Grenadiers Royaux de Bergeret

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Grenadiers Royaux de Bergeret

Origin and History

A decree, dated September 15 1744, created a grenadier company within each French militia battalion. On April 10 1745, another decree ordered to detach all militia grenadier companies from their parent battalion and to group them in 11 regiments of Grenadiers Royaux. Each regiment consisted of a single battalion designated by its colonel's name. The 1st Regiment was placed under the command of Colonel d'Espagnac.

To create a new recruitment source for these new regiments, the decree of January 28 1746 created a new company of grenadiers in each militia battalion. These new grenadiers were designated as Grenadiers postiches.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756, militia battalions were assembled. A decree of December 5 1756 stipulated that the Grenadiers postiches had to be detached from their parent militia battalion (there were 107 such battalions) and incorporated into the 11 existing Grenadiers Royaux battalions, thus increasing the effective strength of each of these regiments from 1 to 2 battalions.

The 1st regiment now consisted of:

  • staff
    • 1 colonel
    • 1 lieutenant-colonel
    • 1 major
    • 2 aides-major
  • 2 battalions each consisting of 10 companies of Grenadiers Royaux or Grenadiers postiches
    • each company of Grenadiers Royaux consisted of:
      • 1 captain
      • 1 lieutenant
      • 2 sergeants
      • 3 corporals
      • 3 ansepessades
      • 1 drummer
      • 41 grenadiers
    • each company of Grenadiers postiches consisted of:
      • 1 captain
      • 1 lieutenant
      • 3 sergeants
      • 3 corporals
      • 3 ansepessades
      • 1 drummer
      • 51 grenadiers

N.B.: we have not found any information indicating whether the companies of Grenadiers postiches were intermingled with companies of Grenadiers Royaux within each battalion or if they formed two distinct battalions.

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

  • since March 1750: de Bergeret
  • from February 1759 to December 10 1762: de Narbonne

All Grenadiers Royaux regiments were disbanded on December 10 1762.

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of June, the regiment along with the Grenadiers Royaux de Chantilly were guarding the field bakery near Paderborn. Later on, as part of Saint-Pern's forces, the regiment took part in the march to the Lower Elbe and in the occupation of Hanover and Brunswick. On September 8, after the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, the regiment followed the main body, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was part of the Reserve. At the end of the year, the regiment took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army at Bissendorf near Hanover.

In March 1758, during the winter offensive of Ferdinand of Brunswick, the regiment did not play an active role. From March 30 to April 4, it was among the reserve of the Comte de Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in the third line at Gangelt, Jülich, Aldenhoven and Geilenkirchen. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Army on May 31, it retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp, where it formed part of the Reserve, until June 12. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld as part of the Reserve. In Mid August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine now under the Marquis de Contades, recrossed the Rhine for an offensive in Westphalia. On August 20, the regiment was encamped near Wesel where it formed part of the Reserve. On September 29, under Saint-Pern, it took part in the surprise attack on Bork, the camp of the Prince of Holstein.

In 1759 the corps of grenadiers was integrated into the Army of the Lower Rhine, under the command of the Marquis de Contades. On April 11, when Broglie was informed of the approach of an Allied army, he sent some French troops, including Narbonne's regiment of Grenadiers Royaux to slow down the Allied advance. These troops distinguished themselves in the defence of Fritzlar. In June, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the Reserve under the command of Saint-Pern. On August 17, the 2nd battalion of the regiment, which had been sent to Naumburg under Lieutenant-Colonel de Flavigny to support the French light troops, was forced to surrender to the Duke of Holstein.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the second line of the French Army on the right bank of the Rhine, in Rheingau and on the Nidda. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Bad Vilbel, still in the second line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the Grenadier Reserve of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of M. de Saint-Pern. On June 22, Broglie sent the regiment along with the Grenadiers de France to Nieder-Ohmen. By July 14, the regiment was part of the corps deployed between Mühlhausen and Berndorf to link the positions of Saint-Germain's Army with Broglie's Main Army. On July 31, Broglie ordered Saint-Pern to march towards Warburg with the Grenadiers de France, the Grenadiers Royaux and 8 pieces to reinforce de Muy. However, these reinforcements came too late, de Muy having already been defeated in the Battle of Warburg. On August 6, the Grenadier Reserve was placed at Rhoden between the main army and de Muy's Corps. By September 17, the regiment acted as a detachment to protect forage activities. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Fritzlar on the Edder.

On February 12 1761, 12 companies of the regiment, under the command of the Vicomte de Narbonne, were besieged in Fritzlar by an Allied corps of 12,000 men. Narbonne resisted until February 15. In recognition of his services, Louis XV granted him the title of Vicomte de Narbonne-Fritzlar.

During the campaign of 1762, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Prince de Soubise and Comte d'Estrées. On June 24, the regiment fought in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. On August 30, the regiment took part in the Combat of Nauheim.

Uniform

All Grenadiers Royaux regiments had the same uniform, the sole distinction being the epaulette on the right shoulder which varied from one regiment to the other.

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757
completed where necessary with information from Pajol and Mouillard
Headgear
Musketeer none (all troopers were grenadiers)
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade
Neck stock black
Coat grey-white with pewter buttons of the right side and 1 pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar blue collar
Shoulder Straps blue epaulette with a white and blue fringe on the right shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets,each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs grey-white with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks grey-white when basques were turned back which was not always the case
Waistcoat grey-white with pewter buttons
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white for campaigning (black for parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box red or black leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket with a bayonet and a double edged sabre.

All grenadiers wore a moustache.

Officers

The uniforms of officers were laced silver and they wore silver gorgets.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • sergeants: cuffs edged in silver or ornamented with 3 agréments
  • corporals:cuffs edged in white and ornamented with 3 white frogs
  • ansepessades: cuffs edged in white

Sergeants were armed with a spontoon.

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: Jocelyne Chevanelle

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Royal Livery - Source: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


Colours

The regiment, probably because it consisted of converged companies of grenadiers, carried only ordonnance colours.

Ordonnance colours: blue field and blue border; white cross sown with golden fleurs de lys.

Ordonnance Flag - Source: Kronoskaf

N.B.: Some sources illustrate the arms of France in the centre of the white cross or a white border around the colour. However, the illustration in "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" simply depicts a blue border and a white cross sown with golden fleurs de lys.

References

This article contains text translated from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 68-69, 151-153

Other sources

Anon.: Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I, Musée de l'Armée, Paris

Cookman, David: In Search Of The French Grenadiers During the Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. IX No. 1

Evrard P.: Praetiriti Fides

Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882

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.

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