Clerici Infantry

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Origin and History

This regiment was raised by Marquis Antonio Giorgio Clerici di Cavenago (from the Lake Como area but born 1715 in Milan) on May 2 1744, during the War of the Austrian Succession. The regiment was organized as a standard Austrian infantry regiment with some 2,000 vagabonds recruited in the Duchy of Milan and 400 men from the militia. They were first reviewed on August 24 1744 at the Castle of Milan. At that time, the regiment comprised 15 fusilier and two grenadier companies, for a total of 1,568 men. Its colonel and commander was Marquis Antonio Giorgio Clerici; its lieutenant-colonel, Ascario Count Cicogna; and its major, Franz Andreas Baron von Valentiani.

The regiment received its baptism of fire in the Battle of Madonna dell'Olmo (aka Battle on Stura) on September 30 1744 in which the Austro-Sardinian army fought against Franco-Spanish Allies. In 1745, the regiment (now 2,249 men strong) was deployed in General Schulemburg's Corps which was sent to Lombardy. At the end of the year, the regiment garrisoned Mantua, only his proprietor, the Marquis Clerici (promoted major-general) participated in the following campaign and was wounded at the battle of Novi. In May 1746, Ascario Count Cicogna was promoted to colonel and commander of the regiment. In 1747, the regiment was sent to Ofen and Szegedin in Hungary. On November 20, when it was reviewed, it counted a total of 1,402 men in total.

In 1751, Ascario Count Cicogna was promoted to general and was replaced by Franz Andreas Baron Valentiani as colonel and commander of the regiment.

After the war, the regiment garrisoned at Temesvár where it remained until 1756.

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 men. This was the administrative organisation of the regiment. However, the tactical organisation differed: 2 field fusilier battalions, each of 6 companies; 2 grenadier companies (usually converged with grenadiers from other battalions into an ad hoc unit); and 1 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

During the Seven Years' War, the proprietor of the regiment was:

  • since May 1744: Marquis Antonio Giorgio Clerici di Cavenago (died in 1768)

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commanders were:

  • from 1751 to October 1758: Franz Andreas Baron Valentiani (mortally wounded at Hochkirch)
  • from December 5 1758 until 1771: Francesco de Ferretti

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 44". Since July 8 1769, the regiment was known as Karl Rudolf Count Gaisruck and from October 21 1778 as Ludwig Karl Count von Barbiao und Belgioioso.

In 1860, the Habsburg monarchy lost Lombardy. The regiment was reorganized in Padua and now received its recruits from Hungary.

Service during the War

In 1756, at the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, the regiment, who was garrisoning Temesvár, was called to Bohemia but too late to participate in the current campaign.

On September 7 1757, FML Marquis Clerici commanded the left wing of Nádasdy's Corps in the Combat of Moys where he was wounded once more. The regiment itself was not present at this combat. Its first participation in that war was at the Siege of Schweidnitz from October to November. Colonel Amadei from Nikolaus Esterházy Infantry with 3 grenadier companies (from Luzzara Infantry, Clerici Infantry and a Bavarian regiment) and one battalion from Batthyányi Infantry stormed an entrenchment, Lieutenant-Colonel Rhédei from Haller Infantry with 3 companies (Clerici Infantry, Forgách Infantry and a Bavarian regiment) made himself master of another. The present regiment distinguished itself in the capture of the fortress. On November 22, one battalion of the regiment and the grenadiers took part in the Battle of Breslau where they was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre of Nádasdy's Corps. The proprietor of the regiment, the Marquis Clerici, led the troops who attacked Pilsnitz and was once more seriously wounded. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, one battalion of the regiment was deployed in the second line of the Reserve of the left wing under Marshal Forgách as part of Nádasdy's Corps. In this battle the battalion lost 168 men killed, 4 officers wounded, and 2 officers and 158 men taken prisoners of war. The Austrian army then retreated to Bohemia where it took up its winter-quarters around Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ).

By January 1758, the regiment counted only 659 men, formed in one battalion and one grenadier company. It was attached to FZM Harsch's Corps deployed near Horzinowec (present-day Hořiněves/CZ). By August 2, the regiment served in the first line of the main Austrian army under the command of Count Leopold Daun near Jaromirs. Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the Prussian invasion of Moravia. On October 14, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in the first line of the right column of Daun's main army, directly south of Hochkirch. Its grenadiers were converged with those of other regiments to form 4 battalions deployed in the third column under Colonel Browne. The battalion recaptured the town of Hochkirch and repulsed Prussian attempt to dislodge it. Colonel Valentiani led his battalion during first attack on the churchyard of Hochkirch. In this battle, the battalion lost 5 officers and 67 men killed; 13 officers and 94 men wounded; and 1 officer and 147 men missing. The regiment was virtually destroyed. Furthermore, Colonel Valentiani was mortally wounded and died within a few days. He was post mortem promoted to general and appointed count (Reichsgraf). On December 5, Lieutenant-Colonel Francesco de Ferretti was promoted to colonel and commander of the regiment.

According to some sources, after Hochkirch, the remaining officers and men of the regiment might have returned to Transylvania, where its third (depot) battalion was stationed, for a few months. There it replenished its ranks.

On January 30 1759, one complete battalion set off from Temesvár and Esseg and marched to join the field army. The Ordre de Bataille of March 15 showed the regiment again with 2 fusilier battalions and 2 grenadier companies. It formed part of Daun's main army, in the Corps de Reserve, both grenadier companies were attached to Major-General Siskovics's Brigade while both fusilier battalions (1,781 men) were in Major-General Hardenegg's Brigade. The strength of the regiment (2 field battalions and 2 grenadier companies) should theoretically count around 1,880 men. However, in January, it was reported with 1,485 men effective among whom only 403 men were fit for duty! Therefore, the regiment sometimes formed a single battalion in the line of battle. By mid August, the regiment (1 battalion) was part of Aynse's Corps. On September 2, it was at the Combat of Sorau. On November 20, it took part in the victorious Battle of Maxen where it was deployed in the second line of the first infantry column of Sincère's Corps under the command of Lieutenant-General d'Aynse. The grenadiers were in the vanguard, in Siskovics' Grenadier Brigade.

At the beginning of 1760, the regiment was deployed in Lacy's independent corps posted on right bank of the Elbe. On May 11, the regiment (now 772 men) was sent to Dresden to replace Salm Infantry. In July, it took part in the defence of Dresden as part of the garrison. In second part of the year, the regiment was attached to the Reichsarmee and, in October, it marched with this army to Dresden. The Austro-Imperial army was then sent to camp around Dippoldiswalde. For its part, the regiment (now 2 battalions and 2 grenadier companies for a total of 837 men) was transferred to General Guasco's Corps who marched to Eger (present-day Cheb/CZ).

In May 1761, Guasco's Corps rejoined the main army, arriving at the camp of Dippoldiswalde on May 19. The regiment remained there during the Summer and was later transferred to Plauen.

In 1762, FM Serbelloni was appointed commander in Saxony. The regiment was deployed in Major-General Johann Baron von Zedtwitz small corps at Doebeln. On May 2, Zedtwitz was surprised by the superior Prussian force of Prince Heinrich in the Combat of Doebeln. In this action, the Austrians lost 42 officers and 1,536 men who were taken prisoners of war. From the regiment, Colonel Ferretti, 4 officers and 280 men were captured. On October 14 and 15, the rest of the regiment took part in the combats of Conradsdorf and Brand where it lost 4 men killed, 4 wounded and 28 missing or taken prisoners.

After, the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, on February 13 1763, the regiment remained for some time in Saxony and then returned to Lombardy where it initially garrisoned Cremona, and then Bozzolo until 1766..

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
as per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift and the Raspischen Buchhandlung publication

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener on the right side (left side in 1762) and a small yellow button on the left side; no cockade nor pompom (yellow within madder red cockade and yellow within madder red pompoms in 1762)
Grenadier bearskin with a madder red bag probably laced yellow and a yellow tassel
Neck stock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined white with 3 yellow buttons under the right lapel and 1 yellow button in the small of the back on each side
Collar none
Shoulder Straps madder red fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels madder red, each with 7 yellow buttons (1-3-3)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs madder red, each with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks white (attached with a madder red fastener and a yellow button as per Raspe publication)
Waistcoat white with 2 rows of yellow buttons and with horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters one pair of black (for winter) and one pair of white gaiters (for summer and parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black (grenadiers only)
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers). Grenadiers carried a sabre while fusiliers carried only a bayonet.

NCOs

no information found yet

Officers

The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced gold with a white and green cockade
  • black neckstock
  • a golden aiguillette on the left shoulder
  • no turnbacks
  • yellow and black silk sash

Senior officers carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob

Sergeants carried a halberd and a wooden stick.

Corporals carried a halberd.

Musicians

Until 1760, despite the new regulation of 1755, the musicians wore coats of reversed colours with white swallow nests and white turnbacks. From 1760, they wore uniforms identical to those of the privates with the following differences:

  • madder red swallow nests on the shoulders edged yellow
  • madder red cuffs edged yellow

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.

Colours

All German infantry regiments carried identical colours: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The hand painted colours were made of silk and measured Size 178 cm x 127 cm. The 260 cm long flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
Leibfahne – Source: Frédéric Aubert

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: Frédéric Aubert

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Branko, F. v.: Geschichte des k. k. Infanterie-Regimentes Nr. 44 Feldmarschall Erzherzog Albrecht, Vienna 1875
  • Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 39

Other sources

Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762

Dihm, Dr. Hermann: Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Hausmann, Friedrich: Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

Knötel, Herbert d. J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called „Brauer-Bogen"), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Muhsfeldt, Th.: Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Seidel, Paul: Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Thümmler, L.-H.: Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

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

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala, Michael Zahn and Luc Antonelli for gathering most of the information about this regiment