Nettancourt Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Nettancourt Infanterie

Origin and History

This gentleman regiment was raised in Lorraine in 1589 by the Comte de Vaubecourt and joined the army of Henry IV in France. On 6 May 1598, this regiment was disbanded and its companies returned to Lorraine. The same year, they followed the Comte de Vaubecourt to Hungary where they distinguished themselves against the Turks at the capture of Raab. In 1606, Vaubecourt and his regiment entered once more in the French service and they assumed garrison duty in Sédan. On 24 April 1610, when France was arming against the House of Austria, the regiment was finally admitted into the ranks of the French Royal Army. The same year, to the exception of its colonel company, it was disbanded.

On 31 August 1616, the regiment was re-raised and, from that date, has always been part of the Royal Army. By 1619, it was quartered in Verdun and ceded 400 men to replenish the ranks of Picardie Infanterie. In 1622, then counting only 200 men, the regiment defended Mouzon.

In 1624, the regiment marched from its quarters in Champagne, passed through Switzerland and joined Normandie Infanterie in its expeditions, taking part in the passage of the Steig, in the attacks of a bridge on the Rhine, of Pio-Domo, Platemale, Puschiavo, Tirano, Sondrio, Morbegno, Traone, Dubino, in the sieges of Chiapino and Bormio, in the combat of Campo and in the siege of Chiavenna. In 1625, the regiment took part in the recapture of the entrenchments of Cercino and Traone. It then returned to France. In 1626, it replenished its ranks. In 1627, it was sent to the siege of La Rochelle.

In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment campaigned in the Alps, distinguishing itself at the attack of Pas-de-Suze and in the assault of the Spanish entrenchments in front of Casale. It then returned to the Rhône Valley and took part in the capture of Alais and Privas. In 1630, it took part in the combat of Veillane, in the capture of Saluzzo and in the attack of the bridge of Carignan. Two of its companies heroically defended the Fort of Briqueras. In 1631, the regiment returned to France where its 12 companies garrisoned Toulon.

In 1632, the regiment occupied the mountains above Privas, which had become the hearth of the rebellion. One of its detachment captured the Comte de Lestranges, one of the main leaders of the rebels. The regiment was present at the battle of Castelnaudary. In 1633, the regiment, who had taken its winter-quarters in Bresse, took part in the conquest of Lorraine and was at the capture of Haguenau, Saverne, Lunéville and Nancy. In 1634, it took part in the sieges of Bitche and La Mothe, in the reliefs of Philisbourg and Heidelberg.

In 1635, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the engagement of Fresche, in the assault of Spires, in the capture of Vaudémont and of the Castle of Moyen, and in the retreat of the army from Mainz to Metz. In 1636, it went to Picardie where it contributed in the recapture of Corbie before taking its winter-quarters in Langres. In 1637, it took part in the siege and capture of Landrecies. The regiment remained in this place, rebuilding the fortifications, till 1642. In that year, it was attached to the Army of Picardie before being transferred to Roussillon. In 1643, the regiment was sent to the Army of Italy and took part in the siege of Trino; in 1644, in the sieges of Finale and Asti. The regiment returned to France at the end of this campaign and took its quarters on Angoulême. In July 1644, it returned to Italy and took part in the capture of Ponzone, in the siege of the Citadel of Asti. In February 1645, it was transferred from Piedmont to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Roses, in the battle of Llorens and in the capture of Balaguer; in 1646, in the siege of Lérida. In 1647, the regiment was transferred to Turenne's Army in Germany where it took part in the capture of Oberlinghen, Tubingen and Bicklingen, in the assault on Montmédy. In 1648, the regiment was subdivided in two detachments: 15 coys remained in Flanders while 15 coys served under Turenne in Germany where they took part in the combat of Zusmarhausen, in the capture of the Castle of Heidenheim and in the assault on the Castle of Wasserbourg. In 1649, when Turenne rebelled against the king, two third of the 15 coys rejoined the coys stationed in Flanders where they took part in the passage of the Scheldt. By 1653, the regiment was posted at Vitry but was sent to Verdun before taking part in the siege of Rhétel. In 1654, it took part in the siege of Stenay; in 1655, in the siege of Landrecies and Condé; in 1656 in the siege Valenciennes; in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy and Mardyk, and in the capture of Bourbourg; in 1658, in the siege of Dunkerque, in the Battle of the Dunes and in the sieges of Ypres and Gravelines.

