Nigrelli Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Nigrelli Infantry

Origin and History

On 3 February 1682, Emperor Leopold I gave orders to FZM Sigmund Count Nigrelli to raise an infantry regiment of 10 companies. The regiment was partially enlisted in the Holy Roman Empire and in the Erblande (Habsburg Hereditary Lands). The commander of the regiment was Colonel-Lieutenant Archinto and its major, N. Syro. The regiment initially garrisoned Rheinsfeld.

From 1683, the regiment took part in the Great Turkish War (1683–1699 ). After the victory against the Turks at Vienna, it was sent to Hungary, arriving at Zips (present-day Spiš in Slovakia) in the Autumn of 1684. It was immediately assigned to the corps under the command of General Schulz. In 1685, the regiment remained in Upper Hungary. In 1686, it participated in the siege of Ofen and took its winter-quarters at Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK). On 12 August 1687, the regiment fought in the battle of Mohács. In 1688, it was at the siege of Belgrade and took its winter-quarters in Serbia. In 1689, the regiment returned to Upper Hungary once more.

The regiment then remained in Upper Hungary until 1697. On 11 September 1697, it took part in the battle of Zenta. After the signature of peace signature was the regiment until 1701 on cordon along Save river.

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

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

  • since 1682: Sigismund, Count von Nigrelli
  • from 1703 to 25 August 1732: Johann Hieronimus, Baron von und zu Jungen

Since the creation of the regiment, its successive effective commanders were:

  • since 1682: Leopold von Archinto (transferred to Lothringen Infantry on 27 May 1682)
  • in 1683: vacant
  • from 1684: Johann Philipp Cassini (transferred from Lothringen Infantry)
  • from 1719: Marchese Parisoni

Service during the War

At the beginning of 1701, the regiment was assigned to the Army of Italy. In mid-February, the regiment marched from Inner-Austria through Carinthia by Linz and Botzen (present-day Bolzano). On 12 March, it finally reached the border between Tyrol and Venetia, a detachment taking position at Ala on the Adige. Three of its battalions were then posted at Arco and Riva del Garda. At the end of May, when Prince Eugène de Savoie launched the Imperialist invasion of Northern Italy, 3 battalions of the regiment were placed in observation in front of Monte Baldo under Count Guttenstein. By mid-July, the entire regiment had joined the main army of Prince Eugène de Savoie. On 1 September, the regiment fought in the Battle of Chiari where it was among the three regiments deployed on the right wing who repulsed the French with their steady salvoes and then counter-attacked at the point of the bayonet. During this battle, the grenadiers of the regiment, who had been converged with three other grenadier companies, captured four colours of Normandie Infanterie. The Imperial army then remained on the Oglio River until the end of November. On 11 December near Cremona, a detachment of the regiment under Grenadier Captain Gerardin destroyed 50 wagons laden with provisions. On 16 December, the same detachment brought back 150 cows to the camp of the Imperialists. The regiment took its winter-quarters along the left bank of the Mincio in front of Goito and Mantua, under the command of GdC Count Trautmannsdorf.

In 1702, the regiment took part in the campaign in Northern Italy. In February, it escorted a convoy of provisions and ammunition destined to the town of Brescello. The convoy was attacked by a French detachment but the regiment drove it back and captured 4 guns. Even though the theoretical strength of the regiment was supposed to be 2,500 men, by 30 April, it counted only 1,720 men including 12 men commandeered in various detachments and 3 absent. On August 15, it fought in the Battle of Luzzara where it was deployed on the extreme right of the first line of infantry.

In 1703, Prince Eugène having been recalled to Vienna, FZM Starhemberg took command of the Army of Italy. In February 1703, as the French tried to send a supply convoy to Bersello, the regiment attacked them, killing more than 300 men and forcing them to abandon 4 field-pieces. Afterwards, one battalion of the regiment garrisoned the Fortress of Arco in the mountains and another was posted in Trentino. In July, the second battalion of the regiment courageously defended the Pass of Raccazano in Tyrol but finally retired in front of superior forces. On 9 August, a Franco-Spanish force under General Medavi laid siege to Arco on the Sarca River in Tyrol, capturing the town of Arco during the first night and forcing the garrison (one battalion of the regiment and 50 Tyrolean militia) to retire into the castle. On 12 August, the French artillery opened on the Castle of Arco. The defenders had insufficient ammunition to maintain a regular fire with the 14 guns mounted on the walls of the castle. On 16 August, Medavi's first attack against the castle was repulsed, the Franco-Spanish losing 200 men. On 18 August, the garrison had no other choice than to surrender. The regiment having suffered heavy losses remained at Trento, Botzen and Rovereto during the following winter.

On 15 October 1704, when the Imperial army concentrated around Gavardo, the regiment (1,354 men00 was assigned to the corps under the command of Count Leiningen

In 1705, the regiment was part of the army of Prince Eugène who advanced to the Adige River. On 16 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Cassano where Prince Eugène was defeated by the Duc de Vendôme. Despite this tactical defeat, he managed to pin down the Franco-Spanish army on the Adige River, thus sparing Piedmont from a large scale offensive.

