Provence Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on December 4 1674 by the Comte de Grignan, lieutenant-general in Provence to give assistance to Messina against Spain. On June 25 1684, it took the name of the Province of Provence.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment was at the camp of Metz in 1733. It then served in Germany from 1734 to 1735. In 1736, it was stationed in Longwy.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in the Army of the Meuse in 1741. In 1742, it was at Paderborn. In 1743, it took part in the relief of Eger (present-day Cheb). From 1744 to 1748, it served in Italy.

On March 10 1749, the regiment incorporated the disbanded Ponthieu Infanterie.

The regiment counted two battalions.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 61st and was under the command of:

  • since January 1 1748: Comte de Saarsfeld
  • from February 10 1759 to June 5 1763: Marquis de Grave

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was at the camp of Dunkerque.

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine at the camp of Stockheim. From April 27 to June 17, the regiment was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On July 26, during the invasion of Hanover, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it supported the leading columns of the left wing. After the victory, it participated in the invasion of Hanover. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal Duc de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt, in Prussian territory, on September 28. The regiment was placed in the centre of the first line. A few week later, on October 7, the regiment left this camp, under the Duc de Broglie, to reinforce the army of the Prince de Soubise. On November 5, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Poitou Infanterie in the Reserve under Broglie. During this battle, it heavily suffered and its colonel, the Comte de Saarsfeld was seriously wounded. After this defeat, the regiment retreated to the Rhine. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Creuzburg and Treffurt in Hessen.

In April 1758, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Cologne. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by an Allied army under Ferdinand of Brunswick 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 and was placed in the centre of the first line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed in the centre of the first line under Guerchy but it was not engaged. After the battle, it retired towards Königsdorf along with Du Roi Infanterie. 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 Allied Army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the first line. On September 28, it took part in the attack on the entrenched post of Hasselen.

At the end of May 1759, when the French Army of the Rhine launched its offensive in Western Germany, the regiment remained on the Rhine as part of the Corps of the Marquis d'Armentières. On June 5, a battalion of the regiment who was posted at Erbefeld along with the Légion Royale was attacked by surprise by the light troops of the Hereditary Prince, who had passed the Ruhr. The regiment was dislodged, losing several men killed or wounded and 92 men taken prisoners. It then retired in good order to Medmann and then to Düsseldorf. By October 25, still attached to d'Armentières's Corps, the regiment was at the main camp at Bochum. By November 8, it was part of the garrison of Münster when the Allies laid siege to the city. On November 19, it made a sortie along with Touraine Infanterie against the Allied positions at Albachten.

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 Neuwied, still in the first line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the first line of the infantry centre of Broglie's Army. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Sandershausen.

In 1761, the regiment defended Cassel and, on July 16, took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it distinguished itself but suffered heavy losses.

On June 24 1762, the regiment was at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. It later returned to France and was sent to Saint-Brieuc.

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 with info from the Manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli's book
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 of the French Army, indeed Taccoli illustrates a grenadier of this regiment wearing a bearskin

Neck stock black
Coat grey-white with copper buttons down to the pocket on the right side
Collar none (red in 1759)
N.B.: the Manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli both illustrate a red collar
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets slightly slashed in the middle, each with 4 copper buttons
Cuffs red, each with 8 copper buttons
Turnbacks none but the basques could easily be turned back for action
Waistcoat red with one 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 n/a
Scabbard brown leather


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


Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colours: a white cross; first and fourth cantons red with a black lozenge and their second and third cantons black with a red lozenge. Ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1675 to 1780.

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

References

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)

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.