Poitou Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Poitou Infanterie

Origin and History

This regiment considered itself as a corps originating from a unit raised in 1585.

The regiment was raised on September 16 1616 by César de Choiseul, Comte d'Hôtel. It initially counted 6 companies of 100 men each and was ranked 17th. The regiment was disbanded on December 1 but almost immediately re-established on February 3 1617, now ranking 15th. In 1618, the regiment was briefly disbanded once more but re-established on February 26 1619. Disbanded for a third time in 1620, it was re-established on July 7 1621. It then took part in the siege of Clérac. In 1622, it was at the siege of Royan and at the blockade of La Rochelle before being disbanded a fourth time on November 1 1622. Only one company was maintained and assigned to the garrison of the Island of Oleron.

On August 3 1624, the regiment was re-established for the last time and took the name of “Plessis-Praslin”. It still ranked 15th despite the fact that it had been disbanded four times. It was then stationed in the region of La Rochelle. In 1626, it was promoted to the 13th rank and was sent to the Island of Oleron to protect it against English incursions. It took part in the attack against the English forces who had landed on Re Island. In 1629, it took part in the sieges of Privas and Alais.

In 1630, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the 12 companies of the regiment passed the Alps and took part in the capture of Pinerolo, in the combat of Veillane, in the storming of Cumiane Hill, in the combat of Carignan and in the relief of Casale. It then occupied the Citadel of Casale till 1635.

In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment was transferred to the Army of Picardie where it distinguished itself at the Battle of Avein. It then took part in the sieges of Tirlemont and Louvain, being part of the rearguard when the latter siege was lifted. It took its winter-quarters in the Netherlands. In June 1636, the regiment returned to France where it assumed garrison duty in Guise. In 1637, it took part in a few raids in Cambrésis and in the siege and capture of Landrecies. In 1638, the regiment was attached to the Army of Flanders and distinguished itself at the storming of the Câtelet. It was then transferred to Lorraine where it took part in the capture of Blamont and Lunéville before rejoining the Army of the Duc de Saxe-Weymar in front of Brisach. It took its winter-quarters in Franche-Comté.

In 1639, the regiment returned to Italy where it stormed the entrenchments at Cencio and took part in the siege of Chivasso, in the relief of Carmagnola and in a combat on the road to Quiers. In 1640, it took part in the relief of Casale, and in the siege and capture of Turin; in 1641, in the relief of Fossano and in the siege of Coni; in 1642, in the capture of Nice and in the siege of Tortone; in 1643, in the capture of Asti, in the siege of Trino and in the storming of the entrenchments at the bridge of the Stura; in 1644, in the siege of Santia

In 1645, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia where it participated in the siege and capture of Roses. It was then sent back to Italy where it was at the siege of Vigevano and in the combat of La Mora. In 1646, it took part in the expedition of Elbe Island before returning to France.

In 1647, the regiment spent part of the year in Languedoc. In June, it marched for Italy. In 1648, it took part in the relief of Casal-Maggiore and in the battle and siege of Crémona. It was the recalled to France because of the troubles of the “Fronde”. In 1649, it took part in the blockade of Paris, in the attack of Charenton, in the capture of Brie-Comte-Robert and in the defeat of the Lorrains at the passage of the Aisne. It finished the campaign in Flanders. At the beginning of 1650, it campaigned in Bourgogne where it took part in the capture of Bellegarde before being transferred to Champagne. It then took part in the relief of Guise and in the capture of Rhétel and Château-Porcien. In 1651, the regiment was attached to the Army of Flanders. In 1652, it took part in the capture of Charité-sur-Loire and in the combat of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine; in 1653, in the sieges of Vervins, Rhétel, Mouzon and Sainte-Ménehould; in 1654, in the siege of Stenay, in the relief of Arras and in the capture of Le Quesnoy; in 1655, in the sieges of Landrecies. Condé and Saint-Ghislain; in 1657, in the capture of Montmédy, Saint-Venant and Gravelines; in 1658, in the siege of Dunkerque.

In 1659, the regiment remained in the region of Dunkerque. In 1660, it entered into Rocroi.

In 1667, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment went to Flanders where it took part in the capture of Berghes, Charleroi, Ath, Tournai, Douai and Lille. In 1668, it campaigned in Franche-Comté where it was at the sieges of Besançon, Dôle and Gray.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was attached to the Army of Holland and took part in the siege of Arnheim, in the investment of Genep and in the siege of Grave. At the end of the campaign, it followed Turenne in Germany and took part in the capture of Unna, Kamen, Altena and Bielefeld. It spent the winter of 1673-1674 in Philisbourg. In 1674, it took part in the Battle of Sintzheim, in the combat of Ladembourg, in the engagement of Ensheim and in the combat of Mulhausen; in 1675, in the combat of Turckeim. It then returned to Philisbourg before participating in the siege of Dinant and in the protection of the sieges of Huy and Limbourg. It then fought in the engagement of Consaarbrück and defended Trier. In 1676, the regiment fought at Kokersberg while a detachment defended Philisbourg. In 1677, the regiment was transferred to the Army of Flanders and was at the siege of Valenciennes and took part in the capture of Saint-Omer and in the siege of Saint-Ghislain. In 1678, it was at the capture of Ghent, Ypres and the Castle of Lichtemberg.

