Nikolaus Esterházy Infantry

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Origin and History

Private of Nikolaus Esterházy in 1762 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli

In 1741, at the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, the Hungarian aristocracy promised to Maria Theresa to raise six new infantry regiments at its own expenses. Initially, these regiments had no proprietor. Adam Nikolaus Count Andrássy, who was at that time colonel and commander of Vettes Infantry, was appointed commander of the present regiment on November 13 1741. The Hofkriegsrat (Court War Council) designated Alexander Franz von Arnth as lieutenant-colonel and Thomas Count Kálnoky (from Vettes Infantry) as major. The recruits were raised in the Komitats (districts) of Szombathely, Györ, Komárom, Szümegh, Veszprém and Skalic (present-day Skalice/SK), Modern (present-day Modrá/SK) and St. Georgen (present-day Sv. Jur/SK). Enlistment went very slowly, by the end of December 1741 only one battalion (1,741 men) was complete. In February 1742, Major Kálnoky led this battalion to Brünn (present-day Brno/CZ) but the recruits mutinied on the Moravian border. Kálnoky paid 5 kronors to each of the men and from the 200 men who had deserted, 150 rejoined the battalion who finally arrived at Brünn. In March, the second battalion, which had been enlisted in Györ, marched to Vienna under the command of Captain Dressler. Within a few days, the third battalion followed. In May, all three battalions rejoined the army of FM Königsegg which was concentrated around Braunau and Schärding in Bavaria. At the end of May, the fourth battalion, led by Lieutenant-Colonel von Arnth, set off for Passau where it arrived at the end of September. In 1743, the regiment was transferred to Italy. On October 29 1743, Count Andrássy was promoted to major-general (GFWM) and on October 25 1744 “officially” appointed proprietor of the regiment. In 1746, the regiment took part in the operations in the republic of Genoa and in Provence.

In October 1750, Colonel von Arnth was appointed commander of the Invalidenhaus (Residence of the Invalids) in Vienna. On 31 December of the same year, Josef Anton Bakits (formerly from Haller Infantry was promoted to colonel and commander of the regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Count Kálnoky was transferred to Joseph Esterházy Infantry and promoted colonel. In June 1752, Lieutenant-Colonel Krasky von Engelsberg was promoted colonel and regiment commander (Colonel Bakits had been appointed commander of the Fortress of Neuhäusel). On March 9 1753, the regiment proprietor, Adam Count Andrássy, died and on March 13 Major-General Nikolaus Josef Count Esterházy was appointed as new proprietor.

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 men. This was the administrative organisation of the regiment. However, the tactical organisation differed: 2 field fusilier battalions, each of 6 companies; 2 grenadier companies (usually converged with grenadiers from other battalions into an ad hoc unit); and 1 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

Since its creation, the successive proprietors of the regiment were:

  • since 1741: no proprietor
  • from 1744: Adam Count Andrássy Szt. Király
  • from March 9 1753 until 1763: Nikolaus Josef Count Esterházy de Galantha
Did you know that...
There are portraits of 28 officers of this regiment, painted circa 1757, at the Castle of Forchtenstein in Austria.

Acknowledgement: Harald Skala for this interesting information

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commander was:

  • since 1755: Johann von Grueber (killed in the Battle of Prague)
  • from 1757: Karl von Amadei
  • from 1760: Philipp von Souhay
  • from 1761: Karl von Lübeck (ad interim)
  • from 1761: Johann Josef Count Khevenhüller-Metsch

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 33".

Service during the War

Officer (gala uniform), grenadier and fusilier of Nikolaus Esterházy Infantry - Copyright: Harald Skala

At the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed in Bohemia.

In 1756, the regiment was organised in two field battalions of 6 companies each, for a total of 1,672 men); and a third battalion which was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Baron Dessewffy and assumed garrison duty Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK). By June, the two field battalions were stationed around Jungbunzlau (present-day Mladá Boleslav/CZ), Sobotka , Turnau (present-day Turnov/CZ), Münchengrätz (present-day Mnichovo Hradiště/CZ), and Benatek (present-day Benátky n. Jiz./CZ) under the command of Colonel Johann von Grueber. The regiment was part of the Austrian army who tried to relieve the Saxon Army blockaded in Pirna after the Prussian invasion of Saxony. On 1 October, the two field battalions fought in the Battle of Lobositz where they were deployed in the first line of the right wing under Major-General Wied. These battalions took their winter-quarters in Western Bohemia. Meanwhile, two companies of the third battalion were stationed at Pressburg and two companies at Trencsén (present-day Trenčín/SK).

