The Grigny regiment

Grigny Cavalry regiment
A.k.a. Beaumont
Church of Grigny
The Marquis de Grigny was Seigneur of
Grigny (Pas-de-Calais) now in France
Commanded by:
Duke de Villa HermosaApril 1674
Duke of MontaltoFeb. 1675
Prince of Vaudemont1677-1678?
L.E. Count of EgmontOct? 1692
Holstein Ploen? 1694?
Marquis de GrignyAug. 1700
P.F. Count of EgmontDec? 1704

1 Prince of Vaudemont

1.1 Some previous Generals of Cavalry

One of the special cavalry companies in the Spanish Netherlands was that of the General of Cavalry. In April 1674 the Duke de Villa Hermosa became General of Cavalry, while the Prince de Vaudemont became General of Cavalry in Franche-Comté AC 3 May 1674. The Duke de Villa Hermosa became governor of the Spanish Netherlands in February 1675, and so the Duke of Montalto succeeded him as General of Cavalry AC 2 March 1675.

1.2 The Prince de Vaudemont

Charles Henry de Lorraine (1649-1723) Prince de Vaudemont, was a son from a second and (deemed) illegitimate marriage of Charles IV Duke of Lorrain (1604-1675). As such the Prince de Vaudemont could have lived in obscurity, but the fact that Louis XIV meddled against him made that he got a willing reception by Louis' enemies. Vaudemont also had some very good personal advantages like having very good looks, being highly charismatic, and having many military talents. He would quickly work his way up in Brussel, and came into high favor with Stadtholder William III (Cf. SAINT SIMON).

The Prince de Vaudemont was rumored to become the general of foreign troops in 1675. In 1677 he held a position in the Dutch army AC 12 August 1677. On 27 October 1677 the General of Cavalry Montalto was said to be going to Spain OHC 30 October 1677. In june 1678 the Prince de Vaudemont was noted as a General of Cavalry in an affair near Brussel OHC 30 June 1678. The succession as General of Cavalry of Montalto by Vaudemont therefore probably took place in 1677-1678. Note that I'm not that sure that this data is correct. E.g. Vaudemont might have been 'a' general in 1678, not 'The general of cavalry of the Spanish Netherlands'. It's also possibly that with an impending peace Madrid economized on the costly appointment of a 'General of Cavalry'. Anyway, by giving some dates it might be possible to make the details surface.

1.3 The Company of Vaudemont General of Cavalery

In 1676 there is a 'Veaudemont' unit in the the OOB, but it ranked behind the companies of the lieutenant-General Schlachtordnung der niederländischen Truppen zur Verteidigung von Condé und Bouchin, 1676. This Vaudemont company could be a regiment that Vaudemont brought to the Spanish Netherlands'service, but for that it seems to rank too high. In 1683 there is a rather certain mention of Vaudemont as General of Cavalry OHC 25 March 1683. In October 1689 there is a Prince de Vaudemont regiment in the OOB near Ateren, ranking just behind the Guards Schlachtordnung der holländischen Armee gegen die Franzosen bei Ateren den 6. Oktober 1689. Vaudemont is also designated as General of Cavalry in December 1689, when it was noted that the Duke of Holstein-Plön would be the next officer to get appointed if this office vacated OHC 10 December 1689.

1.4 The Company of the General des Armes

On 15 June 1691 the news that the Prince of Vaudemont had been made General des Armes of the Spanish Netherlands became known AC 21 June 1691. General des Armes was a higher rank that held its own company. In April 1692 Vaudemont traveled to Holland OHC 17 April 1692. In August 1692 the Guard Company of the Prince of Vaudemont, 120 men in new clothes, rode to the army OHC 21 August 1692. On 30 October 1696 the compagnie des Gardes du Prince de Vaudemont arrived in Brussel Avec Privilège 5 Nov. 1696. It's not known whether Vaudemont took his company with him to his new position, or had to raise a new one. I am inclined to think that if the position of General des Armes was vacant before, Vaudemont took his company with him.

