Nebot Cavalry

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

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

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

Origin and History

On 24 January 1704, Rafael Nebot proposed raising a regiment of cuirassiers in Catalonia at his own expense, but the Viceroy replied that he would "hear the disposition when he handed over the people dressed and armed." On 11 August 1704, Nebot then proposed to raise the regiment in Castile on the foot of 250 dressed and armed men. On 26 June 1705, Antonio de Puche offered to deliver 360 horses for the regiment's remount, but as of August 22, he had not yet complied, and was urged to do so.

This unit was finally raised in September 1705 by Rafael Nebot at his own expense for the Army of Philip V, probably as a cuirassier regiment.

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

  • from mid-September 1705 to October 1713: Rafael Nebot
  • from October 1713 to 1714: unknown

Service during the War

In the Bourbon Service

In November 1705, the regiment (373 men) took part in the blockade of Denia, along with the Pozoblanco Cavalry. In late November, Nebot defected with his regiment to Archduke Charles of Habsburg.

In the Habsburg Service

At the end of 1705, the regiment (400 men) was involved in many of actions of the Allies in Catalonia and Valencia.

In January 1706, the regiment was in Valencia while the place was besieged by the Spanish General de las Torres. On 18 January, Nebot sortied from the town at the head of 200 horse and 3,000 militia to break the siege, but he was cut off by some 450 horse, which the Marquis de las Torres had detached, who feigned a withdrawal, and then attacked Nebot's force so vigorously that they killed about 400 and the remainder fled back to Valencia. On 18 May, the regiment was in Girona. On 16 December, one squadron of the regiment took part in an engagement at Calamocha. At then end of the campaign, Rafael Nebot was promoted to General de Batalla.

In 1707, the regiment was organised in four to five squadrons. On 8 May, it fought in an engagement at la Bisbal against a French force of about 1,000 men under the Duke de Noailles, who had set out to dislodge Nebot from his camp near the Fluvia River. Nebot, with his own regiment and the Dragones Reales, tried to ambush the French rearguard while it was crossing the Fluvia. According to Quincy the attack was not carried out and Nebot retreated, pursued by two French cavalry regiments, and lost 20 men taken prisoner and a number of killed and wounded.

In 1708, the regiment (324 mounted men plus 121 dismounted, in four squadrons) served in the army of Prince Heinrich von Hessen-Darmstadt, which operated in the Ampurdan, By 14 May, the regiment was posted between the Ter and Gironne. By October, it was at Puebla,

By early May 1709, the regiment was posted in Catalonia and numbered 500 men in two squadrons. In June, it took part in the soon to be aborted expedition to capture Cádiz. All horses, with the exception of 100, were given to the Sinzendorf Dragoons.

In early October 1710, Nebot occupied Corella in an attempt to raise the populace of Navarre to join the cause of Archduke Charles, an attempt that was not successful.

In January 1711, the regiment consisted of two squadrons, totalling 339 men and 304 horses, It was allocated to the Observation Corps of Sormani. In May, it was in Olot. By October, it numbered 328 men and 221 horses.

In 1712, one squadron of the regiment was attached to the army of Field-Marshal Starhemberg,

By May 1713, the strength of the regiment was 241 men and 118 horses. When the Imperial Army evacuated Catalonia, a sizeable part of the regiment under Diego Miñano and Lieutenant-Colonel Gaspar de Portolá left the Principality. However, Sergeant-Major Antoni Nebot and some 100 troopers remained with Nebot in Catalonia.

In the Catalan Service

In 1713, the men who had remained in Catalonia under Sergeant-Major Antoni Nebot formed the first cavalry unit available to the Catalan Junta de Guerra and the nucleus of the Catalan Cavalry from that point forward.

On 10 July 1713, after the decision to continue the war, Nebot left with the remainder of the regiment to prevent the capture of Tarragona by the armies of Philip V. On 16 July, Nebot's troops were intercepted at Torrembara before reaching their destination. They failed to stop the enemy and suffered heavy losses.

After the defeat, on 9 August, what remained of the regiment (only 50 men) was ordered to join the "Military Arm Expedition", an operation designed to link up with the three isolated fortresses that still resisted – Cardona Castle, Hostalric Castle and Castellciutat – and to recruit as many volunteers as they could. On 11 August, Nebot's forces defeated French platoons in Caldes. The expedition then split up and Nebot went to Maresme. On 20 August he fought against the French in Vilassar and Teià.

On 5 October, constantly chased by superior Bourbon forces, Nebot and Antoni de Berenguer i de Novell, the military deputy, for unknown reasons, abandoned in Alella the 4,000 men who had followed them, and returned to Barcelona, where both were accused by Villaroel of having deserted their command and imprisoned.

