La Viefville Saint-Chamond Infanterie
Origin and History
The regiment was raised in Lorraine, according to a decree issued on October 26, 1629, by the Marquis Louis de Nettancourt, formerly captain in Vaubécourt Infanterie, at the moment when Louis XIII was arming against the Duke of Savoy.
The regiment received its baptism of fire in 1631 during the siege of the Citadel of Verdun. In 1633, it took part in the siege of Nancy; in 1634, in the capture of Bitche, La Mothe, Saverne and Haguenau, in the occupation of Mannheim and in the relief of Heidelberg. At that time, it counted 14 companies.
In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the combat of Fresche in Alsace, in the reduction of Spires and Vaudémont, and in the pursuit of Gallas' Corps in Champagne; in 1636, in the relief of Colmar and Haguenau, and in the siege of Saverne. In 1637, the regiment was transferred from the Rhine to Flanders where it contributed to the capture of Landrecies, Maubeuge and La Capelle, and to the defence of Maubeuge. In 1638, it took part in the siege of Saint-Omer. At the end of the year, the regiment returned to Lorraine and was at the capture of Blamont and Lunéville and at the siege of Alt-Breisach. After the capture of Alt-Breisach, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Kreuznach.
From 1639 to 1648, the regiment campaigned in Germany where it also recruited. Consequently, it became exclusively composed of German soldiers. It was thus treated as a foreign regiment, a situation that would persist until 1687.
In 1639, the regiment provided a detachment for the relief of Bingen. In January 1640, the entire regiment took part in the passage of the Rhine; in 1642, in the victory of Kampen and in the storming of Leicknich; in 1643, in the siege and capture of Rothweil and in the defeat of Dutlingen; in 1644, in the Battle of Freiburg, in the conquest of Philisbourg, Worms, Mainz, Landau, Mannheim and Neustadt, in the relief of Spires and Baccarat, and in the capture of the Castle of Kreuznach; in 1645, in the storming of Germesheim, in the capture of Stuttgart, in the defeat of Marienthal, in the capture of Rothemburg and in the Battle of Nördlingen. In 1646, the regiment saw no action. In 1647, it took part in the siege of Tübingen, and in the capture of Aschaffenburg and Darmstadt. In 1648, the regiment counted only 250 men at the opening of the campaign.
In 1649, soon after the beginning of the Fronde (1648-1653), the regiment returned to France but was soon recalled on the Rhine where it was at the capture of Condé. In 1650, it took part in the Battle of Rhétel. In 1651, it was transferred to the northern provinces. In 1652, it took part in the siege of Étampes and in the Battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine; and in 1653, in the sieges of Vervins, Rhétel, Mouzon and Sainte-Ménehould.
In 1654, during the Franco-Spanish War, the regiment took part in the siege of Stenay, in the attack of Arras and in the siege of Clermont-en-Argonne; in 1655, in the siege of Landrecies, and in the capture of Condé and Saint-Ghislain; in 1656, in the siege of Valenciennes; and in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy and Gravelines, and in the capture of Oudenarde where it assumed garrison duty until 1660.
In 1660, the regiment was sent to Champagne where it mutinied when its soldiers heard that it would be disbanded. Finally, the regiment was maintained on a reduced foot of 4 companies of 100 men each.
In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment was increased to 11 companies by the incorporation of 7 German companies which had been retained to garrison various places. During the campaign of Flanders, it remained at a camp near Rocroi to secure the frontier.
In 1669, the colonel left with all his 7 German companies to relieve Candia (present-day Heraklion) on Crete Island, besieged by the Turks. The colonel was killed during a sortie and his troops totally annihilated.
In 1670, due to these losses, the regiment counted only 4 companies. The same year, an ordonnance attributed the 23rd rank to the regiment. In 1671, the regiment was increased to 16 companies.
In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was sent to the Low Countries. In 1673, it gained seniority and climbed to the 22nd rank. The same year, it campaigned once more in the Low Countries. In 1674, 12 companies of the regiment defended Grave where they greatly distinguished themselves. After the capitulation of Grave, these companies were sent to Charleroi to assume garrison duty. In 1675, they took part in the capture of Thuin-sur-Sambre while the rest of the regiment fought in the combats of Turkheim and Altenheim. In 1676, the entire regiment took part in the capture of Condé, Bouchain and Aire; in 1677, in the siege of Freiburg; and in 1678, in the attack of the bridge of Seckingen, in the reduction of Kehl, and in an affair near Strasbourg. The same year, after the departure of Douglas Infanterie, the regiment received the 20th rank which it would keep until 1775.
In 1679, the regiment campaigned on the frontier of Alsace and fought in the Battle of Minden.
