Milices provinciales

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Origin and History

On November 29 1688, a few months after the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-1697), Louis XIV issued a decree to raise a force of 25,050 unmarried men between 20 and 40 years old, distributed in 30 regiments of milices provinciales (provincial militias), excluding frontier provinces and many important cities. Each parish had to contribute a number of men proportional to the amount of its taxes. Each militiaman was chosen by vote among the inhabitants of the parish and had to serve for two years. Officers were proposed by the governor of the province, or, if on leave, by the lieutenant-general, or by the intendant. Each nomination of officer had to be confirmed by the king. The militiamen of neighbouring parishes were grouped into a fusilier company of 50 men (initially, there were no grenadier company).

Among the 30 militia regiments created by the decree of 1688, 1 counted 10 companies, 15 had 15 companies, 7 had 18, 7 others had 20. These militias served throughout the conflict, mainly garrisoning places and guarding the coasts. They also served in the secondary theatres of operation like Catalonia and the Alps. They usually returned to their province of origin for winter and left for campaigning in spring.

Militiamen had no uniform. They were armed with a musket and a sword supplied or paid for by their parish. They received a pay from their parish but, once assembled in regiments for campaigns, they were paid by the king.

As soon as February 26 1690, recruitment was extended to married men. The decree of December 23 1691 changed the mode of recruitment of militiamen who were then chosen by drawing of lots rather than by voting, a system which persisted till the French Revolution and which saw many cheatings. During the Nine Years' War terms of service were not respected and many militiamen had to serve longer terms.

By the end of 1692, there were 31 provincial militia regiments totalling 25,600 men in 512 companies. A decree dated December 12 of the same year increased the size of each company from 50 to 60 men.

Gradually, provincial militias were also raised in frontier provinces, initially excluded, such as Lorraine, Luxembourg, Flandre, Barrois, Alsace and Artois.

In 1697, after the Peace of Ryswick, all militia regiments were disbanded. However, when the War of the Spanish Succession broke out, 33,345 militiamen aged between 22 and 40, were called under arms. During this war the pay and supplies of the militiamen were assumed by the king. Militia companies were now organised in 57 battalions of 13 companies of 45 men each, as for the regular line infantry battalions. Each of these 57 militia battalions were then adjoined to a regular battalion, adopting the name of the regular regiment. Thus unexperienced and untrained militiamen plaid an important role in the campaigns and battles of this war.

In 1702, the term of service was increased from 2 to 3 years. However, as during the previous conflict, these terms were not respected. From 1703, men from 18 to 40 years old were eligible to be designated by drawing for service in the provincial militias. However, there were so many exemptions that it was mainly the lower class which was targeted by these forced enrollments. From 1708, each parish could choose to supply men of to pay for their enrollment. Militias were disbanded after the war, in 1714.

In January 1719, when war with Spain was declared, 23,400 men (between 20 and 40 years old) were raised for the 39 battalions of provincial militias (each of 10 companies of 60 men). Supply and armament were assumed by the king, clothing and equipment by the parishes. The generalities of Auch and Béarn as well as some parishes of Languedoc were exempted from this levy. Contrarily to the preceding conflict, militias played a limited role, mostly garrisoning places.

On February 25 1726, Louis XV issued a decree to raise 60,000 men for the provincial militias among the male population aged between 16 and 40 measuring at least 5 feet (1,63 m) of the common for a service of 4 years. For the first time, the militias were raised in peacetime and had a permanent nature, they counted 100 battalions (each of 6 companies of 100 men). From 1729, several cities were expressly required to participate to the constitution of the provincial militias. Venality did not exist in the militia and a captain could not sell his company. In peacetime, each provincial militia battalion had to assemble once a year, usually in May, for a period of 5 to 15 days.

During the War of the Polish Succession, duration of service was extended to 5 years in 1733 and to 6 years in 1736. The number of militia battalions was increased to 122 (each of 12 companies of 50 privates). Some of these battalions were grouped in regiments (40 regiments counting 2 battalions and 13 regiment with a single battalion) while 29 battalions remained independent. These regiments were designated by the name of their colonel affixed to the name of the generality, for example: Régiment d'Ombreval, milice de Paris. In 1734, grenadier companies were created within Milice Provinciales regiments but they were almost immediately disbanded in 1735.

