Origin and History
This Swiss regiment of 12 companies was raised on January 1, 1690 across the 13 Swiss Cantons. It was initially designated as “Jeune-Salis” to distinguish it from another regiment whose proprietor was also named Salis.
By October 1690, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment had already joined troops cantonned in Flanders. In 1691, it took part in the siege of Mons; in 1692, in the siege of Namur; and in 1693, in the Battle of Landen, in the sieges of Huy and Charleroi and in the relief of Saint-Malo. In 1694 and 1695, the regiment served on the coasts of Normandie. In 1696, it rejoined the Army of Flanders. In 1697, its four battalions were employed in the siege of Ath
By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment counted 3 battalions. In 1702, it served in Waasland and contributed to the capture of Uetz and Kykuyt. In 1704, its third battalion, which had been thrown into Limbourg, was taken as prisoners of war. In 1705, the regiment took part in the siege of Homburg and Louvain; in 1706, in the relief of Fort-Louis and in the Battle of Ramillies; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde, in the defence of Ghent and in the unsuccessful expedition against Bruxelles; and in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710, the regiment continued to serve in Flanders. In 1711, it took part in the attack on Arleux. Detachments of the regiment also took part in the defence of Bouchain. In 1712, the regiment fought in the Battle of Denain and contributed to the recapture of Marchiennes , Douai and Le Quesnoy. In 1713 and 1714, the regiment saw no action.
In February 1715, the regiment incorporated the remnants of Pfiffer Infanterie which had been raised in 1702. The regiment garrisoned Avesnes for most of the following years and was reduced to two battalions.
In 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment was increased to three battalions and served on the left bank of the Rhine. In 1734, it was increased to four battalions. In October 1735, it joined the troops assembled on the Moselle and its grenadiers distinguished themselves in the Combat of Clausen. The regiment then occupied Kick.
On January 8, 1737, the regiment was reduced to two battalions.
In 1741 and 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was stationed at Dunkerque. On September 22, 1743, it was increased to three battalions. In 1744, it was selected for the planned expedition in Scotland. The expedition being canceled, it took part in the siege of Furnes. In 1745, it participated in the siege of Tournai, in the Battle of Fontenoy and in the sieges of Oudenarde, Termonde and Ath; and in 1746, in the sieges of Bruxelles and Mons, in the affairs of Cinq-Étoiles and Melmont, in the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Rocoux. In 1747, a detachment of the regiment defended the Rosenthal Abbey against Austrian light troops. The entire regiment then took part in the Battle of Lauffeld and in the siege and capture of Berg-op-Zoom. In 1748, it served at the siege of Maastricht.
In 1753, the regiment was stationed at Sarrelouis.
On April 1, 1756, the regiment, which had prévôté (provostship), was reduced to two battalions.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 90th and was under the command of:
- from January 4, 1721 until April 7, 1764: François-Philippe, Comte de Diesbach de Steinbruck (promoted to brigadier in 1734 and to mar/chal-de-camp in 1738)
Service during the War
Somewhere between August 23 and September 6, 1757, the regiment joined the Army of Saxony, led by the Prince de Soubise, in the area of Erfurt and Eisenach, for the planned invasion of Saxony. On September 27, it was brigaded with Rohan Montbazon Infanterie and Planta Infanterie under the Marquis de Custine in the second line of the left wing of the Franco-Imperial Army. On November 5, under the Comte de Lorges, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was placed in the second line of the centre. It was among the two French regiments (the other was Planta Infanterie) which stood firm against the charge of the Prussian cavalry. In this battle, the regiment lost Captain Garrigue, and Lieutenants Borrer, Bury and Alion, killed; and Captains Balthazard, Rabel and six lieutenants , wounded. At the end of the year, it took up its winter-quarters in Bad Soden in Hessen.
In March 1758, during the Allied winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment retreated towards Düsseldorf and Deutz with the bulk of Broglie's Army. It passed the Rhine on April 3 and 4. In the first days of June, as a French army prepared for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of a detachment under the command of the Duc de Broglie who followed up Ysenburg during his retreat. By July, it had joined Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On July 23, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was placed in the first line of the right wing and was engaged against the Hessian units occupying the Ellenbach woods. In the morning of September 27, the regiment entered into Kassel to prevent its capture by an Allied army under the command of Oberg. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed in the centre of the second line. The regiment then spent winter near Frankfurt.
On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the third line of the right wing under the command of Prince Camille de Lorraine. The regiment was deployed in column behind the village of Bergen. In June, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades where it was deployed in the second line, on the left wing of the infantry centre. On August 1, it was not present at the Battle of Minden, being detached under de Buizenwal in Hameln.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken up its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Homburg der Höhe, in the first line of the French army. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right flank brigade of the first line of Broglie's Army. On July 10, the regiment fought in the Combat of Corbach where it formed part of Broglie's leading brigades. By July 23, the regiment was at Wasbeck under the personal command of the Duc the Broglie. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Hirschfeld.
In 1762, the regiment served on the Fulda. On June 24, it took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. In August, it contributed to the defence of the entrenchments of Melsungen on the Fulda. In September, it took part in the attack of the Castle of Amöneburg where it lost 50 men.
In 1763, the regiment returned to France where it garrisoned Saarlouis.
|Neck stock||probably black|
|Coat||garance red lined blue with 11 pewter buttons down to the pockets on the right side and 11 blue trimmed buttonholes on the left side
|Waistcoat||blue edged white with 11 pewter buttons and 11 white frogs (on both sides), pockets laced white with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white frogs|
|Breeches||blue (surprisingly Taccoli illustrates red breeches)|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Colonel flag: white cross carrying the golden motto “Fidelitate & honore” on its horizontal and vertical branches; each canton was white sown with golden fleurs de lys.
Ordonnance flags: white cross carrying the golden motto “Fidelitate & honore” on its horizontal and vertical branches; each canton consisted of 5 flames (black, yellow, red, yellow, black).
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 7, pp. 161-170
Bunel, Arnaud: Vexillologie militaire européenne - Régiment de Vigier (Suisse) (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris, 1882
Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 201
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service historique de l'armée de terre: Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
Vial J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.