Aubigné Dragons

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Aubigné Dragons

Origin and History

The regiment was on September 14 1673 by Jacques de Cassagnet de Tilladet, Chevalier de Fimarcon.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Moselle in 1732. From 1733 to 1736, it campaigned in Italy.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. In 1743, it was back in Alsace. In 1744, it was stationed on the Moselle. In 1745 and 1746, it served in Alsace once more. In 1748, it was transferred to Provence.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Romans; in 1750, at Huningue; in 1751, at Le Puy; in 1753, at Metz; and in 1754, at Gray.

In 1756, the regiment counted 4 squadrons and ranked 9th.

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

  • since December 1 1745: Balthazar Urbain, Chevalier d'Aubigné
  • from February 20 1761 till June 1763: Antoine Cléradius de Choiseul La Baume

In 1786, the regiment became the “Chasseurs des Evêchés” or “2ème Chasseur”.

Service during the War

In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed at Saint-Malo.

By August 1 1757, the regiment had joined the French army in Germany for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of 1757, it took its winter-quarters in Sonsbeck and Kalkar on the Lower Rhine, in the fourth line of the army.

In 1761, the regiment took part in the action of Cromberg. On July 16, it was at the Battle of Vellinghausen and, in September, at the action of Ostende.

In November 1762, the regiment took part in an action at Nordheim.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform in 1757 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753,
the Liste Générale des Troupes de France of 1754,
the Etrennes Militaires of 1758 and Etat Militaire of 1761

completed where necessary as per Raspe
Headgear red fatigue cap with a red turn-up edged with a white braid decorated with two red zigzag stripes
or 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 white button
Neck stock black cravate
Coat red lined red with white buttons and white laced buttonholes down to the pocket and a white button on each side at the small of the back
Collar small red collar
Shoulder straps left shoulder: red shoulder strap bordered with a white braid decorated with two red zigzag stripes and fastened with a small white button

right shoulder: fringed white epaulet

Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pocket flaps, each with 3 white buttons and 3 white laced buttonholes
Cuffs red (light green from 1757), each with 4 white buttons and 4 white laced buttonholes
Turnbacks red
Gloves buff
Waistcoat red (with small light green lapels from 1757) with white buttons on the right side and white laced buttonholes on both sides
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather stitched white
Waistbelt buff leather stitched white
Cartridge Pouch red leather
Scabbard black leather with copper fittings
Footgear buckled shoes with oiled calf leather soft bottines (sort of leather gaiters) or, for foot service, white gaiters
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth
Aubigné Dragons Regimental Lace - Source: Nec Pluribus Impar
red bordered with a white braid decorated with two red zigzag stripes
Housings red red bordered with a white braid decorated with two red zigzag stripes


N.B.: the fatigue cap was supposed to be worn only for the king's review, for foraging or when the regiment's chief ordered to wear it. In fact, dragoons often wore their fatigue cap during campaigns.

Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet, a pistol and a sabre. Carabiniers were armed with a rifle instead of a musket.

Evolution of the uniform during the war

Throughout the war the French dragoon uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary sources for the uniform at the start of the conflict are the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753, the Liste Générale des Troupes de France of 1754 and the Etrennes Militaires of 1758. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.

Raspe's publication illustrating the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:

  • a black bearskin with a light green bag and tassel instead of a tricorne
  • no laced buttonholes on the coat, pocket flaps, cuffs and waistcoat
  • no buttons on the cuffs
  • black cavalry boots

Raspe's publication illustrating the uniform towards the end of 1761 shows a uniform corresponding to our description from 1757 but with a white cockade at the tricorne and without lapels on the waistcoat.

In December 1762, a regulation introduced a brand new green uniform with lemon yellow as the distinctive colour.

Officers

The uniforms of the officers were similar to those of the troopers with the following differences:

  • the coat was made of Elbeuf woollen cloth (or of a woollen cloth of identical quality)
  • linings were made of woollen cloth as well
  • no braids on the coat or waistcoat but only silver buttonholes with silver plated wooden buttons
    • Raspe publication illustrates plain red coat and waistcoat without edging or laced buttonholes at the end of 1760
    • Raspe publication illustrates a uniform corresponding to our description but with red breeches at the end of 1761
  • red breeches
  • saddle cloth and housings bordered with a silver braid (5.41 cm wide for captains and 4.06 cm wide for lieutenants)
  • standard cavalry officer sword (gilt copper hilt, 83.92 cm long)

Officers were also armed with a musket and a bayonet and carried a cartridge pouch containing 6 cartridges. This musket was shorter than the muskets carried by troopers.

The maréchaux-des-logis and sergeants had similar uniforms made of Romorantin woolen cloth. Their coats and waistcoats had no silver buttonholes. They carried sabres like the maréchaux-des-logis of the cavalry regiments. Their saddle-clothes and housings were bordered with a 2.7 cm wide silver braid.

Musicians

Drummers wore a coat similar to the one worn by the musicians of the cavalry. Musicians were always shaved and had no moustache. They were usually mounted on grey horses.

Musicians probably wore the livery of the House of Aubigné which is unfortunately unknown. From 1761, musicians probably wore the livery of the House of Choiseul-Beaupré: azure blue field with gold.

Guidons

Regimental guidons (4 silken swallow-tailed guidons): red field embroidered and fringed in gold;

  • obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a red scroll bearing the motto “NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR”
  • reverse: centre device consisting of 2 laurel wreaths with a vertical scroll bearing the motto “IN GEMINO CERTAMINE”
Aubigné Dragons Regimental Guidon – Source: Jean-Louis Vial of Nec Pluribus Impar

References

This article is mostly a translation Jean-Louis Vial's article “Aubigné Dragons” published on his website Nec Pluribus Impar. The article also incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain::

  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 430-431

Other sources

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: 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

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1762

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Service Historique de l'armée de terre: Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757

N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.