Origin and History
The regiment was raised on October 4, 1676 at the expense of the States of Languedoc for the protection of the coasts of the region.
During the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment served on the Rhine.
During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment initially served in Bavaria in 1742. In 1743, it was attached to the army defending Alsace and Lorraine. From 1744 to 1746, it served on the Var River in Provence. In 1747, it was transferred to Strasbourg. In 1748, it was at Huningue in Alsace.
In 1749, the regiment was stationed at Montbrison; in 1750, at Auch; in 1751, at Belfort; in 1752, at Cahors; in 1753, at Montauban; in 1754, at Phalsbourg; and in 1755, at the camp of Valence.
By 1756, the regiment counted 4 squadrons and ranked 16th.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of :
- from November 29, 1748: Comte de Barrin de La Galissonnière
- from December 1, 1762 until 1777: Armand-Hilaire, Comte de Machaut d'Arnouville
In 1787, the regiment was transformed into the “Chasseurs du Languedoc”, taking the 6th rank of this arm.
Service during the War
In 1756, at the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed at Agen.
In 1757, the regiment was stationed at Avranches for the protection of the Coasts of Normandy. By August 1, it was stationed at Saint-Lô in Lower Normandy.
In 1759, the regiment was stationed at Rennes for the protection of the Coasts of Britanny.
In 1760, the regiment was sent to Germany where it served for the two last campaigns of the war.
By June 1761, the regiment formed part of the Army of the Lower-Rhine, which was commanded by the Prince de Soubise. On July 16, it was at the Battle of Vellinghausen, where it formed part of the corps of the Prince de Condé. By July 25, it was attached to De Muy's Corps, which was sent to reinforce the Army of the Upper-Rhine. On October 9, the regiment fought in an engagement between Halle and Hameln.
In March 1762, the regiment was allocated to the Army of the Upper-Rhine. By June 21, it was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps. By July 12, the regiment was stationed in Deiderode. On November 20, when Louis XV issued his instructions regarding the French armies serving in Germany, the regiment was among the units chosen to remain in Germany until the final evacuation.
|Headgear||red fatigue cap with a red turn-up edged with a braid made of alternating blue and white squares|
or 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 white button
|Neck stock||black cravate|
|Coat||blue lined blue with white buttons and white laced buttonholes arranged 2 by 2 down to the pocket and a white button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||blue with white buttons on one side and white laced buttonholes on both sides (red lapels from 1757)|
N.B.: the fatigue cap was supposed to be worn only for the king's review, for foraging or when the regiment's chief ordered to wear it. In fact, dragoons often wore their fatigue cap during campaigns.
Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet, a pistol and a sabre. Carabiniers were armed with a rifle instead of a musket.
The Etrennes Militaires of 1758 mention a blue saddle cloth bordered with a white braid.
Evolution of the uniform during the war
Throughout the war the French dragoon uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary sources for the uniform at the start of the conflict are the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and the Etrennes Militaires of 1758. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.
Raspe's publication illustrating the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:
- a black bearskin with a red bag and a red tassel for troopers
- no laced buttonholes on the coat, pocket flaps, cuffs and waistcoat
- black cavalry boots
Raspe's publication illustrating the uniform towards the end of 1761 shows a uniform very similar to the one depicted by the various états militaires, the only noticeable differences being:
- a white cockade at the tricrone
- no buttons nor lace on the cuffs
- black cavalry boots
In December 1762, a regulation introduced a brand new green uniform with white as the distinctive colour.
The uniforms of the officers were similar to those of the troopers with the following differences:
- the coat was made of Elbeuf woollen cloth (or of a woollen cloth of identical quality)
- linings were made of woollen cloth as well
- no braids on the coat or waistcoat but only silver buttonholes with silver plated wooden buttons
- Raspe publication illustrates, at the end of 1760, a plain blue waistcoat with red lapels without edging or laced buttonholes
- Raspe publication illustrates, at the end of 1761, a coat similar to our description
- both Raspe publications show red breeches
- saddle cloth and housings bordered with a silver braid (5.41 cm wide for captains and 4.06 cm wide for lieutenants)
- standard cavalry officer sword (gilt copper hilt, 83.92 cm long)
Officers were also armed with a musket and a bayonet and carried a cartridge pouch containing 6 cartridges. This musket was shorter than the muskets carried by troopers.
The maréchaux-des-logis and sergeants had similar uniforms made of Romorantin woolen cloth. Their coats and waistcoats had no silver buttonholes. They carried sabres like the maréchaux-des-logis of the cavalry regiments. Their saddle-clothes and housings were bordered with a 2.7 cm wide silver braid.
Drummers wore a coat similar to the one worn by the musicians of the cavalry. Musicians were always shaved and had no moustache. They were usually mounted on grey horses.
Exceptionally the drummers of this unit, even though it was not a royal regiment, wore a blue coat heavily laced with braids at the king's livery alternating with silver braids.
Regimental guidons (4 gros de Tour linen swallow-tailed guidons) fringed in gold and silver:
- obverse: blue field sown with golden fleurs de lys; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a red scroll lined blue bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”
- reverse: yellow field; centre device consisting of the arms of Languedoc (gules (red), gold cross pommee, surrounded by silver laurels, gold crowned)
This article is mostly a translation Jean-Louis Vial's article “Languedoc Dragons” published on his website Nec Pluribus Impar. The article also 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. 436-437
Funcken, Liliane and 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
Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1762
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
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.