Until April 1757, the two field battalions were posted at Brüx (present-day Most/CZ). At the end of April, these battalions rejoined the army of Field-Marshall Browne concentrating around Budín. When the Prussians launched the invasion of Bohemia, FM Browne retired to Prague. On May 5, the regiment arrived near Prague and was posted in the second line of the left wing, On the morning of May 6, the”Leib.Battailon” entered into Prague while the “Obrist-Battailon” and both grenadier companies were detached to the first line of the left wing of infantry commanded by Baron Kheul and placed to the left of Joseph Esterházy Infantry in Count Browne's brigade. This battalion then fought in the Battle of Prague. At the end of the battle, Josef Esterházy Infantry, Pallavicini Infantry and the “Obrist Battailon” of the regiment covered the retreat of the Austrian army and then took refuge into Prague. During the last engagements of the battle, Colonel Johann von Grueber was killed, along with his son, Ensign Josef von Grueber. During the ensuing Siege of Prague, the “Obrist Battaillon” was attached to Ahremberg's Division and defended the line between the Castle of Vyšehrad and Bastion No. 9; while the “Leib-Battailon” defended the Castle of Hradschin and the Klein-Seite (present-day Malá Strana, part of Prague). Lieutenant-Colonel Karl von Amadei assumed command of the regiment. By that time, the two field battalions counted 1,758 men; however, 430 men had been detached, 115 were absent and 284 wounded; overall the field battalions had only 929 men fit for duty. On June 20, FZM Kheul made a sortie at the head of 24,000 men (including the two field battalions of the regiment), attacking the camp of Field-Marshall Keith on the Weissen Berg (present-day Bílá Hora near Prague). Amadei distinguished himself during this sortie and was promoted to colonel. (on March 7 1758, he would receive the Knight Cross of the Maria-Theresia-Order). When the Prussians retreated towards Saxony, after their defeat at Kolin, the main Austrian army followed them and encamped until September 1 in a fortified camp at Schöna. It then followed the army of the Prince of Bevern to Silesia, encamping at Lissa. A detachment of 196 men under the command of Colonel Amadei and Captain Sigmund von Linck was attached to the corps led by G.d.C. Franz Nádasdy who advanced upon the Fortress of Schweidnitz. In October and November, during the Siege of Schweidnitz, this detachment formed a converged battalion with detachments of Bethlen Infantry and Joseph Esterházy Infantry. Colonel Amadei distinguished himself once more. After the surrender of Schweidnitz this detachment remained there under Captain Linck to form part of the garrison. Meanwhile, the remnants of the two field battalion were formed in a single battalion of 802 fusiliers and two grenadier companies totalling 166 grenadiers. On November 22, this battalion took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Lacy's Brigade, in the first line of the infantry centre under Baron Kheul. In this battle, the battalion led by Major Souhay distinguished itself during the attack on the big redoubt near Schmiedefeld. It also supported the retreating grenadiers and Josef Esterházy Infantry and captured 10 guns and one howitzer. However, the battalion suffered heavy losses: Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Count Dessewffy and 27 men killed; 7 officers and 154 men wounded; and 15 men missing. Major Souhay would later (December 4 1758) received the Knight Cross of the Maria-Theresia-Order). On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, two battalions of the regiment were deployed in d'Arberg's Brigade in the first line of the infantry left wing under Colloredo. At the beginning of the battle, this brigade was posted near Frobelwitz. It was later sent to support the crumbling left wing. Colonel Amadei led the regiment in an attack against the Prussian cavalry which was pursuing the defeated Austrian cavalry. In these combats, the regiment lost 3 men killed and 143 missing. Furthermore, Captain Baron de Vins was captured by the Prussians. The field battalions took their winter-quarters at Smirschitz (present-day Smiřice/CZ), Holohlav (present-day Holohlavy/CZ) and Černožic (present-day Černošice/CZ). Meanwhile, the third battalion was still stationed in Pressburg and Trencsén in Upper Hungary. In April, one company had been sent to Leopoldstadt (present-day Leopoldov/SK).

