Vierzet Infanterie

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Origin and History

There is only scarce information about the first decades of existence of this regiment. Most of its records and its archive have been lost during the riot of 1789 in Bruges and later during the surprise attack on Namur.

On May 1 1756, Maria Theresa signed a contract with the French King Louis XV by which he promised to send an auxiliary corps of 24,000 men (later increased to 180,000) as support in the war against Prussia.

This infantry regiment was created on March 25 1757 as a new unit in the French Army. Its two battalions were raised in the Bishopric of Liège by the French Colonel Charles Albert Baron Vierzet. These two battalions were added to the 30,000 men strong auxiliary corps of the Prince de Soubise and marched to Saxony.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment proprietor was:

  • in the French service, the regiment ranked 120th and had no proprietor
  • in the Austrian service (the regiment was transferred to the Austrian service on November 25 1762):
    • from November 25 1762: Major-General Charles Albert Baron de Vierzet

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment effective commander was:

  • in the French service:
    • from March 25 1757 until November 25 1762: Charles Albert Baron de Vierzet
  • in the Austrian service:
    • from 1762: Baron Saint-Omer

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 58". It existed till 1918 as "I.R. Erzherzog Ludwig Salvator". .

Service during the War

By August 1 1757, the regiment was garrisoning Givet and Charlemont in Hainault.

In 1758, Sikora mentions the two battalions of the regiment as part of Broglie's Corps operating in Hessen. He also pretends that, on July 23, they were present at the Combat of Sandershausen. However, the French order of battle for this battle does not list this regiment.

On April 13 1759, according to Sikora, the regiment along with six other “German” battalions defended the village Bergen near Frankfurt/Main during the Battle of Bergen. However, once more, this is not supported by the French order of battle.

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 took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was attached to Broglie's vanguard under the Baron de Clausen, deployed in the wood to the left of Corbach at the beginning of the action. On October 2, Broglie sent M. d'Aubigny's detachment (including this regiment) from Stainville's Corps towards the Lower Rhine. On October 11, this detachment took position between Neuss and Meerbusch.

By February 1761, the regiment had taken up its winter-quarters in the region of Liège. It was then allocated to de Muy's Corps who marched on Hachenburg and reinforced the Maréchal de Broglie. On July 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was deployed in Bouillon<s Brigade in the second line of the centre of Soubise's Army of the Lower Rhine. On August 28, the first battalion of the regiment was attacked by the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick at Dorsten. The battalion opposed a strong resistance, fighting in the streets and on the town place. The Allies finally captured the place along with Soubise's bakery, taking I./Vierzet Infanterie prisoners along with its colonel and several piquets. In November, the regiment was part of the corps of M. de Langeron posted in the district of Wesel on the right bank of the Rhine from the Issel up to Rees. On October 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Clostercamp where it was deployed on the far right under the Maréchal-de-Camp Comte de Chabot.

By March 1762, the regiment formed part of the Prince de Condé's Army of the Lower Rhine. In November, it returned to France. On November 25, towards the end of the war, the regiment was removed from the French Army.

On January 26 1763, the disbanded regiment was taken in Imperial service. It was sent to Bruxelles and received new colours. The Baron de Vierzet was promoted to major-general and appointed proprietor of the regiment. The Baron Saint-Omer and Joseph Baron Bielke were promoted to lieutenant-colonel. The regiment was increased to 15 fusilier companies à 140 men and two grenadier companies à 100 men. The additional men were enlisted in the District of Liège.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Abrégé du Dictionnaire Militaire 1759
Etat Militaire 1758, 1760 and 1761

completed where necessary according to the illustration in the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757"
and Taccoli's illustration in "Teatro Militare dell' Europa" of 1760"
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Neck stock black
Coat white lined white with 4 yellow buttons under the right lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps white fastened with a small yellow button
Lapels short blue lapels not reaching the waist, each with 7 yellow buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 yellow buttons
Cuffs blue, each with 4 yellow buttons
Turnbacks white
Waistcoat white with white horizontal pockets, each with 4 yellow buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather with a black flap, grenadiers carried a small black cartridge box decorated with a brass grenade on their waistbelt
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Officers

Officers wore uniform quite similar to those of the privates with the following differences:

  • gold laced tricorne
  • silver gorget
  • no turnbacks
  • a wooden cane

Musicians

no information found

Colours

Coloenl colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance colours: a white cross; first and fourth cantons subdivided into blue and white rhombuses; second and third cantons red carrying a golden column on a pedestal.

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

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. 212
  • Sikora, J.: Geschichte des kais. königl. österreichischen 58ten Linien-Infanterie-Regiments, Lemberg 1847

Other sources

Anon.: Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, Vol. 1, ca. 1757

Funcken, Liliane et Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

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

Service Historique de l'armée de terre - Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757

Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part I, Vol. II, Madrid, 1760

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

'Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for additional information from Austrian sources