Des Salles Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years' War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Des Salles Cavalerie

Origin and History

This gentleman's regiment was raised on July 1 1671.

The regiment took part inthe War of the Polish Succession.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served in Flanders from 1741 to 1748.

In 1750, the regiment was stationed at Vassy; in 1752, at Valenciennes; in 1753, at Mézières; and in 1755, at Verdun.

In 1756, the regiment counted two squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the successive colonels of the regiment were:

  • since February 1 1749: Comte des Salles (taken prisoner at Holtzhausen in April 1759)
  • from December 1 1762 to January 1 1770: Marquis de Toustain

When the French cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment became a royal regiment under the name of Royal-Lorraine Cavalerie. It was increased to 4 sqns by the incorporation of the 2 sqns of Toustain Cavalerie. Effective incorporation only took place on April 14 1763 at Montreuil-sur-Mer when the regiments returned to France at the end of the Seven Years' War.

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment was initially stationed at Montauban.

By August 1 1757, the regiment was garrisoning Sainte-Foy in the Bordeaux country.

By July 1758, the regiment had joined the Army of the Prince de Soubise assembling near Friedberg in Hesse.

On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the second line of the cavalry centre deployed behind the Wartberg under the command of the Comte de Beaupréau. In June, at the beginning of the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the “Right Reserve” under the command of the Duc de Broglie who had taken position at Friedberg in Hesse. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of Broglie's Corps.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the fourth line of the French army between the Rhine and the Main on the left bank of the Rhine. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Fränkisch-Crumbach, in the fourth line. By May 23, it was part of the first line of the cavalry left wing of Broglie's Army. On July 10, the regiment was attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Weissenhorn.

In 1761, the regiment took part to the action of Westhofen.

To do: more details for the campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Frédréic Aubert
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761

completed when necessary as per Raspe
Headgear black tricorne (reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat) laced silver, with a black cockade on the left side fastened with a black silk strap and a small pewter button
Neck stock black cravate
Coat grey white lined red (lined scarlet in 1761) with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar perhaps black (scarlet in 1761)
Shoulder straps regimental lace fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels red (scarlet in 1761), eachy with 8 pewter buttons arranged 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red (scarlet in 1761), each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red (scarlet in 1761) fastened with a pewter button
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather (yellow leather in 1761) jerkin with pewter buttons
Breeches buff leather (yellow leather in 1761)
Greatcoat grey white lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather (yellow leather in 1761)
Waistbelt buff leather (yellow leather in 1761)
Cartridge Box red leather (yellow leather in 1761)
Scabbard black leather
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with the regimental lace (black braid with a red stripe)
Housings blue bordered with the regimental lace (black braid with a red stripe)
Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a carbine, two pistols and a sabre. They were also supposed to wear a breastplate under their coat during battle but this regulation was not always followed.

Evolution of the uniform during the war

Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.

Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:

  • source not yet available

Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:

  • a white cockade and yellow lace on the tricorne
  • grey white lapels, cuffs and turnbacks
  • only 3 buttons on each cuff
  • red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a red braid

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • no turnbacks
  • no lace on the coat and waistcoat
  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs

Musicians

n/a

Colours

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): crimson field embroidered and fringed in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”

N.B.: this was the only French cavalry regiment whose standards carried white streamers.

Des Salles Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert from an original plate by Gilbert Noury


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. 335-336

Other sources

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

Lienhart, docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig

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

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

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