1st Porto Infantry

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised on March 20 1659 as the Terço da Câmara do Porto.

In September 1762, the regiment was subdivided into two distinct units.

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

  • Coronel (colonel) Dom António de Lencastre

After the war with Spain, on May 10 1763, the first of the two regiments of 1762 took back its original name of “Porto” while the second was supposed to be transformed into a regiment of artillery. However, on September 12 1763, the project was abandoned and this second regiment became known as the “2nd Regiment of Porto”.

Service during the War

At the beginning of the campaign of 1762, the regiment was attached to the 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 grenadiers in 1762 - Copyright: Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues
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 (probably) blue/red cockade
Grenadier black bearskin decorated with a brass grenade; red flame laced yellow with a yellow tassel
Neckstock white
Coat medium blue lined red with one yellow button under the right lapel and one yellow button on each side in the small of the back; on the upper arm of each sleeve were 3 opening lined blue and edged yellow with a yellow tassel at each extremity
Collar red with 2 small yellow buttons on each side
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels red with 7 yellow buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs red slit cuffs with medium blue flaps with 3 yellow buttons on each flap
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat red with 2 rows of yellow buttons; horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Breeches red with brass buttons and buckles
Gaiters white with brass buttons
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard natural leather
Scabbard none
Shoes black buckled leather shoes

Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet.

Officers

Uniform of a grenadier officer in 1762 - Copyright: Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues

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 gold lace at the collar
  • red waiscoat laced gold with yellow buttons and very narrow yellow buttonholes; gold edged pockets
  • an officer stick of natural wood with a silver handle with a silver cord and tassel
  • a sword (golden hilt with a silver tassel; black scabbard with golden locket and chape)


Musicians

Uniform of a grenadier drummer in 1762 - Copyright: Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues

The drummers of the regiment wore reversed colours uniforms (red coat with medium blue distinctives, medium blue waistcoat and breeches). Otherwise, their uniforms were similar to those of the privates with the following differences:

  • gold laced collar, cuffs, pockets and lapels with intricate golden laces on the lapels and along the coat edges
  • gold edged waistcoat with intricate laces on the cuffs and along the coat edges

The drum barrel was light brown with red rims and black cords.

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.