Touraine Infanterie

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Angers on January 17 1625 by the Baron de Plessis-Joigny, governor of the place, to fight against the Protestant of La Rochelle whose expedition in Bretagne failed. It was thus disbanded on May 26 1627. However, troubles continuing at La Rochelle, the regiment was re-raised on July 28 1627 and took part in the siege of the city. After the submission of La Rochelle, it assumed garrison duty on Oléron Island.

At the beginning of 1630, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment quit Oléron to march to Piedmont where it occupied Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and captured the town and castle of Veillane.

In 1631, the regiment followed the king in Lorraine and took up its winter-quarters in Alsace. In 1632, it was attached to the Army of Germany. In 1633 and 1634, it served in Lorraine. In September 1634, it joined the army assembling for a winter campaign in Alsace.

In April 1635, just before the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment marched through Switzerland to the Valtellina. The 700 men of the regiment seized the Cassanna Heights. They also took part in the Battle of Mazzo, in the attack on the Fort of Bains de Bormio, and in the combats of Ferravalle and Morbeigno. In 1636, the regiment took part in the many combats fought along the Como Lake. In May of the same year, the regiment was incorporated into the Royal Army and took the name of the Province of Touraine. The French army then entered into the Milanese and took up its winter-quarters in the Gex country. In 1637, the regiment took part in the defence of Asti and in the combat of Montebaldone; in 1638, in the capture and defence of Brema and in the relief of Vercelli; in 1638, in the attack of the entrenchments of Cencio, in the relief of Casale, in the siege of Chivasso and in the combat of Quiers. In October, it was transferred to Roussillon to relieve the town of Salces. Before winter, it returned to Piedmont where it assumed garrison duty in the Citadel of Turin. In 1640, the regiment took part in the siege of Turin; in 1641, in the siege of Ivrea, in the submission of Ceva, Piannezza and Mondovi, and in the investment of Coni; in 1642, in the capture of Crescentino and Nice de la Paille, and in the siege of the Castle of Tortona; in 1643, in the capture of Trino where it assumed garrison duty until 1650. The regiment was then reduced from 30 to 20 companies.

In 1650, during the Fronde (1648-1653), the regiment returned to France and cantoned near Paris. During this period, the regiment lost its name of “Touraine” and adopted for about twenty years the one of its successive owners.

In 1652, the regiment returned to Piedmont. In 1653, it was transferred to Catalonia. In 1655, it returned to Italy and was at the siege of Pavia. In 1656, it took part in the capture of Valencia; in 1657, in the relief of Valencia, in the siege of Alessandria and in the capture of the castles of Varas and Novi. In 1658, it campaigned in Catalonia where it remained until the signature of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in November 1659.

The regiment then returned to France where it assumed garrison duty in Blaye and was reduced to 4 companies. In September 1661, these companies took part in the repression of troubles Montauban. In 1666 and again in 1670, the regiment was ranked 19th, just after Crussol Infanterie.

In 1669, the regiment was among the 14 regiments who embarked at Toulon to assist the Venetians against the Turks in Crete. It returned to France the same year and assumed garrison duty in Picardie and Flandre, where it remained until 1673.

In 1673,during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment received definitively the name of the Province of Touraine. During most of this war, the regiment was assigned to the guard of the artillery, along with the Fusiliers du Roi. In 1674, the regiment campaigned in Flanders under the Prince de Condé. By May 1675, it was at the camp of Charleville under the Maréchal de Créqui. It then passed under the command of Turenne who assigned it to the guard of the bridges on the Rhine. The same year, it took part in an outpost combat near Mutzig. In 1676, a battalion of the regiment took part in the attack on Zweibrücken where it was left as garrison, the rest of the regiment serving on the Rhine. In 1677, the regiment was transferred to Flanders and was at the siege of Valenciennes where it distinguished itself. In recognition for the support given to the Mousquetaires, Louis XIV authorized the regiment to have pockets à la mousquetaire. The same year, the regiment took part in the siege of Saint-Omer. It was then transferred to Germany where it was attached to the artillery till the end of the war. In 1678, it took part in the siege of Freiburg.

In 1683, the regiment was at the camp on the Sarre. In 1684, it took part in the conquest of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was attached to the army placed under the command of the Dauphin and took part in the capture of Philisbourg, Mannheim and Frankenthal before taking its winter-quarters at Mézières and Charleville. In 1689, the regiment contributed to the conquest of Palatinate, came back to the Moselle and fought in the combat of Walcourt. It then returned to Palatinate during the siege of Mainz and took part in the capture of Brücksaal. In 1690, it initially campaigned on the Moselle and then joined the army of the Maréchal de Luxembourg, distinguishing itself in the battle of Fleurus. It then took its winter-quarters at Furnes. In 1691, it campaigned in Flanders and took part in the siege of Mons. After the capture of Mons, the regiment was sent to the Army of Germany. In 1692, it was recalled to Normandie for the service of the coastal batteries. In 1693, the regiment, then counting 3 battalions) was part of the reinforcements sent to Piedmont. Upon arrival, it was assigned to the defence of the Defile of Perugia but was forced to retire in front of a superior force. It then fought in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the combat of the Ter and in the capture of Girona, Palamós, Ostalrich and Castelfollit. In 1695, it took part in the defence of Palamós and Ostalrich, and in the relief of Castelfollit. It then remained in Castelfollit as garrison. In mid 1696, the regiment was sent back to Italy where it took part in the siege of Valencia. It then returned to Catalonia. In 1697, the regiment was at the siege of Barcelona. After the Treaty of Ryswick, it returned to France.

By 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13) the regiment had been reduced to 2 battalions. It was part of the army who occupied the Spanish Netherlands. In 1702, the regiment took part in an action near Nijmegen. In 1703, it was transferred to the Army of Germany and took part in the relief of Trarbach, in in the defence of Bonn, in the sieges of Alt-Breisach and Landau, and in the Combat of Speyerbach. Immediately after the capitulation of Landau, the regiment left for Italy. In 1704, it took part in the siege of Susa and in the submission of the San Martino Valley; in 1705, in the capture the Castle of Castello, in the siege of Villefranche, in the submission of Nice, in the siege of Chivasso and in the Battle of Cassano; in 1706, in the Battle of Calcinato and in the siege and battle of Turin. In 1707, the regiment was part of the Army of Dauphiné. It came to the rescue of Toulon, threatened by an Austro-Savoyard army. Back to Dauphiné after the retreat of the Allies, the regiment destroyed 3 German battalions entrenched at the Great Cross of Mont Cenis. In 1708, the regiment was first transferred to the Rhine and then to Flanders where it vainly defended Lille. In 1709, it took part in the Battle of Malplaquet; in 1710, in the glorious defence of Douai; in 1712, in the recapture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain; and in 1713, in the combat of Spires, in the capture of Spires, Worms, Kayserslautern and Landau, and in the siege of Freiburg.

In the Spring of 1714, after the Treaty of Rastatt, the regiment returned to France and was brought back to full strength by the incorporation of Montsorreau Infanterie, Sebbeville Infanterie and Bellisle Infanterie.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in the army of the Maréchal de Noailles from 1742 to 1744. From 1745 till the end of the war, it served in Flanders.


By the time of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted two battalions.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 18th and was under the command of:

  • since February 1 1749: Duc de Montmorency
  • from June 20 1761 to January 3 1770: Comte de Montmorency

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 Swiss Wittmer Infanterie under M. de Waldner in the first line of the left wing of the Franco-Imperial Army. On November 5, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Condé Infanterie in Saint-Germain's Corps. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Eschwege in Hessen.

In April 1758, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in the second line at Bedburg and Berheim. 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, where it was placed in the centre of the second line, until June 12. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the second line under Saint-Germain whose division bore the brunt of the Allied attack when it tried to stop an outflanking manoeuvre. It defended the woods along the Niers River during three hours, repulsing three attacks before retiring in front of superior forces. 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 second line. At the beginning of October, the regiment was attached to Fitzjames' Corps which was sent to reinforce Soubise's Army in Hesse. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed on the right wing of the second line. It was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle.

In June 1759, during the French 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, on the right wing of the infantry centre. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under the command of the Chevalier de Nicolaï. It was sent forward to occupy a few houses and hedges situated in front of the French cavalry centre but was soon driven out of this defensive position by a charge of an Allied cavalry brigade. On August 15, during the French retreat, the regiment, who had suffered heavily at Minden and was now too weak to serve adequately, was sent to the rear at Marburg where it arrived on August 19.

By May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the left reserve of the first line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Saint-Germain. On June 17, the regiment was part of a small division, under M. de Leyde, who reached Düsseldorf, on its way to join Saint-Germain. On July 6, the regiment moved back from Freienohl to Arnsberg to rendez-vous with d'Auvet's Corps. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed on the extreme right wing of the first line, close to Warburg. At the end of the engagement, the regiment, along with La Tour-du-Pin Brigade, formed on the heights in front of the bridges to cover the retreat of the French army. On October 4, M. de Maupéou's Corps (including this regiment) left for the Lower Rhine. On October 13, the regiment arrived at Neuss with Castries. On October 17, after having been left behind during Castries' advance from Neuss to Clostercamp, the regiment finally made a junction with Castrie's main corps.

By February 9 1761, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Lower Rhine under M. de Muy. By June, this army had been placed under the command of the Prince de Soubise. On July 4, the regiment took part in an attack against Allied troops entrenched in the mill and Castle of Schafhausen, driving them back. On July 16, it fought in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry centre.

In March 1762, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine, serving once more under Soubise. On June 24, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal where it was deployed in the first line of the main body. By July 12, it was posted at Landwerhagen. In December, when the French army started to retire from Germany, the regiment was directed on Landau.

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
and Etat militaire 1761

completed where necessary as per the manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli's plate
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade (white as per Taccoli)
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers of the French Army

Neck stock black
Coat grey-white lined grey-white with pewter buttons down to the waist on the right side
Collar blue (none before 1759)

N.B.: the manuscript of 1757 illustrates a blue collar

Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets vertical double pockets (6 pewter buttons on each single pocket)
Cuffs blue, each with 5 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none but the skirts of the coat could easily be turned back for action, thus exposing the lining
Waistcoat blue with one row of small pewter buttons; horizontal pockets with small pewter 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 black with a white metal tip
Scabbard n/a


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


Colors

Colonel colour: white with a white cross.

Ordonnance colours: white cross with aurore (light orange), green, blue and red cantons. The ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1657 to 1791.

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

Warning: sources do not agree on the disposition of the colours among the various cantons.

References

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. 331-349, 356

Other sources

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)

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

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.