Origin and History
The Régiment Royal, was raised by the Duc d'Arpajon according to a commission issued on January 20 1656. In 1657, it took part in the siege and capture of Montmédy and in the sieges of Saint-Venant, Wates and Mardyk, In September, it worked at the rebuilding of the fortifications of Bourbourg. In 1658, it initially campaigned in Lorraine before being transferred to Flanders in July. It then took part in the investment and capture of Gravelines. Afterwards, it went to Menin to assume garrison duty.
After the death of Gaston, Duc d'Orléans, brother of Louis XIII, an edict dated February 13 1660 merged his regiment (Régiment de l'Altesse raised on December 20 1644) with the Régiment Royal: the former forming the first battalion of the new unit and transmitting it its seniority (41st); the latter forming the second battalion and eventually giving it its name. Because of this amalgamation of two regiment, Royal Infanterie exceptionally carried two white and two colonel colours for several years.
From 1660 to 1663 the resulting regiment was known as the Régiment du Roi, a title that it had to cede when Du Roi Infanterie was created on May 21 1663. From this date the present regiment was known as “Royal Infanterie”.
In 1660, immediately after its formation, the new regiment marched to Lorraine where its two battalions garrisoned Nancy and Thionville. In 1663, the regiment took part in the capture of Marsal. After this campaign, it was increased to 40 companies. In June 1664, the 20 senior companies went to Toulon and embarked on a fleet who sailed for Africa. On July 23, they landed at Djigelli and immediately occupied the “Fort du Marabout” closing the entry of the harbour. After this expedition, the regiment remained in the region of Toulon till 1666.
In 1667, during the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment was brigaded with Auvergne Infanterie and took part in the sieges of Charleroi, Tournai, Douai and Lille.
At the beginning of 1671, when Louis XIV bought the rank of the old Saint-Vallier Infanterie for Du Roi Infanterie, he gave the former rank (14th) of the latter regiment to Royal Infanterie.
In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Charleroi and Doësbourg, in the passage of the Rhine and in the capture of Orsoy and Rheinberg. A few companies formed part of the garrisons of Doësbourg, Zutphen and Wesel while the rest of the regiment followed Turenne in Westphalia where it contributed to the capture of Unna, Zoëster, Kamen and Altena. In 1673, the two battalions took part in the siege and capture of Maastricht. The regiment then followed the king in Lorraine and remained in Nancy for a while. In 1674, it took part in the capture of Besançon and of the Castle of Ornans, in the sieges of Dôle and Salins; and then joined Turenne's Army in Alsace where it took part in the combats of Sintzheim, Ensheim and Mulhausen; in 1675, in the combat of Turckheim, in the sieges of the Castle of Dachstein and of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg, and in the razing of the fortifications of Saint-Trond. In 1676, the regiment took part in the sieges of Condé. Bouchain and Aire, and in the relief of Maastricht; in 1677, in the siege of Valenciennes, Cambrai and Saint-Omer, in the Battle of Mont-Cassel, in the relief of Charleroi and in the siege of Saint-Ghislain; in 1678, in the siege of Ghent and Ypres, in the Battle of Saint-Denis, in the affair of Rheinfeld, and in the blockade of Strasbourg. After the war, the regiment garrisoned Fribourg.
In 1678, when Douglas Infanterie returned to England, Royal Infanterie was promoted to 13th, a rank that it would retain till 1776.
In 1681, the regiment received orders to go to Dauphiné. On its way, at Breisach, it embarked aboard boats on the Rhine and took possession of Strasbourg which it garrisoned till 1683. In 1684, it marched from Verdun to participate in the siege of Luxembourg. It then assumed garrison duty in Thionville. In 1687 and 1688, it worked at the fortifications of Mont-Royal.
In September 1688, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the first battalion of the regiment joined Boufflers's Corps encamped between Mainz and Kreutznach, and took part in the bombardment of Koblenz before working at the demolition of the fortifications of Trier. Meanwhile, the second battalion took part in the sieges of Philisbourg and Mannheim. In 1689, the first battalion was at the capture of Kockheim while the second battalion remained on the defensive. In 1690, the regiment served in Germany. In 1691, the regiment was transferred to Piedmont where it took part in the capture of Villefranche, Montalbano, Sant'Ospizio, Nice, Veillane and Carmagnola, in the passage of the Po, and in the capture of the Castle of Montmélian. In 1692, the regiment, which had been increased to three battalions, was sent to Flanders where it took part in the sieges of Namur, and in the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, it was transferred to Germany where it participated in the capture of Heidelberg and Awingemberg. It then returned to Flanders where it took part in the siege of Charleroi. In 1694, the regiment returned to Germany where it took part in an engagement near Derbach. In 1695, the regiment was sent to Italy. In 1696, it took part in the siege of Valencia; in 1697, in the protection of the siege of Ath.
In 1698, the regiment incorporated the disbanded Puynormand Infanterie.
In 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment counted three battalions. The same year, it occupied Ghent, then Namur. In 1702, its third battalion took part in the unsuccessful defence of Venlo. It then rejoined the two other battalions. At the opening of the campaign of 1703, the first and second battalions took part in the unsuccessful defence of Bonn, in the sieges and capture of Alt Breisach and Landau, in the Combat of Speyerbach. The three battalions were then reunited and took up their winter-quarters at Trier and other places on the Saar River. In 1704, the entire regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim and capitulated to the Allies. In 1705, the regiment (only 2 battalions) took part in the siege of Huy. In 1706, reestablished at 3 battalion, it took part in the storming of the entrenchments of Drusenheim and in the relief of Fort-Louis. In 1707, it was stationed in Aire. In 1708, it was at the Battle of Battle of Oudenarde. In 1709, it fought in the Battle of Malplaquet. From 1710 to 1711, the regiment continued to serve in Flanders. In 1712, it took part in the Battle of Denain, in the sieges of Douai, Le Quesnoy and in the covering of the siege of Bouchain. In 1713, the regiment campaigned on the Rhine where it covered the siege of Landau. It then contributed to the capture of the lines of the Imperialists in front of Freiburg and took part in the siege of this place.
On December 31 1713, the disbanded regiments Desangles, Vassan, and La Rivière were incorporated into the regiment; on June 2 1714, the disbanded regiment Laubanie; and on October 4, the disbanded regiment of Bombelles. Despite all these additions, the regiment was reduced to two battalions. Yhe regiment then garrisoned Lille.
In 1718, the regiment was transferred from Lille to Poitiers; in 1724, to Cambrai; in 1726, to Toul; in 1727, to Saarlouis; in 1728, to Maubeuge; and in 1729, to Metz where it worked at the fortifications until 1730. In 1732, it was at Douai. In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment initially served on the Rhine and took part in the siege of Kehl. It was then increased to three battalions. In 1734, it took part in the capture of Trier and Trarbach, and in the siege and capture of Philisbourg. It was then sent to Italy. In 1735, it took part in the capture of Gonzague, Reggiolo and Revere. In 1736, it returned to France where its battalions were distributed between Montpellier, Nîmes, Béziers and Carcassonne. It later occupied Perpignan, Collioure and Mont-Louis.
In 1737, the regiment was stationed at Vienne, Romans and Valence; in 1738, at Strasbourg; in 1740, at Landau; in 1741, at Metz; and in 1742 at Strasbourg.
In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was among the French reinforcements sent towards Bohemia. The same year, it took part in the relief of Braunau; in 1743, in the defence of Dünkelfingen. In 1744, it was back on the Flanders theatre of operation where it took part in the sieges of Menin, Ypres and Furnes. In 1745, it participated in the siege of Tournai, in the Battles of Fontenoy and in the siege of Oudenarde; in 1746, in the Battle of Rocoux. During the following winter, a fourth battalion was raised. In 1747, it took part in the capture of Aarschott, Zichem, Diest and Halem and in the siege of Berg-op-Zoom; and in 1748, in the siege of Maastricht.
In 1749, the third and fourth battalions of the regiment were disbanded. The regiment then successively garrisoned Metz, Landau, Grenoble, and Fort-Barraux, Romans and Embrun. In 1753, it was at the camp of Beaucaire. It remained in Languedoc and Vivarais until 1756.
On the eve of the Seven Years’ War, the regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship). On December 21 1762, it was increased to four battalions by incorporating the disbanded regiment of Cambis Infanterie.
The King was the colonel of the regiment. However, the colonel-lieutenant was the real commander. During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 13th and the colonel-lieutenants of the regiment were:
- October 29 1746: Louis Félicien de Boffin-Argenson, Marquis de Pusignieu (Maréchal de camp in March 1759)
- February 10 1759: Charles Claude François, Marquis du Tillet
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was sent to Toulon and was among the French regiments who took part in the expedition against the island of Minorca. It left Toulon on April 9 and landed on the beach of Ciudadella on April 18. From May 8, it participated in the siege of the British Fortress of San Felipe de Mahon. On May 27, when the French army assaulted the fortifications, the Royal brigade was placed on the right wing and attacked Fort Saint-Charles and the redoubt known as "Marlborough". In this attack, the regiment lost Captains La Grationnaie, La Revetison, Montenaut and de Chièvre, wounded. The fortress capitulated the following day.
From 1757 to 1763, the regiment was part of the French force occupying the island of Minorca.
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
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.
The colonel flag was white with a white cross. The ordonnance flags had a white cross with golden fleurs de lys, 1st and 4th quarters were violet and 2nd and 3rd feuille morte (reddish brown). The ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1663 to 1791.
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. 140-172
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website not available anymore)
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
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar