Origin and History
The regiment was raised on December 16 1673. It wore the names of its successive commanders.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Italy from 1733 to 1735. In 1738, it was stationed at Saint-Maixent.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially took part in the invasion of Bohemia in 1741. In 1743, it was back to Alsace. From 1744 to 1748, it took part in the campaigns of Flanders.
In 1756, the regiment ranked 49th and counted 2 squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- since 1747: Comte de Dampierre
- from 1759 to December 1 1761: Marquis d'Espinchal
When the French cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Bourgogne Cavalerie. Effective incorporation took place immediately at Rethel.
Service during the War
By August 1 1757, the regiment had joined the French army in Germany. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line in the area of Bremen.
In February 1758, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was on the left wing of the second line of the army of the Comte de Clermont in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Geldern. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Army 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 first 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 Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the right wing of the second line.
In June 1759, during the offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of Contades and was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry centre under the command of the Duc de FitzJames.
By May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the Reserve of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of M. d'Auvet. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the second line of the centre.
To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|black tricorne (reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat) laced gold, with a black cockade on the left side fastened with a black silk strap and a small pewter button
|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
|buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
|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:
- white lace on the tricorne
- coat, lapels, cuffs and turnbacks edged with the regimental braid (white woollen braid with green chain link stitches)
- grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid (white woollen braid with green chain link stitches)
- only 3 buttons on each pocket
- only 2 buttons on each cuff
Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757 (more probably around 1748):
- a gold laced tricorne with a white rosette
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a red braid
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- gold lace on the tricorne
- no shoulder strap
- 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
no information available yet
Standards (in 1753)
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): ponceau red field bordered black, embroidered and fringed in gold, centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
N.B.: the regiment might have changed standards when it became d'Espinchal Cavalerie in 1759.
The 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. 344-345
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)
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service Historique de l'armée de terre - Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.