From 1736, the battalions were simply named according to their mustering place.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, 100 militia battalions (600 men each) were called under arms. The decree of October 30 1742 stipulated that all French cities without exception had to raise provincial militias. Another decree, on July 10 1743, even recommended to raise militia in cities preferably to the countryside. However, several exemptions allowing town to supply volunteers instead of men chosen by drawing were issued. During this war, the total effective strength of the provincial militias reached 90,000 men. During the first part of the war, the provincial militia battalions were mainly used to guard the places on the French frontier and to supply the army with new recruits. During the second part of the war, the provincial militia battalions were also used to garrison conquered places in Belgium and the Netherlands while several battalions campaigned with the field army. A decree, dated September 15 1744, re-established a grenadier company of 50 men within each French militia battalion. On April 10 1745, another decree ordered to detach all militia grenadier companies from their parent battalion and to group them in 7 regiments of Grenadiers Royaux. Another decree, on January 28 1746, created a company of grenadiers postiches in each provincial militia battalion, this company was destined to provide recruits for the Grenadiers Royaux. However, soon afterwards, the grenadiers postiches were adjoined as a second battalion to the existing regiments of Grenadiers Royaux.

After the war, duration of service was reduced to 5 years while the total effective strength was also reduced to 53,500 men.

Provincial militia battalions received the name of the main towns of their province of origin.

N.B.: for this war the grenadiers postiches were once more detached from their parent battalion and adjoined as a second battalion to the 11 existing regiments of Grenadiers Royaux. Therefore a battalion of provincial militia,,excluding grenadiers, consisted of:

  • 8 fusilier companies, each of
    • 2 officers
    • 5 NCO
    • 1 drummer
    • 59 fusiliers

On the eve of the Seven Years’ War, the provincial militia counted 107 battalions:

  • Government of Flanders, including Artois and Hainaut (4 bns)
    • Lille (1 bn)
    • Valenciennes (1 bn)
    • Arras (2 bns)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Flanders was increased to 18 bns
  • Government of Champagne (7 bns)
    • Châlons-sur-Marne (1 bn)
    • Rethel (1 bn)
    • Saint-Dizier (1 bn)
    • Troyes (1 bn)
    • Chaumont (1 bn)
    • Provins (1 bn)
    • Joiginy (1 bn)
  • Government of Metz, Toul and Verdun (2 bns)
    • Metz (1 bn)
    • Verdun (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Metz, Toul and Verdun was increased to 6 bns
  • Government of Lorraine and Bar (6 bns)
    • Polignac (2 bns)
    • Montureux (2 bns)
    • Mirécourt (2 bns)
Note: on March 20, 1757, the Mirécourt militia were used to create two new line infantry regiments (Royal Lorraine Infanterie and Royal Barrois Infanterie)
Note: in September and October 1759, the provincial militia of Montureux and Polignac were disbanded to form four “campaign battalions” (see below) respectively Nancy and Sarreguemines; and Bar and Etain
  • Government of Alsace (2 bns)
    • Strasbourg (1 bn)
    • Colmar (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Alsace was increased to 9 bns
  • Government of Franche-Comté (5 bns)
    • Vesoul (1 bn)
    • Dôle (1 bn)
    • Salins (1 bn)
    • Ornans (1 bn)
    • Lons-le-Saulnier (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Franche-Comté was decreased to 3 bns
  • Government of Bourgogne (5 bns)
    • Dijon (1 bn)
    • Semur (1 bn)
    • Autun (1 bn)
    • Chalon-sur-Saône (1 bn)
    • Bourg (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Bourgogne was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of Dauphiné ((2 bns)
    • Valence (1 bn)
    • Romans (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Dauphiné was increased to 9 bns
  • Government of Provence
    • Aix (2 bns)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Provence was increased to 8 bns
  • Government of Languedoc (7 bns)
    • Castelnaudary (1 bn)
    • Albi (1 bn)
    • Privas (1 bn)
    • Carcassonne (1 bn)
    • Béziers (1 bn)
    • Montpellier (1 bn)
    • Anduze (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Languedoc was increased to 8 bns
Note: a regiment of militia dragoons was raised in 1758 under the name of “Septimanie”
  • Government of Roussillon (none)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Roussillon was increased to 1 bn
  • Government of Foix (none)
  • Government of Navarre and Béarn (none)
  • Government of Guyenne and Gascogne (13 bns)
    • Libourne (1 bn)
    • Marmande (1 bn)
    • Périgueux (1 bn)
    • Bergerac (1 bn)
    • Villeneuve (1 bn)
    • Agen (1 bn)
    • Cahors (1 bn)
    • Figeac (1 bn)
    • Rodez (1 bn)
    • Nérac (1 bn)
    • Saint-Sever (1 bn)
    • Saint-Gaudens (1 bn)
    • Auch (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Guyenne and Gascogne was decreased to 8 bns
  • Government of Saintonge and Angoumois (1 bn)
    • Saint-Jean-d’Angely (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Saintonge and Angoumois was increased to 2 bns
  • Government of Aunis (none)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Aunis was increased to 2 bns
  • Government of Poitou (3 bns)
    • Poitiers (1 bn)
    • Saint-Maixent (1 bn)
    • Fontenay (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Poitou was decreased to 2 bns
  • Government of Bretagne (7 bns)
    • Saint-Brieuc (1 bn)
    • Carhaix (1 bn)
    • Redon (1 bn)
    • Rennes (1 bn)
    • Vannes (1 bn)
    • Dinan (1 bn)
    • Nantes (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Bretagne was decreased to 5 bns
  • Government of Normandie (11 bns)
    • Caen (1 bn)
    • Saint-Lô (1 bn)
    • Vire (1 bn)
    • Neufchâtel (1 bn)
    • Falaise (1 bn)
    • Rouen (1 bn)
    • Pont-Audemer (1 bn)
    • Gisors (1 bn)
    • Vernon (1 bn)
    • Alençon (1 bn)
    • Argentan (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Normandie was decreased to 5 bns
  • Government of Picardie (3 bns)
    • Amiens (1 bn)
    • Péronne (1 bn)
    • Abbeville (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Picardie was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of Maine (3 bn)
    • Montagne (1 bn)
    • Le Mans (1 bn)
    • Mayenne (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Maine was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of the City of Paris (1 bn)
    • Paris (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the City of Paris was canceled
  • Government of Isle-de-France (7 bns)
    • Saint-Denis (1 bn)
    • Senlis (1 bn)
    • Corbeil (1 bn)
    • Mantes (1 bn)
    • Soissons (1 bn)
    • Laon (1 bn)
    • Noyan (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Isle-de-France was canceled
  • Government of Anjou (1 bn)
    • Angers (1 bn)
  • Government of Touraine (1 bn)
    • Tours (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Touraine was canceled
  • Government of Orléanais (4 bns)
    • Chartres (1 bn)
    • Montargis (1 bn)
    • Orléans (1 bn)
    • Blois (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Orléanais was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of Saumurois (1 bn)
    • Saumur (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Saumurois was canceled
  • Government of Berry (2 bns)
    • Bourges (1 bn)
    • Chateauroux (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Berry was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of Bourbonnais (2 bns)
    • Moulins (1 bn)
    • Montluçon (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Bourbonnais was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of La Marche (none)
  • Government of Limousin (2 bns)
    • Limoges (1 bn)
    • Angoulême (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Limousin was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of Auvergne (2 bns)
    • Clermont (1 bn)
    • Brioude (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Auvergne was decreased to 1 bn
  • Government of Lyonnais (2 bns)
    • Tarare (1 bn)
    • Montbrison (1 bn)
Note: in 1756 and 1757, the contribution of the Government of Lyonnais was decreased to 1 bn

In 1762, the grenadier companies forming the Grenadiers Royaux rejoined their parent militia battalion. After the campaign of 1762, the provincial militia battalions were disbanded and were not re-assembled before 1771 when the grenadier companies were once more assembled into distinct regiments of Grenadiers Royaux.

