Vendôme Infanterie

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

Origin and History

At the beginning of 1650, during the Fronde (1648-1653), when the Cardinal Mazarin put the Prince of Condé under arrest and dispossessed him of the government of Burgundy, he gave this charge to César Monsieur, Duc de Vendôme, an illegitimate son of Henri IV, with the commission to raise a regiment to secure this province. Accordingly, the duke raised Vendôme Infanterie on 25 February 1651. The regiment spent its first year bringing various places of Burgundy into submission. In 1652, it campaigned in Provence, contributing to the submission of Toulon. In 1653, the regiment was sent to Guyenne where it took part in the blockade of Bordeaux and in the capture of Bourg and Libourne. It then remained in Guyenne until 1655.

In 1655, the regiment was increased to 16 companies and was involved in the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), joining the Army of Flanders and taking part in the siege and capture of Condé. In 1656, it took part in the unsuccessful siege of Valenciennes. It then assumed garrison duties in Northern France until the Treaty of the Pyrenees.

At the end of 1659, the regiment was sent in Lower Poitou. In 1661, the regiment was reduced to 8 companies even though it had incorporated Mersoeur Infanterie. In the Autumn, it was sent to Montauban to quench a rebellion. It then returned to Poitou where it would remain until 1667.

In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment was attached to the small army of observation placed under the command of Lieutenant-General de Foucauld and operating in Roussillon. It was the only regular regiment of this little army. In 1668, assisted by militia, it relieved Bellegarde. After the peace, the regiment was reduced to only two companies of 80 men.

In 1669, the regiment was chosen to participate in the relief of Candia (present-day Heraklion) in the Island of Crete. It soon returned to France after this unsuccessful attempt.

In 1671, the regiment was brought back to 16 companies.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the capture of Rheinberg, Orsoy and Arnheim. In 1673, it participated in the conquest of Maastricht. At the end of the year, its first battalion was thrown into Grave while the second was sent to Burgundy. In 1674, the second battalion took part in the sieges of Besançon and Dôle. It then rejoined Turenne's Army and fought in the battles of Sintzheim, Ensheim and Turckheim. Meanwhile, the first battalion distinguished itself in the defence of Grave. In 1675, the entire regiment campaigned on the Rhine and took part in the defence of the bridge of Altenheim, and in the relief of Haguenau and Saverne. In 1676, the main body continued to serve on the Rhine while the rest joined the Army of Flanders, taking part in the capture of Condé. In 1677, this same detachment took part in the capture of Cambrai; and in 1678, in the conquest of Ypres. Meanwhile, in 1676, the main body, brigaded with La Marine Infanterie, fought in the combat of Kokersberg; and in 1677, in the capture of Freiburg. In 1678, the regiment was at the combat of Seckingen and at the capture of Kehl and Lichtemberg; in 1679, it fought in the combat of Minden.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment campaigned on the Moselle and occupied Bonn. In 1689, it took part in the defence of Bonn. After the capitulation of the place, it was sent to Alsace. In 1690, it was sent to Italy where it took part in all operations of the campaigns of 1690, 1691 and 1692, contributing to the defence of Pinerolo and Susa. In 1693, it fought in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694 and 1695, it continued to serve in Italy. In 1696, the regiment rejoined the Duc de Vendôme in Catalonia and took part in the combat of Ostalrich. In 1697, it was at the siege of Barcelona where it distinguished itself.

Note: a newly raised battalion, serving under the name of Vendôme in the Low Countries contributed to the defence of Huy in 1694, and to the defence of Namur in 1695.

On the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, by an order dated 1 February 1701, the regiment was increased to two battalions

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

  • since 30 September 1669: Louis-Joseph Duc de Vendôme
  • from 15 August 1712 until 22 March 1717: René-Jean-Baptiste de Coskaër d'Ablois, Marquis de La Vieuville (under the name of Duc de Berry Infanterie in 1713 and of Barrois Infanterie from 1714 to 1717)

In 1714, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion.

Service during the War

In 1701, while the second battalion was forming, the first took part in the campaign in Northern Italy under the command of the Maréchal de Catinat. On 5 May, it was part of Catinat's first 13 bns (3 Spanish, 10 French) who arrived at Goito. On 1 September, it fought in the Battle of Chiari.

