Richebourg Dragoons

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

Origin and History

This tercio of cavalry was raised on 9 March 1674, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), for the Baron of Verloo. It consisted of 22 companies of 50 men each. The year of its creation, it fought in the Battle of Seneffe and took part in the siege of Oudenarde. In 1675, it participated in the Battle of Konzer Brücke where it captured two pairs of kettle-drums from the French Garde du Corps. In 1677, it took part in the unsuccessful siege of Charleroi; and in 1678, in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

On 13 April 1701, the Marquis de Bedmar, at the request of Maréchal Boufflers, reorganised the tercio to follow the organisation of French dragoon regiments. It kept its old guidon carrying the arms of the Count de Monterey.

The successive colonels of the tercio/regiment were:

  • from 9 March 1674: Baron of Verloo/Venloo
  • from 3 June 1676: Nicolas Hartmant
  • from 10 March 1680: Count de Valssasin
  • from 4 January 1683: Montifaux
  • from 12 July 1684: Baron d'Ourghes
  • from 22 October 1692: Don Juan d'Arville
  • from 3 February 1699: Guillaume de Melun, Marquis de Richebourg (became Count de Melun on 1 February 1707)
  • from 12 January 1712: Chevalier de Richebourg
  • from 13 February 1712: Count de Itre

In 1718, the regiment was renamed "Belgia."

Service during the War

In 1702, the tercio had its quarters in Namur. It received orders to join the army assembling at Wachtendonk in Guelderland under the command of the Maréchal de Boufflers. On 25 April, this army set off from Wachtendonk. On 26 April, it reached Alpen, intending to attack an Allied army posted near Kleve. On 3 May, the Duc de Bourgogne rejoined this army and took command. On 9 June, the regiment engaged the British cavalry as the Allies were retreating towards Nijmegen. During the combat, it captured a pair of kettle-drums. By 1 July, the regiment was encamped at Genappe. On 23 August, it was present at the cannonade near Peer. It then retired in the Lines of Brabant.

In mid-May 1703, the regiment was part of the army of the Maréchal de Villeroy who advanced on Maastricht. On 30 June, it fought in the Battle of Ekeren.

In 1704, the regiment was part of the auxiliary corps sent from Brabant to reinforce the Maréchal de Tallard in Bavaria. On 9 June, it reached Landau in Alsace. In the first days of July it marched across the Black Forest by the Kinzing Valley. On 10 July, it crossed the Danube at Lawinghen (unidentified location). Reinforcements did not reach Tallard who was decisively defeated at Blenheim in mid-August. The regiment, which was part of Villeroy's Corps, then retired to Haguenau and later to the Spanish Netherlands where it rejoined Bedmar's Army.

In mid-May 1706, the regiment joined the army assembling at Leuven under the command of the Elector of Bavaria. This army passed the Dyle and bivouacked between Tienen and Judoque (unidentified location). On 23 May, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies.

In 1708, after the defeat of the Franco-Spanish army at Oudenarde, the regiment reinforced the army of the Duc de Bourgogne. On 28 September, the regiment took part in the Engagement of Wijnendale.

In 1710, the regiment evacuated the Spanish Netherlands and marched through France to Catalonia. On 10 June, it joined the army encamped at Balaguer. On 13 June, it was forced to retire to Belcayre and Bellmunt; and on 14 June, between Ibars and Berbens. On 30 June, it was attached to a corps under the command of the General Baron de Huart who was sent to reinforce the Spanish troops fighting the rebels in the Rivagorza region. At the beginning of July, it recaptured the bridge of Naval and then to the relief of the Castle of Ainsa surrounded by the migueletes. In mid-July, it repassed the Cinca and destroyed the bridge. At the end of July, the regiment retired to Roussillon with the rest of Huart's force. It later took part in the siege of Gerona.

In 1711, the regiment was posted on the right wing of the first line. When Gerona surrendered, on 25 January, the regiment was detached under the command of General Marquis de Arpajou in the mountains of Aragon and Catalonia. In August, this force captured the Castle of Arenys, taking the Austrian General Schower prisoner. The regiment was then transferred to the division of the Count de Muret who reinforced the camp of Calaf and took part in an engagement near that camp. From 12 November, Muret's Division took part in the siege of Cardona. On 17 November, the besiegers stormed the town and the defenders took refuge in the castle. On 11 December, the quarters of the regiment were attacked by an Allied relief force which was driven back. On 19 December, the regiment dislodged the Allies from the neighbouring heights. On 21 December, the Allies counter-attacked and the colonel of the regiment, the Comte de Melun was killed in combat. Nevertheless, his dragoons managed to recapture their position. On 22 December, the Franco-Spanish army raised the siege of Cardona and retired to the camp of Calaf. On 24 December, it retired to Balaguer and the regiment took up its winter-quarters at Calatayud.

At the end of July 1712, the regiment joined the army at Fraga. On 18 October, the regiment crossed the Segre and took position near Agramunt but lack of forage forced it to recross the river on 19 November. It then took up its winter-quarters.

In 1713, the regiment took part in the blockade of Barcelona where detachments were charged to escort convoys.

In 1714, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Barcelona.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1706 - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore
Uniform Details in 1706
Headgear Troopers: red fatigue cap with a blue flap

Grenadiers: dragoon mitre cap with a blue front flap edged yellow and a red cap with a blue pompom

Neck stock white
Coat red with blue lining; silver buttons
Collar none
Shoulder straps yellow aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 silver buttons
Cuffs blue, each with 3 silver buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue with small silver buttons
Breeches buff leather
Leather Equipment
Bandolier natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather worn above the coat (white for grenadiers)
Cartridge Box black leather
Scabbard natural leather with a white metal tip
Footgear black leather gaiters fastened with straps
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered in red
Housings blue bordered in red with the golden monogram of Philip V
Blanket roll no information found


Grenadier Uniform in 1706 - Copyright: Michele Savasta Fiore

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

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. 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

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 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

Musicians

After 1675, the regiment was authorised to had a kettle-drummer in each of its two squadrons, in recognition of its conduct at the Battle of Konzer Brücke (11 August 1675) where it captured these kettle-drums from the French Garde du Corps. The aprons of the kettle-drums were of sky blue velvet and carried the arms of France.

Guidons

The guidons of the tercio/regiment remained unchanged from its creation to 1728.

Colonela Guidon (carried by the first squadron): white field

  • obverse: the coat of arms of the proprietor of the regiment (here the House of Melun within the collar of the Golden Fleece)
  • reverse: the Royal coat of arms on the Cross of Burgundy

Ordonnance Guidons (carried by all other squadrons): crimson field

  • obverse: the coat of arms of the proprietor of the regiment (here the House of Melun within the collar of the Golden Fleece)
  • reverse: the Cross of burgundy
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. XV, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 214-228