Origin and History
The regiment was created on December 15 1719, during the minority of King Louis XV by the Chevalier Francois-Adam de Karrer de Soleure for service in Louisiana under pay of the Compagnie des Indes. It was raised in Alsace and Switzerland and consisted of 3 companies.
On July 8 1720, the regiment was transferred to the “Service of the Navy” and assigned to garrison La Rochelle and to guard the French establishments of the Mississippi Valley. The regiment was placed under the command of M. de Karrer. In June 1721, all companies, to the exception of the colonel company who remained in Rochefort, embarked for the colonies.
In 1730, the regiments had detachments in various establishements:
- colonel company garrisoned Rochefort with a detachment at Isle Royale
- 1 company in Martinique
- 1 company in Saint-Domingue.
In 1731, a fourth company was raised.
In 1733 Karrer was promoted brigadier and resigned as colonel of the regiment.
In 1736, the Chevalier Louis-Ignace de Karrer, son of the previous colonel, assumed command of the regiment, a charge he retained till his death in 1752.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1746 and 1747, part of the regiment was present at the defence of Ré Island and of the Coast of Aunis.
In 1752, the regiment was renamed Hallwyl. It counted a single battalion.
On August 18 1755, a warrant increased the colonel company to 360 men.
On the eve of the Seven Years' War, the unit counted five companies:
- 1 depot company of:
- 10 officers
- 290 men
- 4 field companies, each of
- 8 officers
- 20 NCOs
- 9 musicians
- 163 men
On August 1 1758, another warrant authorised to raise 80 supernumeraries for the colonel company.
During the Seven Years' War, the colonel of the regiment was:
- since August 21 1752 to June 1 1763: Comte François Joseph de Hallwyl (probably a relative of the Karrer family)
The regiment was disbanded on June 1 1763.
Service during the War
At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, in 1756:
- the colonel company was based in Rochefort, in France with the colonel and the colours, serving as a depot for recruitment
- 1 company (the 2nd) was based in Martinique Island
- 2 companies (the 3rd and 5th) were based in Saint-Domingue
- 1 company (the 4th) was based in Louisiana
The only textual source that we have describing this regiment dates back from 1745.
|Coat||red lined blue with 9 pewter buttons on the right side
|Waistcoat||blue with 2 rows of pewter buttons with white laced buttonholes|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following distinctions:
- waistcoat edged with a white braid
Officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following distinctions:
- black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade fastened with a silver strap and a small silver button
- waistcoat edged with a silver braid
Musicians wore a very different uniform:
- black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade fastened with a black strap and a small pewter button
- black neckstock
- blue coat line pale yellow with pale yellow collar, cuffs and turnbacks; and decorated with a white and pale yellow braid on the seams and pockets, around the buttonholes and edging the cuffs
- pale yellow waistcoat with 2 rows of pewter buttons with white laced buttonholes
- pale yellow breeches
- blue drum with white cords, decorated with unidentified arms (probably Hallwyl's)
No contemporary source describe a colour specific to Hallwyl Infanterie. The regiment probably retained the colours issued under Karrer.
The colonel colour was white with a white cross bearing the motto “Fidelitate & honore terra & mari”, each canton was sewn with golden fleurs de lys
The ordonnance colours had red, blue and yellow flames in each canton and a white cross bearing. It is not clear if the motto “Fidelitate & Honore Terra & Mari” still appeared on the ordonnance colours after 1752.
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin, 1903, Appendix 1
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (an interesting website which 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, pp. 204-205
Rochat, Michel: Drapeaux d'Ordonnance flammés des Régiments suisses de ligne permanents au Service de la France de 1672 à 1792, Delachaux et Niestle, 1994
Jean-Pierre Loriot and Gilbert Noury for the initial version of this article