Viefville Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years' War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Viefville Cavalerie

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on March 1 1674.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Italy from 1733 to 1735.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1741 and 1742, the regiment initially served with the army who invaded Bohemia. In 1746, it served in Italy, taking part in the battles of Piacenza (June 16) and Rottofreddo (August 12). In 1747, it retreated to Provence with the rest of the French army. In 1748, it was at Valence in Provence.

In 1756, the regiment ranked 38th and counted two squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since August 20 1743: Marquis de la Viefville
  • from February 10 1759 until March 30 1763: Marquis de Saint-Aldegonde

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into La Reine Cavalerie. Effective incorporation seems to have taken place only on March 30 1763 at Saint-Mihiel.

Service during the War

By August 1 1757, the regiment was garrisoning Le Puy in Languedoc.

At the beginning of the summer of 1758, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine now under the Marquis de Contades. In Mid August, after the retreat of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of Contades's Army, crossed the Rhine to follow the retiring Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the end of September, the regiment was part of Fitzjames's Corps sent as reinforcements to the Prince de Soubise in Hesse. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was part of the Reserve of cavalry.

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.

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 July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the first line of the centre.

To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Ibrahim90
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
Neck stock black cravate
Coat grey white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel, 4 white buttonholes on both sides and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar grey white
Shoulder straps red fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels red, each with 6 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs small red Prussian cuffs, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red fastened with a pewter button
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin fastened with hooks and eyes (probably worn with a grey white overcoat)
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat grey white lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather
Waistbelt buff leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth
Saddlecloth lace - Source: PMPdeL
blue bordered with the regimental lace (white woollen braid with blue chain link stitches)
Housings blue bordered with the regimental lace (white woollen braid with blue chain link stitches)
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.

Evolution of the uniform during the war

Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.

Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:

  • a white and blue cockade on the tricorne
  • coat, cuffs and turnbacks edged with the regimental braid (white woollen braid with blue chain link stitches)
  • no white buttonholes
  • grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid (white woollen braid with blue chain link stitches)
  • only 3 buttons on each cuff and on each pocket
  • grey white breeches

Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:

  • a white cockade on the tricorne
  • grey white shoulder strap
  • only 3 buttons on each cuff
  • red breeches
  • red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a red braid

NCOs

no information found

Officers

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

  • no shoulder strap
  • no turnbacks
  • no lace on the coat and waistcoat
  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs

Musicians

no information available yet

Standards (in 1753)

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): crimson field embroidered and fringed in gold and silver;

  • obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a golden scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”;
  • reverse: centre device consisting of a pomegranate tree in bloom surmounted by the motto “Floret & ornat”

References

The 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, p. 342

Other sources

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

Lienhart, Docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761

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

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.