Origin and History
The origins of the regiment can be traced back to 7 February 1640 when the Count fe Monterey, the Count de Dastrillo and the Marquis de Castro-Fuerte circulated the news that the king was assembling a battalion of cavalry to serve on the frontier of Catalonia. On 1 May, the Marquis de Mortara was appointed governor-general of the Caballería de las Ordenes.” By 4 June, the unit counted 1,400 horse. In September, they were organised in four squadrons. On 17 August 1642, the unit was designated as “Batallon de Caballeria de las Ordenes Militares”.
In 1642, the new unit joined the Army of Catalonia. In 1643, it took part in a combat near Lérida and in the siege of Monzon; in 1644, in the siege of Lérida and in the relief of Tarragona.
In 1652, the unit once more joined the Army of Catalonia and took part in the defence of Barcelona. In 1653, it participated in the relief of Gerona.
In 1662, during the Portuguese Restoration War (1640–68), the unit was transferred to the army assembling to march against Portugal. It took part in the capture of Borba and Jurumenha before retiring to Extremadura. In 1663, it took part in the siege and capture of Evora and in the combat of Estremoz. In 1664, it defended Extremadura. In 1665, it fought in the combat of Montesclaros.
In 1674, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the unit was sent to Rousillon and took part in the combat of Le Perthus. In 1675, it successfully defended Le Perthus. In 1676, it fought in a combat near Puigcerdà; in 1677, in the Battle of Espolla. In 1678, it participated in a failed attempt to relieve Puigcerdà.
In 1684, the unit was sent to Ampurdan and took part in the relief of Gerona.
In 1689, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the unit joined the army assembled in Catalonia. In 1694, the unit fought in the Battle of Torroella. In 1695, it retired towards Barcelona. In 1697, it vainly tried to relieve Barcelona.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:
- from 1704: Francisco Manuel Gutieriez de Medinilla (promoted to maréchal de camp in 1706)
- from 10 March 1706: Melchor Colón de Portugal (commanded the regiment until the end of the war)
On 23 July 1715, when the Ordenes Nuevo Cavalry was disbanded , the present regiment was renamed Ordenes.
Service during the War
In 1704, the unit was initially stationed in Extremadura. On 28 February, it was transformed into a regiment and marched against Portugal. On 8 May, it was present at the siege of Salvatierra. On 13 May, it was at the siege of Idanha-Nova. On 17 June it took part in the engagement of Monsanto.
In 1705, the regiment was destined to the corps operating in Catalonia. It was forced to retire to Aragon under the command of the Viceroy Count de San Esteban de Gormaz. By April, the regiment was attached to the Army of Old Castile and counted 12 companies. It then joined General Don Antonio de Amézaga when he marched to Barbastro. Informed that the rebels occupied one of the fords of the Cinca, Amézaga attacked them. The regiment passed the river, killed about 100 rebels, wounded twenty and routed the rest. The regiment was then attached to a corps operating in Valencia under the Count de las Torres who made himself master of Monroyo and Morella. He then blockaded San Mateo and drove back a relief attempt by the rebels.
On 1 January 1706, the regiment took part in an engagement on the Sasadella, thus contributing to the surrender of Villareal (12 January) and Alcira (1 April). The regiment was then chosen to cover the frontier between Castile and Portugal. At the end of April, it was at the engagement on a ford of the Cantaranas. It then joined the Army of New Castile at the camp of Atienza where it was deployed in the right wing of the second line. The same year, it was renamed Ordenes Viejo to distinguish it from the newly created Ordenes Nuevo Cavalry.
On 25 April 1707, the regiment fought in the Battle of Almansa where captains Don José de Vila and Don Francisco Tayo contributed with their squadrons to contain and rout the infantry of the enemy centre. In the first days of May, the regiment was at the storming of Elche. From 25 May, it took part in the second siege and capture of Alcira. It was then at the second siege of Játiva. From 22 July, it participated in the siege of Denia. From 11 September to 11 November, it was at the siege and capture of Lérida. From 12 November to 12 December, it was at the siege of Morella.
In 1708, the regiment was sent to Catalonia. On 20 June, it joined the corps besieging Tortosa. On 10 July, it was transferred to the place of Pedregués in Kingdom of Valencia. On 21 August, 600 insurgents of the garrison of Denia attacked a convoy. Captain Carlos Suesi of the regiment intercepted and attacked the insurgents who lost 50 men. On 1 November, half the regiment posted in Valencia accompanied General Don Pedro Ronquillo who laid siege to Denia. On 4 November, the rest of the regiment joined them. On 12 November, it took part in the storming of the place. On 17 November, the Castle of Denia finally surrendered. On 30 November, the regiment joined the corps who had laid siege to Alicante who, to the exception of its castle, surrendered on 3 December.
At the beginning of 1709, the regiment was at the siege of the Castle of Alicante who surrendered on 15 April. In mid-September, the regiment was part of a corps under General Don Francisco Caetano who marched from the Kingdom of Valencia to Catalonia. On 23 September, as it reached Tortosa, the regiment was instructed to advance on Reus to protect the line of communication.
In 1710, the regiment went to Saragossa to wait for the king. On 10 May, it escorted him to Lérida where it arrived on 13 May. From 10 to 26 June, it was at the unsuccessful siege of Balaguer. On 27 July, the regiment took part in the Battle of Almenar. On 13 August, it passed the Cinca. On 15 August, the regiment took part in an engagement ne Peñalva against 28 squadrons, almost annihilating the German regiment of Herbeville capturing 7 standards and pursuing the enemy up to Candasmos. On 20 August, the regiment fought in the Battle of Saragossa and was then forced to retire towards Aragon. On 12 December, it took part in the victorious and decisive Combat of Villaviciosa.
In 1711, the regiment was attached to the Army of Aragon where it was deployed on the right wing of the first line. It operated under the command of the Count de Rivagorza to pacify the territory.
In 1712, two squadrons of the regiment attacked 5 squadrons and 24 companies of migueletes at Porroy,. The two other squadrons of the regiment opearated in the vicinities of Benabarre, attacking a camp of 400 volunteers and 4 companies of migueletes.
In 1714, the regiment was at the siege of Barcelona which was stormed on 11 September.
|Headgear||black tricorne laced yellow, with a red cockade fastened with a golden clip and a brass button|
|Coat||red with brass buttons on the right side
|Waistcoat||blue with brass buttons|
Troopers were armed with a sword, a pistol and a carbine.
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
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
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The standards of the regiment were made of crimson silk with silver cords and streamers. The centre device consisted of a cloak of the Order carrying the four crosses of Santiago, Alcántara, Calatrava and Montesa.
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. XIV, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 236-253
Caballipedia - Regimiento de Caballería Infante
Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article.