Castellas Infanterie

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Origin and History

This Swiss regiment was raised on February 17 1675. It recruited in the Swiss cantons.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Languedoc in 1733. In 1734, it was at Toulon; in 1735, in Genoa; in 1736, at Montlouis.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served with the Army of the Alps in 1742 and 1743. In 1745, it recrossed the Var River. In 1747, it was at Hyères and in 1748 at Chiavari.

The regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship).

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 52nd and was under the command of:

  • since March 14 1756: Baron de Castellas

Service during the War

Somewhere between August 23 and September 6 1757, the regiment joined the Army of Saxony, led by the Prince de Soubise, in the area of Erfurt and Eisenach. On September 27, it was brigaded with Cossé Brissac Infanterie and La Viefville Saint-Chamond Infanterie under Prince Camille in the second line of the left wing of the Franco-Imperial army. On November 5, under the Comte de Lorges, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was placed in the second line of the centre. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters on the Fulda River in Hessen.

At the end of January 1758, the regiment was assigned to the army that Louis XV planned to send to Bohemia for joint operations with the Austrian Army. However in March 1758, during the surprise Allied winter offensive in West Germany, the regiment retreated towards Düsseldorf and Deutz with the bulk of Broglie's Army. It passed the Rhine on April 3 and 4. By July, it had joined Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed in the centre of the first line.

On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the third line of the right wing under the command of Prince Camille de Lorraine. The regiment was deployed in column behind the village of Bergen. 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.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the first line of the French Army. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right flank brigade of the first line of Broglie's Army. On July 10, the regiment fought in the Combat of Corbach where it formed part of Broglie's leading brigades. By September 19, the regiment was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps, forming part of the second line of his left column. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Vacha.

On February 15 1761, the regiment took part in the Combat of Langensalza.

On June 24 1762, the regiment was at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal.

To do: details of the campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: rf-figuren
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes Militaires 1756 and 1758 and Etat militaire 1758, 1760 and 1761

completed where necessary with information from C. Pajol's book and L. Mouillard's uniform plates
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers of the French Army (Taccoli's work published in 1760 illustrates a grenadier wearing a black bearskin with a blue bag edged white)

Neck stock black
Coat garance red lined blue with 10 pewter buttons down to the pockets on the right side and, on the left side only, 10 buttonholes
Collar none
Shoulder Strap blue fastened with a pewter button (as per Mouillard) on the left shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons and 3 narrow blue buttonholes
Cuffs blue, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none(Taccoli's work published in 1760 illustrates blue turnbacks)
Waistcoat blue with one row of pewter buttons and narrow blue buttonholes; horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Breeches blue (surprisingly depicted as red by Taccoli)
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Waist-belt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard brown with brass fittings (as per Taccoli)


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

Officers

n/a

Musicians

n/a

Colours

Colonel colour: white cross with the motto “Castella tuetur propugnacula” on the horizontal and vertical branches; each canton carrying 7 white flames.
N.B.: white colour with a white cross as per the manuscript of 1757

Ordonnance colours: white cross with the motto “Castella tuetur propugnacula” on the horizontal and vertical branches; each canton carrying 7 flames (red, yellow, blue, white, blue, yellow, red).
N.B.: white cross without motto; each canton decorated with 8 alternating blue and red flames as per the manuscript of 1757

Colonel Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Ordonnance Colour - Source: PMPdeL

References

Bunel, Arnaud: Vexillologie militaire européenne] - Régiment de Vigier (Suisse)

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

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

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

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 199

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

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.