By 1678, the regiment ranked 15th, a rank that it would keep till 1775. It was stationed in Alsace.

On August 31 1682, the regiment took the name of the Province of Poitou.

In 1688, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim and Frankenthal; in 1689, in the conquest of Palatinate and in the affairs of Rheindorf, Gueins, Winter, Rheinberg and Honuf. At the end of the campaign, the regiment, now counting 2 battalions, defended Mainz and Bonn. In 1690, the regiment was transferred to Flanders and fought in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, it took part in the siege of Mons; in 1692, in the capture of Namur, in the combat à Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi; in 1693, in the Battle of Neerwinden and in the siege of Charleroi. In 1694, the regiment initially served on the Coasts of Flanders and Artois before joining the army operating on the Meuse. In 1695, it was at the bombardment of Bruxelles. In 1696, it served in Flanders. In 1697, it took part in the siege of Ath where it distinguished itself.

In 1698, the regiment was sent to Compiègne.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1701, the regiment returned to the Netherlands. In 1702, it took part in the action under the walls of Nijmegen before being to Strasbourg. It then took part in the Battle of Friedlingen. In 1703, it took part in the siege of Kehl, in the attack of the Lines of Stolhoffen, in the passage of the Black Forest, in the combat of Munderkirchen, in the Battle of Höchstädt and in the capture of Kempten and Augsburg; in 1704, in the capture of Gemunden and in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim. In 1705 and 1706, the regiment was stationed on the Moselle. At the end of 1706, it was sent to reinforce the Armies of Flanders decimated by its defeat at Ramilies. In 1708, the regiment took part in the Battle of Oudenarde; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet; in 1711, in the affairs of Hordain and Arleux; in 1712, in the Battle of Denain and in the capture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. In 1713, the regiment was transferred to the Army of the Rhine and took part in the siege of Landau, in the attack on General Vaubonne's entrenchments at Freiburg.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment initially served on the Rhine.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment first served on the Rhine from 1741 to 1743. In 1744, it was transferred to the Armée des Alpes. The following year, it took part to the battle of Tanaro. In 1746, it was at Plaisance, and in 1747 at Nice.

By the time of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted two battalions. When the French army was reorganized in December 1762, the regiment was increased to four battalions by incorporating the disbanded Saint-Mauris Regiment.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 14th and the colonels of the regiment were:

  • Since January 2 1745: Comte de Revel
  • From November 29 1757 to January 3 1770: Vicomte de Choiseul

Service during the War

In January 1757, the regiment was garrisoning Béthune. In March 1757, it left for Bruxelles then joined the army of the Prince de Soubise in Stockheim. On April 3, the regiment was assigned to the Corps of six battalions blockading the Duchy of Gueldre, it occupied Kevelau and Retten. It took part in the capture of Wesel and Juliers. From April 27 to June 17, the regiment was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On July 26, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it supported the leading columns of the left wing. On August 16, the regiment was among the force sent by the Duc de Richelieu to occupy the Duchy of Brunswick who had submitted to the French domination. It was detached to Wolfenbüttel under M. de Voyer. It was then transferred to the Army of Saxony under Soubise. On November 5, the regiment took part in the Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Provence Infanterie in the Reserve under Broglie. During this battle, it suffered heavy losses, including its colonel. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters at Lippstadt, in the fourth line of the French Army.

In 1758, the regiment was sent back to France where it was assigned to the protection of the coasts.

In 1761, the regiment was sent to Germany to reinforce the Prince de Soubise's army. On July 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen.

In June 1762, the regiment participated in the engagement of Grebenstein. On September 20, it took part in the capture of the Castle of Amöneberg.

At the end of the war, the regiment was stationed in Nîmes.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
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

Neck stock black
Coat grey-white
Collar blue (none before 1759)
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets double vertical pockets (6 copper buttons grouped 2 by 2 on each single pocket)
Cuffs blue, each with 4 copper buttons grouped 2 by 2
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue
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 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: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


Colors

The colonel flag was white with a white cross. The ordonnance flags had a white cross with blue and red opposing quarters. The ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1682 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 4, pp. 181-206

Other sources

Evrard P.: Praetiriti Fides

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

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (an excellent website who seems unfortunately to have 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.

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar