Origin and History
The regiment was raised on December 4, 1674 by the Comte de Grignan, lieutenant-general in Provence to give assistance to Messina against Spain. It initially counted 21 companies.
From 1676 to 1677, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment campaigned in Sicily. In 1678, it was transferred to Catalonia before returning to Provence.
In 1681, the regiment contributed to the occupation of Casale.
On June 15, 1684, the regiment took the name of the Province of Provence.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was sent to the Netherlands where it garrisoned Nuyts. In 1689, it took part in the defence of Bonn. In 1690, the regiment was increased to two battalions and fought in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, it received a third battalion and participated in the siege of Mons and in the combat of Leuze. In 1692, it took part 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 1695, in the siege of Courtrai, in the combat of Tongres and in the bombardment of Bruxelles; and in 1697, in the siege of Ath.
In 1698, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion.
On February 1, 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was increased to two battalions. In 1701, the regiment served in Flanders. In 1702, it was transferred to Germany. In 1703, the first battalion served at the sieges of Alt-Breisach and Landau; while the second battalion took part in the Siege of Kehl, in the attack of the Lines of Stollhofen, in the assault of the entrenchments in the Homberg Valley, in the Combat of Munderkirchen, in the Battle of Höchstädt and in the reduction of Kempten and Augsburg. In 1704, the regiment fought in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim where its first battalion became prisoners of war. In 1705, the second battalion remained in the Lines of the Lauter. In 1706, the second battalion took part in the Battle of Ramillies. In 1707, the prisoners belonging to the first battalion were exchanged and rejoined the second battalion. The reunited regiment then served in Flanders. In 1708, the regiment took part in the Battle of Oudenarde and in expeditions in Flanders; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet; and in 1710, in the defence of Aire. In July 1711, the regiment was transferred to the Alps. In 1713, it was transferred to the Rhine where it took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg. In 1714, the regiment was sent to Catalonia where it took part in the siege and capture of Barcelona.
In 1715, the second battalion of the regiment was disbanded.
In 1727, the regiment took part in the training camp at Stenay.
In 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment was at the camp of Metz and then took part in the occupation of the Duchy of Lorraine. In 1734, it served in the capture of Trier and Trarbach, in the attack of the Lines of Etlingen and in the siege of Philippsburg. In 1735, it fought in the Combat of Klausen.
In 1736, the regiment was stationed in Longwy.
In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment initially served in the Army of the Meuse. In 1742, it garrisoned Paderborn before being sent to Bohemia. In 1743, it took part in the relief of Eger (present-day Cheb). It then retreated towards France were it was placed in garrison in Landau. In 1744, the regiment was transferred to Italy where it took part in the attack on the entrenchments of Montalban and Villefranche, in the capture of Nice, Villefranche and Montalban, in the passage of the Alps through the Stura Valley, in the attack of the entrenchments of Pierrelongue and in the capture of Château-Dauphin. In 1745, it was at the sieges of Acqui, Serravalle, Tortona, Piacenza, Pavia, Alesandria, Valenza, Asti and Casale and in the Combat of Rivaronne. In 1746, it took part in the relief of Valenza, in the siege of Acqui, and in the battles of Piacenza and Rottofreddo. The same year, the regiment was re-established at two battalions. In 1747, it participated in the recapture of the Sainte-Marguerite Islands and in the reduction of Nice, Montalban, Villefranche and Vintimiglia, and in the relief of Vintimiglia.
In December 1748, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion but, on March 10, 1749, it incorporated the disbanded Ponthieu Infanterie as its second battalion.
In 1753, the regiment took part in the camp of the Sambre.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 61st and was under the command of:
- from January 1, 1748: Jacques-Hyacinthe, Comte de Saarsfeld
- from February 10, 1759 to June 5, 1763: Charles-François, Marquis de Grave
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was at the camp of Dunkerque.
In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine at the camp of Stockheim. From April 27 to June 17, the regiment was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On July 26, during the invasion of Hanover, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it supported the leading columns of the left wing. After the victory, it participated in the invasion of Hanover. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal Duc de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt, in Prussian territory, on September 28. The regiment was placed in the centre of the first line. A few weeks later, on October 7, the regiment left this camp, under the Duc de Broglie, to reinforce the army of the Prince de Soubise. On November 5, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Poitou Infanterie in the Reserve under Broglie. During this battle, it heavily suffered and its colonel, the Comte de Saarsfeld was seriously wounded; Lieutenant-Colonel du Rivier was taken prisoner; Major d'Ablancourt was wounded; Captain Laffite and Lieutenants Couverson, Chatillon and Verseuil were killed; Captains Thoisy, Thiaumont, Varignon, d'Esparbès de Lussan, Pavan, d'Ivory, Tesson, Dutertre and Lieutenants Clapiers de Capiane , Bourcia and Kerver were wounded. After this crushing defeat, the regiment retreated to the Rhine. At the end of the year, it took up its winter-quarters in Creuzburg and Treffurt in Hessen.
In April 1758, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Cologne. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by an Allied army under Ferdinand of Brunswick on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp until June 12 and was placed in the centre of the first line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed in the centre of the first line under Guerchy but it was not engaged. After the battle, it retired towards Königsdorf along with Du Roi Infanterie. In mid-August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine, now under Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied Army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the first line. On September 28, it took part in the attack on the entrenched post of Hasselen.
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. On June 5, a battalion of the regiment which was posted at Erbefeld along with the Légion Royale was attacked by surprise by the light troops of the Hereditary Prince, who had passed the Ruhr. The regiment was dislodged, losing several men killed or wounded and 92 men taken prisoners. It then retired in good order to Medmann and then to Düsseldorf. By October 25, still attached to d'Armentières's Corps, the regiment was at the main camp at Bochum. By November 8, it was part of the garrison of Münster when the Allies undertook the Siege of Münster. On November 19, it made a sortie along with Touraine Infanterie against the Allied positions at Albachten.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken up its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army. By mid-March, the regiment was billeted in Neuwied, still in the first line. By May 23, it was part of the first line of the infantry centre of Broglie's Army. It spent most of the campaign at Göttingen. By December 30, the regiment had taken up its winter-quarters in Sandershausen.
In February and March 1761, the regiment took part in the defence of Kassel. By mid-April, it was posted in the region of Fulda and Schlitz. On July 16, it fought in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it distinguished itself but suffered heavy losses.
In March 1762, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine. On June 24, the regiment was at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. By July 12, it formed part of a corps under Prince Xavier, which was posted at Landwerhagen. From December 19, the entire French army still operating in Germany abandoned its cantonments and marched to Butzbach, converging on Frankfurt. The regiment was then directed on Landau.
In 1763, the regiment returned to France and was sent to Saint-Brieuc.
The following description has been verified against the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" and Taccoli's book published in 1760.
|Coat||grey-white with copper buttons down to the pocket on the right side
|Waistcoat||red with one row of copper buttons; horizontal pockets with copper buttons|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.
Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.
Ordonnance Colours: a white cross; first and fourth cantons red with a black lozenge and their second and third cantons black with a red lozenge. Ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1675 to 1780.
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain: Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 7, pp. 32-42
Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I, Musée de l'Armée, Paris
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.