Royal Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Royal Cavalerie

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on 16 May 1635. It was the first of twelve regiments raised by the Cardinal de Richelieu and the cardinal was designated as the chef' of the regiment which became known as "Cardinal-Duc".

In 1635, during the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), the newly raised regiment was immediately sent to Picardie and then to Lorraine where it took part in the Combat of Vaudrevange. In 1636,, some companies of the regiment took part in the sieges of Corbie and in the capture of Landrecies, Maubeuge and La Capelle. In 1638, it took part in the siege of Saint-Omer and in the Combat of Polinkove; in 1639, in the capture of Lillers and Hesdin; in 1640, in the siege of Arras; in 1641, in the siege of Aire, La Bassée and Bapaume; and in 1642, in the Battle of Honnecourt.

On 4 December 1642, at the death of the Cardinal de Richelieu, the regiment the regiment was given to the king in Richelieu's testament. On 1 August 1643, the regiment took the title of "Royal Cavalerie".

In 1643, the regiment took part in the Battle of Rocroi and in the capture of Émery, Barlemont, Maubeuge, Binch, Thionville and Sierck; in 1644, in the siege of Gravelines; in 1645, in the sieges of Bourbourg and Menin; in 1646, in the capture of Courtrai, Bergues, Mardyck, Furnes and Dunkerque; in 1647, in the capture of Lens and La Bassée; and in 1648, in the siege of Furnes.

In 1649, during the Troubles of the Fronde (1648-53), the regiment took part in the sieges of Cambrai, Condé and Maubeuge; in 1650, in the Battle of Rethel; and in 1652, in the in the Battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.

In 1653, the regiment was in garrison at Melun.

In 1654, the regiment took part in the attack of the Lines of Arras and in the capture of Le Quesnoy; in 1655, in the sieges of Landrecies and Saint-Ghislain; in 1656, in the relief of Valenciennes, before being sent to Nivernais and Normandie to quench revolts. In 1659, it distinguished itself in the Battle of the Dunes. It was then quartered in the region of Boulonnais until 1666.

From 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War, the regiment served under Turenne. In 1676, it took part in the capture of Bouchain, Condé and Aire and in the relief of Maastricht; in 1677, in the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai and in the Combat of Cassel; in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent, Ypres, and Kehl; and in 1679, in the capture of Homburg and Bitche.

In 1680, the regiment was at Vesoul; in 1681, at the camp of Artois, in 1682, at the camp of Flanders; in 1683, at the siege of Courtrai; and in 1684, at the siege of Luxembourg.

From 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment campaigned in Palatinate. In 1692, it distinguished itself in the Combat of Pforzheim. In 1693, it took part in the capture of Heidelberg, Wingenberg, Eppenheim, Weinheim and Darmstadt; in 1694, in the Combat of Wislok.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted 3 squadrons.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the king was the nominal Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the successive Mestres de Camp Lieutenants commanding the regiment were:

  • from 22 July 1677: Léonor-Marie du Maine, Comte du Bourg
  • from December 1701: N. du Maine, Comte du Bourg
  • from 19 December 1706: Maximilien-Henri de Béthune, Duc de Sully
  • from 1712 to 1724: Comte de Melun

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment was sent to the Duchy of Luxembourg and then on the Lower Meuse, where it was stationed in the camp of Richel, between Liège and Maastricht.

In 1702, the regiment was sent to the Rhine. On 14 October, it took part in the Battle of Friedlingen, where the future Maréchal de Belle-Isle, then captain in the regiment, was wounded.

In 1703, the regiment took part in the attack against the entrenchments on the Kinzig and in the attack against the Lines of Stollhofen. On 31 July, it was at the Combat of Munderkingen. On 20 September, it fought in the 1703-09-20 – Battle of Höchstädt and then in the capture of Kempen and Augsburg.

On 13 August 1704, the regiment fought in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim. It then retired to the Rhine and the Moselle.

The regiment then campaigned on the Rhine and the Moselle until the end of the war. In 1713, it took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform Details as per Susane
Headgear black tricorne laced gold
Neck stock probably a white cravate
Coat blue lined red with gilt buttons
Collar none
Shoulder straps none
Lapels red with gilt buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets with gilt buttons
Cuffs red cuffs with gilt buttons
Turnbacks none
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with gilt buttons
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with an "aurore" braid
Housings blue bordered with an "aurore" braid
Blanket roll n/a


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

Standards

Regimental standards (silken standards): blue field embroidered and fringed in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” and surrounded by golden fleur de lys.

Tentative Reconstruction
Regimental Standard - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 324-325

Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 34-45