Poly Saint-Thiébault Cavalerie
Origin and History
This gentleman's regiment was raised by the Marquis de Tilladet on July 8 1667.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment initially served in Italy in 1733 before being transferred to the Rhine where it campaigned in 1734 and 1735.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Bavaria in 1741. In 1742, it took part in the defence of Linz. In 1743, it operated on the Rhine. In 1746, it was transferred to Flanders where it campaigned till 1748.
The regiment counted 2 squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the colonel of the regiment was:
- since January 31 1749 until March 31 1763: Comte de Poly
When the French cavalry was reorganised, the regiment was amalgamated with d'Escouloubre Cavalerie to form the new Royal-Normandie Cavalerie. Effective amalgamation took place only after the war, on March 31 1763.
Service during the War
Somewhere between August 23 and September 6 1757, the regiment joined the Army of Saxony, led by the Prince de Soubise, in the area of Erfurt and Eisenach. On September 27, it was brigaded with the Volontaires Liégeois under M. de Saint-Martin in the first line of the left wing of the Franco-Imperial army. On November 5, the regiment took part in the Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Montcalm Cavalerie and Grammont Cavalerie in Saint-Germain's Corps. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in Obergaulangen in Hessen.
By July 1758, the regiment had joined Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse.
On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the second line of the cavalry centre deployed behind the Wartberg under the command of the Comte de Beaupréau. In June, during the 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 cavalry left wing. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry centre under the command of the Duc de FitzJames. By August 15 during the French retreat, the regiment, who had suffered heavily at Minden, could only field a single squadron.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the fourth line of the French army between the Rhine and the Main on the left bank of the Rhine. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Pfungstadt, still in the fourth line of the French army. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right wing of the first line of Broglie's Army. On October 2, Broglie sent M. d'Aubigny's detachment (including this regiment) from Stainville's Corps towards the Lower Rhine. On October 11, this detachment took position between Neuss and Meerbusch. On 16 October, the regiment took part in the Battle of Clostercamp where it was deployed in the second line of the cavalry left wing.
To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|Headgear||black tricorne (reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat) laced silver, with a black cockade on the left side fastened with a black silk strap and a small pewter button|
|Neck stock||black cravate|
|Coat||grey white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||buff leather jerkin fastened with hooks and eyes|
|Greatcoat||grey white lined red|
Troopers were armed with a carbine, two pistols and a sabre. They were also supposed to wear a breastplate under their coat during battle but this regulation was not always followed.
Evolution of the uniform during the war
Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.
Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:
- a grey and white cockade on the tricorne
- coat, lapels, cuffs and turnbacks edged with the regimental braid (black braid with yellow chain stitches)
- grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid (black braid with yellow chain stitches)
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- red breeches
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- yellow saddle cloth and housings bordered with a yellow braid
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- no turnbacks
- no lace on the coat and waistcoat
- Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
- brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): yellow field, embroidered and fringed in silver;
- obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
- reverse: within a frame, an eagle rising in the air against winds and a thunderbolt; a scroll carrying the motto “Nec terrent, nec morrantur
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 340-341
Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Lienhart, docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.