Orléans Infanterie

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Origin and History

The regiment is of Italian origins. It initially belonged to the Cardinal Mazarin who, at the beginning of 1642 during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), had charged the Comte Degli Oddi to raise a regiment for the expedition in Roussillon. The new regiment was raised on May 7 1642 and took part in the siege of Perpignan. In February 1643, 600 men of the regiment took part in the relief of Poligny; the regiment then took part in the siege of Thionville. In 1644, it participated in the capture of several small places in the Duchy of Luxembourg, in the relief of Freiburg, and in the capture of Philisbourg, Worms, Spires and Mainz; in 1645, in the siege of La Mothe. On July 11 of the same year, the regiment was officially incorporated in the French Army under the name of “Mazarin-Italien”. It then took part in the victorious Battle of Nördlingen. By May 19 1646, the regiment counted 9 companies for a total of about 1,450 men. The same year, it took part in the siege of Longwy, in the capture of Mardyk and Dunkerque; in 1647, in the occupation of Câtelet; in 1648, in the siege of Ypres and in the Battle of Lens.

At the end of 1648, the regiment was recalled to France to quench the troubles of the Fronde (1648-1653). In 1649, it took part in the capture of Brie-Comte-Robert and in the siege of Condé; in 1650, in the defence of Mouzon and in the capture of Château-Porcien. In 1651, Mazarin increased his Italian regiment with 3 Corsican companies. Shortly afterwards, Mazarin had to leave France and the regiment was given to Philippe de France, Duc d'Anjou, Louis XIV's brother and, on April 24, took the name of “Anjou-Étranger”. From then on, the unit started to recruit in France (ten years later there remained hardly a trace of its Italian origins). The same year (1651), the regiment campaigned in Lorraine, participating in the siege of Chasté. In 1652, it was sent to Berry to submit places who had aligned with the Prince de Condé, and captured Montrond.

In 1653, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Girona and suffered heavily in the Combat of Bordilly. In 1654, it was re-established to 20 companies and participated in the siege of Villefranche and in the capture of Puygcerda. In 1655, it took part in the capture of Cap de Quiers; in 1656, in the storming of the Castle of Boraçan; in 1657, in the relief of Urgell. It then continued to serve in Catalonia until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.

In 1660, at the death of his uncle, Gaston de France, Philippe inherited the title of Duc d'Orléans. Accordingly, on April 12, “Anjou-Étranger” was merged with another regiment raised in 1647 and belonging to Philippe de France and received the title of “Orléans Infanterie”, a name that it retained during the entire “Ancien Régime”.

During peacetime, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Villers-Cotterets. In 1663, it was reduced to 6 companies. In 1666, it took part in the training camp at Compiègne.

In 1667, when the War of Devolution (1667–68) broke out, the regiment campaigned in Flanders where it took part in the siege of Lille. In 1668, it entered into Franche-Comté and captured Salins

In 1671, the regiment was increased to 30 companies.

In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment campaigned in Holland where it took part in the capture of Zutphen. In 1673, it participated in the reduction of Unna, Kamen and Altena, and in the siege of Maastricht; in 1674, in the conquest of Franche-Comté, in the sieges of Besançon and Dôle, in the Battle of Seneffe, in the combat of Ensheim where it greatly distinguished itself, and in the affair of of Mulhausen; in 1675, in the Battle of Turckheim, in the storming of Neuburg, in the Combat of Offenburg, in the Battle of Altenheim, and in the relief of Haguenau and Saverne; in 1676, in the sieges of Condé and Bouchain, in the capture of the Castle of Bouillon and of Marche, and in the relief of Zweibrücken; in 1677, in the sieges of Valenciennes and Saint-Omer, in the Battle of Cassel, in the affair of Morville, in the Combat of Sainte-Barbe near Metz, in the Battle of Kokersberg, and in the siege and capture of Freiburg; and in 1678, in the storming of the entrenchments at Seckingen, in the Combat of Offenburg, in the storming of Kehl.

After the peace, the regiment was reduced to 10 companies and was stationed in Alsace. In 1679, it took part in the affair of Minden.

By 1681, the regiment was assuming garrison duties in Brisach. It participated in the occupation of Strasbourg. In 1684, it was at the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment campaigned in Palatinate. In 1689, it was increased to two battalions and took part in the defence of Mainz. In 1690, it participated in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons and in the defence of the Lines of Espierres; in 1692, in the conquest of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi; in 1693, in the capture of Huy, in the siege of Château-Picard, in the Battle of Landen, and in the siege of Charleroi; and in 1695, in the bombardment of Bruxelles.

