Touraine Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Angers on 17 January 1625 by the Baron de Plessis-Joigny, governor of the place, to fight against the Protestant of La Rochelle whose expedition in Bretagne failed. The regiment was thus disbanded on 26 May 1627. However, troubles continuing at La Rochelle, the regiment was re-raised on 28 July 1627 and took part in the siege of the city. After the submission of La Rochelle, it assumed garrison duty on Oléron Island.

At the beginning of 1630, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment quit Oléron to march to Piedmont where it occupied Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and capture the town and castle of Veillane.

In 1631, the regiment followed the king in Lorraine and took its winter-quarters in Alsace. In 1632, it was attached to the Army of Germany. In 1633 and 1633, it served in Lorraine. In September 1634, it joined the army assembling for a winter campaign in Alsace.

In April 1635, just before the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment marched through Switzerland to the Valtellina. The 700 men of the regiment seized the Cassanna Heights. They also took part in the Battle of Mazzo, in the attack on the Fort of Bains de Bormio, and in the combats of Ferravalle and Morbeigno. In 1636, the regiment took part in the many combats fought along the Como Lake. In May of the same year, the regiment was incorporated into the Royal Army and took the name of the Province of Touraine. The French army then entered into the Milanese and took its winter-quarters in the Gex country. In 1637, the regiment took part in the defence of Asti and in the combat of Montebaldone; in 1638, in the capture and defence of Brema and in the relief of Vercelli; in 1638, in the attack of the entrenchments of Cencio, in the relief of Casale, in the siege of Chivasso and in the combat of Quiers. In October, it was transferred to Roussillon to relieve the town of Salces. Before winter, it returned to Piedmont where it assumed garrison duty in the Citadel of Turin. In 1640, the regiment took part in the siege of Turin; in 1641, in the siege of Ivrea, in the submission of Ceva, Piannezza and Mondovi, and in the investment of Coni; in 1642, in the capture of Crescentino and Nice de la Paille, and in the siege of the Castle of Tortona; in 1643, in the capture of Trino where it assumed garrison duty until 1650. The regiment was then reduced from 30 to 20 companies.

In 1650, during the Fronde (1648-1653), the regiment returned to France and cantoned near Paris. During this period, the regiment lost its name of “Touraine” and adopted for about twenty years the one of its successive owners.

In 1652, the regiment returned to Piedmont. In 1653, it was transferred to Catalonia. In 1655, it returned to Italy and was at the siege of Pavia. In 1656, it took part in the capture of Valencia; in 1657, in the relief of Valencia, in the siege of Alessandria and in the capture of the castles of Varas and Novi. In 1658, it campaigned in Catalonia where it remained until the signature of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in November 1659.

The regiment then returned to France where it assumed garrison duty in Blaye and was reduced to 4 companies. In September 1661, these companies took part in the repression of troubles Montauban. In 1666 and again in 1670, the regiment was ranked 19th, just after Crussol Infanterie.

In 1669, the regiment was among the 14 regiments who embarked at Toulon to assist the Venetians against the Turks in Crete. It returned to France the same year and assumed garrison duty in Picardie and Flandre, where it remained until 1673.

In 1673,during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment received definitively the name of the Province of Touraine. During most of this war, the regiment was assigned to the guard of the artillery, along with the Fusiliers du Roi. In 1674, the regiment campaigned in Flanders under the Prince de Condé. By May 1675, it was at the camp of Charleville under the Maréchal de Créqui. It then passed under the command of Turenne who assigned it to the guard of the bridges on the Rhine. The same year, it took part in an outpost combat near Mutzig. In 1676, a battalion of the regiment took part in the attack on Zweibrücken where it was left as garrison, the rest of the regiment serving on the Rhine. In 1677, the regiment was transferred to Flanders and was at the siege of Valenciennes where it distinguished itself. In recognition for the support given to the Mousquetaires, Louis XIV authorized the regiment to carry pockets à la mousquetaire. The same year, the regiment took part in the siege of Saint-Omer. It was then transferred to Germany where it was attached to the artillery till the end of the war. In 1678, it took part in the siege of Freiburg.

In 1683, the regiment was at the camp on the Sarre. In 1684, it took part in the conquest of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was attached to the army placed under the command of the Dauphin and took part in the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim and Frankenthal before taking its winter-quarters at Mézières and Charleville. In 1689, the regiment contributed to the conquest of Palatinate, came back to the Moselle and fought in the combat of Walcourt. It then returned to Palatinate during the siege of Mainz and took part in the capture of Brücksaal. In 1690, it initially campaigned on the Moselle and then joined the army of the Maréchal de Luxembourg, distinguishing itself in the battle of Fleurus. It then took its winter-quarters at Furnes. In 1691, it campaigned in Flanders and took part in the siege of Mons. After the capture of Mons, the regiment was sent to the Army of Germany. In 1692, it was recalled to Normandie for the service of the coastal batteries. In 1693, the regiment, then counting 3 battalions) was part of the reinforcements sent to Piedmont. Upon arrival, it was assigned to the defence of the Defile of Perugia but was forced to retire in front of a superior force. It then fought in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the combat of the Ter and in the capture of Girona, Palamós, Ostalrich and Castelfollit. In 1695, it took part in the defence of Palamós and Ostalrich, and in the relief of Castelfollit. It then remained in Castelfollit as garrison. In mid 1696, the regiment was sent back to Italy where it took part in the siege of Valencia. It then returned to Catalonia. In 1697, the regiment was at the siege of Barcelona. After the Treaty of Ryswick, it returned to France.

