Royal-Cravate Cavalerie

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Origin and History

Royal-Cravate Cavalerie after the reorganisation of 1761 - Source: Raspe 1762 from User:Zahn's collection

The regiment was raised on August 13 1643 from foreign cavalry regiments in the French service since 1635, among which 3 Croatian regiments. In 1667, the regiment was bought from M. Baltazar by the Duc de Vivonne and renamed "Royal-Cravates". In fact the word "Cravate" derives from "Croate" (French word for Croatian) and was designating the typical scarves worn by Croatian cavalrymen. An accessory which became the ubiquitous necktie of today...

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine in 1733 and 1734.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served in Flanders in 1742, and in Germany in 1743. In 1744, it was at Bapaume. On May 11 1745, it fought in the Battle of Fontenoy. In 1747, it took part in the siege of Berg-op-Zoom.

In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Guincamp; in 1750, at Tours; in 1752, at Quesnoy; in 1753, at Mézières; and in 1755, at Maubeuge.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 8th among the line cavalry. The king was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:

  • since October 10 1755 until January 3 1770: Comte de Tessé

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was increased to 4 squadrons, each of them consisting of 4 companies of 40 troopers, for a total of 640 troopers. The 2 additional squadrons came from Chabrillan Cavalerie which was incorporated into Royal-Cravates Cavalerie.

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was stationed at Le Mans.

Early in 1757, the regiment was transferred to Guise. It then joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the left wing. 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. 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. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Unna in Westphalia, in the fourth line of the French army.

In April 1758, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in the area between Cologne and Neuss. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand of Brunswick's Army on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg. On June 2, Prussian Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars captured a standard of Royal-Cravates at Düffelward near Krefeld. The regiment finally joined Clermont's Army at Rheinberg on the same day. It remained in this camp until June 12. It was placed on the right wing of the first line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the first line, under FitzJames. 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 on the left wing of the first line.

In June 1759, 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 right 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 May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. By September 19, the regiment was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps, forming part of the third line of his left column.

To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1761 - Source: Frédéric Aubert as per Raspe
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761
completed when necessary as per Raspe
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

N.B.: even though the Etats Militaires do not specify it, there are evidences (Van Blarenberghe's miniatures on a precious box painted in 1760 or 1761 and kept at the Hermitage Museum) that this regiment wore bearskin with a red flame and probably a white pompom at the top of the flame

Neck stock a black cravate
Coat blue lined red (lined blue from 1761) with 11 pewter buttons and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps regimental lace
Lapels red
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red (blue from 1761)
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin fastened with pewter buttons and edged with the regimental lace braid
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat blue lined red (lined blue from 1761)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box this regiment was the only French cavalry regiment to have a white cartridge box
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth
Saddlecloth lace - Source: PMPdeL
blue bordered with the regimental lace (an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with blue, red and white small squares)
Housings blue bordered with the regimental lace (an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with blue, red and white small squares)
Blanket roll n/a


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.

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs
  • the white braid used for buttonholes was white decorated with thin red and blue diagonal stripes (plain white braid from 1764)
  • buttonholes had white tassels with some red and blue threads

Musicians

King's Livery - Source: PMPdeL

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with braids at the king's livery alternating with silver braids.

Colours

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): blue field embroidered and fringed in gold. One side: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”; 1 golden fleur de lys in each corner. Other side: centre device sown with golden Fleurs de Lys

Royal-Cravates Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert from an original plate by Gilbert Noury


References

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. 329-330

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F.: 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

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolaus: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg, 1762

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

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.