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Origin and History
The regiment could trace its origin to a band raised by the Duc d'Épernon in 1615. On July 7, 1621, this band was formed into a regular regiment under the Baron de Castelbayard and took part in the siege of La Rochelle. In 1622, it was at the siege of Royan. The regiment was disbanded in November 1622 after the Peace of Montpellier.
In 1623, the Duc d'Épernon obtained the authorisation to raise two infantry regiments and a company of gendarme at his own expense. The present regiment then assumed garrison duty in Bergerac.
On January 17, 1625, the regiment was incorporated into the Royal Army and served in the islands of Aunis before being disbanded on May 26, 1626.
On June 22, 1627, the regiment was definitively re-established for the siege of La Rochelle where it assumed garrison duty after the capture of the place.
In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment joined the “Army of Savoie”. In August, a detachment of 400 men entrenched themselves in Rusignano near Casale. In 1630, it was besieged by the famous Spinola. They resisted for 14 days under a rain of 1,500 cannonballs. On May 14, this detachment capitulated with the honours of war and returned to France by way of Finale. Its officers were allowed to join the rest of the regiment in Casale. Spinola then undertook the siege of Casale, which was interrupted by the Treaty of Ratisbon. After the siege, Spinola declared: “Give me 50,000 men as valiant and as disciplined and I'll make myself master of Europe”.
In 1631, the regiment campaigned in Lorraine. In 1632, it was at the capture of Moyenvic, Bar-le-Duc, Saint-Mihiel and Trier and took its winter-quarters on the Moselle. In 1633, it took part in the capture of Nancy, where it then assumed garrison duty until November 1634. It then joined the small army assembling at Ramberweiler under the command of the Duc de Rohan.
In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment initially operated in Alsace, fighting at Ottmersheim and storming Ruffach. In March of the same year, it was ordered to march to the Valteline by way of Basel and Zurich, arriving at Chiavenne on April 17. It was charged to guard the passes of Luvigno, Furno, Alpezel and Pedenos, taking part in the combats of Federia and Mazzo. Its colonel, the Baron de Montaussier, was killed during the assault on Bormio. It then fought in the combats of Ferravalle and Morbegno. In 1636, the regiment took part in the capture of the Francesca and then went to the Duchy of Milan, taking its winter-quarters in the Gex country. In 1637, it campaigned in Franche-Comté, taking part in the capture of Château-Châlons and Saint-Laurent-de-la-Roche, and in the siege of Bletterans. In 1638, it campaigned in Upper-Alsace, taking part in the siege of Breisach and in the combat of Cernay. In 1639, it spent the year in Alsace. In 1640, it campaigned in Germany where it took part in the capture of Engen, In 1641, the regiment joined a Swedish army and fought in the Battle of Weissenfels, in the Battle of Wolfenbüttel and in the relief of Göttingen. In 1642, it contributed to the capture of Ordingen and fought in the Battle of Kampen. In 1643, it was part of the corps covering the siege of Thionville and then participated in the siege of Rothweil and in the Battle of Dutlingen. In 1644, it fought in the Battle of Freiburg. In 1645, it was at the siege of Rothemburg and fought in the Battle of Nordlingen. In 1646 and 1647, it continued to serve on the Rhine. In September 1647, it returned to France and took part in the attack on Montmédy. In 1648, the regiment, counting only 400 men, returned to Germany where it took part in the combat of Zusmarhausen and in the capture of Heidenheim.
In 1649 during the Fronde (1648-1653), when Turenne sided against the Court, the regiment went to Flanders where it took part in the passage of the Scheldt. In 1650, it contributed to the defence of Mouzon. After the capitulation of the place in November, the regiment went to Donchéry and then took part in the victorious Battle of Rhétel and in the storming of Bar-le-Duc. In 1651, it continued to serve in Lorraine, distinguishing itself in the siege of Chasté. At the end of the year, it was sent to Angoumois and Saintonge. In 1652, the regiment took part in the siege of the Castle of Ambleville, near Ségonzac, in the siege and capture of Barbesieux, in the siege and capture of Saintes, in the sieges of Talmont and Taillebourg, and in the combat of Montançay. A detachment was then left in Angoulême while the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Marennes. In 1653, the regiment defended Barbesieux and took part in the blockade of Bordeaux, in the siege of Bourg and in the capture of Libourne.
In 1655, the regiment rallied the Grand Army of Flanders and took part in the siege of Condé. In 1656, it was at the siege of Valenciennes; and in 1658, at the capture of Gravelines, Menin, Ypres and Oudenarde.
In 1660, after the signature of peace, the regiment garrisoned Menin which it evacuated when the place was given back to Spain. The regiment, reduced to four companies, took its quarters in Picardie. In 1662, it contributed two companies to the garrison of Dunkerque. In January 1666, it was at the camp of Croissy near Amiens and, in March of the same year, at the camp of Monchy near Compiègne.
In September 1670, the regiment contributed to the occupation of the places of Lorraine.
At the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), in 1672, the regiment was attached to the Army of the King and took part in the capture of Wesel and Emmerich, in the passage of the Rhine and in the siege of Duisburg. It took its winter-quarters in the Electorate of Brandenburg. In 1673, the regiment took part in the capture of Unna, Kamen, Altena, Soest, Xoëster and Bilfelden and took its winter-quarters in Burgundy. In 1674, it campaigned in Franche-Comté, brigaded with Royal Infanterie, distinguishing itself in the siege of Besançon where it lost 15 officers and more than 200 soldiers, and taking part in the siege of Dôle. The regiment was then redirected to the Army of Roussillon where it took part in the combat of Morillas. In 1675, the regiment went to Toulon where it embarked for Messina, revolted against Spain. Upon arrival, it was thrown into Messina and later occupied Agosta. In 1676, it drove back the enemy near Messina and then took part in the siege of Taormina, repulsing a Spanish relief corps. In April 1678, the regiment returned to France.
By 1683, the regiment garrisoned Saarbrück. In 1687, it became the property of the Duc de Crussol.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment joined the Army of the Moselle, entering into Mainz at the end of the campaign. In 1689, the regiment distinguished itself in the defence of Mainz. In 1690 and 1691, it continued to serve with the Army of Germany. In 1692, it was attached to Bouffler's Corps who advanced on the Meuse during the siege of Namur. The regiment then fought in the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, it took part in the Battle of Landen, where its colonel was killed, and in the siege of Charleroi. It then became the property of Jean-Charles d'Uzès, Duc de Crussol. From 1694 to 1697, the regiment alternatively served with the Army of Flanders and with the Army of the Moselle, without participating in any major action.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), the regiment was attached to the corps who occupied the places of the Spanish Netherlands in the name of Philip V. In 1702, it joined the army assembling on the Rhine and took part in the Battle of Friedlingen. In December, the regiment became the property of the Marquis d'Antin. In 1703, it returned to Flanders. In December, it became the property of Louis de Pardaillan, Marquis de Gondrin. In 1704 and 1705, it was attached to the Army of Flanders. In 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies and in the defence of Menin; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710 and 1711, the regiment campaigned in Flanders once more. In 1712, it took part in the sieges of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. In 1713, it served with the Army of the Rhine and took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.
After the Treaty of Rastadt, the regiment was completed by the incorporation of soldiers from the disbanded Tavannes Infanterie, Castelet Infanterie and Dampierre Infanterie. These incorporations were made according to orders issued on January 21 and March 20, 1714.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Germany between 1734 and 1736.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Flanders. In 1743, it went to Dunkerque to join the expedition to Scotland. Between 1744 and 1748, it served in Flanders.
The regiment counted two battalions.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 17th and was under the command of:
- from July 15, 1755: Jean-Charles de Nettancourt, Marquis de Vaubécourt
- from December 1, 1762 to January 3, 1770: Comte de Jumilhac
When the French Army was reorganised on December 10, 1762, the regiment was increased to 4 battalions by incorporating Lorraine Infanterie. The regiment then took the name of the Province of Aunis.
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was supposed to be part of a corps destined to assist the Austrian Army.
In May 1757, a corps under Chevert left Neuss to join the Army of the Lower Rhine in Breda. This corps consisted of Vaubécourt Infanterie and Condé Infanterie and of Rochefoucauld-Langeac Cavalerie. At the end of June, the regiment was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées's main corps for the planned invasion of Hanover. On July 1, always under Chevert, a corps consisting of Picardie Infanterie (4 bns), Vaubécourt Infanterie (2 bns), Condé Infanterie (2 bns), one regiment of Grenadiers Royaux (2 bns), the Carabiniers and 20 guns left Bielefeld. On July 2, they arrived at Hervorden from where they set off for Hoya on July 8. A few days later, on July 26, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was part of the centre under the Marquis de Contades. After the victory, the regiment encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2. It then participated in the conquest of Hanover and in the capture of Minden and Hanover. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army at Osterode and Harzberg. On December 25, along with Aquitaine Infanterie and La Marine Infanterie, it forced the passage of the Aller at the bridge of Alten-Zell and occupied the town of Celle (Zell).
In April 1758, when Clermont redeployed the French army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in second line at Euskirchen. 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 then remained in this camp until June 12 and was placed in the centre of the second line. On June 12, it took part in the engagement of Alpen near the Abbey of Kamp. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the second line under Harvé. 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 up the Allies. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the second line.
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.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Sankt-Goar, still in the first line. By May 23, it was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 31, during the Battle of Warburg, the regiment was attached to the Corps of the Maréchal-de-Camp de la Morlière posted at Welda, 6 km to the south of Warburg in support of de Muy. On October 4, M. de Maupéou's Corps (including this regiment) left for the Lower Rhine.
At the beginning of February 1761, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Lower Rhine and was posted in the area of Kleve under Lieutenant-General d'Auvet. The same month it was assigned to de Muy's Corps which was sent to reinforce Broglie's Army. By June, the regiment had rejoined the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 4, Soubise sent the Marquis de Vogüé forward with a strong vanguard and supported him with the Vaubécourt and Briqueville infantry brigades. These brigades attacked an Allied outpost at Schafhausen. On July 16, the regiment was at the Battle of Vellinghausen. On September 2, it took part in the attack on Osterode and the entrenchments of the Woods of Hartz. On September 25, it participated in the capture of the Castle of Schwartzfeld.
By March 1762, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine under Soubise. Bu June 21, it formed part of the corps of Prince Xavier. By July 12, the regiment was posted at Deiderode. On September 21, it took part in the Combat of Amöneburg. At the end of this campaign, when the French army evacuated Germany, the regiment was directed on Landau.
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
N.B.: Surprisingly, in 1760, Taccoli illustrates a totally different uniform: black tricorne laced silver, pewter buttons, blue coat with blue cuffs, red lapels and red turnbacks, red waistcoat, blue breeches.
Furthermore, in 1761, Raspe's publication shows a dark burgundy uniform with red lapels and a red collar. Finally, in 1762, Raspe illustrates a white uniform with a black collar, black cuffs, black lapels; a scarlet red waistcoat and white breeches...
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 with aurore (light orange) and green opposed cantons.
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 4, pp. 294-317
Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website which has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882
Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891
Recueil de toutes les Troupes qui forment les Armées françoises. Dessiné et illuminé d'après nature. À Nuremberg. chez Gabriel Nicol. Raspe
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
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.