In 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was sent to occupy Louvain in the Spanish Netherlands. It was then transferred to Upper-Guelderland. In 1702, it took part in the unsuccessful defence of Kayserwerth; in 1703, in the Battle of Ekeren, in the Combat of Speyerbach and in the capture of Landau before being transferred to Spain. In 1704, the regiment participated in the conquest of Salvaterra, Segura, Idanha-Nueva, Portalegre and Castel de Vide; in 1705, a detachment of the regiment took part in the unsuccessful siege of Gibraltar. At the end of the year, the entire regiment followed the Duc de Berwick in his march to the Alps where he laid siege to Nice. In the first months of 1706, the regiment was recalled to Spain where it took part in the unsuccessful siege of Barcelona and in the capture of Cartagena. In 1707, it participated in the Battle of Almansa and in the siege of Lérida; in 1708, in the submission of several small places and in the siege of Tortosa. In 1709, the regiment was sent to Dauphiné. In 1710, it passed the Rhine and took position in the Lines of the Lauter. In 1711, it served once more with the Army of the Rhine. In 1713, it took part in the siege of Landau and in the capture of Freiburg.

In 1714, while most units of the French Army were enjoying the newly signed peace, the regiment returned to Catalonia where it took part in the siege and capture of Barcelona.

During the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served in Italy from 1733 to 1736.

During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment initially served in Bavaria and Bohemia in 1742. On June 27 1743, it took part in the Battle of Dettingen. Then from 1744 to 1748, it served in Flanders, fighting in the battles of Rocoux (October 10, 1746), Lauffeld (July 2, 1747).

After the war, the regiment garrisoned Villers-Cotterets. In 1752, it was ntransferred to Orléans.

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

Although the Duc d'Orléans was officially the colonel of the regiment, the effective commander was the colonel-lieutenant. During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 27th and was under the effective command of:

  • since April 7 1746: Charles Auguste de La Cour, Comte de Baleroy
  • from April 29 1757: Charles Olive Floris Campet, Comte de Saujeon
  • from March 14 1758: Gilbert de Chauvigny, Comte de Blot
  • from November 30 1761 to 1775: Anne André Marie de Crussol, Comte de Montausier

Service during the War

In 1755, the regiment was at the camp of Richemont on the Moselle River.

In 1756, the regiment was transferred to the coasts of Bretagne.

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine in Germany for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées's Main Corps. It took part in the submission of Kassel and in the conquest of Hesse. On July 26, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was part of the centre under Contades. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. It then entered into Hanover with the Maréchal de Richelieu. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed in the centre of the first line. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the second line of the French army at Göttingen. During the retreat of the French armies after the defeat of Rossbach and the Hanoverian counter-offensive, the regiment made a diversionary attack on Lachtenhausen while the army was forcing the passage of the Aller River on December 25.

From March 30 to April 4 1758, after the retreat of the French army towards the Rhine, the regiment was in the first line of Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in Kempen and Krefeld. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Allied army on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp until June 12. It was placed in the centre of the second line. At 2:00 a.m. on June 12, a detachment of 300 men under Lieutenant-Colonel de Blot repulsed an enemy attack on the Abbey of Kamp launched from the Heights of Alpen. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the second line under Harvé. Its lieutenant-colonel, the Comte de Blot, and Major de Monnery were wounded during the battle. In Mid August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine now under Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the infantry right wing of the second line.

By May 10 1759, the regiment was part of the corps under the command of the Comte de Noailles who had taken position near Deutz on the right bank of the Rhine. In June, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades and was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre. On June 13, as part of d'Auvet's Corps the regiment encamped in front of the defiles near the village of Essentho on the left bank of the Diemel.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment 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 regiment was billeted in Seligenstadt, still in the third line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the first line of the infantry centre of Broglie's Army. For the campaign of 1760, the regiment was brigaded with Auvergne Infanterie. On July 10, the regiment was part of the left wing of Broglie's Grande Armée who came to the support of the vanguard around noon in the Combat of Corbach. By July 23, the regiment was at Wasbeck under the personal command of the Duc the Broglie. On October 4, M. de Maupéou's Corps (including this regiment) left for the Lower Rhine. On October 16, the regiment reached Moers.

On July 16 1761, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen and, later during the campaign, in the siege of Meppen.

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 1758,
La Chesnaye in 1759 and Etat militaire 1761

completed where necessary by information from the Manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli's book
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade (white as per Taccoli)
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade

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

Neck stock black
Coat grey-white with copper buttons down to the waist on the right side
Collar none in 1758 (red in 1759, although the Manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli both illustrate one)
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 copper buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 copper buttons
Turnbacks none but the basques could easily be turned back for action
Waistcoat red with a single row of copper buttons; horizontal pockets with copper buttons
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Waistbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard black with a white metal tip
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

Drummers wore the livery of the House of Orléans: red background lined blue, with two white and blue braids bordered by white and red checkered pattern.

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colours: a white cross and blue and feuille morte (dead leaf) opposed quarters. The ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1660 to 1791.

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 5, pp. 156-179, 183

Other sources

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

Evrard, 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

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.