Origin and History
The regiment was among the 37 regiments raised at the death of Philip IV of Spain on December 7, 1665, when Louis XIV resolved to renew his claims on Flanders, Artois and Hainaut. It was raised by M. Baleroy de Choisy and completed by January 15, 1667.
At the beginning of 1668, the four companies of the regiment was garrisoning Douai. On May 24, it was disbanded.
On August 9, 1671, M. de Baleroy was authorised to re-establish his regiment.
In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment took part in all the sieges of the campaign; in 1674, in the Battle of Seneffe, where its mestre de camp was killed; in 1677, in the Battle of Cassel and in the capture of Saint-Omer; in 1678, in an engagement near Kehl, in the Battle of Kockersberg and in the covering of the siege of Freiburg; and in 1678, in the combats of Neuburg, Rheinfeld and Gegensbach, and in the siege of Kehl.
On August 8, 1679, the regiment was once more disbanded, with the exception of its mestre de camp company. On January 15, 1684, was definitively re-established. The same year, it took part in the siege of Luxembourg. In 1685, it was at the camp of the Saône.
In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the conquest of Palatinate. In 1691, it campaigned in Italy. From 1692, it campaigned in Flanders and fought in the Battle of Steenkerque.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was sent to Italy and fought in the Battle of Chiari. In 1702, it took part in the Combat of Santa Vittoria, in the Battle of Luzzara, and in the capture of Luzzara and Borgoforte; in 1703, in the offensive in South Tyrol and in the capture of Savoyard units at San Benedetto; in 1704, in the sieges of Vercelli, Ivrea and Verrua; in 1705, in the Battle of Cassano; in 1706, in the Battle of Calcinato and in the Siege of Turin. In 1707, the regiment was transferred to Spain, where it covered the Siege of Lleida. In 1708, it took part in the Siege of Tortosa. In 1710, the regiment recrossed the Pyrenees to serve in Dauphiné. By March 1711, tit formed part of the army of the Duc de Noailles in Ampurdán (present-day Empordà) in Catalonia. In 1713, the regiment took part in the Siege of Barcelona.
In 1727, the regiment was at the camp of Aimeries, and in 1732, at the camp on the Meuse.
In 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served on the Rhine. It was at the siege of Philippsburg, at the attack of the Lines of Ettlingen and at the Combat of Klausen. In 1735, it took its quarters at Moulins.
In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was stationed on the frontier of Flanders. In 1743, it was sent to Bavaria but returned in July to take position near Landau in Lower Alsace. In 1744, it contributed to the recapture of Wissembourg and the Lines of the Lauter, it also fought in the Combat of Auenheim and participated in the siege of Freiburg. In 1745, it took part in the capture of Kronemberg and in the siege of Ath; in 1746, in the siege of Mons and in the Battle of Rocoux; in 1747, in the Battle of Lauffeld and in the capture of Berg-op-Zoom; and in 1748, in the siege of Maastricht.
After the war, the regiment was stationed at Bourges in 1749; Neuf-Brisach, in 1751; Montpellier, Castelnaudary and Castres, in 1752; and Castres, in 1753. On September 10, 1753, it was renamed “Aquitaine Cavalerie”.
In 1754, the regiment was stationed at Bergerac and Libourne.
The regiment counted two squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the Duc d'Aquitaine was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:
- from October 10, 1755 until January 3, 1770: Jean-Bretagne-Charles-Godefroi Duc de la Trémouille
When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1, 1761, the regiment was increased to four squadrons, each of them consisting of four companies of 40 troopers, for a total of 640 troopers. The two additional squadrons came from Hericy Cavalerie. The newly formed regiment was renamed “Artois Cavalerie”.
Service during the War
In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed at Besançon.
In 1757, the regiment was initially posted at Damvilliers and Stenai. It then joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées's main corps. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the right wing. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. It then took part in the conquest of Hanover. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Emmerich on the Lower Rhine, in the fourth line of the French army.
From March 30 to April 4, 1758, after the retreat of the French army towards the Rhine, the regiment was with the Comte de Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine, in the first line of the right wing. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in the villages of Till, Moyland, Huisberden, Warbeyen, Grieth, Kaltenberg, Hasselt and Bedburg in the area of Kleve. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by the Allied 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 left wing of the second line, under de Muy. During this battle, the brigade was one of the few who took an active part in the fighting to cover the retreat of Saint-Germain's Division. 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 now under the Marquis de Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the beginning of October, the regiment was attached to Chevert's Corps which was sent to reinforce Soubise's Army in Hesse. On October 10, it did not take part in the Battle of Lutterberg because it was part of Castries' detachment left on the opposite bank of the Fulda.
By May 23, 1760, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. On October 4, M. de Maupéou's Corps (including this regiment) left for the Lower Rhine. On October 13, the unit arrived at Neuss with Castries.
On July 16, 1761, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen, where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing of Soubise’s Army. On December 1, the regiment was given to the Duc d’Artois and became known as “Artois Cavalerie”.
In 1762, the regiment was stationed on the coasts of France.
In 1763, the regiment was sent to Besançon.
|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
|probably a black cravate
|royal blue lined red (from 1760-61: lined blue and edged with the regimental lace) with 10 pewter buttons (as per Raspe) and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|yellow leather jerkin fastened with hooks and eyes
|royal blue lined red (lined blue from 1761)
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.
Evolution of the uniform during the war
Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.
Lienhart and Humbert show the following differences in 1757:
- gold lace and white cockade at the tricorne
- blue shoulder strap with a pewter button
- 4 buttons on each pocket
Susane describes the uniform with the following differences:
- gold laced tricorne
- copper buttons
Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- a red collar
- each lapel edged with the regimental lace
- coat lined blue, and consequently blue turnbacks, edged with the regimental lace
- turnbacks attached with a small pewter button
- blue waistcoat edged with the regimental lace and blue breeches (maybe the “dressed uniform”)
N.B.: by 1761 the regimental braid seems to have been aurore (light orange) with red and blue lizards
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
No information available yet.
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): royal blue field fringed and embroidered in gold
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold; one golden fleur de lys in each corner
- reverse: sown with fleurs de lys; in each corner a “Prince de France” crown with an escutcheon charged with 3 fleurs de lys
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. 207-215
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 351
Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.