Volontaires Liégeois

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Volontaires Liégeois

Origin and History

On August 15 1758, an ordonnance was issued to reduce the strength of the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince, the same ordonnance created a new unit of “Volontaires Liégeois” under the command of M. de Hallet. This unit must not be confused with an older unit who was once designated by this name before becoming Raugrave Cavalerie.

By August 1758, the unit consisted of:

  • a staff
    • Colonel M. de Hallet
    • Lieutenant-colonel M. d'Iturbie de Larre
    • Major M. Heeswick
    • 1 aide-major of the cavalry
    • 1 aide-major of the infantry
    • 1 chaplain
    • 1 surgeon
  • 4 cavalry companies, each of 54 men:
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 cornet
    • 2 maréchaux des logis
    • 4 brigadiers
    • 45 troopers
    • 1 trumpeters
  • 4 fusilier companies, each of 100 men
    • 1 captain
    • 1 second captain
    • 1 first lieutenant
    • 1 secons lieutenant-colonel
    • 1 sub-lieutenant
    • 4sergeants
    • 1 quartermaster
    • 1 armourer
    • 6 corporals
    • 6 ansepessades
    • 10 grenadiers
    • 70 fusiliers
    • 2 drummers

A converged grenadier company, counting 40 men, was formed from the 10 grenadiers of each infantry company.

In a letter to the minister, Hallet insisted to demonstrate the economy that he planned to realise compared to the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince, wrting:

“...the kettle-drummer is suppressed as weel as the 2 cadets. The cannon, colours and standards are also suppressed so that the whole troop would be entirely occupied by its manoeuvres at war and could move more nimbly in urgent expeditions.”

To thank the minister, Hallet asked for the authorisation to name his unit “Volontaires Liégeois de Belle Isle”. The marshal undoubtedly worried not to offend a prince of the blood did not follow up with this proposition.

During the Seven Years' War, the unit was under the command of :

  • since August 15 1758: M. de Hallet

The unit existed very briefly, being disbanded on November 22 1759. Its troops were incorporated into other light troops units: Volontaires de Flandre, Volontaires du Hainaut, Volontaires du Dauphiné, and Volontaires d'Austrasie.

Service during the War

On March 13 1759, upon Broglie's request, d'Armentières sent a corps (1,400 foot and 1,200 horse, including the Volontaires de Hallet) under the command of d'Auvet. This corps took post at Hachenburg with detachments at Siegen. By May 10, the unit was part of the corps under the command of d'Auvet and de Ségur who had taken position near Deutz on the right bank of the Rhine. From June, the unit (estimated at 636 men) took part in the French offensive in West Germany. On July 15, it occupied the village of Hille near Minden along with the Volontaires du Hainaut. On August 1, the regiment took part in the battle of Minden where it was deployed in the duc d'Havré's corps in an advanced post at Eichhorst to the left, opposing Hille. On August 17, during the Allied counter-offensive in West Germany, the unit was occupying an advanced positions in front of Naumburg with the Volontaires de Flandres when they were forced to retire into the woods towards Fritzlar by the advance of an Allied corps under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. By August 31, the unit was attached to Chabot's corps of light troops. On September 20, the regiment formed part of a force who took position on the heights of Wetzlar to prevent the Allies from passing the Lahn.

Uniform

Infantry

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Richard Couture adapted from a template by Jean-Louis Vial
Uniform Details as per
Etat Militaire of 1759

completed where necessary as per Pétard
Headgear
Fusilier black tricorne laced white with a white cockade
Grenadier bearskin
Neckstock black
Coat red lined red with pewter buttons on the right side under the lapel
Collar ventre de biche (chamois)
Shoulder Straps no information available
Lapels ventre de biche (chamois) with 6 pewter buttons and 6 white laced buttonholes
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs ventre de biche (chamois) with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white laced buttonholes
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat ventre de biche (chamois) with pewter buttons on the right side
Breeches ventre de biche (chamois)
Gaiters black or white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt no information available
Waistbelt black
Cartridge Box no information available
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black with brass fittings


Armaments consisted of a musket a bayonet and a short sabre.

Cavalry

Uniform Details as per
the Etat Militaire of 1759

completed when necessary as per Pétard
Headgear crested brass helmet with a red turban; with 2 brass rosettes; white aigrette
Neckstock black cravate
Coat red lined red with pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar ventre de biche (chamois)
Shoulder straps no information available
Lapels ventre de biche (chamois) with 6 pewter buttons and 6 white laced buttonholes
Pockets horizontal pockets with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs ventre de biche (chamois), each with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white laced buttonholes
Turnbacks red
Gloves buff
Waistcoat ventre de biche (chamois) with pewter buttons on the right side
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt no information available
Waistbelt black
Cartridge Pouch no information available
Scabbard black leather with copper fittings
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth no information available
Housings no information available


Cavalrymen were armed with a carbine (1 for 2 troopers), 2 pistols and a long sabre.

Trropers and officers also carried a buff leather paletot with small red lapels and red cuffs; a high collar, and iron segmented arm protectors..

Officers

no information available

NCOs

no information available

Musicians

no information available

Colours

The unit carried no colours.

References

This article is mostly a translation from a document contributed by Jean-Louis Vial.

Other sources

Etat Militaire de France, 1759

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

Sapin-Lignieres, M.; Les Troupes légères de l'Ancien Régime. Les corsaires du roy de l'armée de terre. Etudes d'uniformes et ill. M. Pétard. Saint-Julien-du-Sault, Presses Saltusiennes, 1979

Taccoli, Alfonso; Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760

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