In 1664, the regiment was part of the contingent sent by Louis XIV to the assistance of the emperor, threatened by the Turks. It took part in the Battle of St. Gotthard. By 1665, the regiment had returned in Germany and took part in the siege of Erfurt. On its return to France, the regiment garrisoned Ardres and was reduced to 4 companies, the other companies being incorporated into Champagne Infanterie.

In June 1669, the remaining 4 companies embarked at Toulon to relieve Candie, besieged by the Turks. The expedition failed and the regiment was back in France by August. In 1671, the regiment was increased to 16 companies.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Maseyk, Genappe and Grave; in 1673, in the siege of Maastricht before assuming garrison duty in Trier. In 1674, it joined the Army of Germany and fought under the command of Turenne at Seintzheim, Ensheim and Mulhausen. In 1675, it played a decisive role at the Battle of Turckheim and took part in the siege of Dachstein, in the combat of Altenheim and in the relief of Haguenau and Saverne. At the end of the year, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders where it took part in the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire. In 1677, it returned to the Rhine where it took part in the combat of Kokersberg and in the siege of Fribourg. In 1678, it initially campaigned in Flanders where it was at the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, before returning to Germany where it took part in the combat of Langendentzlingen, in the combat of Seckingen, in the sieges of Kehl and of the Castle of Lichtemberg. In 17679, it fought in the combat of Minden.

The regiment then spent a few years in Lorraine. In 1684, it was at the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment left Lille and advanced on Philisbourg. In 1689, it took part in the combat of Walcourt, in the capture of Mannheim and Frankenthal and in the defence of Mainz; in 1690, in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons, in the bombardment of Liège. In 1692, the regiment joined the army assembling in Normandie for the aborted expedition in Ireland. The regiment was then sent to Dauphiné and then in Piedmont where it joined Catinat's Army. In 1693, the regiment took part in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, it was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the Battle of the Ter, and in the sieges of Palamos, Girone, Ostalrich and Castelfollit; in 1695, in the defence of Palamos. By 1696, the regiment was back in Piedmont where it took part in the siege of Valencia. In 1697, it campaigned on the Moselle.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted two battalions.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since 23 April 1695: Louis d'Haussonville, Marquis de Nettancourt
  • from 3 August 1704: Adrien de Silly, Comte de Mailly-Houssaye
  • from 11 March 1708: Antoine-Pierre, Comte de Bueil-Racan
  • from 27 February 1712: François-Henri de Tiercelin, Marquis de La Brosse
  • from14 November 1713 to 15 March 1718: Charles-François Marquis de Boufflers-Rémiancourt

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the war, the regiment was sent to Landau.

From June to September 1702, the regiment took part in the defence of Landau. The commander of the place had taken care to defend the approaches of the fortress, throwing 30 men of the regiment under the command of Lieutenant Geoffroy into the church and churchyard of Keicheim, a small town at 1,5 km from Landau. This small detachment made a wonderful defence for three days. This brave officer, forced from post to post and wounded, finally retired into the church tower, preferring to be burnt alive than to surrender. Only one men of the detachment survived. Meanwhile, the first battalion of the regiment had been charged with the defence of the covert way; the second, with the defence of the crownwork. The two battalions repeatedly repulsed the attack of the Imperialists. On 2 August, a grenadier of the regiment, taking advantage of the lively fire of the French artillery posted at the France Gate, managed to steal grenades that the besiegers had left along the ditch. Despite the courage of its garrison, Landau was forced to surrender after a siege of five months. Its defenders, reduced from 3,500 men down to only 500 men obtained the honours of war and marched to Strasbourg. The Marquis de Nettancourt, who had been taken prisoner as he tried to rejoin his regiment in Landau, was freed without ransom by Joseph King of the Romans in recognition of the services rendered to Emperor Leopold I by the regiment at the Battle of St. Gotthard. In this siege, the regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel de Gournay.

In 1703, the regiment, who had been promptly re-established, served under the command of the Maréchal de Villars at the siege of Kehl, at the passage of the gorges of Hornberg and at the Combat of Munderkirchen. On 30 September, soon after its arrival in Bavaria, it fought in the Battle of Höchstädt. It then took part in the capture of Ulm and Augsburg.