It may be that Nebot was accompanied at least by some of the men from his regiment, now reduced to barely a squadron, as on October 19, Villaroel complained in a letter to the Junta de Guerra about the "continuing and malicious escapes" "made by the soldiers of what is called Nebot's regiment" adding: "I find it necessary that you please tell me if this is truly a regiment, and if this general should be kept. Because if it is not, it will be convenient to dismount and disarm these people so as not to lose their weapons and horses, and for the soldiers, take the resolution that seems convenient" (Bruguera 1871). After this incident, the regiment was practically undone.

About three months after his arrest, the authorities in Barcelona decided to send Nebot to Genoa and have his case decided by the emperor. In the end, his file was closed and Rafael Nebot was offered a position in the Imperial Army where he served until his death in Vienna in 1733.

Uniform

Very little is known about the uniform of this regiment to the exception that, in 1705 and 1706, the uniform was blue with white (or yellow) as its distinctive colour. We don't know the metal colour of the regiment.

By 1709, the uniform of the regiment was: a black tricorne, a white neckstock, a white coat with blue facings and silver buttons, a blue waistcoat (red in 1713),, elk leather breeches, and a blue saddlecloth edged white.

The records of the Hospital Santa Creu in Barcelona show 65 entries of soldiers from this regiment between 4 May 1709 and 11 March 1714. Of these, 16 come from 1713 and 1714, and ten of these are not assigned to a company and one is described as a "new recruit". The overwhelming majority of the coats (casaca) were white throughout the period, the waistcoats (jupa) – where described – mostly blue as per regulation, with very few exceptions (three blue coats are noted in 1711 one combined with a green waistcoat). Individual soldiers are also noted to have had black (with a blue waistcoat), dark, brown (with a red waistcoat), red (with a yellow waistcoat) and yellow coats. The majority of the men were from Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon.

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

Standards

We found no information about the standards carried in 1705.

The standards carried in 1713 had a white field with silver fringe; its centre device consisted of the coat of arms of the Spanish Habsburg in an ornated frame surmounted by a crown and surrounded by the collar of the Golden Fleece. These standards were probably also carried when in in the service of the Habsburgs.

Tentative reconstruction: Nebot Cavalry Standard in 1713 – Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

Bruguera, Mateo: Historia del memorable sitio y bloqueo de Barcelona, Barcelona 1871, Vol. 1

Capdevila Muntadas, Alexandra: Llums i ombres d’una controvertida operació militar. L’expedició de Rafael Nebot per terres catalanes (juliol-octubre de 1713), In: Danti, J. et al. (ed.): Actes del VII Congrés d’Història Moderna de Catalunya: «Catalunya, entre la guerra i la pau, 1713, 1813», Barcelona 2013, p.10-23

Dorrell, Nicholas: Marlborough's other Army, Warwick 2019

Heller [von Hellwald, Friedrich Jakob] , Der Feldzug 1707 in Spanien, in: Oestreichische Militärische Zeitschrift 1839, Heft 11, p.137-181

Heller [von Hellwald, Friedrich Jakob], Der Feldzug 1709 in Spanien und Portugal, In: Österreichische Militärische Zeitschrift, 1842 Heft 9, p.265f

Hernández, Xavier and Francesc Riart (illustracions), Els exèrcits de Catalunya 1713-1714. uniformes, equipaments i organització, Barcelona 2007

Quincy, Charles Sevin de: Histoire Militaire Du Règne De Louis Le Grand, Vol. 5, Paris 1726, p.197

Sanchez Martin, Juan: Los Regimientos de Caballeria en la Guerra de Sucesión, 1701-1715, In: Reserching & Dragona Vol. III nº 6, p.36-82 (p.59)

Sanchez Martin, Juan: Miguel Pons de Mendoza El Resucitado. ln: Revista de Historia Mi litar, II extraordinario de 2014

Sorando Muzás, Luis: Las Banderas del Archiduque Carlos, 1704-14. In: Dragona, Dec. 1992, p.26-29

Vilalta, Lluis: Catalonia stands alone, s.l. 2008

Wikipedia – Catalan Edition

Miquelets de Catalunya – http://www.miquelets.cat/05exercitCAT.html L’Exèrcit català del 1705-14]

Memorial 1714 – Defensors de les llibertats de Catalunya

Acknowledgement

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

Jörg Meier for additional info on this regiment.

Dr. Adrià Cases Ibáñez for making his database of the records of the hospital Santa Creu in Barcelona available, and Jörg Meier for the analysis of the data.