Auvergne Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Auvergne Infanterie

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on March 6 1597 by the Baron du Bourg de Lespinasse when the Spaniards marched on Amiens. It initially was a gentleman regiment bearing the name of its commanding colonel.

In 1600, the regiment took part in the conquest of Savoy and in the capture of Chambéry and Montmélian. In 1601, it was reduced to its colonel company. In 1610, the regiment was stationed in the provinces of Bresse and Lyonnais.

In 1613, the regiment was sent to the support of the Duke of Mantua whose possessions in Monferrato were threatened by the Duke of Savoy. The regiment had not yet embarked in Provence when the Duke of Savoy came to an agreement.

In 1615, the regiment took part in the siege of Creil and in the surprise attack on Sens. In May 1616, it was once more reduced to its colonel company but was immediately re-established in August, taking part in the capture of Donzy and Autrain. It then remained for five years in the Province of Bourbonnais.

In 1621, during the Huguenot rebellions (1620–1628), the regiment took part in the sieges of Saint-Jean-d'Angely and Nérac; in 1622, in the expedition on Riez Island, the capture of the Castle of La Chaume, in the siege of Royan, Tonnains, Saint-Antonin, Négrepelisse, Lunel and Montpellier. From 1622 to 1625, the regiment was stationed in Languedoc. In 1625 and 1626, it served on the frontier of Picardie. In 1627, it took part in the blockade of La Rochelle.

In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment was sent to Piedmont where it distinguished itself at the storming of the defile of Susa. It then took part in the relief of Casale before repassing the Alps to participate in the sieges of Privas and Alais. In 1630, it returned to Piedmont and took part in the relief of Casale, in the combat of Veillane, in the capture of Saluzzo and in the storming of the bridge of Carignan. In 1631, after the Treaty of Cherasco, it returned to Provence.

In 1633, the regiment was once more sent to Italy.

In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the siege of Valence and in the capture of Candia and of the Castle of Sartirane. In September, it became a permanent regiment incorporated into the French army. It then took the name of the province of Auvergne. In 1636, the regiment took part in the reduction of Olleggio, Confienza, Palestra, Robbio and Vespola, and in the sanguinary combat of Buffalora; in 1637, in the defence of Asti and in the engagement of Montebaldone; in 1638, in the relief of Brema and in the resupplying of Vercelli; in 1639, in the relief of Casale, in the capture of of Chivasso and in the combat of Quiers; in 1640, in the capture of the castles of Busco, Dronnero and Brodel, in the storming of the entrenchments of Casale, in the siege and capture of Turin; in 1641, in the combat of Ivrea, in the siege of Ivrea, in the relief of Chivasso and in the capture of Ceva, Pianezza, Mondovi and Coni; in 1642, in the sieges of Crescentino, Nice and Tortona; in 1643, in the siege of Trino, in the storming of the bridge on the Stura near Asti. It then returned to France and took its winter-quarters in Guyenne. In 1644, the regiment returned to Italy where it took part in the siege of Santia and in the recapture of the Castle of Asti. In 1645, it took part in the capture of Vigevano and Rocca, and in the combat of La Mora. In 1646, the regiment sailed for the Island of Elbe, it returned to the continent in October and took part in the siege of Piombino. It then sailed back to Elbe and took part in the capture of Portolongone. At the end of 1647, the regiment returned to Italy where it took part in the siege of Cremona till 1648.

In 1649, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia to reinforce Barcelona. In 1650, it defended Barcelona. After its capitulation, the regiment retired to Roussillon. In 1653, it took part in the storming of the defensive works around Castillon d'Ampulias, in the siege of Girona and in the combat of Bordilly; in 1654, in the capture of Villefranche, in the relief of Roses. The, 18 companies went to Toulon where they embarked for Naples. Upon arrival, they took part in the storming of Castellamare. By the end of the year, they were back to Toulon. In 1655, the regiment took part in the siege of Pavia before returning to Catalonia where it was at the capture of Cap de Quiers and at the relief of Solsona.

In 1656, the regiment returned to Italy and was at the siege of Valence. In 1657, it took part in the siege of Alessandria and in the capture of Varas and Novi; in 1658, in the siege of Mortare. After the Treaty of the Pyrenees, it returned to France where it was stationed in Provence.

In 1664, the regiment was part of a French contingent sent to the support of the emperor, threatened by the Turks. On 1 August, it took part in the victorious Battle of Saint Gotthard.

The fact that Auvergne Infanterie, La Tour-du-Pin Infanterie and Bourbonnais Infanterie were all created during the same year gave rise to endless argumentations about their respective ranking. In 1666, Louis XIV had to edict a regulation stating that each regiment would alternate for the 7th, 8th and 9th ranks on a yearly basis.

