Royal Roussillon Infanterie

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

Origin and History

Ensign of Royal-Roussillon Infanterie circa 1720 - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

This regiment was raised in Perpignan with troops from Roussillon and Catalonia for the Cardinal de Mazarin according to a commission issued on 25 May 1657. It originally counted 3,000 men and was known as “Catalan-Mazarin”.

In 1658, almost at the end of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment was sent to Flanders where it took part in the siege of Gravelines, before assuming garrison duties in Oudenarde until the restitution of this city to Spain. It then returned to Perpignan.

On 13 March 1661, the regiment was reduced to 12 companies and renamed “Royal-Catalan”.

In March 1666, the regiment participated in a training camp at Monchy, near Compiègne.

On 27 January 1667, the regiment was renamed “Royal-Roussillon”. The same year, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment served in Flanders, contributing to the capture of Lille. In 1668, it took part in the first conquest of Franche-Comté.

In 1670, the regiment took part in the submission of Lorraine and in the sieges of Épinal, Chasté and Longwy. It then returned to Perpignan.

In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was increased to 20 companies. In 1674, it was transferred from Roussillon to Sedan in the Ardennes, fought in the Battle of Seneffe and then reinforced Trier. In January 1675, a detachment of the regiment destroyed the fort of Lizel. In 1676, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders and took part in the siege of Condé, in the covering of the siege of Bouchain, in the siege of Aire. In 1677, it was at the capture of Valenciennes and Cambrai and at the Battle of Cassel and took part in the siege of Saint-Ghislain. In 1678, it took part in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, and in the Combat of Saint-Denis.

After the Treaty of Nijmegen, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Southern France.

In September 1681, the regiment was sent to Casale to occupy the citadel, ceded to France by the Duke of Mantua. In 1682, it incorporated the Corsican regiment of Perri. From this moment, the regiment recruited exclusively French subjects (at the death of Louis XIV, in 1715, the regiment had lost all traces of its foreign origins). After its return from Casale, the regiment was sent to Longwy.

In 1684, the regiment quitted Longwy to take part in the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege of Philisbourg; in 1689, in the combat of Walcourt; in 1690, in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons. In 1692, the regiment was stationed on the coasts of Normandie. In 1693, it was sent back to Flanders and took part in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi. The regiment then took its winter-quarters at Mons. Until the end of the war, it was then posted at Namur.

After the Treaty of Riswyck, the regiment remained in Hainaut.

In 1698, the regiment took part in the training camp at Compiègne.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted only one battalion.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since 30 March 1672,: Comte de Ximénès
  • from 30 June 1701: N. De Ximénès, Marquis de Proissy
  • from 17 July 1708 to 22 July 1729: Augustin, Marquis de Ximénès

In 1715, the second battalion, which had been raised in 1701, was disbanded.

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment took part in the occupation of the Spanish Netherlands. By mid-February, the first battalion was stationed in Nieuport. The same year, a second battalion was added to the regiment. By 3 October, the two battalions were posted in Diest and neighbourhood. They took their winter-quarters in Geldern in Upper-Guelderland.

By 22 April 1702, the regiment was still stationed in Upper-Guelderland. On 11 June, it took part in the Combat of Nijmegen. By 10 September, it was at the camp of Beringen near Limbourg and counted two battalions for a total of 972 men. In mid-September, it was attached to Tallard's Corps (16 bns and 25 sqns) for an offensive on the Lower Rhine. In December, it took its winter-quarters in Tournai.

By 4 May 1703, the regiment was encamped between Antwerp and Lierre. By mid-June, it had joined the field army. By 13 October, it was stationed in Namur.

At the beginning of 1704, the regiment was at the camp of Neerhespen under the command of M. d'Artagnan. In May, it was transferred to the army commanded by the Marquis de Bedmar, assembled near Sint-Truiden. On 18 July, it occupied the extreme right of the French lines when their centre was forced near Louvain; consequently, it did not suffer from this attack. On 26 July near Dinant, the regiment destroyed a party of 400 horse and 100 grenadiers who were raising contributions. At the end of the year, the regiment was transferred to the Moselle, then to the Rhine.

In May 1706, after the disastrous Battle of Ramillies (23 May), the regiment arrived in Flanders with the corps under the command of the Maréchal de Marsin.

On 11 July 1708, the regiment was at the Battle of Oudenarde where it formed part of the Reserve along with the Gardes, Picardie Infanterie and Royal Infanterie. Because of the bad dispositions taken by the French commanders, this elite corps failed to break the Prussian Guards. In this battle, the regiment lost its colonel, M. de Proissy. It then retired to Meldert while the Allies undertook the siege of Lille.

In 1709, the regiment was brigaded with Picardie Infanterie. On 11 September, it fought along this famous regiment in the Battle of Malplaquet.

In 1711, the regiment took part in the attack on Arleux. The same year, an auxiliary battalion was raised in Dauphiné under the name of “Royal-Roussillon” but it never served with the regiment and was disbanded in 1715.

On 24 July 1712, the regiment took part in the Battle of Denain. It then participated in the Siege of Douai where, on 15 August, it marched to the trenches. It later took part in the recapture of Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.

In 1713, the regiment took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg. On 14 October, along with Poitou Infanterie, it distinguished itself in a combat in front of Freiburg. By coincidence, as these two regiments were debouching to attack the right of the covert way, the governor of the place was launching a sortie with 1,200 men precisely on this point. The shock was terrible and, after a stubborn fight, the French battalions managed to drive the enemy back to the covert way and then to conquer this covert way.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Susane, Lienhart & Humbert, Funcken
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a white or a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a white or a black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps grey-white fastened with a yellow button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs blue, each with 6 yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue with yellow buttons (Funcken illustrates a blue waistcoat bordered with a yellow lace and with yellow laced buttonholes)
Breeches grey-white (Funcken illustrates blue breeches)
Stockings white fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters none at the beginning of the war, white later
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard black with white metal fittings
Footwear black shoes with a brass buckle


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Other interpretations

Marbot illustrates a totally different uniform: grey-white coat with red cuffs and yellow buttons; red waistcoat and red breeches.

Curiously, Lemau de la Jaisse mentions that the regiment had blue coats with blue cuffs.

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Royal Livery - Source: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross decorated with 65 gold fleurs de lis. The colonel colour remained unchanged from 1667 to 1791.

Ordonnance Colour: first canton light blue; second, red; third, feuille morte (dead leaf); and fourth, light green; a white cross decorated with 65 gold fleurs de lis. These ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1667 to 1791.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury


References

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 5, pp. 397-403, 410

Other sources

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. 112

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 partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.