Clermont Cavalerie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on July 8, 1667 as “Choiseul-Beaupré Cavalerie”, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667-68). It immediately took part in the campaign in Franche-Comté. On May 24, 1668, the regiment was disbanded with the exception of its mestre-de-camp company.

The regiment was re-established on August 9, 1671.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment was present at the capture of Orsoy, Rheinberg and Duisburg, and at the crossing of the Rhine. In 1673, it occupied the Electorate of Brandenburg. In 1674, it campaigned in Alsace and Baden, fighting in the battles of Sinsheim, Entzheim and Mulhouse. In 1675, it took part in the battles of Turckheim and Altenheim; in 1676, in the battle of Kochersberg; in 1677, in the siege of Freiburg; and in 1678, in the capture of Kehl and of the Castle of Lichtenberg.

In 1679, the regiment was encamped on the Sarre River. In 1681, it spent the year at the camp of Lower Alsace. In 1683, it was at the camp of the Saône.

On February 18, 1684, the regiment became the property of Philippe d'Orléans, Duc de Chartres, later regent. Accordingly, it took the name of “Chartres Cavalerie” and occupied the 15thrank of seniority in the French cavalry.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment joined the Army of Flanders. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1692, in the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi.

In 1701, at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment campaigned in the Low Countries. In 1702, it was transferred to the Rhine. In 1703, it took part in the Siege of Landau and in the Combat of the Speyerbach. In 1704, it campaigned in Savoie before being transferred to Italy, where it took part in the Siege of Vercelli. In 1706, it fought in the Battle of Castiglione. In 1707, the regiment campaigned in the Alps. In 1708, it returned to Flanders. In 1712, it was at the recapture of Douai and Le Quesnoy. In 1713, it was transferred to the Rhine, where it was present at the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

On August 15, 1714, the remnants of “Simiane Cavalerie” were incorporated into the regiment.

In 1719, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718-20), the regiment joined the army in Spain and took part in the reduction of Fuenterrabia and San Sebastian.

On January 5, 1724, at the death of the regent, the regiment was given to Louis de Bourbon-Condé, Comte de Clermont. It then took the title of “Clermont-Prince Cavalerie” and occupied the 22ndrank of seniority in the French cavalry.

In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment occupied Lorraine. In 1734, it took part in the Siege of Philippsburg; and in 1735, in the Battle of Clausen. At the end of the war, it was quartered in Limoges.

In 1741, at the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment occupied various places in Flanders. On June 27, 1743, it was at the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, it took part in the sieges of Menin, Ypres and Furnes. On May 11, 1745, it fought in the Battle of Fontenoy and took part in the capture of Tournai, Oudenarde, Termonde and Ath. In 1746, it was present at the sieges of the Citadel of Antwerp, of Mons, Charleroi and Namur and in the Battle of Rocoux. In 1747, it took part in the Battle of Lauffeld; and in 1748, in the Siege of Maastricht.

After the war, the regiment was stationed at Rouen in 1749, Pont-à-Mousson in 1750, Stenay in 1752, Sarrelouis in 1753, and Stenay once more in 1755.

N.B.: the regiment was often referred to as “Clermont Prince” to distinguish it from the Clermont-Tonnerre Cavalerie.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the Mestre de Camp was the Prince de Clermont while the successive Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment were:

  • from February 1, 1749: François Chevalier de Fumel
  • from February 10, 1759: Joseph Marquis de Fumel
  • from December 1, 1762 to August 15, 1763: Jacques d’Aygurande, Comte de Poligny

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1, 1761, the regiment ranked 28th.

Service during the War

In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was still stationed at Chaumont.

In 1757, the regiment was initially posted at Maubeuge and Avesnes. On April 21, it left these places to join the army in Germany. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the second line at Wunsdorf and Baringshausen.

In March 1758, during the Allied winter offensive in Western Germany led by Ferdinand of Brunswick, the regiment was part of the French garrison of Minden which was attacked by an Allied corps under General Kilmansegg. On March 15, the garrison of Minden surrendered without opposing any serious resistance. The regiment was later exchanged.

According to Susane, on August 1, 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden, but we find no trace of this unit in the French order of battle.

By May 23, 1760, the regiment was part of the left reserve of the first line of Duc de Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Saint-Germain. On July 10, the regiment probably took part in the Combat of Corbach.

By February 9, 1761, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Lower Rhine and was quartered in the area of Liège The regiment then returned to France, where it would serve on the coasts until the end of the war.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 – Copyright Kronoskaf
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 grey white (red from 1761) with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps grey white fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels red, each with 7 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks grey white (red from 1761) fastened with a pewter button
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
Breeches buff leather
Greatcoat grey white lined grey white (red from 1761)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather
Waistbelt buff leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear soft black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with a simple crimson woolen braid
Housings blue bordered with a simple crimson woolen braid
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 cockade on the tricorne
  • coat, lapels and turnbacks edged with a crimson braid
  • grey white waistcoat edged with a crimson braid and grey white breeches (maybe the dressed uniform)
  • only 3 buttons on each cuff

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

  • white cockade at the tricorne
  • grey white lapels, cuffs and turnbacks
  • 3 buttons on each cuff
  • red saddle cloth and housing bordered with a braid ornamented with white squares edged red

Officers

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

  • 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

n/a

Colours

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): red field, embroidered and fringed in gold

  • obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold
  • reverse: a small golden sun shining on the countryside surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto “Spes Altera Mertis ” in gold
Tentative Reconstruction
Regimental Standard - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 382-392
  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 357-358

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.