Origins of the regiment de Leuville
The regiment later known as de Béarn1 was not known by this name till 17622. During the War of the Spanish Succession it was known as Leuville after its colonel Louis Thomas du Bois de Fiennes Marquis de Leuville. The regiment was the oldest of the Régiments de gentilshommes and therefore a very valuable investment.
According to tradition the regiment descended from a guard company that François de Valois, Duc d'Alençon had raised in 1576. The Duke of Alençon took Cambrai in 1580 and entrusted it to Jan de Montluc seigneur de Balagny, who continued to hold on to the place. In 1593 Balagny perceived that the future of France was with Henry IV and switched to his side with his forces. This gained him an appointment as marshal and the principality of Cambrai. On 9 October 1595 the Spanish then forced him out of Cambrai and from the leftovers of the garrison he made a regiment that was admitted into French service on 6 march 1597. On 6 May 1598 this was reduced to the colonel's company, but reinstated in 1600. In 1603 it was reduced to two companies and Damien de Montluc de Balagny was made commander. In 1612 he was killed and on 11 April 1612 he was succeeded by his brother in law Charles Marquis de Rambures. In 1614 the regiment was brought back to strength and marched into Brittany.
The Leuville regiment in the Franco-Dutch War
In the Franco-Dutch war the Rambures regiment marched to Tongeren in 1672, where it left 20 companies in garrison. The rest of the regiment went across the Rhine with main force. In 1673 the regiment was part of the main force that covered the Siege of Maastricht. In August 1674 it fought in the Battle of Seneffe and fought on the Upper Rhine, where it wintered in Schlestadt and Colmar and fought in the 29 December battle near Muhlhausen. In 1675 it was in the attack on Neubourg and in June it constructed a bridge over the Rhine at Altenheim. On 29 July 1676 the 18-year old Marquis de Rambures was killed by fire from his own soldiers.
On 4 August 1676 the last of the de Rambures was succeeded by the later famous Antoine de Pas Marquis de Feuquières. The Feuquières regiment then served on the Rhine in 1677 and participated in the Siege of Freibourg. In 1678 it was in the sieges of Gent and Ieper and in the Battle of Saint-Denis.
The regiment in the Nine Years War
The regiment started in the Nine Years War at Tournai and then marched to the Siege of Philipsbourg. The Feuquières regiment then marched to Heilbronn, where it stayed till January 1689. On 20 January 1689 Feuquières was succeeded in his command by his brother Jules de Pas Marquis de Feuquières. The regiment continued in Germany and was in the 18 August 1690 encounter near Waldkirch. In 1691 the regiment went to Piemont. Here it started with the siege of the Castle of Veillane and continued with that of Carmagnola. In 1692 nothing interesting happened to the regiment. In 1693 the regiment was in the Battle of Marsiglia. It ended the war on the Italian front with the Siege of Valensia in 1696. Next year it had an uneventful campaign on the Moselle. After the Peace of Rijswijk the regiment was sent to Briançon where it remained till the end of the war.
The regiment de Leuville in the War of the Spanish Succession
On 27 April 1700 Louis Thomas du Bois de Fiennes Marquis de Leuville was appointed as colonel. In 1701 the regiment went to Toulon, from where it was shipped to Italy. On 1 September it then fought at Chiari. In November it went to Cremona, and from there to Mantua, where it was blockaded by the imperial forces. In May the blockade was lifted and the Leuville regiment was left behind to guard Mantua on its own. In 1703 the regiment was in the expedition to Tyrol and wintered in Montferrat. In the next campaign it was in the sieges of Vercelli and Ivrea and in the long lasting siege of Verrua. At the end of April 1705 the regiment joined the army on the Mincio. In August it was present at the battle of Cassano, but did not serve in the line. In April 1706 the regiment was on the Adige. In September 1706 the regiment was in Allessandria and marched to Turin, but came to late to join the fight. It then marched to Chivasso, where it rendered the post after an eight day defense.
After the surrender of Chivasso the regiment was escorted to the frontier and was reviewed at Chambéry, where it counted 400 men able to bear arms. It then passed the whole of 1707 in guarding the Alps. In 1708 the regiment went to the Upper Rhine and was placed in the lines of the Lauter, partly at Weissembourg and partly at Lauterbourg. The Leuville regiment remained there and nothing much happened till 16 August 1712, when it rebuffed a strong attack by imperial forces. In 1713 the regiment covered the last Siege of Landau and in September of that year it participated in the attack on the works of Freibourg and in the siege itself.
Flag of the regiment Leuville later known as de Béarn
The flag of the regiment de Leuville had two violet and two yellow quarters.3.
|1) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume III, page 335 for most of this article about the regiment de Leuville.|
|2) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume III, page 380 for this regiment becoming the régiment de Béarn on 10 December 1762.|
|3) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume III,.page 381 for the flag of the Leuville regiment.|