The same year (1757), the proprietor of the regiment, Nikolaus Count Esterházy, had a command in Daun's Army and, on June 18 at the Battle of Kolin, was at the head of a brigade (Erzherzog Carl Infantry and Moltke Infantry). For his conduct in this battle, Count Nikolaus was promoted to Feldmarshal-lieutenant (FML) and was part of the first promotion of the Maria-Theresa-Order.

On April 16 1758, at the end of the Siege of Schweidnitz which was blockaded since the December 1757, the detachment of the regiment under Major von Linck surrendered as prisoners of war (officers we later freed on parole). It had lost 92 men during the siege of the fortress. In May, when Daun's Army marched to Zwittau (present-day Svitavy/CZ), the grenadiers of the regiment were converged with those of Carl Lothringen Infantry, Baden-Durlach Infantry and Leopold Daun Infantry to form the 3rd Grenadier Battalion which was attached to the vanguard led by FML Lacy. After the interception of his supply convoy by Loudon and Siskovics at the Combat of Domstadl, Frederick II lifted the Siege of Olmütz and retreated through Bohemia to Saxony, followed by Daun's Army. On October 14, the two field battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where they were deployed in the vanguard of the right column of Daun's main army directly south of Hochkirch. At the beginning of the battle, led by Colonel Amadei and Lieutenant-Colonel Orosz, they attacked a Prussian Freikorps and captured the big Prussian battery (20 heavy guns). They also participated in the combats around the cemetery of Hochkirch. In this battle, the regiment lost 4 officers and 39 men killed; 9 officers and 188 men wounded; and 155 men missing. The field battalions took their winter-quarters at Kolleschowitz (present-day Kolešovice near Podbořany/CZ). By the end of December, the field battalions totalled 1,789 men, but 760 of them were ill. At the beginning of the year, the third battalion was at Peterwardein. It later returned to Pressburg and Trencsén. In the Autumn, the entire third battalion, then counting 850 men) was sent to Ofen.

In February 1759, Captain Karl von Lübeck took command of the third battalion at Ofen and was promoted to Obristwachtmeister (major). At the beginning of April, the two field battalions were sent to Komotau (present-day Chomutov/CZ). In May, Daun's Army concentrated around Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ). The field battalions were brigaded with Lacy Infantry and Haller Infantry under the command of GFWM Brinken and deployed in the first line under FML Sincére. On September 2, these battalions took part in the Combat of Sorau. On November 20, the grenadiers of the regiment participated in the Battle of Maxen where they formed part of one of the five converged grenadier battalions of the vanguard (they were converged with the grenadiers of Wied Infantry and Harsch Infantry. At the end of November, the field battalions took their winter-quarters around Pirna in Saxony.

In early June 1760, the regiment formed part of the Austrian Grand Army encamped near Dresden and was attached to the Reserve under General Count Wied. In July, part of the regiment was at the defence of Dresden as part of the garrison. Field-Marshall Daun with his army marched from Silesia to relieve Dresden. On the day when Daun's avant-garde arrived the suburbs of Dresden, FZM Maquire organized a sortie of 5 grenadier companies and 500 volunteers led by Colonel Amadei. During this sortie, Amadei was wounded, his troops had to abandon the guns that they had captured but returned safely into Dresden with 72 Prussian prisoners. On July 27, Colonel Amadei was promoted to major-general. On July 29, Frederick lifted the siege and marched with his army to Meissen. On August 20, the regiment, now led by Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Souhay participated in the Combat of Strehla where it was attached to the column of General von Würzburg and attacked the windmills on the Dürrenberg hill. Later on, the regiment was attacked by Prussian dragoons and hussars and suffered very high losses (33 killed, 647 missing or taken prisoners).

On October 1 1761, the regiment distinguished itself at the Storming of Schweidnitz. Baron Linck was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and transferred to Leopold Pálffy Infantry. In October, Lieutenant-Colonel Souhay took command of the third battalion at Ofen and Major Lübeck rejoined the field battalions. At the end of October, the two field battalions (1,862 men) were transferred from Silesia to Saxony. The third battalion contributed 288 men to reinforce the field battalions. These battalions took their winter-quarters between Oederan, Breitenau and Hohelinde.

