.

In 1714, the regiment continued to fight the insurgents, defeating several parties led by Nebot, Moragas, Poal and others.

Uniform

The distinctive colour of this regiment is described as red or crimson by some sources and a kind of violet-red by others. We have chose to represent the uniform with crimson as distinctive colour.

Troopers

Uniform in 1706 - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore
Uniform Details in 1706
Headgear Troopers: yellow fatigue cap with a crimson flap

Grenadiers: dragoon mitre cap with a crimson front flap edged yellow and a yellow cap with a crimson pompom

Neck stock white
Coat yellow with crimson lining; silver buttons
Collar none
Shoulder straps two fringed white ribbons on the right shoulder
Lapels none (crimson lapels probably added after 1713)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 silver buttons
Cuffs crimson, each with 3 silver buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat crimson edged white with small silver buttons
Breeches crimson
Leather Equipment
Bandolier natural leather (white for grenadiers)
Waistbelt natural leather worn above the coat (white for grenadiers)
Cartridge Box black leather
Scabbard natural leather with a white metal tip
Footgear black leather gaiters fastened with straps
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth crimson bordered in yellow
Housings crimson bordered in yellow with the golden monogram of Philip V
Blanket roll no information found


Grenadier Uniform in 1706 - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore

Troopers were armed with a sword, a pistol and a musket.

Cornet with a captured Austrian Guidon - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore

Officers

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

NCOs

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

Musicians

no information found

Guidons

From its creation to 1684, the colonel guidon of the tercio had a white field

  • obverse: the red Cross of Burgundy
  • reverse: centre device consisting of an Ionic column assailed by the four cardinal winds with the motto “INMOBILIS TECUM HOSTES DEBELLAMUS” (Immobile thine enemy to defeat)

Each company had its own guidon with various colours: red, crimson, yellow or green. On one side these guidons carried the Cross of Burgundy and on the other, usually, the coat of arms of the captain.

From 1702, the regiment also received the privilege to carry a white Austrian standard fringed in gold and silver, captured at the Battle of Luzzara. It lost this standard at the Battle of Perpignan.

Colonela Guidon - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore using a template contributed by Gilbert Noury
Ordonnance Guidon - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore using a template contributed by Gilbert Noury

References

This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Clonard, Conde de, Historia Orgánica de las Armas de Infantería y Caballería, vol. XV, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 290-302

Other sources

Bueno, José Maria: Soldados de Espana – El uniforme military Espanol desde los Reyes Catòlicos hasta Juan Carlos I, Almena, 1978

Acknowledgement

Michele Savasta Fiore for his research on the uniform of this regiment