Comte de La Marche Infanterie
Origin and History
The regiment was created on September 17, 1684 and formed with companies taken from Picardie Infanterie. It took the name of the Province of Nivernais. Indeed, expecting a coalition to soon form against France, Louis XIV raised 30 new regiments from September 1 to 30 for the defence of the various places of the realm. By raising one regiment a day, he avoided any problem of precedence among these new regiments. The regiment was given to Paul-Sigismond de Montmorency-Luxembourg, Comte de Luxe.
In 1691, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the siege of Mons; in 1692, in the siege of Namur. In 1693, it was transferred to the Army of Italy and participated in the Battle of Marsaglia” In 1696, it took part in the siege of Valenza. In 1697, it was transferred to the Army of the Meuse.
In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment took part in the Battle of Friedlingen; in 1703, in the Siege of Kehl and in the expedition in Bavaria; and in 1704, in the Battle of Blenheim. In 1705, the regiment served on the Moselle. In 1706, tit was allocated to the Army of the Lower Rhine. In 1707, it was sent to Flanders. In 1708, it took part in the Battle of Oudenarde; in 1709, in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet; in 1711, in the Combat of Arleux; in 1712, in the Battle of Denain and in the sieges and recapture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain; and in 1713, in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.
In 1733, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served in Italy. In 1734, it took part in the battles of San Pietro and Guastalla, distinguishing itself at Guastalla.
In 1736, the regiment returned to France.
From 1739 to 1741, the regiment was stationed in Corsica.
In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment served in Flanders. In 1743, it was transferred to the Lower Rhine and took part in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, it was then sent back to Flanders where it participated in the capture of Ypres and Furnes; in 1745, in the siege of Tournai, in the Battle of Fontenoy, and in the capture of Termonde, Oudenarde and Ath; and in 1746, in the siege of Namur and the Battle of Rocoux. In 1747, the regiment was sent to Provence where it took part in the conquest of the County of Nice and in the defence of Genoa where it remained until the end of the war.
On February 9, 1753, the regiment was given to Louis-François-Joseph de Bourbon-Conti, Comte de La Marche and its name was changed from “Nivernais Infanterie” to “Comte de La Marche Infanterie.”
On the eve of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted one battalion.
In 1759, the name of the regiment was once more changed to “La Marche-Prince.”
N.B.: not to be confused with the La Marche Regiment.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 86th and was under the nominal command of:
- from February 9, 1753: Louis-François-Joseph de Bourbon-Conti, Comte de La Marche
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the effective command of its successive colonels-lieutenants:
- from February 9, 1753: N. de La Clavière, Marquis de Chamborand
- from February 20, 1761 to 1774: Marquis de Causans
In 1775, the regiment was incorporated in Périgord Infanterie.
Service during the War
From 1756, the regiment was assigned to the guard of the coasts of Bretagne.
By August 1 1757, the regiment was stationed at Auray in Bretagne.
In June 1759, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army, under the command of the Marquis de Contades, and was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under the command of the Chevalier de Nicolaï. It was sent forward to support Touraine Brigade but was soon driven out of its defensive position by a charge of an Allied cavalry brigade.
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 Babenhausen and Dieburg, in the third line of the French army. By May 23, the regiment was part of the first line of the infantry centre of Broglie's Army. 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 in the Combat of Corbach. On October 16, the regiment arrived in Düsseldorf to reinforce Castries' Corps.
In 1762, the regiment garrisoned Bordeaux.
|Waistcoat||grey-white with copper buttons (blue with pewter buttons in 1759)|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
N.B.: We did not find the Etat militaire for this regiment in 1759 and 1760 but Taccoli's work, published in 1760, illustrates the new uniform described in the Etat militaire of 1761. This suggests that the new uniform was in fact introduced in 1759 when the regiment changed its name from “Comte de La Marche” to “La Marche-Prince”.
Colonel colour: white field with a white cross.
Ordonnance colours: a white cross; each canton consisted of three horizontal bands: blue, feuille morte (reddish brown) and isabelle (coffee).
N.B.: Susane mentioned that during the period when it belonged to the Comte de La Marche, the regiment carried flag in the colours of the House of Conti (red and isabelle) without giving any additional details.
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 8, pp. 231-232
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
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
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
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.