Descars Cavalerie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on March 15 1707.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment initially served in Lorraine in 1733, then on the Rhine in 1734.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia in 1741. In 1745, it was in Italy.

In 1755, the regiment was stationed in Richemont.

In 1756, the regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since June 8 1744 until December 1 1761: Vicomte des Cars

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Penthièvre Cavalerie. However, effective incorporation seems to have taken place only on April 5 1763 at Colmar.

Service during the War

By August 1 1757, the regiment had joined the French army in Germany. However, it was first mentioned in active service after the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, when it was part of the main body of the Army of the Lower Rhine, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt, in Prussian territory, from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed in the first line of the right wing. At a certain time during this period, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Saxony led by the Prince de Soubise. On November 5, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Lusignan Cavalerie in the Reserve under Broglie. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Moers on the Lower Rhine, in the fourth line of the French army.

In 1758, the regiment was stationed on the coasts of Normandie.

At the end of May 1759, when the French Army of the Rhine launched its offensive in Western Germany, the regiment remained on the Rhine as part of the corps of the Marquis d'Armentières. By October 25, still attached to d'Armentières' Corps, the regiment was at the main camp at Bochum.

By May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the Reserve of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of M. d'Auvet. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the second line of the centre. On October 3, Ségur's Corps (including this regiment) was dispatched towards Hachenburg and Cologne. On October 13, the unit arrived at Neuss with Castries. On 16 October, it fought in the Battle of Clostercamp.

To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Ibrahim90
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
Neckstock black cravate
Coat grey-white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps grey-white fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels red, each with 7 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red fastened with a pewter button
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat grey-white lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather
Waistbelt buff leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with the regimental lace (2 rows of alternating red and green woollen squares)
Housings blue bordered with the regimental lace
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:

  • white rosette on the tricorne
  • coat, lapels, cuffs and turnbacks edged with the regimental lace (2 rows of alternating red and green woollen squares)
  • grey-white waistcoat edged with the regimental lace
  • only 3 buttons on each pocket
  • only 2 buttons on each cuff

Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757 (more probably around 1748):

  • a tricorne with a white rosette
  • 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 shoulder strap
  • 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

no information available yet

Standards (in 1753)

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): aurore (light orange) 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”.

Descars Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: PMPdeL

References

The 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, p. 360

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)

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761

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.