In 1684, the regiment was attached to the Army of Roussillon and took part in the combat of Ter and in the siege and storming of Girona, suffering heavy losses. It was then sent to Roussillon to re-established itself. The regiment then served as garrison in Perpignan until 1686 when it was sent to Piedmont.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was garrisoning Casale. In 1689, it was ordered to return to Roussillon where it joined the army of the Duc de Noailles and took part in the siege of Campredon. In 1690, it was transferred to Flanders and fought in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, it took part in the siege of Mons and in the combat of Leuze. In 1692, the regiment received a second battalion which had just been raised in Montreuil from detachments contributed by the infantry regiments Feuquières, Brie, Dauphiné and Bassigny. The two battalions assembled at Menin and participated in the siege of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi. In 1693, the regiment took part in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi; and in 1695, in the bombardment of Bruxelles. In 1696, the regiment was transferred to Italy where it took part in the siege of Valencia. In 1697, it returned to Flanders and participated in the siege of Ath.
In 1698, the regiment was part of the camp of Compiègne and then assumed garrison duty in Calais.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was sent to the Spanish Netherlands where it occupied Aarschot. In 1702, most of the regiment, under its new colonel, the Marquis de Charost, assumed garrison duty in the Citadel of Liège. Meanwhile, a few companies were thrown into Kayserswerth which they bravely defended. The two battalions were reunited for the unsuccessful defence of Liège. The remnants of the regiment surrendered as prisoners of war. In 1703, it was exchanged. In 1704, the regiment initially campaigned in Flanders before being transferred to the Rhine. In 1705 and 1706, it remained on the Rhine, taking part in the siege of Haguenau, in the relief of Fort-Louis, and in the capture of Drusenheim, Lauterbourg and Marquisat Island. In 1707, the regiment participated in an expedition in Swabia and Franconia, contributing to the capture of Schorndorf. At the end of the year, it was transferred to Flanders. In 1708, it took part in the Battle of Oudenarde and in an expedition in the Cadzand Island; and in 1709, in the capture of Warneton, and in the Battle of Malplaquet where its colonel was killed in action. In 1710, it took part in the unsuccessful defence of Douai. In 1711, the regiment was sent on the Rhine where it remained on the defensive for two years. In 1713, it took part in the siege and capture of Landau and in the storming of General Vaubonne's entrenched camp established in the mountains above Freiburg.
During the War of the Polish Succession (1733-–35), the regiment initially served on the Rhine and then in Germany from 1734 to 1736. It was then transferred to Languedoc in 1737.
During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), the regiment was initially stationed at Besançon in 1741. In 1742, it was transferred to Strasbourg and served in Alsace in 1743. In 1744, it was at Augenheim and Fribourg. In 1745, it served on the Rhine, then in Flanders in 1746.
The regiment counted two battalions.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 21st and was under the command of:
- from February 1, 1749: Charles Louis Auguste de La Vieuville, Marquis de Saint-Chamond
- from May 11, 1762 to January 3, 1770: Eugène Octave Augustin, Comte de Rosen
On December 10, 1762, the regiment took the name of the Province of Dauphiné. In fact, it was the reinstatement of a regiment which had previously existed from 1684 to 1749.
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was supposed to take part in the expedition against Minorca. However, it was still on its way to Toulon when the fleet finally put to see before its arrival. For this reason, the regiment did not take part in the expedition. At the end of April, Richelieu sent orders instructing the regiment to defend the coasts of Provence against any potential British raid.
In April 1757, the regiment was sent to Nantes. It was still on its way when, on May 13 in Angoulême, it was instructed to rather march to Strasbourg to join the Army of Saxony commanded by Soubise. Somewhere between August 23 and September 6, it joined the assembling army in the area of Erfurt and Eisenach. On September 27, it was brigaded with Cossé Brissac Infanterie and Castellas Infanterie under Prince Camille in the second line of the left wing of the Franco-Imperial Army. The grenadiers of the regiment distinguished themselves at Weissensels where they destroyed a bridge in front of the Prussians. On November 5, the regiment was at the Battle of Rossbach, where it formed a brigade along with Cossé Brissac Infanterie under M. de Custine. Their brigade supported the left wing of Piémont Infanterie in the first line. The regiment lost 400 men and its colonel was wounded. The regiment was then sent back to France. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in Düsseldorf, in the fourth line of the French Army.
On April 18, 1758, the regiment was at Lille where it received new recruits to replenish its ranks. It was then sent to Normandie for the protection of the coasts after the Combat of Saint-Cast.
On March 11, 1759, the regiment was sent to Alençon, then to Belle-Isle where it remained until October 1760.
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Officers were distinguished by their collar and cuffs made of crimson velvet.
Drummers wore the unknown livery of the colonel-owner: the marquis de Saint Chamond. Later, they wore the livery of the House of Rosen (yellow field).
The colonel flag was white with a white cross. The ordonnance flags had a white cross with four green quarters, each charged with a white diamond shape.
This article incorporates texts from the following books, which are now in the public domain:
- Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 5, pp. 1-19
- Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891
Evrard P.: Praetiriti Fides
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a very interesting website which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the Net)
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Vial, J. L. Nec Pluribus Impar