In 1704, Villars had been replaced by Marchin and Tallard. It soon became evident for the army. The regiment, who had taken its winter-quarters at Donauwörth, was still there on 1 July when the Imperialists marched against the Maréchal d'Arco, encamped nearby on the Schellenberg with 7,000 Bavarians. On 2 July, the regiment along with a few other ones reinforced Arco's Corps and took part in the Battle of the Schellenberg. The entrenchments were attacked thrice. Finally, after a combat of three hours, the Franco-Bavarian lines were forced. The Bavarians managed to retire while the regiment took refuge into Donauwörth. In this battle, the regiment had lost 36 officers killed or wounded and several soldiers. The Marquis de Nettancourt was morally wounded (he died at Augsburg on 13 July) and was replaced by the Comte de Mailly. Unable to take the field, the regiment was thrown into Augsburg. After the disastrous defeat of the Franco-Bavarian army at the Battle of Blenheim, the regiment joined the remnants of the army and repassed the Rhine, taking position at Huningue.

In 1705, the regiment remained in Huningue.

In March 1706, the regiment was attached to Legall's Corps who marched towards Catalonia. The regiment took part in the siege of Barcelona. During on of its guard, it vigorously repulsed a sortie. The grenadier captain de Quincerot was killed in this action.

On 25 April 1707, the regiment took part in the Battle of Almansa where its 2 battalions formed the extreme left of the first line of infantry. They penetrated up to the second line of the right wing of the enemy and considerably contributed to the victory by routing at the point of the bayonet a brigade of 3,500 men, pursuing them up to the mountains. The regiment then took part in the siege and capture of Lérida. In November, it returned to the region of Valencia, contributing on 15 December to the capture of Morella.

In 1708, the regiment now designated as Bueil-Racan, took part in the siege of Tortosa and in the capture of Dénia. In a council of war held by M. d'Asfeld, during the siege of Dénia, most of the captains of grenadiers were of the advice that Asfeld should not risk a general assault. However, the Chevalier de Bar of the regiment was of a different opinion and convinced the commander to launch this attack. De Bar, as determined on the breach as in council, was dangerously wounded but he had the glory to carry the place. The regiment also took part in the capture of Pons and Aulot, and in the passage of the bridge of Montanana.

In 1709, the regiment campaigned in Spain once more, taking part in the capture of the Castle of Alicante.

In 1710, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it took part in the brilliant defence of Aire by the Marquis de Guébriant. In this glorious defence, the regiment lost 26 officers killed or wounded and more than 50% of its soldiers. Captains who lost their lives were MM. Carles, de Guiersand, de Beauvais, de Laville et de Bavalan. The colonel, who had given great marks of courage and talent, was promoted to maréchal de camp (he still kept his regiment for a short period).

In 1711, the Army of Flanders was reduced to defensive. The regiment guarded Saint-Omer till 12 June when it was sent to reinforce the Army of Alsace.

In 1712, the regiment returned to Flanders at about the time of the Battle of Denain, taking part in the sieges of Douai, du Quesnoy and Bouchain. Its grenadiers distinguished themselves in the attack of the covert way at Douai where Captain de Bélesbat was killed. On 8 September, the place capitulated and the regiment immediately occupied the Morel Gate.

In 1713, the regiment was sent to the Army of Alsace where it took part in the siege of Landau. On 12 August, it contributed in the capture of the place of arms where one of its captains was dangerously wounded. On 18 August, its grenadiers made wonders at the attack of the counterguard. Finally the regiment had the satisfaction to see this place, which he had so valiantly defended in 1702, capitulate. It completed the campaign and the war with the siege of Freiburg where its colonel, M. de La Brosse, died of sickness

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Marbot and Lemau de la Jaisse
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a white cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a white cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs white, each with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat grey-white with yellow buttons
Breeches grey-white
Stockings white fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters none at the beginning of the war, white later
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard black with white metal fittings
Footwear black shoes with a brass buckle


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Other interpretations

Funcken illustrates the uniform circa 1720 and depicts a red waistcoat edged yellow with yellow laced buttonholes. All other details are similar to our own depiction.

NCOs

no information found yet

Officers

no information found yet

Musicians

no information found yet

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colour: a white cross with red and violet opposed cantons.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

This 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 4, pp. 50-70

Other sources

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle, p. 55

Lemau de la Jaisse, P.: Abregé de la Carte Générale du Militaire de France, Paris, 1734, p. 105

Marbot, Alfred de and E. Dunoyer de Noirmont: ‎Les uniformes de l'armée française, T1 "1439 à 1789"‎

Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891