Origin and History
The regiment was probably raised on 1 October 1682 by the Marquis de Tallard. A free company, maybe of German origin, served as the kernel of the new regiment.
In 1683, the regiment took part in the sieges of Courtrai and Dixmude; and in 1684, in the siege of Luxembourg. In 1685, it was at the camp of the Saône.
On 26 September 1685, the regiment was disbanded with the exception of its mestre de camp company. In 1688, this company became the property of the Duc de Duras.
In December 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was re-established at its full strength. The same year, it took part in the siege of Philippsburg. It then campaigned in Germany and Flanders till the end of the war.
At the death of the Duc de Duras in 1697, the regiment became the property of his brother, Jean-Baptiste de Durfort, Duc de Duras.
In 1698, the regiment was at the camp of Compiègne.
In 1701 at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was in Upper Guelderland. In 1702, it took part in the engagement near Nijmegen, where it capture a Dutch standard. In 1703, it fought in the Battle of Ekeren. In 1704, it was attached to the Army of Brabant. In 1704, the regiment took part in a skirmish near Lichtenau; in 1705, in the attack of the Lines of the Lauter; in 1706, in the relief of Fort-Louis and in the capture of the Marquisat Island; in 1707, in the attack on the Lines of Stollhofen, in the capture of Pforzheim, Winhig, and Schorndorf, in the conquest of Schwäbisch Gmünd, in the combat of Seckingen, and in the capture of Laufen and Mannheim; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde; and in 1709, in the siege of Warneton and in the Battle of Malplaquet. From 1710, the regiment continued to serve in Flanders under the name of Villequier until the end of the war.
In 1723, the regiment became the property of the future Maréchal de La Mothe-Houdancourt.
In 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment was sent to Italy, where it took part in the sieges of Sabionetto and Bozzolo, and in the capture of Pizzighetone and of the Castle of Milan. In 1734, under the name of Brissac, it was present at the submission of Trezzo, Lecco and Fuentes, at the capture of Serravalle, Novara, Arona and Tortona, at the combat of Colorno and at the assault on Borgoforte. The same year (1734), it fought in the battles of San Pietro and Guastalla, where it distinguished itself. In 1735, it took part in the siege of Mirandola and then returned to France. On its arrival, it was transferred to the Rhine, where it fought in the Battle of Clausen.
On its return to France, the regiment was quartered in Hesdin and later in Landau.
In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment left Landau and marched to Pilsen in Bohemia. In 1742, it took part in the capture of Prague and Wodnian, in the relief of Fraüemberg, in the combat of Sahay, and in the defence of Prague, before retreating to France, where it garrisoned in Strasbourg. In 1744, now known as La Rochefoucauld-Langeac, the regiment was sent to Italy. It took part in all the sieges and, in 1746, fought in the battles of Piacenza and Rottofreddo. At the end of the year, it returned to Lyons in France. In 1747, it campaigned in the area of Valence in Provence.
In 1750, the regiment was stationed at Belfort; in 1751, at Vaucouleurs; in 1752, at Montbrison; in 1753, at Lyons; in 1754, at Charleville and Mézières and then at the camp of Richemont; and in 1755, in Vervins.
In 1756, the regiment counted two squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from February 20, 1743 to March 1, 1763: Jean-Joseph, Marquis de la Rochefoucauld (aka la Rochefoucauld-Langeac or la Rochefoucauld-Surgères)
When the French cavalry was reorganised on December 1, 1761, the regiment was amalgamated with Preyssac Cavalerie to form a new regiment: Royal-Champagne Cavalerie. Effective amalgamation seems to have taken place only on April 10, 1763 at Nantes
Service during the War
At the outbreak of the war, in 1756, the regiment was stationed at Phalsbourg.
At the beginning of 1757, the regiment was transferred to Landau. In May, a corps under Chevert left Neuss to join the Army of the Lower Rhine at Breda. This corps consisted of Vaubécourt Infanterie and Condé Infanterie and of La Rochefoucauld Cavalerie. From April 27 to June 17, the regiment was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the left wing. After the convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, now led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory, from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the right wing of the second line. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the second line of the French army in and around Voldemberg.
From March 30 to April 4, 1758, after the retreat of the French army towards the Rhine, the regiment was with the Army of the Comte de Clermont in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine, in the second line of the right wing. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Xanten. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by the Allied Army of 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 on the right wing of the first line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the first line, under Armentières. 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 the Marquis de Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the right wing of the first line.
On March 13, 1759, upon Broglie's request, d'Armentières sent him a corps (1,400 foot and 1,200 horse, including La Rochefoucauld Cavalerie) under the command of d'Auvet. This corps took post at Hachenburg with detachments at Siegen. By May 10, the regiment was part of the corps under the command of d'Auvet and de Ségur who had taken position near Deutz on the right bank of the Rhine. 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 right wing. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry centre under the command of the Duc de FitzJames. By August 15 during the French retreat, the regiment, who had suffered heavily at Minden, could only field a single squadron.
By May 23, 1760, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps which arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Montabaur and surroundings.
At the beginning of February 1761, the regiment was part of Broglie's Army and was posted in the area of Siegen. By June, it was part of the Army of the Lower Rhine. In the autumn, it returned to France where it was stationed on the coasts of Bretagne.
|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
|grey white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side in the small of the back
|buff leather jerkin with pewter buttons
|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:
- no collar
- coat, cuffs, lapels and turnbacks edged with the regimental braid (isabelle (coffee) woolen braid with black chain link stitches)
- grey white waistcoat edged with the regimental braid (isabelle (coffee) woolen braid with black chain link stitches)
- only 3 buttons on each cuff and on each pocket
Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757 (more probably around 1748):
- a white cockade on the tricorne
- only 3 buttons on each cuff
- yellow saddle cloth and housings bordered with a black braid
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- no shoulder strap
- 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
no information available yet
Standards (in 1753)
Regimental standards (4 silken standards): isabelle (coffee) field with a black border, 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:
- Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 129-138
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 337-338
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
Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.