Origin and History
This gentleman's regiment was raised at the end of 1667 for the Province of Lorraine by the Marquis de Valavoire.
The regiment took part in the War of the Polish Succession.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially campaigned in Bohemia in 1741 and 1742. Then, on June 27 1743, it was at the Battle of Dettingen. From 1744 to 1748, it campaigned in Flanders.
In 1756, the regiment ranked 34th and counted two squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the colonel of the regiment was:
- since February 14 1744: Comte d'Egmont
- from July 1756 to December 1 1761: Duc de Charost
When the French cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Royal-Étranger Cavalerie. Effective incorporation took place at Lille on March 26 1763 when the regiments returned to France.
Service during the War
In the Spring of 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Hanover. On July 26, at the Battle of Hastenbeck, it was among the cavalry of the left wing. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. On September 8, after the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal Duc de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the second line of the French army at Einbeck and Alfeld.
In April 1758, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed between Neuss and Krefeld. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by an Allied army under Ferdinand of Brunswick on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp until June 12 and was placed on the right wing of the second line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the second line, under de Muy. In Mid August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine, now under the Marquis de Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the end of September, the regiment was part of Fitzjames' Corps sent as reinforcements to the Prince de Soubise in Hesse. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was part of the Reserve of cavalry.
At the end of May 1759, when the French Army of the Rhine launched its offensive in Western Germany, the regiment remained on the Rhine as part of the corps of the Marquis d'Armentières.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the fourth line of the French army between the Rhine and the Main on the left bank of the Rhine. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Trebur, still in the fourth line. By May 23, it was part of the first line of the cavalry left wing of Broglie's Army. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach.
To do: more details for the campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|Headgear||black tricorne (reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat) laced silver, with a black cockade on the left side fastened with a black silk strap and a small pewter button|
|Neck stock||black cravate|
|Coat||grey white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||buff leather jerkin fastened with hooks and eyes|
|Greatcoat||grey white lined red|
Troopers were armed with a carbine, two pistols and a sabre. They were also supposed to wear a breastplate under their coat during battle but this regulation was not always followed.
Evolution of the uniform during the war
Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.
Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:
- source not yet available
Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757 (they most probably depict the uniform worn during the War of the Austrian Succession):
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- a yellow and black aiguillette on the left shoulder
- yellow saddle cloth and housings bordered with a black braid
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- no turnbacks
- no lace on the coat and waistcoat
- Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
- brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs
In 1757, when the duc de Charost acquired the regiment, kettle drummers and trumpeters wore the livery of the House of Charost: yellow lined blue ornamented with a braid consisting of red, yellow and blue waved lines.
Regimental standards (4 damask standards): yellow field embroidered and fringed in silver;
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
- reverse: centre device consisting of a rose tree in bloom with rosebuds surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto “Pungit aggredrentes”
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 327
Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Lienhart, Docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Vial J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.