In January 1693 Vaudemont asked to leave for Rome and to skip the campaign OHC 22 January 1693. In late April 1693 Vaudemont had still not left. He was preparing an appartment in his home, the Hotel d'Orange in Brussel, for William III OHC 30 April 1693. In early May Vaudemont travelled in the opposite direction to Breda, in order to welcome William III OHC 16 May 1693. On 6 June 1693 Vaudemont finally left for Italy OHC 6 June 1693. In mid-August 1693 Vaudemont arrived in Rome OHC 3 September 1693.

2 Louis Ernest Count of Egmont

2.1 The clever Count of Egmont

As stated above, the Duke of Holstein Ploen was expected to succeed Vaudemont, but this was not to be. In 1690 the Count of Egmont had joined the future Queen of Spain on her voyage to a Coruna. It paid of when he was made Commander of the Spanish Cavalry in 'absence of' the Prince of Vaudemont OHC 14 November 1690. After Vaudemont became General of Arms in June 1691, there was some conflict between the Lieutenant-Generals Marquis de Grigny and Moncadi on one side, and Egmont on the other OHC 5 July 1691. It resulted in Egmont getting recognized as superior to them, even while Vaudemont was present. The Count of Egmont was mentioned as 'Governor of the Spanish Cavalry' OHC 8 September 1691 in September 1691. Finally on 30 October 1692 the magistrate of Brussel visited the Count of Egmont to compliment him with his appointment as General of Cavalry of the Spanish Netherlands. He had received his appointment while he was still on campaign AC 6 November 1692.

The Count of Egmont we're referring to is Louis Ernest Comte de Egmont, son of Comte Philippe (d.1682) and older brother of the count of Egmont we'll meet later. Louis Ernest married Marie-Thérèse princess of Aremberg and died without offspring in 1693 while aged 28 Le Grand Dictionaire Historique page 352. On 15 July 1693 the Count of Egmont was noted to be in Brussel, and to be sick OHC 18 July 1693. The Count of Egmont died on 30 September 1693.

2.2 The Egmont Company

The mechanism that a (lieutenant-)general had to give up his regiment and took up a guard company is shown by Egmont's appointment. On 2 November 1692 the regiment of the Count of Egmont, that was 'now under the Baron de Courrieres' was expected in Gent AC 6 November 1692. Looking at a 1693 OOB OHC 9 July 1693 where there is a Guards of Vaudemont, it seems as if this company had to be raised in stead of Egmont taking over Vaudemont's (cf. above). In 1694 there is a company of the General des Armes, and a company of the General de la Cavalerie and Dupuis Ordre de Bataille de l'Armée des Alliez en Brabant, 1694 and a company of LG Moncadi Tweede vervolg van saken van staat en oorlog, Volume 1.

3 Holstein-Ploen

3.1 The Dukes of Holstein Ploen

In the 1690's there were multiple Dukes of Holstein Ploen. Duke Johan Adolf of Holstein Ploen served in the Dutch army, and became a became a Dutch field marshal in September 1693 OHC 19 September 1693. His brother Joachim Ernst of Holstein Ploen (d. 4 July 1700) was a high ranking general officer in the Spanish Netherlands army. On 4 July 1700 Duke Ernst of Holstein-Ploen 'General de la Cavalerie dans les Pays Bas' Avec privilège 5 Aug 1700 died.

3.2 Holstein Ploen's company

I've not yet found when the Comte de Egmont left his charge of General of Cavalry. In June 1695 the Duke of Holstein Ploen was mentioned as General of the Spanish Cavalry GdR 23 June 1695. In May 1697 there is a Regiment 'Holstein' in place right after the Guard Cavalry, and this clearly is the Company of the General of Cavalry L'armée du Roy d'Angleterre en Brabant au Camp Marie, Lombeck etc. l'an 1697 le 30 May.