On May 12 1762, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Combat of Doebeln under GFWM Johann Baron von Zedtwitz. It fought near Zigra. Most of Zedtwitz's troops were taken prisoners by the Prussians, including Major Karl von Lübeck, 7 officers and 324 men of the regiment. On August 2, one battailon, attached to the corps of G.d.C. Duke Löwenstein, participated in the Combat of Teplitz (present-day Teplice/CZ). In October, the regiment was allocated to the corps of FML Buttler, supporting the Reichsarmee led by the Prince Stolberg. This army marched to Freiberg in Saxony. On October 29, Prince Henri attacked the Reichsarmee in the Battle of Freiberg. After a fight of seven hours, the Prince Stolberg ordered to retreat. The regiment arrived on the battle field at the moment where the right wing started to retreat. The regiment was attacked by the Prussian cavalry and lost 80 men killed, 342 wounded and 633 missing or taken prisoners. After the battle of Freiberg, the regiment counted only 530 men and formed a single battalion and only one grenadier company.

In 1763, after the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the regiment returned to Bohemia where it assumed garrison duty in the region of Beraun (present-day Beroun/CZ).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1762 - Source: Frédéric Aubert from a template made by Richard Couture.
Uniform Details in 1757 and 1762
as per the Delacre, Bautzener and Albertina Handschriften and the Raspischen Buchhandlung publication

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced yellow (laced white in 1762) with a yellow fastener on the right side (white fastener on the left side in 1762) and a small yellow button on the left side; no cockade nor pompoms (a dark blue within yellow cockade and yellow within dark blue pompoms in each lateral corne in 1762)
Grenadier bearskin probably with a dark blue bag
Neck stock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neck stocks)
Coat white lined dark blue without buttons (in 1762: 6 dark blue laced buttonholes with dark blue tassels, arranged 1-2-3, on each side; 6 yellow buttons on the right side)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps dark blue fastened by a yellow button (both shoulders)
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets without buttons
Cuffs dark blue pointed cuffs without buttons
Turnbacks dark blue
Waistcoat dark blue dolman edged yellow with 3 rows of small yellow buttons linked with yellow brandebourgs
Trousers dark blue Hungarian trousers decorated with yellow laces
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt yellow and dark blue barrel sash
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Footgear short black boots


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers), a bayonet and a sabre.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates the 1762 uniform without pompoms in the lateral corne, without shoulder straps, with a white within dark blue cockade at the tricorne and with yellow buttons on each side of the coat.

Donath as well as Knötel illustrate a tricrone laced white with a white within yellow cockade and a blue tassel in each lateral corne.

NCOs

Sergeants and corporals carried a short musket and a bayonet.

Officers

As per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, the officers wore a quite different uniform in 1762:

  • tricorne laced gold with a white and green cockade
  • black neck stock
  • white coat with dark blue lapels (lapels edged gold) with 6 yellow buttons on each lapel and 3 yellow buttons on each vertical pocket
  • dark blue waistcoat simply edged in gold
  • no lace at the buttonholes
  • no turnbacks
  • white waistbelt
  • dark blue trousers decorated with a gold lace on the seams
  • yellow Hungarian boots

Senior officers carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob

Musicians

As per a regulation of 1755, musicians were now distinguished from troopers only by swallow nests on the shoulders.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.

Colours

All Hungarian infantry regiments were supposed to carry the same colours as the German infantry regiments: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The colours were made of silk. The flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
Leibfahne – Source: PMPdeL

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: PMPdeL

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 36-37

Other sources

Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762

Bilderhandschrift Delacre: Militair Etat der Ganzen Kayl., Königl. Armee Wienn 1757

Dihm, Dr. Hermann; Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf; Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Eberhardt, F.: Geschichte des Infanterieregimentes Nr. 33, Ungarisch Weisskirchen, 1888

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Friese, Ulf-Joachim, Quellen zur Uniformierung der österreichisch-ungarischen Armee 1740-1763

Funcken, Liliane and Fred; Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Hausmann, Friedrich, Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

Kornauth, Friedrich, Das Heer Maria Theresias: Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift, "Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762", Wien: 1973

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Muhsfeldt, Th.; Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Seidel, Paul; Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Thümmler, L.-H., Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

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

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala and Michael Zahn for gathering most of the information about this regiment