La Reine Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> La Reine Cavalerie

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on July 4, 1643, after the death of Louis XIII, under the name of “Reine Mère” by the Regent Anne d'Autriche. Its 12 original companies came from Maugiron, Fruges, Saillant, Bailleul, Saint-Hérem, Vic, Lénoncourt, Vancellas, Baradat, Maugiron fils, Saint-Martin, Polignac, and Boury.

In 1643, during the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), the newly raised regiment took part in the capture of Thionville; it was then transferred to Germany where it was at the capture of Rottweil and at the Battle of Duttlingen. In 1644, eight companies remained in Germany and four were sent to Flanders, where they took part in the sieges of Gravelines, Menin and Béthune, while the companies left in Germany participated in the battles of Marienthal and Nordlingen, and in the sieges of Heilbronn and Trier before being sent back to France. On February 27, 1646, the eight companies stationed in France were disbanded for bad behaviour. The four remaining companies campaigned in Italy, where they took part in the capture of Orbitello and Piombino. In 1647, the regiment was at the capture of Cremona, and in 1649, at the Battle of Cremona.

In 1649, during the Fronde (1648-53), the regiment was recalled to Guyenne to quench troubles in this province. In 1650, its six companies took part in the Battle of Rethel. On February 15, 1651, the regiment was disbanded, but soon re-established (6 companies) on 18 October of the same year, participating in the blockade of Montrond. In 1652, it took part in the Battle of the Saint-Antoine suburb at Paris.

In 1654, the regiment garrisoned Casale in Piedmont. In 1655, it served in Flanders and took part in the capture of Landrecies. In 1656, it was sent back to Piedmont and took part in the siege of Valencia. In 1657, it campaigned in Italy; and in 1658, in Flanders, where it took part in the Battle of the Dunes.

On April 18, 1661, when several French cavalry regiments were disbanded, on the colonel company continued to exist.

On December 7, 1665, M. de Nantouillet was instructed to re-establish the regiment. On January 20, 1666, the regiment was renamed “La Reine” and increased to nine companies. The new regiment took part in the conquest of Flanders and Franche-Comté.

In 1668, the regiment was reduced to a single company. In 1672, it was definitively re-established at six companies.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment was sent to Holland. In 1674, it took part in the Battle of Seneffe; and in 1677, in the combats near Cambrai and Cassel.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment joined the Army of Roussillon. In 1689, it was at the capture of Campredon. In 1691, it campaigned in Flanders and fought i the Combat of Leuze. In 1692, it took part in the Battle of Steenkerque; and in 1693, in the Battle of Landen. In 1696 and 1697, it served on the Meuse.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment initially campaigned on the Rhine but was soon transferred to Italy, where it took part in the Battle of Chiari. In 1702, it took part in the Battle of Luzzara; and in 1706, in the battles of Calcinato and Castiglione. In 1707, the regiment was initially stationed in Dauphiné, before being transferred to Flanders. In 1708, it campaigned in Spain. In 1709, it was present at the Battle of Malplaquet and in 1712 at the Battle of Denain. In 1713, it campaigned in Germany.

In 1719, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718-20), the regiment formed part of the Army of Spain.

In 1727, the regiment was at the camp of the Sambre; and in 1732, at the camp of Alsace.

In 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment took part in the siege of Kehl; in 1734, in the attack of the Lines of Ettlingen, in the siege of Philippsburg and in the Combat of Clausen. At the end of the war, it took up its quarters in Landau and Wissembourg.

At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was sent to Bohemia, where it took part in the capture of Prague. In 1742, it participated in the combat of Sahay and in the defence of Prague. By 1743, it was back to France and joined the army for the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, it took part in the combat of Augenheim and in the expedition in Bavaria. In 1745, it campaigned in Alsace. In 1746, it joined the Army of Flanders and took part in the siege of Charleroi and in the Battle of Rocoux. In 1747, it fought in the Battle of Lauffeld. In 1748, it garrisoned Antwerp.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed in Rennes and Ancenis, in 1750 in Hesdin, in 1751 in Saint-Maixent, in 1752 at Strasbourg, in 1753 at Orléans, in 1754 in Châteaudun, and in 1755 in Douai.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the queen was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:

  • from March 6, 1743: Philippe-Christophe Amateur, Comte de Gallifet
  • from February 10, 1759 to March 13, 1771: Louis-Aubert Marquis de Tourny

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was increased to 4 squadrons. The 2 additional squadrons came from Saint-Aldegonde Cavalerie who was incorporated into La Reine Cavalerie.

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment was initially stationed at Limoges and Valenciennes. By August 1, it had joined the French army in Germany. On November 5, it was at the Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with the Bourbon-Busset Cavalerie and Fitz-James Cavalerie. This brigade was placed in the first line of the left wing. At the end of the year, the regiment took its winter-quarters in Kempen on the Lower Rhine, in the fourth line of the French army.

In April 1758, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in the second line at Issum and Kerken. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by the Army of 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, where it was placed on the right wing of the first line, until June 12. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the first line, under Armentières. 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 under Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the right wing of the first line.

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 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.

By February 1761, the regiment was quartered in the area of Liège. By June, it formed part of the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 16, the regiment was present at the Battle of Vellinghausen. By the end of July, it was attached to de Muy's Corps.

The regiment later returned to France, where it was stationed at Saint-Mihiel.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761
completed when necessary as per Funcken and Mouillard
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 probably a black cravate
Coat red lined royal blue (lined red in 1761) with 11 pewter buttons and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps white epaulets
Lapels none (royal blue in 1761)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs royal blue with pewter buttons
Turnbacks royal blue (red in 1761)
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat red lined royal blue (lined red in 1761)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt yellow laced white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red decorated with a yellow fleur de lys and bordered with a braid at the queen's livery
Housings red decorated with a yellow fleur de lys and bordered with a braid at the queen's livery
Blanket roll n/a


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.

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs

Musicians

Queen's Livery - Source: PMPdeL

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a black tricorne laced silver, and a red coat heavily laced with braids at the queen's livery (blue braids decorated with interlaced white cords of a pattern similar to that of the king's Livery).

Standards

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): red field fringed in gold and silver; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”; sown with golden fleur de lys; 4 queen Marie's crowned monogram embroidered in gold and silver (1 on each side of the centre device)

Tentative Reconstruction
La Reine Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

This 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. 152-164
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 341-342

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV; Paris 1882

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757, Service Historique de l'armée de terre

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