Pasteur Dragoons

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

Origin and History

Did you know that...
Pasteur was a commoner, born in Roussart near Waterloo on 12 June 1659. He first served in the regiment of dragoons-arquebusiers of Don Mathias Perez (disbanded 1691) until 1690 and later – for a short time – in the Spanish cuirassiers of Don Gabriel de Buendia (disbanded 1698/99). In September 1691. at the height of the Nine Years' War, he was authorized by the governor of the Spanish Netherlands to levy a free company of 200 Walloons ("compagnie d'infanterie Wallone libre") to assist the army in the region and defend the forest of Soignies against enemy incursions, deserters and marauders. Throughout its existence, the strength of this company varied between 200 and 400 men.

On 22 November 1694, Elector Maximilian Emanuel of Bavaria, as governor of the Spanish Netherlands, promoted Pastur to sergeant-major. On 15 April 1696, he was promoted to mestre de camp and tasked with raising a new regiment of nine companies. This latter unit was short-lived, being disbanded at the end of the war. in 1697.

Nevertheless, he already had a remarkable career for an homme de fortune who rose within seven years from the rank of sergeant to that of mestre de camp with a double command.

This unit was raised in the Spanish Netherlands as a free company, actually a regiment, of dragoons on 3 August 1702 by Jacques Pastur (or Pasteur or Pastour). It was formed with 300 mounted dragoons and 500 dragoons on foot, which suggests a group of free companies. Its specific purpose was to counter enemy parties in Brabant and guard "all the land from Halem to the Meuze all along the Méhaigne until it is in the Meuze". The unit was in the service of the Spanish Netherlands.

As with many other units, recruitment was slow and, at the time of the review of 16 October 1702, the regiment was only 580 men strong.

In December 1702, the unit was disbanded and reformed into a regular regiment of dragoons of 12 companies and a total of 420 men.

The colonel of the unit was:

  • from 1703 to 1715: Jacques Pastur (aka Pasteur or Pastour, in Spanish sources Pastur is referred to as "Don Diego Pasteur", in Allied sources on occasion also as "Colonel Jaco[b]")

The regiment was disbanded on 20 April 1715.

Service during the War

On 1 December 1703, the regiment was at Ghent.

On 26 June 1704, Pastur, who had been tasked with 100 dragoons and 100 grenadiers to monitor the enemy movements, spotted the avant-garde of an allied reconnaissance force of 600 dragoons under Nassau-Ouwerkerk. At first unaware of their true strength, Pastur decided to ambush them at Tongerloo. Wounded during the first attack, Pastur continued to lead the fight, but when the main allied force joined the combat, he ordered his men to fall back, himself leading the rearguard. During the retreat he was wounded a second time and had to be hospitalized at Malines. Pastur lost 10 dragoons killed and 32 taken prisoners

On 14 July 1705, the regiment fielded three squadrons in the dragoon reserve of the French Army of Flanders under Villeroy in Chassonville's Brigade together with the Chassonville Dragoons and Aubigné Dragons. On 16 August, Pastur was charged to monitor the Allied movements and guard the entry of Waterloo, with orders to fall back on Vivier d'Oye, which was held by Grimaldi with 10 battalions and 12 squadrons, if attacked by a superior force. Pasteur had six squadrons – his own regiment and the Bretagne Dragons – under his command plus 600 men of II./Béarn Infanterie at Waterloo. About 6:00 p.m. on August 17, he was attacked by four regiments of Allied dragoons and horse and an infantry column and retired in good order after holding his position for 90 minutes. Pursued for only half an hour and seeing that the Allied troops preferred to pillage the village of Waterloo instead, he advanced again and reoccupied his previous position after the enemy retired. Both the Elector of Bavaria and Maréchal Villeroy praised his conduct in this action in their reports to the king.

On 15 May 1706, two squadrons of the squadrons were with the Army of Flanders under brigadiers Chassonville and Pastur. On 23 May, these three squadrons fought in the Battle of Ramillies, where they suffered heavy losses (178 men killed, wounded or missing out of 420), a considerable number went over to the Allies after the battle, including Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre Collet and 10 other officers. Some Allied sources even claim that the whole regiment defected. The number of 200 men and 25 officers who followed Collet, noted in a letter by J. Hop to Marlborough from 26 August seems to be about accurate. On 31 October, the regiment – together with others – was reduced by order of the Elector of Bavaria to two squadrons (eight companies) "because it would be very difficult to restore them all in the weakness in which they are by the great desertion that there has been since the battle of Ramillies."

By 10 May 1707, Pastur was again at the head of two squadrons, and his brigade included three squadrons of Vassé Dragons.

On 11 July 1708, the regiment was present at the Battle of Oudenarde. By 22 September, its two squadrons formed part of Puignon's Corps in Flanders. On 28 September, they took part in the Engagement of Wijnendale. By 8 October, they were brigaded with Espinay Dragons. By 12 November, they were posted between Furembach and Ghent.

In September 1709, the regiment garrisoned at Mons.

In 1710, the regiment left for France where it stayed until 1713.

By 26 May 1712, the two squadrons of the regiment were with the Army of Flanders under Desars. From 23 to 27 August, they took part in the raid against northern Brabant and Zeeland.

From 18 September 1713, the regiment was in garrison at Landau. By 15 December, it was reported at the Siege of Barcelona.


Uniform Details as per Cayron
Headgear red mitre cap edged blue with a blue pompom
Neck stock no information found
Coat blue with red lining and blue cloth buttons on the right side; blue buttonholes made of camel hair
Collar none
Shoulder straps no information found
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with blue cloth buttons
Cuffs red, each with blue cloth buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red with red cloth buttons
Breeches blue
Leather Equipment
Bandolier natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather worn above the coat (white for grenadiers)
Cartridge Box natural leather ventral cartridge box
Scabbard black leather with a white metal tip
Footgear natural leather gaiters
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red
Housings red
Blanket roll no information found

Troopers were armed with a sword, two pistols and a carbine.


no information found


Cayron, Jean R.: La véritable histoire de Jacques Pastur dit Jaco, brigadier de cavalerie et de dragons au service de l'Espagne, Collection d'Histoire Militaire Belge, 1953

Journal du Marquis de Dangeau, Vol. 10, Paris 1857, p. 396

Pelet and François Eugène de Vault: Mémoires militaires, Vol. 5, pp. 79f, 594-596, 600

Quincy, Marquis de: Histoire militaire du règne de Louis-le-Grand, Vol. IV, Paris 1726, p. 524f

Siegler: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Feldzug 1712, Vienna 1889, p. 218

Thomas: A Compleat History of the Late War In the Netherlands, London 1713, p. 305

Veenendaal, A.J.,: <<Review of: Gayron [sic] (Jean R.). La véritable histoire de Jacques Pastur dit Jaco, brigadier de cavalerie et de dragons au service de l'Espagne. in: Revue belge de Philologie et d'Histoire, 1954, pp. 632-635



Michele Savasta Fiore for the initial version of this article

Jörg Meier for a major overhaul of the article.