Mailly Infanterie

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Origin and History

This gentleman regiment was raised in Lorraine in 1589 by the Comte de Vaubecourt and joined the army of Henry IV in France. On May 6 1598, this regiment was disbanded and its companies returned to Lorraine. The same year, they followed the Comte de Vaubecourt to Hungary where they distinguished themselves against the Turks at the capture of Raab. In 1606, Vaubecourt and his regiment entered once more in the French service and assumed garrison duty in Sédan. On April 24 1610, when France was arming against the House of Austria, the regiment was finally admitted into the ranks of the French Royal Army. The same year, to the exception of its colonel company, it was disbanded.

On 31 August 1616, the regiment was re-raised and, from that date, has always been part of the Royal Army. By 1619, it was quartered in Verdun and ceded 400 men to replenish the ranks of Picardie Infanterie. In 1622, then counting only 200 men, the regiment defended Mouzon.

In 1624, the regiment marched from its quarters in Champagne, passed through Switzerland and joined Normandie Infanterie in its expeditions, taking part in the passage of the Steig, in the attacks of a bridge on the Rhine, of Pio-Domo, Platemale, Puschiavo, Tirano, Sondrio, Morbegno, Traone, Dubino, in the sieges of Chiapino and Bormio, in the combat of Campo and in the siege of Chiavenna. In 1625, the regiment took part in the recapture of the entrenchments of Cercino and Traone. It then returned to France. In 1626, it replenished its ranks. In 1627, it was sent to the siege of La Rochelle.

In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment campaigned in the Alps, distinguishing itself at the attack of Pas-de-Suze and in the assault of the Spanish entrenchments in front of Casale. It then returned to the Rhône Valley and took part in the capture of Alais and Privas. In 1630, it took part in the combat of Veillane, in the capture of Saluzzo and in the attack of the bridge of Carignan. Two of its companies heroically defended the Fort of Briqueras. In 1631, the regiment returned to France where its 12 companies garrisoned Toulon.

In 1632, the regiment occupied the mountains above Privas, which had become the heart of the rebellion. One of its detachment captured the Comte de Lestranges, one of the main leaders of the rebels. The regiment was present at the Battle of Castelnaudary. In 1633, the regiment, who had taken its winter-quarters in Bresse, took part in the conquest of Lorraine and was at the capture of Haguenau, Saverne, Lunéville and Nancy. In 1634, it took part in the sieges of Bitche and La Mothe, in the reliefs of Philisbourg and Heidelberg.

In 1635, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the engagement of Fresche, in the assault of Spires, in the capture of Vaudémont and of the Castle of Moyen, and in the retreat of the army from Mainz to Metz. In 1636, it went to Picardie where it contributed in the recapture of Corbie before taking its winter-quarters in Langres. In 1637, it took part in the siege and capture of Landrecies. The regiment remained in this place, rebuilding the fortifications, till 1642. In that year, it was attached to the Army of Picardie before being transferred to Roussillon. In 1643, the regiment was sent to the Army of Italy and took part in the siege of Trino; in 1644, in the sieges of Finale and Asti. The regiment returned to France at the end of this campaign and took its quarters on Angoulême. In July 1644, it returned to Italy and took part in the capture of Ponzone, in the siege of the Citadel of Asti. In February 1645, it was transferred from Piedmont to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Roses, in the battle of Llorens and in the capture of Balaguer; in 1646, in the siege of Lérida. In 1647, the regiment was transferred to Turenne's Army in Germany where it took part in the capture of Oberlinghen, Tubingen and Bicklingen, in the assault on Montmédy. In 1648, the regiment was subdivided in two detachments: 15 coys remained in Flanders while 15 coys served under Turenne in Germany where they took part in the combat of Zusmarhausen, in the capture of the Castle of Heidenheim and in the assault on the Castle of Wasserbourg. In 1649, when Turenne rebelled against the king, two third of the 15 coys rejoined the coys stationed in Flanders where they took part in the passage of the Scheldt. By 1653, the regiment was posted at Vitry but was sent to Verdun before taking part in the siege of Rhétel. In 1654, it took part in the siege of Stenay; in 1655, in the siege of Landrecies and Condé; in 1656 in the siege Valenciennes; in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy and Mardyk, and in the capture of Bourbourg; in 1658, in the siege of Dunkerque, in the Battle of the Dunes and in the sieges of Ypres and Gravelines.

In 1664, the regiment was part of the contingent sent by Louis XIV to the assistance of the emperor, threatened by the Turks. It took part in the Battle of St. Gotthard. By 1665, the regiment had returned in Germany and took part in the siege of Erfurt. On its return to France, the regiment garrisoned Ardres and was reduced to 4 companies, the other companies being incorporated into Champagne Infanterie.

In June 1669, the remaining 4 companies embarked at Toulon to relieve Candie (present-day Heraklion), besieged by the Turks. The expedition failed and the regiment was back in France by August. In 1671, the regiment was increased to 16 companies.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Maseyk, Genappe and Grave; in 1673, in the siege of Maastricht before assuming garrison duty in Trier. In 1674, it joined the Army of Germany and fought under the command of Turenne at Seintzheim, Ensheim and Mulhausen. In 1675, it played a decisive role at the Battle of Turckheim and took part in the siege of Dachstein, in the combat of Altenheim and in the relief of Haguenau and Saverne. At the end of the year, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders where it took part in the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire. In 1677, it returned to the Rhine where it took part in the combat of Kokersberg and in the siege of Fribourg. In 1678, it initially campaigned in Flanders where it was at the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, before returning to Germany where it took part in the combat of Langendentzlingen, in the combat of Seckingen, in the sieges of Kehl and of the Castle of Lichtemberg. In 17679, it fought in the combat of Minden.