Service during the War

The men levied in 1756 to serve in the provincial militias were freed from service only in 1763 while those levied in 1757 and 1758 were retained till 1764. There were no additional levy after 1758. During the Seven Years' War, the total effective strength of the provincial militias reached 70,000 men organised in 105 battalions. The theoretical strength of a provincial militia battalion was of 500 men in 1756 and of 720 men at the end of the conflict.

At the beginning of 1756, several provincial militia battalions were sent in French places to assume garrison duties.

In 1757, the provincial militia battalions remained in France, guarding the places and serving as depot battalions for the regular infantry regiments. On May 25, some 60 provincial militia battalions from the northern and eastern governments each contributed 2 fusilier companies to form 12 “campaign battalions” (named after their commandants: Beauchêne, Hollier, Blossière, Grenolias, Bonnot, Caussin, Pierreville, Danie, l’Estrade, Pinceprez, Saint-Didier and Dumont), each counting 10 companies (each of 2 officers, 5 NCOs, 1 drummer and 59 men). These so-called “campaign battalions” were formed from picked troops chosen among these provincial militia battalions and assembled at Lille, Valenciennes, Thionville and Landau. They were mainly used to garrison the newly conquered places on the Lower-Rhine and in Westphalia. On October 1, 9 additional “campaign battalions” were raised from 41 provincial militia battalions from the coastal governments who each contributed 2 fusilier companies. On November 1, the strength of each company of provincial militia was increased to 85 men. By the end of 1757, the 12 initial “campaign battalions” were deployed as follows:

  • Neuss (1 bn)
  • Düsseldorf (1 bn)
  • Roermond (2 bns)
  • Kleve (1 bn)
  • Wesel (3 bns)
  • Lippstadt (2 bns)
  • Münster (2 bns)

Meanwhile, on October 1, 1757, some 41 provincial militia battalions from the coastal regions each contributed 2 companies to create 9 new “campaign battalions” (named after their commandants: Portal, La Carrière, Rions, Boissière, Banaston, des Granges, Merlet, Bagnaut and Grout) which were assembled at Haguenau, Strasbourg, Wissembourg and Landau. Each of these new battalions consisted of 9 to 10 companies (each of 2 officers, 5 NCOs, 1 drummer and 59 men).

At the end of February 1758, the 12 initial “campaign battalions” were ordered to deploy along the Lippe. They reached their assigned positions in March. During the same period, 3 additional “campaign battalions” were deployed in the County of Hanau while 4 other ones escorted convoys on the road to Wesel. In March, during the Allied winter offensive in West Germany, the French regular infantry regiments were so severely depleted that, on March 20, all 12 old “campaign battalions” serving in Germany and 6 of the new “campaign battalions” (Portal, La Carrière, Rions, Boissière, Banaston, des Granges) were disbanded and their soldiers incorporated into these undermanned regiments. On March 25, 15 additional “campaign battalions” (each of 16 officers, 528 men) were created with soldiers taken from the 105 provincial militia battalions in France. These 15 “campaign battalions” were:

  • Saint-Denis (1 bn)
  • Paris (1 bn)
  • Châlons (1 bn)
  • Vernon (1 bn)
  • Joigny (1 bn)
  • Saint-Lô (1 bn)
  • Redon (1 bn)
  • Amiens (1 bn)
  • Mantes (1 bn)
  • Lons-le-Saulnier (1 bn)
  • Neufchâtel (1 bn)
  • Laon (1 bn)
  • Ornans (1 bn)
  • Montureux (2 bns) became Nancy (1 bn) and Sarreguemines (1 bn) in 1759

Each of these new “campaign battalions” consisted of:

  • 8 fusilier companies, each of:
    • 2 officers528**5 NCOs
    • 1 drummer
    • 60 fusiliers

These 15 “campaign battalions” were sent to Germany to reinforce Clermont's army. Furthermore, on May 1, 1758, the 3 last “campaign battalions” (Merlet, Bagnaut and Grout) raised in October of the previous year were disbanded. Meanwhile, on May 25, all companies of the 105 provincial battalions were each increased to 90 men thus bringing the force of a single battalion to 16 officers and 720 men.

