Nassau Prince Louis Infanterie

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised on November 1 1745 by Prince Guillaume Henri of Nassau-Saarbrück. It counted 2 battalions and recruited in Lower Alsace, Wesrgau and Landau as well as in the Counties of Saarwarden and Herbitzheim, and in the estates of the House of Nassau-Saarbruck.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served in Flanders from 1746 to 1748. In July 1747, the regiment was increased to 3 battalions.

After the war, in 1749, the regiment was reduced to one battalion.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 111th and was under the command of:

  • since November 1 1745: Prince Guillaume Henri of Nassau-Saarbrück
  • from March 20 1758 to 1791: Prince Louis of Nassau

On March 20 1758, while serving at Cologne on the Rhine, the regiment incorporated the single battalion of the disbanded Nassau-Ussingen Infanterie to form the new Nassau Prince Louis Infanterie. The colonel's company and the lieutenant-colonel's company of the Nassau-Saarbrück regiment became the two first companies of the 1st battalion while the company formerly under Sieur of Klingspoort, lieutenant-colonel of the Nassau-Ussingen regiment, became the first company of the 2nd battalion. The 13 other companies of the two former regiments were placed in the 1st or 2nd battalion according to the seniority of their commanding captains.

On January 18 1760, when the German Infantry was reorganised, the regiment was increased to three battalions by the incorporation of Saint-Germain Infanterie.

In December 1762, when the French army was reorganised, the regiment was reduced to 2 battalions.

Service during the War

In April 1757, the regiment arrived at Cologne for the planned invasion of Hanover. On July 1, it fought in the Battle of Hastenbeck. It then took part in the invasion of Hanover under the Maréchal de Richelieu. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army at Ahlden and Grethem on the Aller River.

At the end of January 1758, the regiment was assigned to the army that Louis XV planned to send to Bohemia for joint operations with the Austrian Army. On March 20, the regiment was incorporated into the new Nassau Prince-Louis regiment. When Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his offensive in Western Germany in February, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was in the second line of Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. By July, it had been transferred to Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse.

On Tuesday January 2 1759, at about 5:00 a.m., the regiment presented itself before the Sachsenhausen Gate of Frankfurt and was admitted as previously authorised on December 31 1758. As soon as it had entered the town, the regiment ordered the town-guard to deposit arms and to admit 5 other regiments who easily captured Frankfurt. On April 13, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the reserve of the left wing deployed in regimental columns behind the Warthberg. In June, at the beginning of the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the “Right Reserve” under the command of the Duc de Broglie who had taken position at Friedberg in Hesse. The regiment finally took its winter-quarters in Ziegenheim.

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 Walsdorf near Idstein, still in the first line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Treyssa.

In February 1761, the regiment was besieged in Ziegenheim, resisting for three weeks. This gave enough time to the Maréchal de Broglie to assemble a relief force. On February 25, the Allies were forced to lift the siege. On July 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it formed part of M. de Closen's Brigade placed at the vanguard. The regiment captured three guns. Later during the year, it was also present at the engagement of Osterode.

In 1762, the regiment took part in the defence of Kassel before returning to France.

Uniform

The following description has been verified against the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" and Taccoli's book published in 1760.

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes Militaires 1756 and 1758, Etat Militaire 1758, 1760 and 1761, and Abrégé du Dictionnaire Militaire 1759

completed when necessary with information from the manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli's work
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a small white button on the left side
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers of the French Army

Neck stock black
Coat blue (royal blue before the amalgamation of 1758) with 2 frogs on each side under the lapel and 1 frog on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red (as per Boisselier) with a white aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels red (straw before the amalgamation of 1758) with 7 pewter buttons (arranged 1-2-2-2)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs red without button (straw before the amalgamation of 1758) (Taccoli illustrates 3 white buttons on each cuff)
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat white (red before the amalgamation of 1758)
Breeches white (red before the amalgamation of 1758)
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Bayonet Scabbard brown (as per Boisselier)
Scabbard brown (as per Boisselier)


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

Officers

no information available yet

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment wore the prince of Nassau's livery. The drum were orange and and carried the arms of the House of Nassau.

Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne (van-dyked lace) and bordered with plumes
Neckstock probably black
Coat orange with 4 white buttons under the right lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps yellow laced silver
Lapels scarlet with 7 white buttons (3 pairs and 1 near the upper corner)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs scarlet with 3 white buttons and 3 white buttonholes
Turnbacks scarlet
Waistcoat scarlet laced silver
Breeches orange
Gaiters probably white

Colours

Colonel colour: white field; centre device consisting of the crowned arms of France (3 golden fleurs de lys surmounted by a golden crown) surrounded by two green laurel branches, the whole surmounted by a white scroll carrying the motto “HIS CONSECRO VIRES” (the manuscript of 1757 does not show any scroll). The lower outer canton carried a crouching golden lion.

Ordonnance colours (11): a white St. Andrew cross with a crowned blue escutcheon carrying a golden lion in each branch of the cross; centre device consisting of a royal sun; the right and left triangles were yellow while the upper and lower ones were blue; the upper triangle carried a white scroll with the motto “HIS CONSECRO VIRES” (the manuscript of 1757 does not show any scroll).

Colonel Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Ordonnance Colour - Source: PMPdeL

References

Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I, Musée de l'Armée, Paris

Évrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides

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, Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23

Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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