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Origin and History
This regiment pretended to trace its origin back to a unit raised in 1604 by M. de Lémond for Henry IV.
After the siege of Montauban, from 1622 to 1624, a large number of Protestant gentlemen made peace with the king. The powerful House of Bouillon among others rallied to the king. The young Vicomte de Turenne, brother of the Duc de Bouillon, was authorised on January 17, 1625 to raise an infantry regiment as part of the preparations of King Louis XIII for the siege of La Rochelle and an expedition in Valtellina.
On May 26, 1626, Turenne Infanterie was disbanded
On March 27, 1630, Turenne Infanterie was re-established. The regiment was immediately sent to Piedmont for the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31) and took part in the capture of Casale.
In 1631, the regiment was stationed in Lorraine where it remained idle till 1633.
In June 1633, the regiment took part in the reduction of the Castle of Freidemburg near Trier. In September, it was at the siege of Nancy. In 1634, it was among the first regiments to arrive in front of La Mothe, the last and strongest place of the Duc de Lorraine. It was detached for a few days to capture the Castle of Bitche. It then took part in the relief of Heidelberg.
In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the siege of Speyer, in the capture of Binghen, in the relief of Mainz and Zweibrücken and in the retreat on Metz; in 1636, in the siege of Saverne and in the combat of Jussey. In 1637, sent to the Meuse, it took part in the capture of the Castle of Villaune between Verdun and Stenay, and in the sieges of Damvilliers and Ivoy. In 1638, it was transferred to Flanders and took part in the relief of Saint-Omer. It then returned to the Rhine where it was at the siege of Breisach. In 1639, the regiment returned to Flanders and took part in the siege of Hesdin and in the Combat of Saint-Nicolas near Saint-Omer. During the next winter, it detached a few companies to Normandy to get rid of the "Va-nu-pieds". In 1640, the regiment was transferred to Italy and took part in the attack of the entrenchments of Casale and in the siege of Turin. In 1641, it took part in the capture of Montcalvo, in the siege of Ivrea, in the relief of Chivasso and in the submission of Ceva, Mondovi and Coni; in 1642, in the capture of Nice and of the Castle of Tortona; and in 1643, in the siege of Trino. It then marched to rejoin Turenne its mestre de camp who had been promoted to Maréchal de France and was now commanding the Army of Germany. In 1644, the regiment distinguished itself in the combats of Freiburg. It cooperated in the capture of Philisbourg, Worms, Mainz, Landau, Mannheim, and Neustadt, and took its winter-quarters in Binghen. In 1645, it took part in the storming of Germesheim, in the capture of Stuttgart, in the Battle of Mariendal, in the siege of Rothemburg, in the Battle of Nördlingen, and in the sieges of Heillbronn and Trier; in 1646, in the campaign of Bavaria and in the siege of Augsburg; in 1647, in the siege of Tubingen and in the capture of Aschaffenburg and Darmstadt. In September, the regiment was transferred to Luxembourg where it attacked the suburbs of Montmédy before taking its winter-quarters in Flanders. By the beginning of 1648, the regiment counted only 600 men in 20 companies. It returned to Germany and contributed to the relief of Worms and to the victory of Zusmarhausen where it lost 150 men.
At the beginning of the Fronde (1648-1653), in 1649, Turenne retired to Holland with 8 companies of his regiment, which occupied Stenay. Meanwhile, the rest of the regiment, which had remained loyal to the king, served in Flanders. In 1650, Turenne, with the 8 companies which had defected, acted against the court. These companies took part in the siege of La Capelle and in the Battle of Rhétel where Turenne was defeated and his companies annihilated. On May 25, 1651, Turenne Infanterie was disbanded but soon re-established when Turenne made peace with the Cardinal Mazarin. For the campaign of 1651, the regiment initially served in Lorraine, taking part in the siege of Chasté. It was then sent to the Loire where he defended Gergeau. In 1652, it took part in the attack of the suburbs of Étampes, in the siege of Étampes, in the Battle of Faubourg Saint-Antoine, in the sieges of Bar-le-Duc, Château-Porcien and Vervins and took its winter-quarters in Laon. In 1653, it took part in the sieges of Rhétel, Mouzon and Sainte-Ménehould.
In 1654, as the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59) continued, the regiment took part in the screening of the siege of Stenay, in the relief of Arras, and in the sieges of Le Quesnoy and Binch; in 1655, in the relief of Le Quesnoy, in the siege of Landrecies, in the capture of Condé and Saint-Ghislain, and in the capture of the Castle of Brifeuil. In October, the regiment took its winter-quarters at Le Quesnoy, it then consisted of 900 men. In 1656, it took part in the unsuccessful siege of Valenciennes and in the siege of La Capelle; in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy, Cambrai and Saint-Venant, in the capture of Waters, Bourbourg and La Mothe-aux-Bois, in the relief of Ardres and in the capture of Mardyk. In 1658, the regiment counted 1,200 men. It was at the siege of Dunkerque and fought in the Battle of Dunes where it greatly distinguished itself. It then took part in the capture of Berghes, Dixmude, Furnes, Oudenarde and Menin, and in the siege of Ypres
In 1659, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees, Turenne offered his regiment to King Charles II of England to help him to regain his throne; but the regiment did not need to intervene and Charles II was restored to the throne of England in 1660.
In 1663, the regiment contributed 20 companies to the small army which occupied Marsal. In 1664, the entire regiment was part of the relief force sent to Hungary to fight against the Turks. It distinguished itself in the Battle of St, Gotthard which saved the Empire. It then returned to France with 4 guns captured during this battle. In 1665, the regiment took part in the siege of Lochem and took its winter-quarters in Holland.
In 1666, the rank of the regiment was fixed, it came immediately after Aquitaine Infanterie. It would retain this rank until 1775.