In September 1706, Prince Eugène's Army (including the present regiment) effected a junction with the Savoyard Army and marched to the relief of Turin. On 7 September, the regiment (then designated as “zum Jungen”) took part in the victorious Battle of Turin where it was brigaded under the command of Count Harrach in the second line of the right wing.

In 1707, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful expedition against Toulon. Back to Piedmont, it participated in the capture of Susa. It seems that the regiment was afterwards sent to Naples where it remained until 1716.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1702 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Donath
Headgear
Fusilier black tricorne laced white; as field sign, green foliage was attached to the tricorne in summer and a wisp of straw in winter

N.B.: to distinguish soldiers (from corporal down to privates) of each company, a button or rosette at the colour of the company was attached to the tricorne.

Grenadier bearskin edged with a white braid; red hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zigzag pattern
Neck stock red
Coat pearl grey with pearl grey lining; pewter buttons on the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red with pewter buttons
Breeches red
Stockings white fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters made of canvas and used only when the soldier wore linen breeches; in this case, the stockings were replaced by linen socks; the use of gaiters generalized much later
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt a yellow deer or buffalo leather waist-belt worn above the waistcoat
Cartridge Pouch red or black leather pouch containing 24 cartridges, a pewter oil flask, two needles attached to a small chain (to clean the touch-hole of the lock), a tube that held the match for lighting the fuse of grenades, with a wooden peg on a small chain and a roll of fuse. The cartridge box had two cover flaps. The top one was sometimes decorated with a metal badge bearing the cipher or the arms of the Inhaber.

Grenadiers carried two cartridge pouches. The first one, slightly larger than that of fusiliers, was worn on wide cross-belt and contained grenades and a pewter tube that held the match for lighting the fuse of grenades; the smaller second pouch was attached to the waist-belt and contained cartridges for the musket.

Bayonet Scabbard black leather
Scabbard none
Footwear Russia leather shoes


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Grenadiers were also armed with hand grenades.

NCOs

NCOs carried a spontoon (half-pike). They were also armed with a Stossdegen (a long two-edged estoc or rapier) carried in a black leather scabbard attached to the waist-belt.

NCOs of grenadier companies carried a flintlock musket instead of the spontoon.

NCOs also carried a cane whose characteristics indicated their precise rank. This cane had the length of a walking stick and was carried in and out of service. In action, to free hands, the cane was hanged to a button of the coat. Grenadier sergeants and fouriers were distinguished from privates by three silver braids on the bag of their bearskin.

Officers

Uniforms of officers were always of finer cloth than those of the privates. The were also distinguished from the uniforms of privates by the following differences:

  • a black tricorne edged white with a white plumetis
  • a red coat edged silver with silver buttons; buttonholes and pocket flaps were also edged with a silver braid
  • white cuffs edged with a silver braid, each with 2 silver buttons and 2 silver laced buttonholes
  • a white waistcoat edged silver
  • white breeches
  • white stockings

Officers wore a black and yellow silk sash across the chest or around the waist.

Lieutenants of the grenadier companies were distinguished from privates and NCOs by four golden braids on the bag of their bearskin; captains by five golden braids on their bearskin.

Officers carried a partisan. The partisan was decorated with a tassel: gold for the colonel, gold with silver fringe for the lieutenant-colonel, gold and silken fringe for captains and silken fringe for lieutenants. In some regiments, the captains' tassel was entirely of silk; in this case the lieutenants' partisan had no tassel. The partisans of staff officers had gilt butt caps.

Officers were also armed with a Stossdegen (a long two-edged estoc or rapier) carried in a black leather scabbard attached to the waist-belt.

Officers carried a cane whose characteristics indicated their precise rank. This cane had the length of a walking stick and was carried in and out of service. In action, to free hands, the cane was hanged to a button of the coat.

Officers of grenadier companies carried a flintlock musket instead of the partisan. Captains, lieutenants and sergeants of these companies always had their bayonet affixed to their musket.

In the field, officers carried a pair of pistols.

Musicians

Drummer of Nigrelli Infantry - Source: detail from an illustration of Richard Knötel

Drummers and fifers wore a very different uniform:

  • a black tricorne laced silver
  • white neck stock
  • a red coat lined blue and edged silver with swallow nests decorated with blue braids at the shoulders; seams, cuffs and pocket flaps were also edged with a silver braid
  • blue cuffs edged silver, each with 3 white buttons
  • a straw waistcoat with white buttons
  • blue breeches
  • red stockings

The drum belt was brown and worn on the right shoulder.

Colors

no information found

References

Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen

  • Series 1, Vol. 1, Vienna 1875, pp. 212-218, 222-227
  • Series 1, Vol. 4, Vienna 1877, p. 655, App. 22a

Czegka, Eduard: Uniformen der kaiserlichen Infanterie unter Prinz Eugen. in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde 49-51, 1933, pp. 459-473

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979, Bl. 4 and Bl. 9

Gräffer, August: Geschichte der kaiserl. Königl. Regimenter, Corps, Bataillons und anderer Militär-Branchen seit ihrer Errichtung biz zu Ende des Feldzuges 1799, Vol. 1, Vienna, 1804, pp. 115-119

Prybila, C.: Geschichte K. K. 27. Linien-Infanterie-Regiments Leopold I., König der Belgier, Vienna 1858

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 11

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Prybila's book