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Origin and History
This gentleman's regiment was raised on August 5 1652.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine in 1733 and 1734. In 1735, it was at Clausen.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Westphalia in 1741, then in Bavaria in 1743.
In 1756, the regiment ranked 35th and counted two squadrons. Curiously some contemporary writers still refer to the regiment by his former name of Saint-Aignan which was abandoned in 1742.
During the Seven Years' War, the successive colonels of the regiment were:
- since 1742: Duc de Beauvilliers
- from 1757 to December 1 1761: Comte de Beauvilliers
When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Commissaire général Cavalerie. However, effective incorporation took place only on April 1 1763 at Saint-Lô.
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées. From April 27 to June 17, it was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On November 5, the regiment was at the Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Bourbon Cavalerie and Volontaires Liégeois Cavalerie. This brigade was placed in the first line of the left wing. At the end of the year, the regiment took its winter-quarters in Geldern on the Lower Rhine, in the fourth line of the French army.
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 Lieutenant-General de 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. The brigade to which belonged the regiment was the only one to withstand the initial charge of the British cavalry, even breaking the 1st King's Dragoon Guards. However, the French brigade in its turn was driven back by the Royal Horse Guards.
To do: more details on the campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|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|
|Coat||grey white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons|
|Greatcoat||grey white lined red|
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:
- source not yet available
Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- grey white lapels
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- red saddle cloth and housings bordered with a red braid (most probably during the War of the Austrian Succession)
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- no turnbacks
- Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
- brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): aurore (light orange) field embroidered and fringed in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
This 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, pp. 323-324
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)
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757, Service Historique de l'armée de terre
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.