Régiment Dauphin, 3 battalions

Origins of the regiment du Dauphin

The regiment du Dauphin traced its origins back to an earlier regiment1. Early in 1617 De la Rainville levied a regiment for the siege of Soissons it was disbanded and re-established in 1620. In 1621 it became the property of De Ménillet. It was later disbanded and definitly re-established in 1630. In 1631 the Ménillet regiment served in Lorraine and contributed to taking the citadel of Verdun and the sieges of Vic and Moyenvic. In 1633 it was in the Siege of Nancy and a year later those of Haguenau, Saverne, Lunéville and La Mothe as well as in lifting the Siege of Phillipsbourg. In March 1635 it was in the Siege of Speyer and the affair of Fresche. On 7 August 1635 Charles de Cocherel de Bourdonné became its colonel. On 18 March 1636 the Bourdonné regiment distinguished itself in the combat near Baccarat. This and its previous services gave it the Drapeau Blanc and an augmentation of five companies.

On 25 February 1646 the Chevalier de Barbezières de La Roche-Chémerault became its colonel. In 1648 Chémerault was disowned of the regiment and on 2 November it was given to Lieutenant-Colonel Langres de Reymont, who died in 1651. On 12 July of that year Godefroy comte d'Estrades became colonel of the regiment. In 1661 he sold the regiment to the Comte de Saint-Lieu. That year the regiment was in the Siege of Berghes and Saint-Lieu was killed there. He was succeeded by François des Essarts, Marquis de Lignières. Under his command the regiment participated in the expedition to Crete. Here the colonel was killed in action and the debris of the unit returned to France.

Foundation of the Regiment du Dauphin

In the summer 1667 the Dauphin regiment had been founded by taking some companies of the Vieux Corps. As the name implied the Dauphin was colonel, but in fact it was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Michel de Fisicat, a man of low birth. That same year it served in Flanders and after the conquest of Charleroi it was put into garrison there. In 1668 it went to Franch-Comté and participated in the sieges of Besançon and Dole. On 10 June it went to Tournai where it was amalgamated with the debris of the regiment of the Marquis de Lignières and so got its high rank. On 15 June 1671 Henri Marquis de Beringhen was appointed as Colonel-Lieutenant of the regiment.

The Dauphin regiment in the Franco-Dutch War

In 1672 the Dauphin regiment started with the Siege of Orsoy. Later it assisted in the sieges of Reinberg, Doesburg and Nijmegen. After the conquest of Utrecht it joined Turenne's army and wintered on the Moselle. In 1673 the Dauphin regiment participated in the expedition towards Brandenburg and in the Siege of Maastricht. From there it participated in the Siege of Trier and wintered in Burgundy. In 1674 it participated in the Siege of Besançon where its colonel-lieutenant was killed on 13 May. The regiment then distinguished itself in the subsequent siege of Dole. On 2 June 1674 Nicolas du Blé marquis d'Huxelles was appointed as Colonel-lieutenant. The regiment wintered in Soissons.

In 1675 the regiment was again in Flanders, where it covered the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg. It was then to winter in Avesnes, but in November it was sent to Brittany to restore order there. In 1676 the regiment opened its campaign with the Siege of Condé. It continued with covering that of Bouchain, participating in the Siege of Aire and lifting the Siege of Maastricht. A detachment of the Dauphin meanwhile participated in the defense of Philippsburg. In 1677 the Dauphin participated in the sieges of Valenciennes and Cambrai and wintered in Cassel. In 1678 the regiment started with the Sieges of Gent and Ieper and was in the Battle of Saint Denis.

After peace had been made the regiment was in Lille in 1680. Here it was reviewed by Louis XIV and the Dauphin marched at its head, pike in hand. In 1681 it went to work on the fortifications of Freiburg. In 1682 it was employed in fortifying Longwy. In 1684 it was part of the covering force of the Siege of Luxembourg. In 1685 it marched to Versailles so that the Dauphin could learn to manage it.

The regiment du Dauphin in the Nine Years War

The regiment started in the Nine Years War with the siege of Philippsburg. At the end of the campaign it wintered in Mainz and then participated in its defense. Here its Colonel-Lieutenant, the Lieutenant-General d'Huxelles made his reputation, the regiment itself was commanded by lieutenant-colonel Nicolas de la Brousse Comte de Verteillac, appointed on 14 April 1680. After the siege the regiment was sent to Strassbourg to re-establish itself. In 1690 the Dauphin regiment was in Germany. The next campaign it was in the Siege of Mons and was present in the Battle of Leuze. In the winter its third battalion was re-established.

In 1692 the Dauphin regiment was in the Siege of Namur under Lieutenant-colonel Poncet. It was also in the Battle of Steenkerque, where it suffered 129 death and 337 wounded. Poncet later died of his wounds. On 14 September he was succeeded as Lieutenant-colonel by Claude Groult chevalier de Princé. The regiment went to Douai to replace its losses. In December it participated in the siege of Créqui castle followed by the conquest of Furnes. In 1693 it started in Flanders and then went to the German front. In 1694 it was again in Flanders and wintered in Namur. In 1695 the regiment distinguished itself in the defense of Namur. After the capitulation the regiment marched to Lorraine where it wintered in Saint-Mihiel and Bar le Duc. In 1696 the Dauphin campaigned on the Meuse and in 1697 it covered the Siege of Ath.

After the Peace of Rijswijk the Dauphin was garrisoned in Valenciennes. The regiment was part of the famous camp at Compiègne. As a result of the demobilization the regiment of Bellisle (levied in 1695) was incorporated into the Dauphin. In 1699 the regiment was in Tournai and in 1700 it was in Givet.

The Dauphin regiment in the War of the Spanish Succession

The Dauphin regiment started in the War of the Spanish Succession by occupying Mechelen for Felipe V in 1701 and wintering in Liège. In 1702 the regiment was in the affair of Nijmegen. In 1703 the regiment started with the Siege of Kehl and the failed attack on the Lines of Stollhofen. On 1 May 1703 it participated in the attack on the works at the Hornberg and later that year it participated in the minor combat near Munderkirchen.

On 20 September 1703 the Dauphin regiment was in the first battle of Höchstädt. Here it maneuvered very badly and was ambushed by cavalry. It suffered heavy losses with 14 captains killed and 8 wounded. In a letter to Chamillart Villars stated that: 'the Comte de Montberon attributed the clumsy maneuver and the subsequent losses to the large number of old soldiers who had been dismissed at the peace because the inspectors only wanted well built young men.2' A connection to the camp at Compiègne was not made, but might be possible.

Later in 1703 the regiment participated in the sieges of Ulm and Augsburg. It wintered in Ulm, where it lost its Colonel-Lieutenant de Montbron to the smallpox. In January 1704 Jean Baptiste de Rochechouart de Mortemart Comte de Maure was appointed as colonel-lieutenant. That year the Dauphin regiment continued in Marsin's army. It fought in the Battle of Blenheim where it was again recriminated for bad performance. After the Battle it retreated to Sierck and wintered in Strassbourg. In 1705 it served in Villars army on the Rhine. In August it was ordered to Piemont, but was diverted to the Siege of Nice under Berwick.

In 1706 the Dauphin regiment participated in the Siege of Turin. Here it suffered heavy losses when a mine exploded. After the battle of Turin, the first battalion succeeded in retreating, but its other two battalions were cut off and forces to surrender as prisoners of war. The remains of the first battalion counted only 150 men when it assembled at Pignerol two days after the battle. It then marched to Besançon to recruit. In 1708 the Dauphin regiment was in the battle of Oudenaarde. After that it retreated to the camp at Meldert, where it stayed during the Siege of Lille. It then wintered in Besançon. In 1709, 1710 and 1711 it was in the Lines of Weissembourg. Here Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre marquis de Chastes was appointed as colonel-lieutenant on 15 April 1710. On 12 March 1712 Pierre de Montmiral became lieutenant-colonel of the Dauphin regiment. Later that year its three battalions were part of the Flanders army, where it lost two battalions which were taken prisoner in the siege of Le Quesnoy.

In 1713 the Dauphin regiment participated in the last Siege of Landau. After that it was in the Siege of Freiburg. After the Peace of Utrecht the regiments of Paysac (14 January 1714) and Bouhyer (21 January 1714) were incorporated into the regiment.

Notes

1) See Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie Française by Susane, vol. 4 page 258.
2) Letter mentioned and partly cited in the Histoire de la Milice Françoise vol. 4 page 276: 'le comte de Montberon, qui est un bon sujet et qui a été outré de la mauvaise manoeuvre de son régiment, attribue cela au grand nombre de vieux soldats qui ont été renvoyés á la paix, les inspecteurs ne voulant que des grands jeunes hommes.'