Joseph Esterházy Infantry

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Origin and History

Private of Joseph Esterházy Infantry in 1762 - Source: Brauer-Bogen

The regiment was raised in Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia). Colonel Thomas Szirmay received the necessary warrant on October 21 1741. By mid-1742, three battalions had already been enlisted. They assembled at Leutschau (present-day Levoča/SK) and Eperies (present-day Prešov/SK). One battalion and the staff were then stationed in Brünn (present-day Brno/CZ), and two in Olmütz (present-day Olomouc/CZ).

In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment had barely been trained a few weeks in Olmütz and Brünn before it had to leave Moravia on July 18, and join FML Festetić’s Corps to take part in the relief of Prague. On August 22, it distinguished itself in the attack against French troops occupying the outskirts of Prague. On July 8 1743, Colonel Szirmay died in Amberg. On May 12 1744, Colonel Joseph Count Esterházy was appointed colonel of the vacant regiment. The regiment was then sent to the Rhine and passed the river on July 1, along with Forgách Infantry. On July 31, the regiment took part in the storming of Saverne in France. On August 23, it was at the combat of Suffelheim. It then returned to Bohemia and garrisoned Ratibor in Silesia during the following winter. In 1745, the regiment took part in the campaign in Bohemia and Silesia. On May 26, 200 men led by Major Szentiványi took part in the storming of the Fortress of Cosel. From 1746 to 1748, the regiment took part in all campaigns in Italy. On June 16 1746, it fought in the Battle of Piacenza and later participated in a raid in Provence.

After the signature of a peace agreement, the regiment assumed garrison duty from January 1749. The staff and 11 companies were posted at Olmütz (present-day Olomouc/CZ), 3 companies at Ungarisch Gradisch (present-day Uherské Hradiště/CZ). Meanwhile, the 4th Battalion was posted at Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK). In August and September 1749, two battalions took part in the great manoeuvres at Bisentz (present-day Bzenec/CZ). The 3rd Field Battalion then garrisoned several places in Moravia until 1755.

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 men. This was the administrative organisation of the regiment. However, the tactical organisation differed: 2 field fusilier battalions, each of 6 companies; 2 grenadier companies (usually converged with grenadiers from other battalions into an ad hoc unit); and 1 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

During the Seven Years' War, the owners of the regiment were:

  • since 1744: Joseph Count Esterházy de Galantha
  • from October 15 1762 to 1783: Joseph Baron von Siskovics

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commander was:

  • from 1752: Colonel Szentiványi (killed in the Battle of Lobositz on October 1 1756)
  • from October 17 1756: Colonel Anton Count Karolyi
  • from September 14 1758: Colonel Joseph Gottlieb de Weiss
  • from May 29 1760 until 1768: Colonel Nicolaus von Lumaga

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 37".

Service during the War

On October 1 1756, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was deployed in the second line of the centre under General C. Kollowrat in the brigade of Major-General Krottendorf. Along with Jung-Wolfenbüttel Infantry and Hildburghausen Infantry, it defended the town of Lobositz and lost 36 men killed (including Colonel Szentiványi), 176 wounded and 80 missing.

On May 6 1757, two battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where they were deployed in Count Lacy's Brigade, in the first line of the left wing of infantry under Baron Kheul. On November 22, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Browne's Brigade, in the first line of the infantry centre under Baron Kheul. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, two battalions of the regiment were deployed in Angern's Brigade in the first line of the infantry left wing under Colloredo.

By August 2 1758, the regiment served in the second line of the Austrian Main Army under the command of Daun near Jarmeritz (present-day Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou). Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the invasion of Moravia. On October 10, two battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where they were deployed in the vanguard of the right column of Daun's main army directly south of Hochkirch. During the attack on the Prussian battery on their right wing, Lieutenant-Colonel Johann Karl von Öhrling and 18 men were killed, 10 officers and 93 men wounded, and 182 men went missing.

By mid August 1759, the regiment was part of Buccow's Corps posted in Lusatia. On September 2, it took part in the Combat of Sorau. On December 3 and 4, the regiment formed part of Beck's Corps who attacked an isolated Prussian force and captured part of it in the Combat of Meissen.

In early June 1760, the regiment was attached to the Austrian Army of Silesia under Field-Marshal Ernst Gideon Baron Loudon encamped near Frankenstein. It was deployed in the first line of the centre. On June 23, 2 battalions of the regiment fought in the Battle of Landeshut where they formed part of the third column under Major-General Ellrichshausen, from Gaisruck's Corps, who attacked the Buchberg. On August 15, 2 battalions of the regiment fought in the Battle of Liegnitz where it was deployed in the first line. In this battle, the regiment lost there 230 men killed and 80 wounded. On September 17, 2 battalions were present at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf.

