La Couronne Infanterie
Origin and History
This regiment was the first to be raised during the reign of Louis XIV, on June 25 1643. It recruited in Troyes. It was initially known as La Reine-Mère Regiment in honour of Queen Anne d'Autriche.
In 1643, the regiment initially campaigned on the Rhine, taking part in the siege of Rothweil. It then participated in the siege of Meringen near the source of the Danube where it had to surrender. Its soldiers were brought to Augsburg and Regensburg and several of them managed to escape. In 1644, the regiment campaigned in Flanders, taking part in the siege of Gravelines. In 1646, it took part in the siege of Mardyck and in the capture of Lencke, Bourbourg, Menin and Cassel, in the storming of Lillers, and in the sieges of Béthune and Saint-Venant; in 1646, in the sieges of Courtrai, Mardyck, Berghes and Dunkerque; in 1647, in the capture of La Knocque, in the sieges of Dixmude and Lens; in 1648, in the siege of Ypres and in the combat of Lens.
During the Fronde (1648-1653), in 1649, the regiment took part in the blockade of Paris and in the sieges of Cambrai and Condé. It then spent the rest of the year at Guise. In 1650, the regiment was sent to Guyenne where it was stationed in Nérac. It participated in the relief of Cognac and was then transferred to Champagne where it took part in the siege and in the battle of Rhétel. In 1652, it contributed to the victories of Bléneau, Étampes and Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
In 1653, the regiment was sent to Catalonia where it participated in the siege of Girona and in the disastrous combat of Bordilly. It was then sent to Foix to replenish its ranks. In 1654, it fell in an ambush while crossing the Pyrenees. It later took part in the relief of Roses and in the capture of Puycerda. In 1655, it was at the reduction of Cap de Quiers. In 1657, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it participated in the capture of La Mothe-aux-Bois. In 1658, it took part in the siege of Dunkerque. At the end of the war, the regiment was reduced from 20 to 10 companies.
In 1666, at the death of Queen Anne d'Autriche, the regiment took the name of the Province of Artois.
In 1667, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment campaigned in Flanders; and in 1668, in Franche-Comté.
In 1670, the regiment took part in the occupation of Lorraine and contributed to the capture of Épinal, Chasté and Longwy.
In 1671, the regiment was increased to two battalions.
In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was sent to Kayserswerth on the Rhine. It then participated in the sieges of Orsoy, Rheinberg, Duisburg and Utrecht. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht where it brilliant conduct while the king watched operations earned it the privileges of a royal regiment and the title of “La Couronne”. In 1674, it was sent to Franche-Comté where it participated in the capture of Besançon and Dôle. It was then transferred to Lorraine. Its first battalion then fought in the Battle of Seneffe and its second, in the Battle of Ensheim. In 1675, the entire regiment fought in the Battle of Turckheim, in the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg, in the disastrous combat of Consarbrück, and in the defence of Trier. In 1676, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it took part in the siege of Condé, covered the siege of Bouchain and contributed to the capture of Landrecies and Aire. It then garrisoned Arras. In 1677, it took part in the Battle of Cassel, in the combat of Morville, near Pont-à-Mousson, in the combat of Sainte-Barbe, near Metz, and in the capture of Freiburg. In 1678, the regiment returned to Flanders where it took part in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, and in the Battle of Saint-Denis. In 1679, the regiment campaigned in Germany and took part in the affair of Minden.
After the peace, the regiment was put in garrison in Saarbrück. In 1684, it took part in the siege and capture of Luxembourg before being sent to Flanders.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was sent to repair the fortifications of Landau, a task that it resumed in 1689. The first battalion then took part in the conquest of Palatinate. In 1690, the entire regiment served under the Dauphin. In 1691, the regiment campaigned in Piedmont where it took part in the capture of Nice. In 1692, it was recalled to serve on the Meuse, taking part in the siege of Namur. In the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, the regiment was sent to Germany but was soon redirected towards Italy where it took part in the Battle of Marsaglia. It continued to serve under Catinat until the signature of peace with the Duke of Savoy in 1696. It then returned to France. In 1697, it campaigned on the Meuse.
In 1698, the regiment took part in the camp of Compiégne. On 23 September, it incorporated the disbanded Hautefort-Bosen Infanterie. Since May 1700, the regiment was stationed in Marsal.
In April 1701, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was transferred to the Spanish Netherlands and initially occupied Namur. By October, it was in Upper Guelderland. By December, it formed part of the garrison of Venlo. In 1702, the regiment campaigned in the Netherlands and on the Rhine. In 1703, it took part in the unsuccessful defence of Bonn, in the siege of Breisach, in the siege and capture of Landau. In December, the regiment received orders to leave for Spain. In 1704, the regiment took part in the campaign in Portugal, in the capture of Salvaterra do Extremo, Segura, Mousanto, Castelho-Branco, in the siege and capture of Portalegre, in the covering of the unsuccessful siege of Gibraltar. In 1705, it took part in an expedition against Elvas in Portugal, in the defence of Talavera; in 1706, in a combat near San Esteban de Littera, in the unsuccessful siege of Barcelona, in the capture of Cuenca and Cartagena; in 1707, in the Battle of Almansa, in the siege to Tortosa, in the capture of Mequinenza and in the siege and capture of Lerida; in 1708, in the sieges of Tortosa, Denia and Alicante. In 1710, the regiment was transferred to Dauphiné but later returned to Spain where it took part in the siege of Girona. In 1711, it took part in the sieges of Prats-del-Rey and Cardona. In 1712, it joined the army assembling under Lérida. In 1713 and 1714, in the blockade, siege and capture of Barcelona.
