1st Valença Infantry
Origin and History
The regiment was raised before 1657 as the Terço Novo de Entre Douro e Minho.
At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 2 understrength battalions and was known as the Valença do Minho regiment.
In 1762, the regiment was divided into two distinct regiments. These two regiments were reunited into a single one in 1763.
From September 1762 to 1763, the 1st regiment was under the command of:
- Coronel (colonel) Dom João de Sousa
Service during the War
At the beginning of the campaign of 1762, the regiment was assigned to the corps operating in the Tras-os-Montes country under the command of lieutenant-general Cary.
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.
From September 1762 to 1763, each of the two battalions of the original regiment had a distinct uniform. In 1763, all Portuguese regiments started to receive the new dark blue regulation uniforms but war was already over and, for this reason, this uniform is not depicted in this article.
|Coat||dark blue lined red with one white button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||dark blue with 2 rows of small pewter buttons united by very narrow white buttonholes; no pockets|
|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 with a blue and red cockade
- a duty gorget
- a thin golden lace at the collar
- red lined red waistcoat laced gold with 2 rows of small buttons united by very narrow white buttonholes; pockets edged gold
- an officer stick of natural wood with a silver handle with a blue and silver tassel
- a white leather waistbelt
- a sword (golden hilt with a blue and silver tassel; black scabbard with golden locket and chape)
Musicians of the regiment wore uniform identical to those of privates with the following differences:
- collar, lapels, cuffs and waistcoat edged with a white lace speckled blue
- seams of the coat (on the shoulders and on the sleeves) decorated with a similar lace
- buttons on the lapels of the coat and on the waistcoat surrounded by a similar lace disposed in a hemispheric pattern (one half circle around each buttonhole)
The drums had ochre barrels.
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
Moskowich, Emilio; Portuguese Army in SYW, 1st ed., March 2006
Pereira Sales, Ernesto Augusto; O Conde de Lippe em Portugal, Vila Nova de Famalicao: Publicacoes da Comissao de Historia Militar, 1936
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 information and counselling provided for this article.