In 1667, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment was part of the four brigades who accompanied Louis XIV in Flanders. It took part in the sieges of Tournai, Douai and Lille. In 1668, it took part in the conquest of Franche-Comté.

In 1670, the regiment campaigned in Lorraine where it took part in the sieges of Épinal and Chasté.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Orsoy, Rheinberg, Wesel and Emerich, in the capture of Doësburg and Utrecht, in the combat of Woërden, and in the expedition of the Duc de Luxembourg in Holland. In 1673, it covered the siege of Maastricht; in 1674, it fought at the Battle of Seneffe; in 1676, it operated against the bandits who desolated the banks of the Rhine and then fought at Kokersberg. In 1677, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders, taking part in the sieges of Valenciennes, Cambrai and Saint-Omer. It then returned to the Rhine where he was at the siege of Freiburg. In 1678, it initially served in Flanders, taking part in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres. In June, it returned to the Rhine where it fought at the combat of Rheinfeld and took part in the attack of the entrenchments of Seckingen, in the sieges of Kehl and of the Castle of Lichtemberg. In 1679, it fought at the battle of Minden.

In 1684, the regiment took part in the siege of Courtrai; in 1684, one of his battalion was at the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Philipsburg. In 1689, it took part in the conquest of Palatinate; in 1690, in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons; in 1692, in the siege of Namur and in the combat of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the siege of Furnes. In July, its grenadiers distinguished themselves at the attacks of Oppenheim and Wingemberg. Meanwhile the rest of the regiment marched to the Alps where it took part in the defence of Pignerol and in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1696, the regiment took part in the siege of Valence which was interrupted by the conclusion of peace with the Duke of Savoy. The regiment then marched to Germany where it campaigned till the Treaty of Ryswick.

On December 30 1698, Talende Infanterie, raised in 1695, was incorporated into Auvergne Infanterie.

In December 1700, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment went to Italy to occupy Lombardy in the name of King Philip V of Spain. In 1701, it took part in the Battle of Chiari; in 1702, in the combat of Santa Vittoria, in the capture of Reggio and Modena, in the Battle of Luzzara and in the capture of Luzzara and Borgoforte. In 1703, its second battalion was transferred to Germany where it took part in the Battle of Höchstädt . Meanwhile, the first battalion, who had remained in Italy, accompanied the expedition against Tyrol and took part in the Combat of San Benedetto, in the capture of Bersello, Nago and Arco, and in the bombardment of Trento. At the end of the year, the two battalions were reunited at Monferrato. In 1704, the regiment took part in the sieges of Vercelli, Ivrea and Verua; in 1705, in the capture of Verrua, in the siege of Chivasso and in the Battle of Cassano; in 1706, in the battles of Calcinato, Turin and Castiglione.

In 1707, the regiment was transferred to Spain where it took part in the siege of Lérida; in 1708, in the siege of Tortosa. In 1709, it was transferred to Roussillon to clear the country of the bands of Migueletes operating there. In 1710, it took part in the siege of Girona.; in 1711, in the capture of Seu d'Urgell, Vénasque and Cardonne; in 1713, in the blockade of Barcelona; and in 1714, in the siege and storming of Barcelona.

Finally, in 1759, Bourbonnais Infanterie obtained precedence over Auvergne Infanterie and La Tour-du-Pin Infanterie. However, the conflict persisted and a new regulation, dated July 15 1761, reintroduced alternating ranks with Auvergne receiving the 7th rank for 1761 while Bourbonnais got the 8th and Boisgelin (the new name of La Tour-du-Pin) was 9th.

Auvergne Infanterie was among the French regiments designated as "Petits Vieux" because they pretended to trace back their origins to the old bands of the XVIth century.

By the time of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 4 battalions and had prévôté (provostship).

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since September 30 1749: Marquis de Chastellux
  • from March 7 1759: Marquis de Rochambeau
  • from February 20 1761 to August 4 1771: Marquis de Champagne

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was stationed in Basse-Normandie to protect the coasts against any British landing.

In 1757, the regiment was assigned to the Army of Germany. It joined the Army of the Lower Rhine in Hessen in August. It took part in the invasion of Hanover and was present at the capture of Minden and of the City of Hanover. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt, in Prussian territory, from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed in the centre of the second line. After Rossbach and the violation of the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, the regiment crossed the Aller and occupied Hanover. In December, it finally took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French Army at Celle (Zell) on the Aller River.