The regiment then spent a few years in Lorraine. In 1684, it was at the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment left Lille and advanced on Philisbourg. In 1689, it took part in the combat of Walcourt, in the capture of Mannheim and Frankenthal and in the defence of Mainz; in 1690, in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons, in the bombardment of Liège. In 1692, the regiment joined the army assembling in Normandie for the aborted expedition in Ireland. The regiment was then sent to Dauphiné and then in Piedmont where it joined Catinat's Army. In 1693, the regiment took part in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, it was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the Battle of the Ter, and in the sieges of Palamos, Girone, Ostalrich and Castelfollit; in 1695, in the defence of Palamos. By 1696, the regiment was back in Piedmont where it took part in the siege of Valencia. In 1697, it campaigned on the Moselle.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), the regiment was sent to Landau. In 1702, it took part in the defence of Landau which surrendered with the honours of war after a siege of five months. In 1703, the regiment, who had been promptly re-established, took part in siege of Kehl, in the passage of the gorges of Hornberg, in the Combat of Munderkirchen, in the Battle of Höchstädt and in the capture of Ulm and Augsburg. In 1704, it fought in the Battle of the Schellenberg but was forced to take refuge in Donauwörth. Unable to take the field, the regiment was then thrown into Augsburg. After the disastrous defeat of the Franco-Bavarian army at the Battle of Blenheim, the regiment joined the remnants of the army and repassed the Rhine, taking position at Huningue. In 1705, it remained at Huningue. In 1706, it was sent to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Barcelona. In 1707, it fought in the Battle of Almansa and took part in the siege and capture of Lérida, and in the capture of Morella. In 1708, the regiment took part in the siege of Tortosa, in the capture of Dénia, Pons and Aulot, and in the passage of the bridge of Montanana. In 1709, it took part in the capture of the Castle of Alicante. In 1710, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it took part in the brilliant defence of Aire where it lost half its effective strength. In 1711, it guarded Saint-Omer before being transferred to Alsace. In 1712, it returned to Flanders at about the time of the Battle of Denain, taking part in the sieges of Douai, du Quesnoy and Bouchain. In 1713, it was sent to Alsace where it took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

By the time of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship).

N.B.: Christian Rogge gives four battalions for this regiment.

When the army was reorganised in 1762, the regiment took the name of the Province of Guyenne. However, the Chevalier de Chatellux retained his command till 1771.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 11th and was commanded by:

  • since December 1 1745: Louis Marquis de Mailly
  • from January 15 1758: César Marie Marquis de Talaru
  • from November 5 1761 to April 17 1771: Chevalier de Chatellux

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment left Cambrai to join the army of Maréchal d'Estrées (Lower Rhine Army). At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées' main corps. On July 26, the regiment was at the battle of Hastenbeck where it was part of the center under Contades. It lost more than 150 men during this battle. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the Lower Rhine Army from July 31 to August 2. In October, the regiment was transferred to the army of Saxony. On November 5, under the Comte de Lorges, it took part to the battle of Rossbach where it was placed in the second line of the centre. Once more, it suffered heavy losses during this battle. After this defeat, it retreated on Hanover. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters at Paderborn, Bielefeld and Rehda; in the fourth line of the French Army.

In January 1758, the regiment retreated again, first on Hildesheim, then on Wesel in March. From Wesel, it returned to France where it was assigned to the protection of the coasts of Bretagne and cantonned in Brest.

In 1759, To Do... (Notes: repulsed British landing in the Bay of Cancale. Detached 200 men to the fleet.)

In 1760, To Do... (Notes: no event identified yet...)

In 1761, To Do... (Notes: winter-quarters in Saint-Omer, joined army of the Lower-Rhine at Wesel. Took part to the actions at Luynen, Vellinghausen. After this battle, it was sent to reinforce the army of the Maréchal de Broglie. In September, it occupied the Sabbaborg forest to cover the right flank of the army. It was vigourously attacked in this forest but managed to retire without major losses. In November 1761, it was renamed Chatellux.

In 1762, the regiment did not take an important part in the campaign.

In March 1763, the regiment returned to France.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf from an illustration of Lucien Mouillard
Uniform Details as per
Etat général des troupes Françoises 1753, Etrennes militaires 1758
and Etats militaires 1761
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers

Neckstock black
Coat grey-white
Collar grey-white (none before 1759)
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets (3 copper buttons on each pocket)
Cuffs grey-white with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Officers

n/a

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment wore the livery of the colonel: Mailly from 1745 to 1758, Talaru from 1758 to 1761 and Chatellux from 1761 to 1762.

Colors

The colonel flag was white and the ordonnance flags had a white cross with quarters alternatively red and violet.

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

References

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 4, pp. 50-70

Other sources

Chesnaye des Bois (de la), Aubert: Etrennes militaires, Paris, 1756, 1758, 1759

Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared)

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

Vial J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar