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Origin and History
The unit was raised under the name of "Raugrave" on September 27, 1743 as a light cavalry regiment. By a decree dated November 20, 1756, it was renamed "Volontaires Liégeois". As of May 16, 1758, it consisted of only 100 men in 4 companies. A decree dated February 1 1758, transferred this mounted unit to the French line cavalry under the name of "Raugrave Cavalerie" and increased the newly formed regiment to 300 men in 2 squadrons. The same decree authorised the creation of a new light troops units of 4 fusilier companies and 4 dragoon companies to replace the unit just transferred to the line cavalry.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- since 1743 until 1762: Comte de Raugrave
N.B.: from May 1761 M. de Ratzamhausen became mestre de camp commandant (a newly created function, previously there was only a lieutenant-colonel under the command of the Comte de Raugrave). The function was probably created as early as 1760, when the Comte de Raugrave was promoted to lieutenant-general. From this date the Comte de Raugrave probably assumed a strictly nominal command while effective command was delegated to M. de Ratzamhausen.
The regiment was disbanded at the end of the Seven Years' War.
Service during the War
Somewhere between August 23 and September 6, 1757, the regiment joined the Army of Saxony, led by the Prince de Soubise, in the area of Erfurt and Eisenach. On September 27, it was brigaded with Poly Saint-Thiébault Cavalerie under M. de Saint-Martin in the first line of the left wing of the Franco-Imperial army. On November 5, the regiment took part in the Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Bourbon Cavalerie and Beauvilliers Cavalerie. This brigade was placed in the first line of the left wing. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the area of Bad Vilbel in Hessen.
At the end of January 1758, the regiment was assigned to the army that Louis XV planned to send to Bohemia for joint operations with the Austrian Army. However, when the Allies launched their surprise winter offensive, the regiment had to retreat towards Düsseldorf and Deutz with the bulk of Broglie's army. It passed the Rhine on April 3 and 4. In the first days of June, as a French army prepared for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of a detachment under the command of the Duc de Broglie who followed up Ysenburg during his retreat. By July, it had joined Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On July 23, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was initially placed in the second line. It fought in the cavalry combats in the plain adjoining the Ellenbach woods where the French cavalry was finally broken. It then rallied and reinforced the threatened French left wing. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed on the left wing of the second line. It was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle.
On April 13, 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the third line of the left wing under the command of the Baron de Dyherrn. By May 10, the unit was part of Beaupréau's Corps who had taken position in Wetterau Country near Limburg. In June, during the offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades and was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the cavalry centre under the command of du Mesnil.
By May 23, 1760, the regiment protected the lines of communication of Broglie's Army. On September 7, two companies of the regiment were surprised and captured (with their standards) in Butzbach by Scheiter Dragoons.
To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1762
|Headgear||black bearskin with a blue bag and a yellow tassel|
|Neck stock||black cravate|
|Coat||royal blue lined yellow with 4 pewter buttons and 4 white buttonholes under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
|Waistcoat||yellow bordered blue with small blue lapels and blue epaulettes|
|Breeches||buff leather with white knee covers|
|Greatcoat||royal blue lined yellow with crimson and light orange agréments|
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 during the conflict is the Etat Militaire of 1760. 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:
- only 2 buttons and 2 white buttonholes on each cuff
- royal blue waistcoat with white buttons
- royal blue breeches
Raspe also illustrates a trooper with a plain buff coat lined yellow with yellow cuffs and turnbacks; and buff breeches. Maybe a battle dress.
no information available yet
no information available yet
Standards (in 1760)
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): crimson 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”.
The 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, p. 224-225
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mercure de France, dédié au Roi – Avril 1761, Vol. 1, Paris, p. 217
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.