By July 1758, the 15 “campaign battalions” had reached their destination and had been deployed in the following places:

  • Cologne (3 bns)
  • Wesel (9 bns)
  • Geldern (1 bn)
  • on the Meuse (2 bns)

On August 5, 1758, 100 men of the “campaign battalions” garrisoning Wesel took part in the combat of Mehr. In August and September, some 5 to 6,000 French provincial militiamen, under the command of the Comte de Raimond, manned the defence of Cherbourg during the British raids on the French Coasts. On September 11, the Fontenay-le-Comte and Marmande militia battalions took part in the Combat of Saint-Cast.

During the winter of 1758-1759, the 15 “campaign battalions” serving in Germany garrisoned the following places:

  • Wesel (4 bns)
  • Düsseldorf (3 bns)
  • Roermond (2 bns)
  • Cologne (3 bns)
  • Geldern (3 bns)

In 1759, the 15 “campaign battalions” serving in Germany were reinforced to bring their average strength to 720 men. In May, 12 of them garrisoned places on the Lower Rhine and Meuse (Liège, Roermond, Kleve, Cologne, Neuss, Geldern, Düsseldorf) under the command of Contades while 3 others accompanied Broglie in Wetteravia and garrisoned Giessen, Hanau and Frankfurt.

During the winter of 1759 to 1760, 13 “campaign battalions” were on the Lower-Rhine (at Xanten, Wesel, Kaiserwerth, Urdingen, Krefeld, near Cologne, at Geldern and Roermond) and 2 others on the Upper-Rhine (at Offenbach, Worms and Oppenheim).

By the end of January 1760, the militia of Laon had taken its winter-quarters in the third line of the French Army along the Rhine and the Main from its mouth. By mid March, the militia de Laon was billeted in Babenhausen and Dieburg, in the third line of the French Army while the militia d'Ornans was billeted in Wuzenau (unidentified location). During the campaign of 1760, the Mantes militia battalion used to escort the French artillery during the campaign in Western Germany while the militia battalions of Paris, Nancy, Laon, Ornans and Sarreguemines also took part in this campaign. By May 23, the militia of Laon was part of Broglie's Army, it escorted the artillery.

On June 15, 1760 in France, two additional “campaign battalions” (Beccary and Grandry) were formed from troops contributed by 24 militia battalions. They served as depot battalions for recruits in Hanau and Strasbourg. Each of these two battalions consisted of:

  • 12 fusilier companies, each of:
    • 2 officers
    • 5 NCOs
    • 1 drummer
    • 84 fusiliers

Meanwhile, on August 3, 1760, 80 men of the “campaign battalions” garrisoning Wesel took part in the assault and capture of the Castle of Bentheim where they were left as sole garrison. On August 22, they were forced to capitulate. On October 3, the Nancy “campaign battalions” garrisoning Kleve surrendered. During that year, “campaign battalions” were gradually assigned to more active roles: escorting the artillery and guarding the headquarters. For example, in Broglie's Army, the Laon battalion was attached to the artillery while the Neuchâtel, Ornans and Saint-Denis battalions were assigned to the headquarters. Similarly, in Saint-Germain's Corps, the Mantes battalion was attached to the artillery while the Sarreguemines battalion was assigned to the headquarters. On July 31, the Mantes battalion was present at the Battle of Warburg. At the beginning of October, the Mantes battalion was part of the reinforcements sent to Castries on the Lower-Rhine. On October 4, the Nancy militia was taken prisoners at Kleve. On October 13, the Sarreguemines Militia arrived at Neuss with Castries. On October 16, this battalion reached Moers. The same day, the Mantes battalion was present at the Battle of Clostercamp. The Sarreguemines battalion was also part of Castries' Army but, on the day of the battle, it was guarding the train at Moers. By December 30, the Ornans militia had taken its winter-quarters in Ziegenhain; the Laon militia in Offenbach with the artillery; the Paris militia in Koblenz.

