1st Moncão Infantry
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Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1641 as the Terço of Entre Douro e Minho. In 1657, another Terço was created in the same province and the original one became known as the Terço Velho (old regiment).
By a decree dated November 24 1707, the unit was renamed "Regimento de Infantaria de Monção".
The regiment recruited in the villages of Viana, Ponte de Lima, Monção, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Arcos de Valdevez and Ponte da Barca, and in various towns of the district of Viana.
In 1762, the regiment was divided into two distinct regiments.
N.B.: Even though these two regiments were officially designated as 1st and 2nd Monção, some authors refer to them as the 1st and 2nd Minho, others as 1st and 2nd Viana. In fact "Minho" was the old name of the unit prior to 1707, while the nickname "Viana" was first introduced only in 1763 and it is not until 1792 that the regiment was officially renamed "Infantry Regiment Viana".
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- in 1762: Coronel (colonel) Sebastião Pinto Robin
On May 10 1763, the two units were reunited into a single regiment.
Service during the War
At the beginning of the campaign of 1762, the regiment was assigned to the corps operating in the region of Beira under the command of lieutenant-general Townshend.
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.
|Coat||white coat of camel wool lined red with 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||white with 2 rows of 11 pewter buttons, each pair of buttons being attached into a single button hole|
|Breeches||white with pewter buttons and pewter buckles|
|Gaiters||white with small pewter buttons|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet.
The officers wore a uniform very similar to the one worn by privates with the following distinctions:
- a gold laced tricorne
- a duty gorget
- a thin golden lace at the collar
- red waiscoat laced with a wide golden braid with 2 rows of pewter buttons
- horizontal pockets edged with a wide golden braid, each with 3 pewter buttons
- an officer stick of natural wood with a silver handle
- a white leather waistbelt
- a sword (golden hilt with a silver tassel; black scabbard with golden locket and chape)
The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates with the following differences:
- gold laced collar
- 4 gold laces disposed in a horizontal zigzag pattern on the sleeves
- white waistcoat edged gold with a single row of buttons; decorated with 2 vertical gold laces in a vertical zigzag pattern on the chest; pockets edged gold
The drum barrel was ochre with red rims and black cords. The drum belt was white with a brass buckle.
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.
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
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
Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues and Joseph O'Neill for the initial version of this article.