In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment campaigned in Flanders and was at the capture of Charleroi, Ath, Tournai, Douai, Lille and Alost, remaining in Lille as garrison. In 1668, a detachment (100 men) of the regiment captured the Castle of Vinendal.
In 1671, the regiment was at the camp of Dunkerque.
In 1672, when the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78) broke out, the regiment was at the capture of Maseyck, Burich, Rees, Saint-Trond, Tongres, Orsoy, Arnhem, Skenke, Nijmegen, Doësbourg, Crèvecoeur and Bommel Island, and at the siege of Zutphen before assuming garrison duty in Naërden. In 1673, it campaigned in Germany and took its winter-quarters in Frankfurt. In 1674, it covered the débouchés of Franche-Comté from Alsace and a detachment fought in the Battle of Sintzheim. The same year, the regiment also took part in the affair of Ladembourg and in the Battle of Ensheim; in 1675, in the victorious Battle of Turkheim, before taking its winter-quarters in Verdun. It was then sent to Colmar and surprised the town of Neubourg. After the death of Maréchal de Turenne, killed by a cannonball on July 27, the regiment was given to Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duc du Maine. The regiment distinguished itself at the defence of the bridges of the Rhine and at the Combat of Altenheim. In 1676, it was transferred to the Army of Flanders, took part in the siege of Condé et and covered the sieges of Bouchain and Aire. In 1677, it took part in the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai, and in the Battle of Cassel; in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, in the Combat of Saint-Denis and in the campaign on the Rhine;
By 1684, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Thionville but was sent to the siege of Luxembourg
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was attached to the Dauphin's Army and contributed to the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim, Frankenthal and Mainz. In 1689, it distinguished itself during the defence of Mainz. After the capitulation Mainz, the regiment joined the Army of Flanders. In 1690, the regiment took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons and in the campaign on the Moselle; in 1692, in the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, the regiment was transferred from Namur to Germany. In 1694 and 1695, it was employed in the Low Countries where it took part in the combat of Tongeren and in the bombardment of Bruxelles. In 1696 and 1697, it campaigned on the Meuse.
N.B.: during these years, a militia battalion also known as "Maine" served in the Alps.
In 1698, the regiment went to the camp of Compiègne. On December 30, the soldiers of the "Fusiliers de Ximénès" were incorporated into the regiment.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), the regiment occupied a few places in the Spanish Netherlands. In 1702, it took part in the Combat of Nijmegen; and in 1703, in the Battle of Ekeren. In December, the regiment was sent to Spain as part of the corps of the Duc de Berwick. In 1704, the regiment took part in the campaign of Portugal where it was at the capture of several places (Salvaterra, Segura, Ponhagarzia, Ucepedo, Cebreros, Idanhanova, Mousanto, Castelbranco, Portalègre, Castel-de-Vide, Montalvan, Marvan); in 1705, in the unsuccessful Siege of Gibraltar. In 1706, it initially guarded the passages on the frontier of the Kingdom of Valencia, fighting in a combat near Caniz before joining the army besieging Barcelona. When the siege was lifted, the regiment was once more sent to Portugal and later to the Kingdom of Valencia. It contributed to the capture of Elche. The regiment finished the campaign at the siege of Cartagena. In 1707, it took part in the Battle of Almansa and in the siege and capture of Lérida; and in 1708, in the siege of Tortosa. In July 1709, the regiment was recalled to France for the defence of Dauphiné. At the end of 1710, the regiment was sent to Flanders. In 1711, the regiment took part in the attack on Arleux; and in 1712, in the Battle of Denain and in the sieges of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. In 1713, the regiment was sent to the Rhine and contributed to the capture of Landau and to the defeat of Vaubonne's Imperial Corps entrenched at Freiburg. It then took part in the siege of Freiburg.
On November 15, 1714, the soldiers of the disbanded Aunay Infanterie and Épinay Infanterie were incorporated into the regiment. On January 5, 1715, the soldiers of the disbanded Marquis de Valence Infanterie were incorporated into the regiment.
During the War of the Polish Succession (1733–35), the regiment served in Italy.
During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), the regiment initially served in Flanders from 1741 to 1743. In 1744, it was part of the French contingent sent to Scotland to support the claims of the Young Pretender. In 1745, it was back to Flanders where it served until 1747.
The regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship).
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 20th and was under the command of:
- from February 21, 1746: Comte de Castellane
- from December 1, 1762 to 1778: Comte de Bonneguise
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was at the camp of Granville.
In 1757, the regiment was sent to Germany to join the Lower Rhine Army under the Maréchal d'Estrées. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées's main corps. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck, where it was in the column under Chevert which accomplished the flanking movement to attack the Hanoverian left wing in the woods. During this attack, it suffered from a cruel mistake. Indeed, it was placed in the woods of Nimerein where it was fighting a grenadier corps when units of Chevert's column advancing through the same woods fired mistakenly on it. Taken in crossfires, the Eu Regiment was forced to retire after suffering heavy losses. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in Emden in Ostfriese, in the fourth line of the French Army.
At the beginning of 1758, the regiment withdrew to the Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Kalkar. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's army on May 31, the regiment did not join Clermont's army at Rheinberg but was rather deployed at an unspecified location. Later during the year, the regiment returned to France where it served on the coasts of Bretagne.
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
The drummers wore the livery of the House of Maine: red field lined blue with a braid consisting of three smaller braids (one yellow between two blue braids).
The colonel flag was white with a white cross. The ordonnance flags had a white cross with yellow and red opposed quarters.
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 4, pp. 405-429, 434
Evrard P.: Praetiriti Fides
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a very good website which has unfortunately disappeared)
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882
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
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar