Royal Marine Infanterie
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Origin and History
On 24 December 1669, Louis XIV created two regiments of 2,000 men each for the security of his vessels. The regiment “Royal de la Marine” was one of these. It assembled in Bretagne in 1670 under the Marquis de Lavardin. In August 1670, 6 companies embarked at Brest for service with Duquesne's Fleet in an expedition to the Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands. On 11 March 1671, these companies returned to Brest. Meanwhile the rest of the regiment had campaigned in Lorraine in 1670, contributing to the capture of Épinal and Chasté.
In 1671, the regiment went to Amiens where an army was assembling. Thus, circumstances led this regiment to assume service with the army instead of the navy.
In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was at the capture of Orsoy and Rheinberg, at the passage of the Rhine, at the submission of Utrecht and Doesburg. In 1673, it took part in the conquest of part of the Electorate of Brandenburg; in 1674, in the battles of Sinzheim, Ensheim, Mulhausen and Turckheim, in the storming of the churchyard of Germersheim, in the retreat on Altenheim, in the combat to pass the Rhine and in the relief of Haguenau and Saverne. In 1676, the regiment took part in the sieges of Condé and Bouchain and in the Combat of the Kokersberg; in 1677, in the combat of Cassel and in the siege of Freiburg; in 1678, in the attack of the entrenchments of Seckingen, in the capture of Kehl and in the blockade of Strasbourg. A detachment also served with the Army of Flanders and fought in the combat of Saint-Denis. In 1679, it served on the Rhine and was at the combat of Minden.
In 1683, the regiment took part in the training camp of Bouquenom on the Sarre.
In 1684, the regiment covered the siege of Luxembourg.
In 1688, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim and Frankenthal; in 1689, in the combat of Walcourt; in 1690, in the storming of Waldkirch near Offenburg. In 1691, it was transferred to the Alps where it took part in the capture of Nice, Villefranche, Montalban, Veillane, Carmagnola and Montmélian. In 1692, it returned to the Meuse and participated in the siege of Namur. In 1693, it campaigned on the Rhine. In 1694, it was back in the Alps. In 1697, it campaigned on the Meuse.
On 30 December 1698, the regiment incorporated Sézanne Infanterie, initially raised in 1695 from militia.
By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted two battalions as per Susane but it is often referred to as counting three battalions in several order of battles.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:
- since 12 September 1699: Charles, Comte d'Angennes de Poigny
- from 1 October 1709 until 10 January 1727: Louis Desmarets de Maillebois, Baron de Chateuneuf
After the Treaty of Utrecht, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion.
Service during the War
In 1701, the regiment was initially allocated to the Army of the Rhine. At the beginning of July, its three battalions were selected to be sent to the Army of Italy as reinforcements. On 17 August, the regiment is reported at the camp of Vaprio on the Adda. By 22 August, it was brigaded with La Marine Infanterie.
In 1702, the regiment took part in the campaign in Northern Italy. By 21 March, it formed part of the field army. In mid-July, it was allocated to the army placed under the command of the Prince de Vaudémont, governor of Milan for Philip V. It was at the capture of Luzzara and Borgoforte. It then took its winter-quarters at Carpi. The Comte d'Estrades, commanding at Carpi, informed that an Imperialist detachment (250 foot and 20 hussars) was advancing on Rovere, detached 50 horse each with a grenadier of the regiment riding pillion. When the Imperialists saw this small cavalry detachment, they advanced against it but, when they were at 50 paces, the grenadiers stepped down and charged them at the point of the bayonet, killing several men and capturing 37 prisoners. Captain d'Harteville, who commanded this grenadier company, was much congratulated for his bravery.
For the campaign of 1703, the regiment was allocated to the army of the Prince de Vaudémont. On 19 May, it was at the camp of Fossolo. Most order of battles for that year indicated only two battalions for this regiment.
On 29 January 1704, the regiment distinguished itself at the passage of the Secchia and, on 30 January, at the capture of Bastiglia and Bomporto. Colonel-Lieutenant d'Angennes was the first to penetrate into Bastiglia. The regiment then took part in the sieges of Vercelli, Ivrea and Verrua.
In 1705, the regiment took part in the siege of Chivasso. On 16 August, it was at the Battle of Cassano.
In 1706, during the siege of Turin, the regiment was posted at Montcallier. After the disastrous Battle of Turin, fought on 7 September. It repassed the Alps and went to serve on the Rhine under the Maréchal de Villars, following him in his raids in Swabia and Franconia.
In 1708, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders. On 11 July, it took part in the Battle of Oudenarde where M. d'Angennes was wounded. While the Allies were besieging Lille, the regiment formed part of the corps under the Comte de La Mothe, who tried to make a diversion on the Scheldt.
On 18 August 1709, the Comte d'Angennes took the initiative to march at the head of his brigade against the forces of the Duke of Marlborough who were threatening Marchiennes. He managed to enter into Marchiennes where he remained until the Battle of Malplaquet, fought on 11 September. During this battle, the regiment was posted in the Sart woods, on the left wing. Outflanked by a British brigade under the command of the Duke of Argyle, the brave Colonel-Lieutenant d'Angennes held his post for a long time but was finally killed with his lieutenant-colonel and the elite of his soldiers.
In 1710, the remnants of the regiment were brigaded with Champagne Infanterie.
In 1711, the regiment was brigaded with Piémont Infanterie and took part in the attack on Arleux.
On 24 July 1702, the regiment took part in the Battle of Denain. It then participated in the Siege of Douai where it was charged to attack the Fort of Scarpe. It then completed the campaign by the sieges of Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.
In 1713, the regiment was transferred to the Rhine and served in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.
|Coat||grey-white lined blue; white buttons on the right side and 1 white button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||blue with white buttons|
|Breeches||grey-white (blue in 1720 as per Marbot and Funcken)|
|Stockings||no information found, we assume blue stockings|
|Gaiters||none at the beginning of the war, white later|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.
Please note that in the accompanying illustration, the drummer carries a drum at the arms of Navarre. The drum barrel should be royal blue decorated with golden fleurs de lys.
Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross decorated with 48 golden fleurs de lys.
Ordonnance Colour: first and fourth cantons blue; second and third cantons "aurores" (light orange) with a white cross and 48 golden fleurs de lys. Ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1669 to 1791.
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 6, pp. 93-101, 107
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle, p. 55
Lemau de la Jaisse, P.: Abregé de la Carte Générale du Militaire de France, Paris, 1734, p. 114
Lienhart, Constant; Humbert, René: Les Uniformes de l'Armée Française de 1690 à 1894, Vol. III, Leipzig 1899 – 1902
Marbot, Alfred de and E. Dunoyer de Noirmont: Les uniformes de l'armée française, T1 "1439 à 1789"
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.