1st Chaves Infantry

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Origin and History

Private in 1762 - Source: Detail from an anonymous work reproduced from the book 300 years of Military Uniforms... with the kind authorisation of Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues

The regiment was raised in 1643 as the Terço de Chaves.

On April 20 1762, the regiment was divided into two distinct units: the 1st and 2nd Chaves regiments.

During the Seven Years' War, these 1st regiment was under the command of:

  • 1762: Francisco José de Morais Pimentel


Service during the War

At the beginning of the campaign of 1762, the regiment was assigned to the Portuguese corps operating in the region of Tras-os-Montes under lieutenant-general Cary.

Uniform

Traditionally, since about 1660, the Portuguese infantry wore dark blue uniforms. During the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714) almost all infantry units wore alvadia (light gray uniforms). These new uniforms were introduced for economic reasons, this type of fabric being much cheaper.

It is now believed that, from 1750, there was a progressive abandon of alvadia uniforms and a return to more traditional Portuguese uniforms. However, it seems that most of the changeover took part sometime after 1759 since, till this date, cloth orders indicated white as the most common colour.

At the outbreak of the war in 1762, there was neither enough uniforms nor cloth for recruits in military warehouses, so it was necessary to use all cloth available. Besides, as there was no central warehouse, every colonel was responsible for the ordering of uniforms. Therefore the fabric was bought from contractors who would cut and turned it into uniforms "more or less" along the official lines.

It must also be noted that the use of gaiters was introduced into the Portuguese infantry only in 1762.

Privates

Uniform of privates in 1762 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform Details as per
the book 300 Anos de Uniformes Militares do Exército de Portugal 1660-1960
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a red/blue cockade
Grenadier no information available yet
Neckstock white
Coat steel blue lined red with one white button on each side in the small of the back
Collar red with 2 small white buttons on the right side and two very narrow white buttonholes on the left side
Shoulder Straps steel blue with a small white button
Lapels red with white buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 white buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat steel blue with one row of white buttons
Breeches steel blue
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather with a pewter buckle
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard none


N.B.: a source illustrates a different waistcoat. However, with the known inconsistency of Portuguese uniform supply at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, it is fairly possible that several colours of waistcoats were used simultaneously.

Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet.

Officers

Officer in 1762 - Source: Detail from an anonymous work reproduced from the book 300 years of Military Uniforms...

Officers wore a uniform very similar to the one worn by privates with the following distinctions:

  • a gold laced tricorne
  • duty gorget
  • a thin silver lace at the collar
  • red waiscoat laced silver with 2 rows of white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes
  • officer stick
  • sword


Musicians

Drummer in 1762 - Source: Detail from an anonymous work reproduced from the book 300 years of Military Uniforms...

Drummers wore a uniform very similar to the one worn by privates with the following distinctions:

  • a white braid applied in a zigzag pattern on the sleeves, around the lapels, on the cuffs and under the pockets of the coat; furthermore pockets were laced white
  • a white braid applied in a zigzag pattern on the chest of the waistcoat


Colours

The exact pattern of the Portuguese colonel colours during the Seven Years' War is unknown.

The ordonnance colours were chosen by the colonel of the regiment. For the moment, we have found no source depicting specific colours for this regiment.

Please refer to our article on the Portuguese Line Infantry Colours for more information.

References

Amaral, Manuel, O Exértico Português em finais do Antiguo Regime

Kirby, Mike, The Portuguese Army - Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3

Moskowich, Emilio; Portuguese Army in SYW, 1st ed., March 2006

Ribeiro Rodrigues, Manuel A.; 300 Anos de Uniformes Militares do Exército de Portugal 1660-1960, Exército Portugués and Sociedade Historica da Independéncia de Portugal, 1998

Acknowledgment

Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues, Joseph O'Neil and Juan José Torres and the Asociación Cultural de Modelismo Histórico Alabarda for the information and counselling provided for this article.