La Marche Infanterie
Origin and History
The regiment was created on September 15 1684 and wore the name of the Province of La Marche. Indeed, expecting a coalition to soon form against France, Louis XIV had raised 30 new regiments from September 1 to 30 for the defence of the various places of the realm. By raising one regiment a day, he avoided any problem of precedence among these new regiments.
N.B.: this regiment must not be confused with Comte de La Marche Infanterie also known as La Marche-Prince (from 1761).
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment took part in the relief of Danzig in 1734 and was made prisoner by the Russian Army.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Bavaria and on the Lower Rhine in 1742 and 1743. On June 27 1744, it took part in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1746, it was stationed on the Meuse, then it took part in the siege of Namur and fought at Raucoux on October 11.
The regiment counted only one battalion.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 84th and was under the command of:
- since March 3 1747: Vimeur, Marquis de Rochambeau
- March 31 1759: Chevalier de Chastellux
- from November 5 1761 to November 25 1762: du Quigo, Marquis de Grenolle
When the French army was reorganised at the end of 1762, the regiment was disbanded on November 25.
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment took part in the amphibious expedition against Minorca and in the siege and capture of the British fortress of St-Philip of Mahon.
By August 1 1757, the regiment had been transferred to Germany. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army at Langingen on the Aller River.
In February 1758, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was in the first line of 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 second line at Tits. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Army on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp until June 12 and was placed in the centre of the second line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the second line under Saint-Germain. This corps tried to stop the Allied outflanking manoeuvre and bore the brunt of the fighting, preventing for almost 3 hours the crossing of the ditch and repulsing three successive Allied attacks. After sustaining heavy casualties, it finally retired from the wood. On June 28, the regiment was part of a small detachment, under the command of M. de Boccard, occupying Roermond. Boccard surrendered the town to the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, obtaining the honours of war and retiring to Liège. 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 Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the second line.
In June 1759, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army, under the command of the Marquis de Contades and was deployed in the first line, on the right wing of the infantry centre. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under the command of the Chevalier de Nicolaï.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the first line of the French Army. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Neuwied, in the first line of the French army. By May 23, the regiment was part of the first line of the infantry centre of Broglie's Army. On October 16, the regiment arrived in Düsseldorf to reinforce Castries' Corps. It later returned to France.
From 1761 to 1762, the regiment was stationed in France to defend the coasts against British incursions.
The following description has been verified against Taccoli's book published in 1760.
|Coat||grey-white lined grey-white with copper buttons down to the waist on the right side
|Waistcoat||red with small copper buttons; horizontal pockets, each with 5 small copper buttons|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.
Ordonnance Colour: white cross; each canton consisted of yellow, blue, red and feuille-morte (reddish brown) crossed bands. These colours remained unchanged from 1684 to 1762.
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who 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
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service Historique de l'armée de terre - Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757,
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.