At the beginning of 1758, during the Allied winter offensive in West Germany, the regiment followed the French army in its gradual retreat towards the Rhine. On March 3, two of the grenadier companies of the regiment were attacked and destroyed by an Allied force at Hammelspring. From March 30 to April 4, the regiment was in the first line of Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in Uerdingen. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Army on May 31 which initiated the Allied campaign on the west bank of the Rhine, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It then remained in this camp, where it was placed in the centre 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 right wing of the first line under Chevert. However, it was not engaged in any important action. 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 Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the first line. It took its winter-quarters at Cologne.

On May 15 1759, the regiment moved from Cologne to Nieder-Weimar to join the assembling French army. It was placed in the vanguard under Saint Germain. In June, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades where it was deployed in the second line, on the left wing of the infantry centre. On July 15, the regiment, which was part of Saint-Germain's Corps, marched from Bielefeld on Hameln to prevent the Allied garrison of this place from harassing the French convoys coming from Kassel by Paderborn and Herford. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under the command of the Comte de Saint-Germain. Along with Anhalt Brigade, it covered the retreat of the defeated French army but was driven back by Prussian dragoons. On August 10, during the French retreat, the regiment was still attached to Saint-Germain's Corps who took position near Dransfeld to protect the passage of the French army. When the Allies moved against their corps, the regiment, along with Aquitaine Brigade, attacked them and drove them back. In December, part of the regiment was besieged in Giessen by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick who finally lifted the siege.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the third line of the French army along the Rhine and the Main from its mouth. By mid-March, the regiment was billeted in Hanau, in the third line of the French army. By May 23, 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 was part of the left wing of Broglie's Grande Armée who came to the support of the vanguard around noon at the Combat of Corbach. At the end of July, it was part of the force who chased Prince Ferdinand out of his camp at Sachsenhausen. On August 11, the regiment was stationed at Mederhagen when it was ordered to attack. On August 12, it took part to the fight at Marienhagen. On August 13, it fought again near Radern and at Hallenberg. On September 13 at daybreak, the regiment was part of M. de Stainville's Corps who was marching towards Frankenberg when it clashed with a retiring Allied corps between Rhadern and Münden/Ork. Both forces were separated by a wood and a small stream flowing into the Eder. Stainville reinforced his left with Bouillon Infanterie (2 bns) placed in the Castle of Lichtenfels. Combat began around 10:00 a.m., M. de Scey at the head of Du Roi Brigade and M. de Melfort with the Légion Royale advanced. The Allies occupied positions on a steep hill. Nevertheless Auvergne Infanterie stormed these positions on the double. Fersen counter-charged the dragoons of the Légion Royale at the head of his cavalry but was made prisoner with some of his men. Then, the grenadiers and chasseurs of the brigades along with the dragoons of Légion Royale; du Roi, Auvergne, Bouillon and Royal-Pologne infantry brigades pursued the Allies up to the village of Neukirchen near Sachsenberg. Bülow was forced to abandon some guns to pass the defiles. In this action M. de Stainville took 400 prisoners and 8 pieces and considerable baggage. On October 13, the regiment arrived at Neuss with Castries. On 16 October, it played a decisive role in the Battle of Clostercamp where the Chevalier d'Assas was among the picquets of the regiment when they detected the approaching enemies. At the cost of his life, he alerted the sleeping troops and thus saved the day. The regiment was posted in the first line of the left wing who bore the brunt of the attack of the Allies. At the end of October, the regiment, who had heavily suffered at Clostercamp, was sent back to Düsseldorf and then to France.

On July 16 1761, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen. Later during the season, it was at the siege of Wolfenbüttel.

On September 21 1762, the regiment took part in the Combat of Amöneburg (aka Brücker-Mühle).

In 1763, the regiment was stationed in Metz.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes militaires 1756 and 1758 and Etats militaires 1759
completed where necessary as per Taccoli and the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers

Neckstock black
Coat grey-white with pewter buttons on the right side
Collar violet (as early as 1757 as per Taccoli and the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757)
Shoulder Straps grey-white fastened with a small pewter button (left shoulder only)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pocket on each side (3 pewter buttons on each pocket)
Cuffs violet with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none (Taccoli illustrates white turnbacks)
Waistcoat grey-white as per Taccoli and the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757 (some sources also mention a violet waistcoat)
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Officers

n/a

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: Jocelyne Chevanelle

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Royal Livery - Source: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


Colours

Colonel colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance colours: a white cross with quarters violet and black opposed cantons. Ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1636 to 1791.

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 3, pp. 388-415

Other sources

Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I"; Musée de l'Armée, Paris

Chesnaye des Bois (de la), Aubert: Etrennes militaires, Paris, 1756, 1758, 1759

Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Louis XV: Ordonnance du Roy portant règlement pour l’habillement de l’Infanterie françoise, 19 Janvier 1747

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé a website which unfortunately is not online any more

Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

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

Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760

Vial J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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