Origin and History
The regiment was raised on March 1 1674.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine in 1735.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially took part in the invasion of Bohemia in 1742. In 1743, it was back to Thionville. From 1744 to 1748, it took part in the campaigns in Flanders.
In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Saint-Maixent; in 1750, at Lille; and in 1751, at Guincamp;
In 1756, the regiment counted 2 squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- since January 1 1749: Prince d'Henrichemont
- from 1759 to April 16 1767: Marquis d'Escouloubre
When the French cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was amalgamated with Poly Saint-Thiébault Cavalerie to form the new Royal-Normandie Cavalerie. Effective incorporation took place only on March 31 1763.
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, 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 among the Royal-Pologne Brigade in the second line of cavalry of the left wing. It was ordered to support the Grenadiers de France who had advanced into the village of Hastenbeck. After the victory, the regiment encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Hagen in Westphalia, in the fourth line of the French army.
In June 1759, during the offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades. It was deployed in the second line of the cavalry right wing. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the cavalry centre under the command of du Mesnil.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the fourth line of the French army between the Rhine and the Main on the left bank of the Rhine. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Odernheim am Glan, in the fourth line of the French army. By May 23 1760, it was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On October 4, M. de Maupéou's Corps (including this regiment) left for the Lower Rhine. On October 13, the unit arrived at Neuss with Castries. On October 17, after having been left behind during Castries' advance from Neuss to Clostercamp, the regiment finally made a junction with Castrie's main corps.
To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|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|
|Neck stock||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
|Waistcoat||buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons|
|Greatcoat||grey white lined red|
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 braid (woollen braid consisting of 2 rows of red and white squares)
- grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid
- 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
- yellow buttons
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- white turnbacks
- red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a red braid
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- gold lace on the tricorne
- 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
no information available yet
Colours (in 1753)
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): red field, embroidered and fringed in gold
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
- reverse: centre device depicting the Blessed Virgin with the motto “Aide Dieu, au second Chrétien Levy”
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. 340
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
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.