Royal-Roussillon Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Royal-Roussillon Cavalerie

Origin and History

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

The regiment was raised on October 13, 1652 by the Baron de Montclar on both sides of the Pyrenees. It was designated as "Montclar Catalan".

In 1653, the regiment joined the Army of Picardie and was at the capture of Vervins, Rethel and Mouzon. In 1654, it took part in the sieges of Stenay and Arras; in 1655, in the sieges of Landrecies, Condé and Saint-Ghislain; in 1656 in the operations around Valenciennes; in 1657, in the sieges of Montmédy, Saint-Venant, Ardres, and La Mothe,à; and in 1658, in the Battle of the Dunes.

On April 18, 1661, the regiment was disbanded with the exception of its mestre de camp company. On December 7, 1665, the regiment was re-established using this company as its kernel.

In 1667, the regiment took part in the submission of Flanders. On January 10, 1668, it was split into two distinct regiments: "Montclar Cavalerie" and Bartillat Cavalerie". On 1 April of the same year, Montclar was ordered to reorganise his own regiment as "Royal-Roussillon Cavalerie" with a strength of nine companies. However, on May 24, all cavalry regiment were divided into independent companies. It is only on February 4, 1672, on the eve of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), that the regiment was re-established to full strength. The same year, it was sent to Holland. In 1673, it took part in the siege of Maastricht before being transferred to Brandenburg. In 1674, it was at the second conquest of Franche-Comté; it then joined Turenne in Germany and fought in the combats of Entzheim and Mulhouse. In 1675, it took part in the Battle of Turckheim. It then served on the frontier of Germany, taking part in the Battle of Kochersberg in 1677.

In 1681, the regiment was at the camp in Upper Alsace. It was then sent to Piedmont to take possession of Casale.

In 1684, the regiment was at the siege of Luxembourg. From 1685 to 1688, it was at the camp of the Saône.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was recalled to Germany and served in the sieges of Philippsburg, Mannheim and Frankenthal. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons and in the Combat of Leuze; in 1692, in the sieges of Namur and Charleroi and in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen; and in 1695, in the Combat of Boneff.

In 1698, the regiment was at the camp of Coudun, near Compiègne.

In 1700, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13) the regiment was sent to Italy. In 1701, it took part in the Battle of Chiari; in 1702, in the Battle of Luzzara; in 1703, in the attacks on Ostiglia and Mirandola; and in 1704, in the sieges of Vercelli and Verrua. In 1706, part of the regiment was taken prisoners near Piannezza as it escorted a convoy. In 1707, the regiment was transferred to the Army of the Rhine and took part in Villars's expeditions in Franconia and Swabia. In 1708, the regiment was transferred to Flanders and fought in the Battle of Oudenarde. In 1709, it took part in the Battle of Malplaquet; and in 1712, in the Battle of Denain. In 1713, the regiment was sent to the Rhine and was at the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

In 1719, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718-20), the regiment was at the capture of Fuenterrabía, San Sebastian, Urgell and Roses.

In 1727, the regiment was at the camp of the Moselle and in 1730 at the camp of the Meuse.

In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served on the Rhine. During this war, it took part in the sieges of Kehl, Philippsburg and Worms and in the combats of Ettlingen and Klausen. In 1735, it was sent to Lille.

In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment joined the Army of the Meuse and marched into Westphalia. In 1742, the regiment was sent to the relief of the Army of Bohemia and took part in the engagements of Ellenbogen and Caaden and in the capture of Dunkelfingen. In 1743, it took part in the relief of Braunau, in the expedition in the Bishopric of Salzburg, in the defence of Dunkelfingen and in the retreat towards the Rhine. In 1744, it was at Donchery. In 1745, it took part in the Battle of Fontenoy; in 1746, in the Battle of Rocoux; in 1747, in the Battle of Lauffeld and in the siege of Berg-op-Zoom; and in 1748, in the siege of Maastricht.

In 1748, the regiment was sent to Dôle; in 1751, at Sarrebourg, Verdun and Vaucouleus; and in 1754 at Landrecies and Pont-Audemer.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 9th among the line cavalry. The king was the nominal Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:

  • from May 1748: Louis-Léon-Félicité de Brancas, Comte de Lauragais
  • from August 3, 1758 to December 24, 1764: Charles-François-César Le Tellier, Marquis de Montmirail

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 Balincourt Cavalerie which was incorporated into Royal-Roussillon Cavalerie.

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was initially posted in Amiens and then moved to Châlons.

At the beginning of 1757, was initially posted in Haguenau and Landau. It then left these places to join the Army of the Lower Rhine, which was commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées, for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées's main body. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the right 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. After the Convention of Closterzeven, it followed the main body, now led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the left wing of the first line. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the second line of the French army in the town of Hannover.

In February 1758, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was on the left wing of the second 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 Ossroy (present-day Orsoyerberg). After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's 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 on the right wing of the second line. 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 Sourches. During this battle, the brigade was one of the few who took an active part in the fighting to cover the retreat of Saint-Germain's Division. 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 right wing of the second line.

At the end of 1759, the regiment returned to France and spent the winter at Louviers.

On July 10, 1760, 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 June 1761, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen. By November, it was posted in the region of Liège.

By March 1762, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine. On June 24, the regiment was present at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. On July 23, it was at the Combat of Lutterberg. By mid-August, it was posted at Landwerhagen under Prince Xavier. In December, when the French army evacuated Germany, the regiment was directed on Landau.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761
completed when necessary as per Funcken and Mouillard
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 probably 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 red epaulets
Lapels none (red, each with 8 pewter buttons in 1761)
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 hooks and eyes and edged with the same lace as the saddle-cloth (not illustrated in our plate)
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat blue lined red (lined blue from 1761)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with a red braid (an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with a blue zigzag from 1761)
Housings blue bordered with a red braid (an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with a blue zigzag from 1761)
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.

NCOs

no information found

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

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.

Standards

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, Royal regiments carried two distinct models of standards.

The model illustrated hereafter was carried by the regiments Royal, Royal-Étranger, Royal-Roussillon, Royal-Allemand and Royal-Carabiniers.



Regimental standards (4 silken standards with similar obverse and reverse): blue field with borders embroidered and fringed in gold and silver; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR”; a golden fleur de lys embroidered in each corner.

Tentative Reconstruction
Royal Cavalry Regimental Standard – Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 86-94
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 330-331

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which 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.