In 1715, the regiment took part in the expedition against Majorca before returning to France.
In 1719, during the brief war against Spain, the regiment took part in the capture of Funtarabia, San Sebastian and Urhell and in the blockade of Roses.
In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served on the border of Champagne; in 1734, on the Moselle where it took part in the siege and capture of Trier and in the siege of Philisbourg. In 1735, it defended islands on the Rhine at the mouth of the Seltz and was at the affair of Klausen
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in the French Army of Westphalia in 1741. In 1742, it took part in the combat of Brammerhof, in the capture of Falkenau, in the attack of Elnbogen and in the submission of Kaaden, Pogen and Deckendorf; in 1743, in the relief of Braunau, before retiring to Metz; in 1744, in the sieges of Menin, Ypres and Furnes; in 1745, in the siege of Tournai, in the Battle of Fontenoy, and in the capture of Oudenarde, Termonde and Ath; in 1746, in the siege and capture of Bruxelles, in the defence of the camp of Cinq-Étoiles, in the reduction of Huy and in the Battle of Rocoux. It was then sent to the coast of Aunis. In 1748, it took part in the siege and capture of Maastricht
At the end of that war, the regiment was reduced from four to two battalions. It also had prévôté (provostship).
In 1753, the regiment took part in the training camp at Mézières. In 1754 and 1755, it was employed at the construction of a canal linking the Lys to the Aa.
The colonel of the regiment was the king. However, the effective commander was rather the colonel-lieutenant. During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 28th and was under the effective command of:
- from May 26 1745: Jean-François-Gabriel, Comte de Polastron
- from March 14 1758: Marie-Alexandre-Léonor-Louis-César de Saint-Mauris, Comte de Montbarey (previously colonel in the Grenadiers de France)
- from November 30 1761 to June 22 1767: Pierre-Constantin Le Vicomte, Comte de Blangy
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées' Main Corps. On July 26, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was part of the right wing under d'Armentières. Grenadier Lieutenant Miguet was killed during this battle. On August 16, the regiment was among the force sent by the Maréchal de Richelieu to occupy the Duchy of Brunswick who had submitted to the French domination. It was then transferred to Soubise's Army. On November 5, it took part in the Battle of Rossbach. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army at Goslar.
At the beginning of 1758, the regiment was cantoned on the Dutch border between Xanten and the Fort of Skenke. In April, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in the second line at St-Tönis (present-day Tönisforst). 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 in the centre 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 Saint-Germain whose division bore the brunt of the Allied attack while trying to stop an outflanking manoeuvre. It defended the woods along the Niers River during three hours, repulsing three attacks before retiring in front of superior forces after having sustained heavy casualties. 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 Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the infantry left wing of the second line. At the beginning of October, the regiment was attached to Fitzjames' Corps which was sent to reinforce Soubise's Army in Hesse. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed on the right wing of the first line. However, it was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle. After the capitulation of Kaiserswerth, it was sent to the Dutch border once more.
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 October 25, still attached to d'Armentières' Corps, the regiment was at the main camp at Bochum.
By May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the left reserve of the first line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Saint-Germain. On July 10, the regiment took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was attached to Lieutenant-General Comte de Saint-Germain's detachment who force marched to reach the battlefield. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed on the heights along with Bourbonnais Infanterie and Jenner Infanterie. They were attacked five times. The regiment lost half of its officers, among which its commander, the Comte de Montbarrey, badly wounded. In August, the regiment was stationed in Frankfurt where it remained till September 28 when it was sent to Cologne. On October 16, it distinguished itself again at the Battle of Clostercamp, supporting the efforts of Auvergne Infanterie and Alsace Infanterie. At the end of October, the regiment, who had heavily suffered at Clostercamp, was sent back to Dunkerque in France to recover.
In June 1761, the regiment returned to Germany. On July 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen. On August 30, it distinguished itself at the combat of Roxel near Münster, its grenadiers and chasseurs driving Kilmansegg's force out of the village, taking some 400 prisoners.
The following description has been verified against the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" and Taccoli's book published in 1760.
|Coat||grey-white with pewter buttons on the right side
|Waistcoat||blue with pewter buttons and horizontal pockets|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
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.
Colonel colour: white field with a white cross carrying a Royal Crown in its centre; motto "Hanc coronam Maestreka dedit" on the branches of the cross.
Ordonnance colour: blue cantons; white cross carrying a golden Crown of France lined red in the centre; motto "Hanc coronam Maestreka dedit" on the branches of the cross. Ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1673 to 1771.
N.B.: the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" does not represent any motto on the branches of the crosses.
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. 184-208
Anon.: Manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I", Musée de l'Armée, Paris
Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882
Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
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.