The Navarre regiment, 3 battalions

1 Remote origins of the Navarre regiment

The Navarre regiment was explicitly mentioned for the first time in 1597 when Henry IV retook Amiens from the Spanish. However, the account of the event also stated that it was a Huguenot troop raised by King Antoine, the father of Henry IV who died in 1562. This thus enables us to date the foundation of the Navarre regiment to 1562 or before. It seems certain that after the death of King Antoine the Navarre regiment was reduced to a bodyguard for the young King Henry of Navarre. He was compelled to send his bodyguard to join the troops of the first Lique against the Huguenots and we may therefore assume that the Navarre regiment fought in the battle of Dormans on 10 October 1575. The Navarre regiment was next mentioned under the command of the Sieur de Valliraut in the battle of Arques (15-29 September 1589). In 1589 the Navarre regiment was present in the siege of Paris under Henry of Navarre. In 1591 it was at the siege of Chartres. In 1595 it was present at the siege of the castle of Beaune and the siege of Dijon. In 1597 it took part in the siege of Amiens mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.

2 The Navarre regiment in the 1672 war against the United Provinces

In 1672 the Navarre regiment participated in the siege of Wezel and passed the Rhine1. After that it participated in the conquests of Arnhem, Nijmegen and Schenkenschans. In the siege of Nijmegen it lost its colonel the Marquis de Kerman. After the United Provinces had been conquered up till the inundations William III launched a counter offensive against Woerden. In this action the regiment signaled itself, but lost about 300 men. In 1673 the regiment was part of the forces that covered the siege of Maastricht. In 1674 the Navarre regiment was at the battle of Seneffe. There it first defended the cemetary of the village and then attacked the village of Fay. In all about 300 men where incapable to fight on afterwards. At the end of this campaign the Navarre regiment was transferred to the Rhine and participated in the battles of Enzheim, Mühlhausen and Türckheim (in early 1675).

In April 1675 the Navarre participated in the siege of Liège and covered the siege of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg. In 1676 the regiment participated in the siege of Condé and covered those of Bouchain and Aire. It was also part of the force that lifted the siege of Maastricht. Another part of the regiment defended Phillipsburg, which capitulated on 8 September. In 1677 the Navarre was in the assault on Valenciennes and the battle of Mont Cassel. The year was closed with the conquest of Saint Ghislain. In 1678 the Navarre was in the sieges of Gent and Ypres. Later that year it signaled itself in the battle of Saint Denis. In 1683 François de la Rochefoucauld Duc de la Rocheguyon was appointed as colonel. In 1684 the regiment participated in the siege of Luxembourg.

3 The Navarre regiment in the Nine Years War

The Navarre regiment started the Nine Years War in 1688 with its first battalion on the Saar and its second in Strassbourg. In 1689 the entire regiment was in the expedition to Würtemberg. In 1690 it started on the Moselle and signaled itself in the Battle of Fleurus. In March 1691 the Navarre participated in the siege of Mons, which fell quickly. On 19 May 1691 it was in its traditional position on the right of the first line near Hauterive and fielded two battalions2. Later it transferred to Luxembourg's army. In 1692 the regiment got a third battalion. The first two covered the siege of Namur. This is reflected in an order of battle of 24 July 1692 where these two battalions were on the extreme left of the first line, which may have something to do with the Campagne regiment being on the extreme right3. In the 3 August 1692 battle of Steenkerque it was again on the extreme right wing with two battalions4, but here it did not do much fighting. In 1693 all three battalions of the regiment signaled themselves at Neerwinden and it participated in the siege of Charleroy. In 1694 the regiment was in the country of Liège and in 1695 nothing much happened.

On 14 November 1696 François Edouard Colbert Marquis de Maulevrier was appointed as colonel of the regiment, he was the owner of Chateau Colbert. In 1697 the regiment participated in the siege of Ath.

4 The Navarre regiment in the War of the Spanish Succession

In the War of the Spanish Succession the Navarre regiment started at Neuf Brisach, where it had moved in 1699. In 1702 it was on the Upper Rhine and wintered in Strassbourg. On 25 February 1703 the Navarre regiment opened the trenches against the Kehl fortress and its grenadiers participated in the assault of 6 March. After that it moved to Fort Louis and in August it participated in the siege of Breisach. On 17 October it opened the trenches against Landau. On 14 November it left these to participate in the Battle on the Speyerbach. Here the probably legendary tale was that after fighting the Hessian Guards a dying Hessian officer asked a priest: 'Quid regimentum' and the priest answered: 'Navarricum' and the officer then said: 'Diabolicum!'. That winter the regiment was in Landau.

In 1704 the Navarre regiment was in the army that marched to the Danube under Tallard. In the Battle of Blenheim the entire regiment (more than 1,100 men) was taken prisoner in Blindheim village. Here the story was that its lieutenant-colonel Gilbert de Chabannes Comte de Pionsac refused to sign a capitulation and had the weapons destroyed and the flags buried. The truth of the matter probably is that the regiment temporarily buried some flags, but that it was disarmed by the other troops in Blindheim and forced to surrender both their arms and their flags. The earliest source for this can be found in 17045.

After Blenheim the small number of men that had escaped capture were assembled at Nancy, where two weak battalions were formed. In 1705 these were at Sierck under Villars. In July 1705 an exchange of prisoners led to the return of those soldiers of the Navarre regiment which were still in the United Provinces, and the regiment thus returned to a strength of three battalions. The regiment wintered at Strassbourg. On 4 April 1706 the Marquis de Pionsac was appointed as colonel of the regiment and on 7 July it entered Lauterbourg. Soon after it lifted the blockade of Fort Louis. It also participated in the attack on the works of Drusenheim and taking the Marquisat island. The regiment wintered at Lauterbourg. In May 1707 it was part of the forces which forced the lines of Stollhofen.

In 1708 the Navarre regiment was in the Battle of Oudenaarde, where it was part of those units which observed the battle. In late July it went to Cadzand. In October it was in the assault on Leffinghe, but after that it did not see much action and wintered in Berghes. On 16 February 1709 Jean Marquis de Gassion was appointed as colonel. Later that year Navarre participated in the battle of Malplaquet. The regiment then continued in Flanders till 12 June 1711, when it left for the Rhine. In 1712 it returned to Flanders and participated in the battle of Denain. In 1713 the Navarre regiment opened the trenches before Landau and suffered heavy losses during the siege. Later that year it covered the siege of Freiburg. After the war elements of 5 other regiments were fused into its ranks.


1) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, page 48 for the Navarre regiment in the siege of Wesel
2) See 'Campement welches Ihr. Konigl. Maj. bei Hauterive, den 19 Maij 1691gesteller haben. HStAM WHK 7/76.
3) See Bataile formée par les François contre les Alliées devant Namur en Brabande le 24 Juillet 1692.
4) See Bataile formée par les François contre les Alliées près de Steinkerque en Braband en l'année 1693 (really 1692).
5) Relation circonstanciée de la Bataille qui s'est donnée près de Hochstedt sur le Danube le 13. d'Aout 1704 is a picture printed by Anna Beek in 1704. In the text it has a 'Relation de la Bataille de Hochstedt par un Géneral de l'armée François, á Strasbourg ce 31. d'Aout 1704: 'Monsieur de Blansac y consentit (i.e. the surrender) & fit de son mieux, pour y faire consentir Navarre, qui enterra ses drapeaux. Tout ceda, Monsieur de Blansac signa les Articles, mais Siviere & Jourry n'en voulurent rien faire. On les desarma, on prit leurs drapeaux.' Also the history of the reign of Queen Anne digested into Annals Year the third, London 1705. It renders a translation of this letter in Appendix nr 18 and dates it to as 30 August 1704.