The Auvergne regiment, 2 battalions

Origins of the regiment d'Auvergne

Je ne connais qu'une façon de faire fuir Auvergne. C'est de battre le messe. Felipe V king of Spain.

Since 1589 the Baron du Bourg de l'Espinasse had held a regiment with which he participated in the defense of Paris against King Henry IV1. When Paris surrendered to the king in 1594 this regiment had guarded the Bastille. He then fought on till he changed sides in 1595. On 6 March 1597 d'Espinasse was then commissioned to raise a regiment which probably included some or most of his old regiment. That same year the regiment participated in retaking Amiens. It then continued in the Picardy army till 6 May 1598, when all but the colonel's company were dismissed. In 1600 the regiment was reinstated by commission of 3 April. In 1601 the Auvergne was however again reduced to one company. On 31 May 1602 it was reinstated and dismissed again in 1604, but by 1605 it was again on foot. The final commission by which the Auvergne regiment was instituted came from Henry IV on 16 February 1610.

The Auvergne in the Franco-Dutch War

In the Franco-Dutch war the Auvergne regiment started with the sieges of Orsoy, Rheinberg and Wesel. Later it participated in the sieges of Doesburg and Utrecht and in the October engagement near Woerden where it defended the Waard fortress. In December it then participated in the expedition to Bodegraven and Zwammerdam. In 1673 the Auvergne covered the Siege of Maastricht. In 1674 it was in the Battle of Seneffe and went to Metz and Trier. In 1675 it started in the camp of Charleville and wintered at Colmar. In 1677 it fought at Kokersberg. In 1677 the regiment passed to Flanders. Here it distinguished itself in the attack on the counterscarp of Valenciennes. Later it served on the Rhine and in the siege of Freibourg. In 1678 the regiment participated in the sieges of Gent and Ieper, before returning to the Rhine in June. In July 1678 it was in the Battle of Rheinfeld and the attack on the works of Seckingen. The campaign only ended after the sieges of Kehl and the Lichtemberg castle. In 1679 the regiment fought at Minden. In 1683 the regiment was in the siege of Courtrai and was put into garrison there. In 1684 it then participated in the Siege of Luxembourg.

The Auvergne in the Nine Years War

In the Nine Years War the Auvergne started with the 1688 siege of Philippsburg under Colonel Nicolaï. After the conquest of the place it wintered there. In 1689 it was in the campaign against the Pfalz. In 1690 the regiment fought at Fleurus and in 1691 in the siege of Mons. In 1692 six of its companies built th nucleus of the third battalion of the Navarre regiment. That year it was also in the Siege of Namur and the Battle of Steenkerque. It wintered on the Moselle, but was called to Flanders for the siege of Furnes in January 1693. After that it went to the Rhine army. In july its grenadiers fought at Oppenheim and Wingenberg. The rest of the Auvergne went to Italy were it defended Pignerol. In October 1693 the Auvergne fought at Marsiglia after returning to Pignerol it did not see much action till the siege of Valence, which was interrupted by the peace with Savoy. In 1698 the Talende regiment was incorporated in the Auvergne.

The regiment Auvergne in the War of the Spanish Succession

In the War of the Spanish Succession the Auvergne regiment started in December 1700 by marching to Lombardy. In 1701 it fought at Carpi and Chiari. In 1702 part of the regiment was in the surprise of Cremona. The whole regiment took part in the Battle of Luzzara, and wintered in Guastalla were Colonel de Chavigny died of illness. Early in 1703 the second battalion went to Germany under Lieutenant-Colonel de Bourgueil. Here it fought in the first Battle of Höchstädt. The first battalion had remained in Italy and was in the expedition to Tyrol. It's then stated by Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française that both battalions were reunited in Italy, but I don't see how this could have been done. Anyway, 1704 started with the Siege of Vercelli and the Siege of Ivrea. The year continued with the disastrous siege of Verrua where Colonel d'Imécourt was killed on 26 December. He was succeeded by Mr. d'Alba, who had started in the regiment as an ensign in 1665.

Next came the Siege of Chivasso and after that the regiment went with the main force under Vendome. On 16 August 1705 the Auvergne fought in the Battle of Cassano and later it wintered in Dezenzano. In April 1706 the regiment was in the battle of Calcinato. It ended the Italian campaign in the defeat of Turin, after which it had only 440 men left. In 1707 the Auvergne went to Spain, but was too late for the Battle of Almansa. It did participate in the siege of Lérida were it was in the 11 October assault of the covered road. In June 1708 the regiment was at the siege of Tortosa. The regiment started the 1709 campaign in Spain, but later went to Rousillon to combat the Miquelets. In 1710 the Duke of Vendome asked Felipe V to ask King Louis for the Auvergne regiment. It was here that the anecdote about the Auvergne regiment only fleeing for mass originated. It seems that Felipe had said this in reference to the large number of disguised Protestants serving in its ranks. Late in 1710 the regiment returned to Spain and was immediately employed in the Siege of Girona which was ended in January. In 1711 the regiment participated in taking La Seu d'Urgell, Vénasque and Cardona. It then continued in Spain, mostly in the blockade of Barcelona. Its last act in this war was the participation in the general assault of 12 September 1714. After the war the men of the régiment de Blacons were incorporated into the Auvergne regiment.

Flag of the regiment d'Auvergne

The flag of the Auvergne had two violet quarters and two black quarters2.


1) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume III, page 388 for most of this article about the Auvergne regiment.
2) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume III, page 407 has a note for the flag of the Auvergne regiment.