Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

 

French Colonels and Colonels-in-Chief (1789): Foreign Infantry Regiments

By Stephen Millar

In 1789, 23 of the 107 infantry regiments in the service of King Louis XVI were recruited from outside France . There were eleven Swiss regiments, eight German regiments, three Irish regiments and one Liegeois regiment (from a city in modern-day Belgium ). Two ‘Italian’ regiments – Royal-Italien and Royal-Corse – had been disbanded by King Louis XVI in 1788.

Only the German, Irish and Liegeois regiments possessed a colonel-in-chief. The remaining 11 Swiss regiments had ‘field’ colonels.

Separate Swiss and Scottish companies were also attached to the households of members of the royal family:

a) the ‘Compagnie des Cent Gardes-Suisses’ (commanded by Louis-Hercule-Timoleon de Cosse, 9th duc de Brissac) and the ‘Compagnie Ecossoise’ (commanded by Jean-Paul-Francois de Noailles, duc d’Ayen)  were part of the Garde du Roi.

b) the ‘Compagnie des Suisses de Monsieur’ (commanded by Louis, prince de Saint-Mauris) was attached to the household of Louis-Stanislas-Xavier, comte de Provence.[1]

c) the ‘Compagnies des Suisses d’Artois’ (commanded by the vicomte de Monteil) was attached to the household of Charles-Philippe, comte d’Artois – who also held the rank of ‘Colonel-General des Suisses et Grisons’.

Eleven Swiss regiments (Numbers 65, 66, 67, 68, 71, 78, 87, 88, 98, 100, 103):

65. Regiment Suisse d’Ernst

Beat-Rodolphe d’Ernst (born 1722); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 65 from 1782; died 1818.

66. Regiment Suisse de Salis (-Samade[n])

Rodolphe-Gustave-Hubert de Salis-Samade[n] (born 1732); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 66 from 1785; died 1807.

67. Regiment Suisses de Sonnenberg

Antoine-Theorin de Sonnenberg; colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 67 from 1768.

68. Regiment Suisse de Castella

Lieutenant-General Rodolphe, comte de Castella (born Fribourg 21.11.1705); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 68 from 1756-1792; Inspector-General of Swiss Troops 1759-1762; died in Paris 14.05.1793.

71. Regiment Suisse de Vigier

Francois-Robert-Joseph-Guillaume Vigier de Steinbrugg (born 1730); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 71 from 1781; died 1794.

78. Regiment Suisse de Chateauvieux

Jacques-Andre Lullin, marquis Lullin de Chateauvieux (born 13.06.1728); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 78 from 1783-1792; Battle of Fontenoy 11.05.1745; died in Geneva 23.01.1816.

87. Regiment Suisse de Diesbach

Francois-Philippe-Nicolas-Ladislas de Diesbach, comte de Belle-Roche (born 05.10.1747); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 87 from 24.04.1785-1792; promoted to lieutenant-general 1816; died in Saint-Germain-en-Laye 10.03.1822.

88. Regiment Suisse de Courten

Lieutenant-General Antoine-Pancrace, comte de Courten (born 06.10.1720); entered French service 1743; colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 88 from 1766; died in Sierre 27.11.1789.

98. Regiment Suisse de Salis (-Grisons)

Baron de Salis-Marschlins (born 1731); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 98 from 1762; died 1815.

100. Regiment Suisse de Steiner

Hans-Jakob Steiner (born 1725); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 100 from 1782; died 1808.

103. Regiment Suisse de Reinach

Antoine, baron de Reinach-Hirtzbach (born 1741); colonel of Infantry Regiment Nr. 103 from 1786; died 1815.

Eight German regiments (Numbers 54, 63, 79, 91, 96, 99, 101, 102):

54. Regiment Allemand d’Alsace

Maximillian, comte de Rappolstein (born 27.05.1756); son of count-palatine Friedrich, herzog zu Zweibrucken-Birkenfeld; colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment 54 from 1782; Konig von Bayern from 1806; died 13.10.1825.

63. Regiment Allemand de Salm-Salm

Konstantin-Alexander-Josef , prinz zu Salm-Salm (born 22.11.1762); colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 63 from 13.03.1783; died 25.02.1828.

79. Regiment Allemand de La Marck

Auguste-Marie, prince d’Arenberg [known as the ‘comte de La Marck’] (born 30.08.1753); brother of Louis-Engelbert, 3rd duke of Arenberg; colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 79; died 26.09.1833.

91. Regiment Allemand de Royal Suedois

Hans-Axel, comte de Fersen (born 04.09.1755) colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 91 from 1785; killed Stockholm 10.06.1810. Ferson was a favourite courtier of Queen Marie-Antoinette of France .

96. Regiment Allemand de Royal Hesse-Darmstadt

Ludwig, Landgraf zu Hesse-Darmstadt (born 15.01.1719); colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 96 from 15.04.1780; died 13.05.1790.

99. Regiment Allemand de Nassau

Generalleutnant Ludwig-Heinrich, prinz zu Nassau-Saarbrucken (born Saarbrucken 03.01.1745); colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 99; in the service of Prussia ; died Aschaffenburg 02.03.1794.

101. Regiment Allemand de Bouillon

Godefroid-Charles de La Tour-d’Avergne, 6th duc de Bouillon (born 26.01.1728) colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 101 from 1757; died 03.12.1792.[2]

102. Regiment Allemand de Royal Deux-Ponts

Lieutenant-General Christian, marquis de Deux-Ponts and comte de Forbach (1752-1817); son of Christian, duc-palatin de Deux Ponts and comte-palatin de Birkenfeld (House of Wittelsbach); colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 102 from 07.03.1788.

Three Irish regiments (Numbers 89, 90, 94):

89. Regiment Irlandois de Dillon

Lieutenant-General Arthur, comte de Dillon (born 03.09.1750), colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 90 from 01.06.1788; former colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 89 (26.04.1775-01.06.1788); guillotined in Paris on 13.04.1794.

90. Regiment Irlandois de Berwick

Jacques-Charles Fitz-James, 5th duc de Fitz-James (born 26.11.1743); colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 90 from 1783; died 11.08.1805.

94. Regiment Irlandois de Walsh

Charles-Antoine-Augustin Walsh, comte de Serrant; colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 94 from 01.06.1788.

One Liegeois regiment (Nr. 104):

104. Regiment Allemand de Royal Liegeois

Cesar-Constantine-Francois de Honsbrock, Prince-Bishop of Liege, was the colonel-in-chief of Infantry Regiment Nr. 104 from 1787. He appointed Joseph-Clement de Sallier, comte de La Tour (1741-1822) as the regiment’s ‘mestre de camp proprietaire’.

Sources:

http://www.regiments.org/regiments/europe/ie-regts/662iegds.htm#colonels

http://mapage.noos.fr/porquerolles/citatio/mm1771.htm

http://www.hls-dhs-dss.ch/textes/f/F8608-3-2.php

http://www.hls-dhs-dss.ch/textes/f/F23480.php

http://vial.jean.free.fr/new_npi/enter.htm

http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/fr%5Er_inh.html

http://mapage.noos.fr/lasabretache/articleregimentsetrangers.htm

http://www.cosmovisions.com/Salis.htm

http://www.milautograph.ch/detail.php?doc_list_ptr=0&doc_ptr=735&index_ptr=18

http://www.voltigeurs3rgt.ch/sous_la_revolution.htm

http://www.diesbach.com/belleroche/regiment/colonels.html

http://www.1789-1815.com/inf_1789.htm

http://www.inf.terre.defense.gouv.fr/web/fr/inf/histoire/chrono_05.htm

http://www.worldroots.com/cgi-bin/gasteldb?@I43943@

http://www.cincinnati.asso.fr/presentation/regions/reg_et.htm

http://dmr.barbier.free.fr/Berwick.htm

http://web.genealogie.free.fr/Les_dynasties/Les_dynasties_celebres/France/Dynastie_de_Bethune.htm

http://egodoc.revues.org/octobre2002/docs/D1103312/VS1103412.htm

http://patronoiref.ibelgique.com/noirefontaine/bouillon/history.htm

http://franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedNames.jsp?ssn=001-71-0480

http://napoleon-series.org/

Notes

[1] The prince de Saint-Mauris (guillotined 1794) was the son of Alexander-Marie-Leonor de Saint-Mauris, prince de Montbary, a former Minister of War 1776-1780.

[2] The duchy of Bouillon was a sovereign state on France ’s north-eastern border.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: April 2007

 

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