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:

  • since 30 January 1691: N., Comte d'Igny
  • from 28 February 1703 to 15 March 1718: Jean-Baptiste-François Desmarets, Comte de Maillebois (promoted to brigadier on 19 September 1708, maréchal de camp on 8 March 1718, lieutenant-general on 22 December 1731 and maréchal de France on 11 February 1741)

Service during the War

By 1701, the regiment had been reduced to 2 battalions. It was part of the army who occupied the Spanish Netherlands.

In 1702, the regiment took part in an action near Nijmegen.

In 1703, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Germany. On 25 February, it contributed to the relief of Trarbach. It then took part in the defence of Bonn. In August and September, it was at the Siege of Alt-Breisach. In the night of 25 August, it made more than 600 meters of trenches despite the lively fire of the defenders. In October, it participated in the Siege of Landau. On 21 October, it drove a sortie back to the covert way. On 3 November, the regiment along with Royal-Italien Infanterie attacked the left counterguard and penetrated into the inner entrenchment. On 15 November, it fought in the Combat of Speyerbach where the army of the Prince of Hesse-Cassel was defeated. Immediately after the capitulation of Landau, the regiment left for Italy.

In 1704, the regiment opened the campaign by taking part in the siege of Susa where his grenadiers stormed the Heights of Brunetti. It then contributed to the submission of the San Martino Valley, stormed the post of Rochetaille in the Aosta Valley and took its winter-quarters at Pinerolo.

At the beginning of 1705, the regiment captured the Castle of Castello. It then served in the siege of the town and castle of Villefranche, and took part in the submission of Nice. In May, Captain de Santis of the regiment was charged to escort with the 2 grenadier companies a large ammunition convoy from Pinerolo to the army. He was attacked by 600 Waldensians but his detachment put them to flight, killing 120 men. The regiment then joined the army of the Duc de Vendôme and took part in the siege of Chivasso. On 16 August, it fought in the Battle of Cassano.

On 19 April 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Calcinato where the Count Reventlow was defeated and then marched to join the army for the siege of Turin. In its first day of guard duty, the regiment stormed the lunettes of the first covert way and one counterguard. In this action, Colonel de Maillebois was severely wounded. On 7 September, during the Battle of Turin, the regiment bravely defended the part of the line under its responsibility. After this disastrous battle, the regiment had only 447 fit for duty. During the retreat of the army, it was attached to the rearguard and when the army reached the Defile of Perugia, it made the path passable by the artillery.

In 1707, the regiment was part of the Army of Dauphiné. It came to the rescue of Toulon, threatened by an Austro-Savoyard army. Back to Dauphiné after the retreat of the Allies, the regiment destroyed 3 German battalions entrenched at the Great Cross of Mont Cenis.

In 1708, the regiment was transferred to the Rhine where it remained for some time cantoned at Petite-Pierre. In July, it was sent to reinforce the Army of Flanders who had been defeated in the Battle of Oudernarde. Upon its arrival, it entered into Lille which was immediately besieged. During the long and memorable defence of this place, the regiment always showed admirable courage and discipline. On 11 September, it distinguished itself in a sortie where Lieutenant-Colonel de La Cassagne-Maurin was grievously wounded. For 37 days, Captain du Daugnon and his company held an isolated defence work, sustaining four assaults.

In 1709, the regiment was attached to Albergotti's Corps. On 11 September, it took part in the Battle of Malplaquet where Major de Coucy was dangerously wounded.

In 1710, the regiment along with Piémont Infanterie took part in the glorious defence of Douai.

In 1712, as the situation seemed desperate for France, the regiment was charged to defend Maubeuge. At the end of July, after the victorious Battle of Denain, the regiment set off from Maubeuge and contributed to the recapture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain.

In 1713, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Germany where it took part in the combat of Spires and in the capture of Spires, Worms, Kayserslautern and Landau. It then contributed to the defeat of Vaubonne's Army entrenched near Freiburg and took part in the ensuing siege of Freiburg.

In the Spring of 1714, after the Treaty of Rastatt, the regiment returned to France and was brought back to full strength by the incorporation of Montsorreau Infanterie, Sebbeville Infanterie and Bellisle Infanterie.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Rousselot, Susane, Lienhart & Humbert, Funcken, Marbot
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black or white cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black or white cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white with royal blue lining; copper buttons on the right side and 1 copper button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets double horizontal pockets, each with 6 copper buttons
Cuffs royal blue, each with 5 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat royal blue edged aurore with copper buttons and aurore brandebourgs
Breeches royal blue (grey-white as per Susane and Lienhart & Humbert)
Stockings royal blue 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.

N.B.: Susane and Funcken mentions white buttons

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.

Ordonnance Colour: white cross with aurore (light orange), green, blue and red cantons. The ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1657 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 4, pp. 331-349, 356

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. 107

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"‎

Rousselot, Lucien: Infanterie française (1720-1736) (II)