In March 1761, the Dinan militia battalion took part in the defence of Belle-Isle. In the Spring of the same year, several militia battalions served in the campaign in Hesse. At the beginning of the campaign the “campaign battalions” of Châlons, Vernon, Saint-Lô, Redon, Amiens and Nancy were replaced by the battalions of Alençon, Colmar, Soissons, Montargis, Valenciennes and Troyes. For this campaign, the “campaign battalions” were deployed as follows:

  • Army of the Lower Rhine (11 bns)
    • attached to the staff (4 bns)
      • Alençon (1 bn)
      • Colmar (1 bn)
      • Sarreguemines (1 bn)
      • Lons-le-Saulnier (1 bn)
    • escorting the headquarters (4 bns)
      • Paris (1 bn)
      • Soissons (1 bn)
      • Montargis (1 bn)
      • Valenciennes (1 bn)
    • escorting the artillery (2 bns)
      • Joigny (1 bn)
      • Mantes (1 bn)
    • guarding the communications (1 bn)
      • Troyes (1 bn)
  • Army of the Upper Rhine (4 bns)
    • Neuchâtel (1 bn)
    • Ornans (1 bn)
    • Saint-Denis (1 bn)
    • Laon (1 bn)

On July 16 1761, the militia of Paris (1 bn), Montargis (1 bn), Valenciennes (1 bn), Soissons (1 bn) Sarreguemines (1 bn), Colmar (1 bn), Lons-le-Saulnier (1 bn), Alençon (1 bn), Joigny (1 bn) and Mantes (1 bn) were present at the battle of Vellinghausen.

For the campaign of 1762, the battalions of Sarreguemines, Alençon, Soissons, Montargis and Troyes do not figure in the order of battle of the French armies operating in Germany. However, 2 new battalions, recently arrived from France served in the campaign in West Germany: Rouen and Falaise. Overall, 12 “campaign battalions” were still deployed in Germany for this campaign: 6 with the Upper-Rhine Army, 6 with the Lower-Rhine-Army. The Laon was once more attached to the artillery while the Saint-Denis, Neuchâtel, Ornans, Lons-le-Saulnier and Valenciennes battalions composed the Brigade de l'État-Major.

On May 11, 1762, a third battalion of recruits was raised in Bayonne. It counted 12 companies.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
the ordonnance of November 25 1746
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade
Grenadier none (all grenadiers had been detached to serve with the Grenadiers Royaux
Neckstock black
Coat grey-white with pewter buttons of the right side and 1 pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar blue collar
Shoulder Straps no information found
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets,each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs grey-white with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks grey-white when basques were turned back which was not always the case
Waistcoat white with pewter buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters white for campaigning (black for parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box red or black leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket and a sword.

Officers

The uniforms of officers were laced silver and they wore silver gorgets.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • sergeants: cuffs edged in silver or ornamented with 3 agréments
  • corporals: cuffs edged in white and ornamented with 3 white frogs
  • ansepessades: cuffs edged in white

Sergeants were armed with a spontoon.

Musicians

The drummers of the militia battalions wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: Jocelyne Chevanelle

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Royal Livery - Source: Maison de la Découverte des Plaines d'Abraham


Colours

Since 1749, the provincial militia battalions carried two colours: a white colonel colour and an ordonnance colour.

Colone colour: white field carrying the white cross

Ordonnance colour: no information found yet

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf


References

This article contains text translated from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Gébelin, Jacques: Histoire des milices provinciales (1688-1791), Paris: Hachette, 1882, pp. 33-208
  • Hennet, Léon: Les milices et les troupes provinciales, Paris: Baudoin, 1884, pp. 25-
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin, 1903, Appendix 1

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

Acknowledgements

Jean-Louis Vial of Nec Pluribus Impar for his contribution to this article