Chevau-légers d'Orléans

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Chevau-légers d'Orléans

Origin and History

This company was created in 1655 for Louis XIV's brother and was initially known as Chevau-légers d'Anjou. When the duc d'Anjou received the duchy of Orléans in 1660, the unit was renamed Chevau-légers d'Orléans. It was incorporated into the Gendarmerie de France on April 11 1677.

For the organisation of this company, please refer to Gendarmerie de France Organisation. At war, it was the junior company of the eighth squadron of the Gendarmerie de France, paired with the Chevau-légers d'Orléans.

Until 1763 the headquarters of the Gendarmerie de France were at Châlons-sur-Marne while the company was quartered in Nivernais and Limagne. Louis XV assigned the company to Lunéville to guard his father-in-law Stanislas Leczinski, duc of Lorraine and of Bar.

During the Seven Years' War, the company was under the nominal command of the duc d'Orléans while a captain-lieutenant assumed effective command:

  • since September 12 1754: marquis de Tracy
  • from May 22 1759 to March 1763: comte de Fougières

The company was disbanded in March 1763 and incorporated into the Gendarmes d'Orléans.

Service during the War

In 1757, the eight squadrons of the Gendarmerie de France, including this company, were sent to reinforce the Lower Rhine Army. They joined the main body in Hessen in August. At the end of the year, they took their winter quarters in the county of Hanau in Hessen.

By July 1758, all Gendarmerie squadrons had joined Soubise's army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On October 10, the Gendarmerie was present at the battle of Lutterberg where it was placed on the left wing of the first line. It was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle.

In 1759, the Gendarmerie de France took part to the battle of Minden where it repeatedly charge the British and Hanoverian infantry, being repulsed each time and suffering heavy losses.

In 1761, the company took the field with the army of Soubise. It was present at the battle of Vellinghausen on July 16 but was not engaged.

In 1762, the company formed part of Condé's Lower Rhine army. It was present at the action of Nauheim on August 30 but was not engaged.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: PMPdeL
Uniform Details as per
the Etrennes Militaires of 1758 and Etat Militaire of 1761
Headgear black tricorne laced silver, with a black cockade
Neckstock black cravate
Coat scarlet lined scarlet, bordered with a silver braid, with silver buttons and silver buttonholes, and a silver braid on each sleeve
Collar scarlet laced silver
Shoulder straps blue laced silver fastened with a silver button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets laced silver with 3 silver buttons and 3 silver buttonholes
Cuffs scarlet cuffs en botte laced silver with 3 silver buttons
Turnbacks none
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff laced silver
Breeches scarlet (probably buff at war)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff bandoleer laced silver (carrying the blue distinctive colour of the company since 1730)
Waistbelt blue laced silver
Cartridge Box n/a
Scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth scarlet laced silver
Housings
Chevau-légers d'Orléans Housing Device - Source: PMPdeL

scarlet laced silver with the crowned cipher of the duc d'Orléans embroidered in silver (identical to the device carried by the Gendarmes d'Orléans

Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a sabre (silver handle and blue cord), a pair of pistols and a rifle.

The horses of the troopers were of various colours. A blue rosette was knotted at their mane and tail.

Officers

No information available yet.

Musicians

Orléans Livery - Source: PMPdeL
Chevau-légers d'Orléans trumpet in 1724. - Source: Alfred de Marbot Tableaux synoptiques de l'infanterie et de la cavalerie...

Trumpets wore a blue coat heavily laced with red braids alternating with white braids.

The saddle cloth and housings were red laced silver. The pennants of the trumpets were red decorated and fringed in gold.

As the junior company of its squadron, the unit did not carry a kettle-drum.

The musicians were mounted on grey horses.

Colours

Chevau-légers d'Orléans Standard – Source: Gilbert Noury

The silken standard was similar to the standard carried by the Gendarmes d'Orléans. It had a red field heavily decorated with silver and gold embroideries, fringed in gold and silver and bearing a central scene depicting a bomb exploding in the air over a tall tree with the motto “Alter post fulmina terror”.

References

This article 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, pp. 22

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F., Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Menguy, Patrice, Les Sujets du Bien Aimé

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

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

Vial J.-L., Nec Pluribus Impar