On October 1 1761, one battalion of the regiment took part in the storming of Schweidnitz where it was attached to the fourth column under Lieutenant-Colonel Baron de Vins. In the fight, Major Stephan Szemere and 47 men were killed, and 108 officers and men wounded. Captain Johann Nepomuk Count Drašković (son of General Joseph Kazimir Count Drašković) was buried by the explosion of the powder magazine. His father had him transported to the army staff where one of the best surgeons took care of him. Afterwards, he recovered in the Drašković’s estates in Croatia.

In April 1763, after the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the regiment was reviewed in Brünn (present-day Brno/CZ) and spent the next years in various Moravian garrisons.

Uniform

For the moment we have very few information on the uniform in 1756, at the outbreak of the war. Most of our references describe the uniform in 1762. However, the few details given by Wrede, Muhsfeldt, Schirmer and the portraits of the Collection of Trakoščan Castle suggest a uniform almost identical to the uniform of 1762 but with white laced buttonholes

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Frédéric Aubert from a template made by Richard Couture.
Uniform Details in 1762
as per Raspe, Knötel, Donath and the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener and a small yellow button on the left side; red within gold cockade; one red within gold tassel in each lateral corne
Grenadier bearskin with a red bag laced yellow with a yellow tassel
Neckstock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined red with 6 red laced buttonholes with red tassels arranged 1-2-3, on each side; 6 yellow buttons on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder Straps white edged red fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets without buttons
Cuffs red pointed cuffs without buttons
Turnbacks red, each fastened with a white tab edged red and a small yellow button
Waistcoat red dolman edged dark green with 3 rows of small yellow buttons linked with dark green cords
Trousers red Hungarian trousers decorated with a dark green lace
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt red and dark green barrel sash
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Footgear short black boots


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers), a bayonet and a sabre.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762 depicts a tricorne without tassels and with a red within white pompom; a white and red barrel sash.

Donath and Schirmer describe a red shoulder strap, and a white and dark green barrel sash. Furthermore, Donath illustrates a “v” shaped lace on the trousers.

NCOs

Sergeants and corporals carried a short musket and a bayonet.

Officers

Portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinand von Ujházy circa 1750 – Source: Collection of Trakoščan Castle (Croatia), picture made available by Mr. I. Mravlinčić - Copyright Trakoščan Castle

On this portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinand von Ujházy, we can clearly see that, by 1750:

  • the coat had a red collar
  • the cuffs were not in the Hungarian pattern
  • all laces and tassels were of golden embroideries

As per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, the senior officers wore a uniform similar to those of privates with the following differences:

  • tricorne laced gold with a white and green cockade
  • black neck stock
  • no laced buttonholes on the coat, just plain yellow buttons on the right side and golden trimmed buttonholes on the left side
  • no brandebourg on the dolman which was simply edged gold
  • no turnback
  • vertical pockets with 3 yellow buttons
  • white waistbelt
  • red trousers decorated with a golden lace
  • yellow cavalry boots

Senior officers also carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob


Portrait of an unidentified grenadier officer of the "Prima Plana" circa 1750 – Source: Collection of Trakoščan Castle (Croatia), picture made available by Mr. I. Mravlinčić - Copyright Trakoščan Castle

On this portrait of a grenadier officer we can clearly see that, by 1750:

  • the grenadier bearskin had a red bag embroidered in gold with a golden tassel; with a brass plate carrying the arms of the House Esterházy
  • the cuffs were not in the Hungarian pattern
  • there were white laced buttonholes with white tassels
  • red waistcoat with gilt buttons and golden cords
  • a gold and black barrel sash


Musicians

Portrait of Drum Major Gabriel Rothanides prior to the regulation of 1755 – Source: Collection of Trakoščan Castle (Croatia), picture made available by Mr. J. Mravlinčić - Copyright Trakoščan Castle

The accompanying portrait depicts Drum Major Gabriel Rothanides of the regiment circa 1750, prior to the new regulation issued in 1755.

Drummers played a rather important role in the regiment. They were responsible for the regimental chapel and trainees set the pace during tattoos and on other occasions. During war, drummers were also used as parliamentary when negotiating with the enemy.

As per a regulation of 1755, musicians were now distinguished from troopers only by red swallow nests on the shoulders.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.

Colours

All Hungarian infantry regiments were supposed to carry the same colours as the German infantry regiments: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The colours were made of silk. The flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
Leibfahne – Source: PMPdeL

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: PMPdeL

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Finke, E.: Geschichte des k.u.k ungarischen Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 37 Erzherzog Joseph, Vienna 1896
  • Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 38-39

Other sources

Anon.: Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg: Raspischen Buchhandlung. 1762

Dihm, Dr. Hermann: Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Hausmann, Friedrich: Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Muhsfeldt, Th.: Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

Pengel, R. D. and G.R. Hurt: Austro-Hungarian Infantry 1740-1762; On Military Matters; Birmingham, 1982

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Seidel, Paul: Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Thümmler, L.-H.: Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

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

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Finke's work and for additional info on uniforms of officers, NCOs and musicians

The curator of the Trakoščan Castle for his kind authorisation to publish a few portraits of their collection

Michael Zahn for gathering most of the information on uniforms of this regiment