Verseilles Hussards

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

Origin and History

In 1692, when the Maréchal de Lorges commanded the Army of the Rhine, a hussar lieutenant, named Brignoff, and a corner, named Pohandy, deserted from the Imperial army and came to the French camp. At about the same time, a certain Baron of Kroneberg arrived at Strasbourg, clad as a hussar, and offered his service to the King of France. Sent to the Court with these two officers, Kroneberg proposed to raise a regiment of houssarts. On 19 October 1692, his proposal was accepted, with the sum of 100 'écus per mounted and equipped hussar.

The regiment would be composed of:

  • 1 mestre de camp (equivalent of colonel in the cavalry)
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 major
  • 1 aide-major
  • 1 chaplain
  • 3 archers
  • 4 companies, each consisting of 50 men

The Baron de Kroneberg went to Strasbourg to raise his regiment and spread messages in the Imperial army that he was recruiting. There were two hussar regiments serving in the Imperial Army of the Rhine: Kalowmitz and Balfi (probably Pálffy). Kroneberg then recruited deserters. In 1693, the kernel of these companies served under the Dauphin de France, who was very displeased of their conduct.

During the campaign of 1693, the Baron de Kroneberg, who had dilapidated part of the money that he had received, left France.

In the winter of 1693-1694, the Dauphin convinced the king to give the regiment to M. de Mortagne (aka Mortany), who had served under the Prince of Württemberg and had come to France to offer his services. Mortagne added two companies to his regiment and served in Flanders until the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697. The regiment was then disbanded, and its best elements were incorporated into Royal-Allemand Cavalerie.

In 1701, the former hussars now serving in Royal-Allemand Cavalerie were formed in independent companies, which served with the Army of Germany, under the former lieutenant-colonel of the Mortagne Hussards, the Marquis de Verseilles.

In 1705, the Marquis de Verseilles was authorised to re-establish a hussar regiment which was known as “Verseilles Hussards”.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was under the command of:

  • from 1705: Marquis de Verseilles

Service during the War

On 23 May 1706, the regiment was present at the Battle of Ramillies. On 29 July, M. de Verseilles was sent to the Trois-Évêchés with 160 hussars to put a stop to the raids of the Imperialists in these quarters.

On 23 May 1707, as the French were preparing to attack the Lines of Bühl, the Margrave of Durlach, who was in charge of the defence of this section of the lines, abandoned his post, his artillery, his tents and his magazines and retired with all his troops, part in the mountains, part towards Ettlingen. M. de Verseilles pursued them with his hussars and 400 horse, and caught up with 2 infantry regiments, taking many prisoners. On 20 June, Villars sent M. de Verseilles forward with the Verseilles Hussards, 200 horse and 4 grenadier coys to mask the advance of the main corps. They set off from the camp of Winterbach and acted as if they intended to cover a forage on the plain. As he approached Waldhausen, Verseilles engaged 6 cavalry troops and a large number of hussars and drove them back. The Imperialist cavalry retired to the village where 200 foot covered them. Villars joined Verseilles's detachment with 6 dragoon squadrons. With these reinforcements, Verseilles stormed the village of Waldhausen, capturing 130 foot. The rest of the Imperialist detachment managed to retire to the entrenchments near Lorch.

On 9 September 1708, the regiment formed part of the army of the Elector of Bavaria on the Lauter River. By the end of the month, the regiment was posted at Altenstadt.

In August 1709, the regiment was posted on the Rhine, in the Marquisat Island.

In May 1712, the regiment (1 squadron) formed part of the reserve of Villars’s Army in the Low Countries.

Uniform

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Guidons

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References

The article incorporates texts from the following books, which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 229-230

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