4 Marquis de Grigny

4.1 The Marquis de Grigny

Before starting our search for the Marquis de Grigny, we sould look for his exact name. His name was 'Jean Baptiste de Bassecourt' seigneur de Grigny, lieutenant-general of cavalry in the Spanish Netherlands. It seems that Wapenboek Belgische Adel page 90 was written by someone who actually saw the manuscript. So we look for 'Jean Baptiste de Bassecourt'.

Antoine de Bassecourt Seigneur de Grigny, Huby Saint Leu, Origny and Mondicourt (b. 1550 -d. after 1588) married twice. On 17 January 1583 Antoine married Marie de Belvalet. With her he got Jean de Bassecourt (b. 1583) Seigneur de Grigny and Guillaume de Bassecourt, who stayed single. Jean de Bassecourt might have had children, but if so, these did not continue the line. Antoine next married with Philippe de Oosterlinck. With her he had: Madeleine, Marguerite, Marie and Antoine.

Antoine de Bassecourt Seigneur de Beaulieu became an infantry Colonel, member of the Council of war, Governor of Douay and General de Bataille. Antoine de Bassecourt married Louise de Fourmanoir and made his last will on 1 February 1662. For this second Antoine there is a contemporary source Histoire du Cambray et du Cambresis part 3! page 172 by Jean le CARPENTIER, 1668. This source contains a Genealogy made in 1652, probably too early for our Marquis de Grigny to be in it.

CARPENTIER has that from this second marriage came: François, Louis, Antoinette and Marie. GOETHALS in his Miroir des Notabilites Nobiliares has that that this Antoine had: 1) Jean François de Bassecourt écuyer Bailli d'Anchin (b. < 1657 - d. 1680 ) dead without offspring 2) François Ferdinand de Bassecourt (b. 1657) Seigneur de Beaulieu 3) our Jean Baptiste de Bassecourt Seigneur d'Huby 4) Adrien de Bassecourt écuyer 5) Ernestine-Brigite de Bassecourt married in 1680 to Jean Charles François d'Hailly Sarazin 6) Madeleine de Bassecourt. On Geneanet there are more elaborate genealogies, but these are not consistent.

GOETHALS has our Jean Baptiste de Bassecourt Seigneur d'Huby under 3) named Philippe Jean Baptiste Ubalde de Bassecourt, and is then forced to make him marry Isabelle de Vooght and get Jean Baptiste de Bassecourt, who would then become Marquis de Grigny in 1690. If we assume that the person under 3) was indeed the father of our Marquis de Grigny, he would have to be born way before 1658. If we assume that our Bassecourt had to be at least 30 to have been a lieutenant-general in 1688, and his father to have been 21 to get married, we have to subtract 51 from 1688 making a date of birth of 1637 for 3). But then Jean would have bee noted by CARPENTIER. Also note that GOETHALS cites a letter which has Jean Baptiste serving since 1655, giving Jean Baptist a DoB of at least 1640, and bringing his father's DoB to <1620.

Jean Baptiste de Bassecourt seigneur de Huby / Hubuy can be traced as a cavalry commander. In December 1688 the Cavalry regiment of Colonel de Hubuy was given to Don Juan Augustijn 'Cousin of his excelleny' because Hubuy had become Lieutenant-General of Cavalry OHC 16 Dec. 1688. On 27 July 1690 Jean Baptiste de Bassecourt seigneur de Huby and Grigny and Lieutenant-General of Cavalry in the Spanish Netherlands was created Marquis de Grigny by Charles II. Grigny continued his career and became general of cavalry in Catalonia. After the death of Holstein-Plön Charles II made the Marquis de Grigny general of cavalry in the Spanish Netherlands1. On 21 December 1701 Dangeau noted that the Marquis de Grigny was to be sent to Naples to serve there as Captain-General. In February 1702 the Marquis de Grigny arrived in Naples.

The Marquis de Grigny married Isabelle de Vooght and got Philippe Jean Baptiste Ubalde de Bassecourt écuyer, Seigneur d'Huby Captain of the Carabiniers of the Guards of the Elector of Bavaria, qualified as such in an act of 12 April 1707 (all this supposing that GOETHALS simply switched the two Baptistes). The Marquis de Grigny would in 1705 ask his new sovereign Louis XIV (obviously his lands were now in France) to recognize him as Marquis de Grigny. The Marquis de Grigny died in Naples on 8 June 1706.

4.2 Regiment de Grigny

The oldest specific mention I have of the cavalry regiment of general Grigny is from 1701 when it had 2 squadrons, with 1 still forming but expected to be ready at the end of August2. In April 1702 it was mentioned as being between Lier and Aarschot with 2 squadrons3. In September 1702 the Grigny regiment was mentioned as going with the expedition to Bonn under Tallard4. On 31 December 1702 the regiment of 'Mr Appelter from Catalunia' was in Gent AC 4 Jan 1703

In June 1703 the Grigny regiment was with the main force5. In May 1704 Appelter was promoted to Cavalry Brigadier OHC 12 May 1704. We see the regiment then appearing as Colonel-Général d'Espagne on 29 February 1704 in a French source6 (Colonel General is the French equivalent for general de cavalerie). In a 23 May 1704 letter Bedmar mentions the Egmont cavalry with 2 squadrons7, but from its place in the OOB it becomes clear that the French regiment was meant.

SAMANIEGO mentions that the Baumont regiment had been formed from the Company of the General of Cavalry the Marquis de Grigny on 17 March 1701. Furthermore that Sir Alexander of Apeltere was its colonel, and that he had been succeeded by Herman Lothar of Reinssinberg on 1 November 1706. MERLO has that Grygni was succeeded by Alexandre de Bay and the Comte of Egmont, with Alpeterre, Rissenberg and Beaumont serving as Colonel-Commandants. MERLO correctly states that SAMANIEGO did not give any data to support his version. Closer study reveals that the story is correct, except that I cannot find 'De Bay' succeeding to this regiment.

5 Procope François Count of Egmont

5.1 Egmont becomes Lieutenant-General of Cavalry

It's interesting how the Grigny became the Egmont. For 18 December 1703 we have a note by Dangeau that the Comte d'Egmont had asked Versailles that he would be made 'lieutenant-général de la cavalerie qui est en Flandre', but Dangeau noted that one believed the Spanish wanted to abolish that commission. On 30 December 1703 Dangeau notes that the king had chosen monsieur des Marets to buy Egmont's (French) regiment because he had been made lieutenant-general of the cavalry in Flanders8. (In the Amsterdamse Courant of 5 June 1704 there is indeed a 'Desmarets Egmont' regiment). The promotion of the Count of Egmont to 'Major-General' was announced in May 1704, in the same promotion that made Appelterre Bridadier OHC 12 May 1704. Nonetheless this says nothing about Grigny's regiment becoming Egmont's.

5.2 Egmont becomes General of Cavalry

In his memoirs Westerloo noted that in December 1704 or January 1705 he heard a rumor that Egmont was to be made general of cavalry in Flanders. This with the support of D'Ursins. In late April 1705 this commission became known and Westerloo quit the service.

5.3 Egmont regiment

Now note: In the 24 May 1705 Etat des Cantonnnements des Troupes de l'Armée de M. le Maréchal de Marcin there is a Colonel-General Espagnol in Hattmat in Marsin's army on the Rhine with 2 squadrons9. This is consistent with the label the Grigny regiment had. On 15 June 1705 the regiment was simply designated as Général de la cavalerie Espagnole10. On 3 July 1705 the regiment is designated as Egmont, idem (for Spanish)11. Conclusion: The combination of Grigny, Colonel-General and Egmont with the dates of the appointments establishes the Grigny-Egmont succession for the regiment of the general of cavalry. It even leaves space for 'De Bay' if we find an appointment for him as General of Cavalry in the Spanish Netherlands.

We can compare these data from OOB's with newspapers. They also reveal that the exact time that Count Egmont took up his regiment was probably very soon after his appointment. On 31 January 1705 the regiments of Risbourg, Cano, Cecile and Egmont were said to have moved to Luxemburg OHC 3 February 1705. In late March it became known that the Count of Egmont would command some Spanish troops in Alsace OHC 28 March 1705. On 29 March the regiments of Fresin and Egmont from Mechelen, and the Toulongeon from Namur were said to be marching to Germany OHC 2 April 1705.