In 1702, the Duc de Vendôme replaced Villeroy as commander-in-chief in Italy. By 21 March, the first battalion of the regiment formed part of the Reserve under Albergoti. By mid-July, it was attached to Imécourt's Brigade. On 15 August, it took part in the Battle of Luzzara and in the capture of Luzzara, Guastalla and Borgoforte. It was then detached under the command of General Albergotti and contributed to the reduction of Modena where it momentarily assumed garrison duties before taking its winter-quarters in Canneto under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre Beaudouin. Meanwhile, the newly established second battalion assumed garrison duties in Alsace. By 10 March, it was posted in Schlestadt. At the end of April, it was among the unit chosen to join the main army. On 14 October, it was present at the Battle of Friedlingen.

In 1703, the first battalion accompanied the Duc de Vendôme in his expedition in Trentino and distinguished itself at the capture of Arco and Nago. Meanwhile, the second battalion campaigned under the command of Villars, taking part, in February and March in the Siege of Kehl. It then followed Villars in Bavaria and, on 20 September, took part in the Battle of Höchstädt. It was also at the capture of Augsburg.

By 18 January 1704, the first battalion had taken its winter-quarters in Moncave in Piedmont. The grenadiers of the regiment later distinguished themselves at the siege of Vercelli. The first battalion then took part in the siege of Ivrea and began the siege of Verrua. Meanwhile, the second battalion campaigned in Bavaria under Marsin. On 13 August, it was at the disastrous Battle of Blenheim but was not engaged. It then retreated to Alsace and took its cantonments in Neuweiler.

During the winter of 1704-05, the second battalion marched towards Italy where it joined the first battalion in front of Verrua.

On 1 March 1705, the entire regiment took part in the attack of the Fort de l'Isle whose capture forced Verrua to finally capitulate. On 31 May, the two grenadier companies of the regiment contributed to the success of the combat of Moscolino, guarding the entrenchments at the bridgehead on the Chiese. The regiment then took part in the attack of the lines of the Imperialists at Castelleone, in the capture of Chivasso and, on 16 August, in the Battle of Cassano where it was deployed on the right wing. Prince Eugène de Savoie directed his main attack against the French centre, driving it back. However, General Albergotti led a few regiments (including Vendôme Infanterie) against the fort built at the bridgehead of Cassano and captured it, thus re-establishing the situation. On 16 October, the regiment, along with Auvergne Infanterie, took part in the attack on the entrenchments of Gumbetto. It then took its winter-quarters in Mantua.

On 19 April 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Calcinato where it initially formed part of the reserve. When the Comte de Grancey, after the defeat of the left wing of the Imperialists, received the order to make himself master of the bridge on the Chiese to open a passage to the French left in order to cut the retreat to the enemy, the regiment led the attack, passed the river on the bridge of San Marco and attacked a large Imperial corps, putting it in disorder and thus allowing the cavalry to destroy it. In this attack, the regiment suffered heavy losses. On 7 September, the remnants of the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Turin. When it retired from Italy, the regiment counted only 350 men who marched to Flanders to rejoin the Duc de Vendôme.

In 1707, the regiment served in the Low Countries.

In 1708, after the defeat of Oudenarde, the regiment was attached to the corps of observation of the Comte de La Mothe during the siege of Lille by the Allies.

In 1709, the regiment took part in the defence of Tournai under the command of the Marquis de Surville.

In 1711, the regiment took part in the attack on Arleux.

On 24 July 1712, the regiment fought in the Battle of Denain. In August and September, it took part in the siege and recapture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. The Duc de Vendôme died in Spain at the end of the year. His only brother, the Grand Prieur de Vendôme having fallen into disfavour, the king gave the regiment to Charles de Bourbon, Duc de Berry. However, effective command was confided to the Marquis de La Vieuville.

In 1713, the regiment served, under the name of Berry Infanterie, at the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Susane, Marbot, Funcken
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 yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red with yellow buttons
Breeches grey-white (red as per Marbot)
Stockings red 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.

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment most probably wore the livery of the House of Vendôme.

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colour: feuille morte (dead leaf), blue, green and violet cantons with a white cross.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

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. 312-322, 331

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. 111

Marbot, Alfred de and E. Dunoyer de Noirmont: ‎Les uniformes de l'armée française, T1 "1439 à 1789"‎

Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

Vial J. L.; Nec Pluribus Impar

N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.