Royal Comtois Infanterie
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Origin and History
After the capture of Besançon and the final annexation of Franche-Comté, a regiment was raised on 9 August 1674 by the Marquis de Listenois to reward the nobility of the County of Bourgogne. Shortly after its creation, the regiment left Besançon and joined the Army of Catalonia, serving with this army till the end of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78).
In 1685, when the Marquis de Listenois retired, Louis XIV took the regiment who received the name of “Royal-Comtois”.
In 1688, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was attached to the Army of Germany and contributed to the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim and Frankenthal. In 1690, the regiment was transferred to the Alps and was at the capture of Cahours, at the Battle of Staffarda, then at the capture of Veillane, Carmagnola and Montmélian. In 1692, the regiment was increased to two battalions (each of 13 companies). It was recalled to Flanders where it participated in the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque where it greatly distinguished itself. In 1693, it initially served on the Moselle before being sent back to Italy where it the Battle of Marsaglia. It remained in Italy until 1696. Recalled to France, it was sent on the Meuse. In 1697, it formed part of the force covering the siege of Ath.
By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted two battalions.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:
- from 10 August 1692: Jean-François du Fay, Marquis de Vergetot
- from 7 March 1711 to 10 March 1734: Charles-François, Comte de Froulay
The second battalion of the regiment was disbanded in 1715.
Service during the War
In December 1700, the regiment was sent to Italy.
On 1 September 1701, the regiment took part in the Battle of Chiari where it formed part of Carcado’s Brigade.
On 1 February 1702, the regiment was among the French garrison when Prince Eugène tried to storm Cremona. Six of its companies were surprised and surrounded at the very beginning of the attack; the others fought with the greatest valor around the Santa-Maria Church and the house of the priest Cassoli where the Imperials had managed to enter into Cremona. It is this regiment who repulsed the Imperial cuirassiers and who recaptured the Ogni-Santi and Santa-Margherita gates. Colonel de Vergetot and Lieutenant-Colonel de Masselin were promoted to brigadiers for their conduct. The regiment later joined the corps of the Prince de Vaudémont and took part in the Battle of Luzzara and in the capture of Luzzara and Borgoforte.
En 1703, the regiment took part in the French offensive in South Tyrol with the Duc de Vendôme but, when the Camisard Uprising in Languedoc took a worrying turn, the regiment was sent to this province to serve under the command of the Maréchal de Montrevel. On 29 October, 600 Camisards commanded by the famous Cavalier appeared in front of Uz’s, intending to burn its suburbs. Seeing that the garrison was vigilant, they sent a message to Colonel Vergetot, who commanded there, to challenge him to combat. Insulted, Vergetot assembled a detachment consisting of soldiers of his own regiment and of Irishmen and advanced against the insurgents near Lussan. His detachment sustained two volleys before closing to contact. During the ensuing hand to hand combat, Vergetot’s detachment killed about 100 insurgents. Attacked by the cavalry of the Camisards, it stopped its advance by its lively fire and routed the rebels. In this engagement, the Camisards lost their colours, 120 men killed and 30 men taken prisoners. For its part, Royal-Comtois Infantry lost two of its captains, killed.
In 1704, under the command of the Duc de la Feuillade, the regiment took part in the capture of Suze, Chambéry and the Aosta Valley.
In 1705, the regiment took part in the capture of Villefranche, Sospello, de Sant’ Ospizio, Montalban, Nice, Chivasso and the Castle of Montmélian. On 16 August, it fought in the Battle of Cassano.
In 1706, the regiment took part in the siege of Turin, opening the trench on 2 June. In September, after the disastrous Battle of Turin, the regiment, reduced to only 229 men, repassed the Alps and joined the Army of the Rhine.
In 1707, the regiment campaigned under the command of Villars in Swabia and Franconia.
In 1708 and 1709, the regiment was posted at Langschleithal in the Lines of the Lauter.
In 1710, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders where it was brigaded with Navarre Infanterie.
In 1711, the regiment took part in the attack on Arleux.
On 24 July 1712, the regiment fought in the Battle of Denain. It then contributed to the recapture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.
In 1713, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Germany and took part in the capture of Freiburg where it remained in garrison.
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain: Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 7, pp. 1-6
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar