Pezuela Dragoons

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

Origin and History

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Jaime de Guzmán-Dávalos y Spínola, Conde de Pezuela by Pedro Capmany Sandiumenge – Source: Wikimedia Commons
Jaime de Guzmán-Dávalos y Spínola was born in 1690. Very young, he inherited the title of 5th Count of Pezuela de Las Torres from his mother's side Giovanna Maria Spinola, Countess de Pezuela de las Torres. By 1706, Pezuela had already reached the rank of captain in a cavalry regiment. In 1709, at the age of only 19, Pezuela obtained from King Philip V the permission to raise his own dragoons regiment. In 1710, Pezuela fought at Badajoz. He then requested his regiment to be transferred to Barcelona in Catalonia.

In 1717 and 1718, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance, Pezuela took part in the campaigns in Sardinia and Sicily. In 1718, during the campaign in Sicily, he paid particular attention to the preparation of military hospitals, and this remains an example of the first idea of a sort or Red Cross ante litteram.

In 1720, when his father died, the Count of Pezuela de las Torres inherited more important the title of 2nd Marquis de Mina. After the war, he became an important diplomat and, between 1736 and 1740, was ambassador to France. In 1738, he was made a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), Pezuela (now Marquis de Mina) joined the Spanish army in Italy and played an important role in the Battle of Madonna dell'Olmo. After the disastrous campaign of 1746, he replaced the Count de Gages as Supreme Commander of the Spanish troops in Italy until the end of the war.

In 1749, Pezuela was appointed Captain General of Catalonia, a function he exercised for the next ten years until the death of King Ferdinand VI of Spain in 1759. The new King Charles III of Spain, former King in Naples, renewed this appointment for another eight years, until Pezuela's death, something very unusual.

During his appointment in Catalonia, Pezuela developed a good school of military engineers in Barcelona, the Academia de Matemáticas de Barcelona. He wrote also some books about his experience during his campaign in Sicily in 1718.

The regiment was created according to a royal decree issued on 18 December 1709, authorising the Count de Pezuela to raise a dragoon regiment of three squadrons, each of four companies.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the owner of the regiment was:

  • from 21 December 1709 to at least 1717: Colonel Jaime de Guzman-Davalos y Spinola, 2nd Marquis de Mina and 5th Count of Pezuela de Las Torres

On 10 February 1718, the regiment became “Lusitania Dragones”.

Service during the War

From its creation in December 1709, to 1712, the regiment assumed garrison duty in the District of Extremadura.

In 1712, the regiment took part in the campaign in Portugal, crossing the Caya. In September, it contributed to the unsuccessful siege of Elvas. In October, it was then redirected towards Campo Maior in the Province of Alentejo, not far from Badajoz. On 4 October, it opened the trench. On 11 and 17 October, it drove back sallies. On 26 October, it took part in the unsuccessful assault. On 28 October, it retired towards Old Castile.

In August 1713, the regiment was transferred to Aragon and fought against bands of Catalan insurgents.

In 1714, the regiment continued to fight against the insurgents. After the capture of Barcelona, it formed part of the garrison of the city.

Uniform

It seems that all Spanish and Italian dragoon regiments formed raised after 1702 wore, according to new royal decree of 1702, green uniforms and that all troopers, including grenadiers wore the mitre cap.

Privates

Uniform in 1709 - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore
Uniform Details in 1709
Headgear mitre cap with a black front flap edged white and a green cap with an black pompom
Neck stock white cravate
Coat green with pewter buttons on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder straps a white aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs black, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat probably black with pewter buttons
Breeches black (probably buff leather during campaign)
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 black bordered in silver
Housings black bordered in silver with the silver monogram of Philip V
Blanket roll no information found


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

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.

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 white woolen epaulette
  • brigadier: swagger stick
  • corporal of squadron: swagger stick
  • second corporal of squadron (rank suppressed in 1706): swagger stick

Musicians

Drummers probably wore a “reversed colours” uniform: black coat with green distinctive.

Guidons

Tentative reconstruction of the guidons in 1710.

Colonela Guidon - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore using a template contributed by Gilbert Noury
Ordonnance Guidon - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore using a template contributed by Gilbert Noury

References

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. XVI, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 5-13

Acknowledgements

Michele Savasta Fiore for the biography of the colonel of the regiment and for the research on the uniform and guidons of this regiment