In early January 1706 the Egmond regiment arrived in Kortrijk from Germany. It was said to count only 12 men and two horses OHC 14 Jan. 1706. On 20 February the rest of the Egmont regiment arrived, all on foot. It was accompanied by the Toulongeon regiment from Straatsburg, not more than 180 men most of them on foot OHC 20 Feb. 1706. In March the regiments of Egmont and Toulongeon were reported to be recruiting and getting horses in Courtrai OHC 11 March 1706.

In 1706 there is also some more data that supports SAMANIEGO's and MERLOT's story. In the 15 May 1706 Order of Battle, we have Apelterre (cf. above) as General Officer 12 (i.e. a rank above colonel) commanding a brigade with the cavalry regiment 'Colonel-General' in it. If we stay on the safe side by assuming that Appelter was a brigadier, we're still faced with a brigadier surfacing without ever having been mentioned as owner of a regiment. This is consistent with Appeltern having been a Colonel commandant or Brevet Colonel. On 10 August 1706 Apeltere also commands a brigade with an 'Egmont' regiment in it 13. Later, on 12 April 1707 Appelterre is mentioned as Major-General 14. In October 1709 Appelterre was mentioned as being in Mons when the town surrendered Avec Priv. 29 Oct. 1709.

In the 23 May 1706 Battle of Ramillies the Egmont regiment ('Col. Général' erroneously marked as French) suffered heavy losses. It was noted as 'completely ruined'. What's more: The Count of Egmont was severely wounded. He had a dangerous wound on his head, a sabre cut in his hand, a sword puncture through his body, and a bullet in his shoulder OHC 1 June 1706.

In late March 1707 there was news that the Count of Egmont 'General of Cavalry' and the Prince of Chimay 'Lieutenant-General' had orders to serve in Spain. On 10 May 1707 the Count of Egmont was reported to have arrived in Madrid GdR 30 May 1707. On that same 10 May 1707 the Egmont regiment was in a design for the OOB of the main army. On 21 May 1707 many deserters from the regiments of Egmont and Castelle were reported arriving in Courtrai OHC 26 May 1707. On 17 August 1707 it was in camp at Chièvres with 2 squadrons 15. Procope François d'Egmont Prince de Gavre died in Catalonia on 15 September 1707 aged 38.

6 Colonel Reiffenberg

6.1 Hermann Lothar von Reiffenberg

According to SAMANIEGO 'Herman Lothar of Reinffinberg' had been appointed as Colonel on 1 November 1706. At first it seemed impossible to find a 'Reinffinberg', but then it became clear that the 'ff' really stood for 'ff' in stead of 'ss'. The principal branch of the Reifenberg family, centered on Castle Reifenberg is well-known. The branch we're concerned with is less significant. Renier-Christophe Baron de Reiffenberg zu Buttgenbach, Seigneur de Nordelange and Hondelange died on 22 February 1680. On 13 February 1639 in the Castle of Nassau at Koerich, he had married Marie-Salomé de Lontzen (d. 1669) dite Roben daughter of Jean Thierri de Lontzen Seigneur de Nordelange. With Marie-Salomé Renier had three children: 1) Philippe-Ernest baron de Reiffenberg who married twice and prolonged the line 2) Philippe-Christophe married Caroline-Angeline de Maldeghem. 3) Our Herman-Lothaire baron de Reiffenberg.

The youngest of these children: Herman-Lothaire baron de Reiffenberg is noted as 'Brigadier de cavalerie au service d'Espagne'. He died on 16 October 1727 and was buried in the parochial church of Aix-sur-Cloie Deuxième registre du livre d'or de la noblesse de France page 160. Aix-sur-Cloie or Esch op der Huurt is a village in the Letzeburgisch speaking part of what is now the Belgian province of Luxembourg.

6.2 Reiffenberg's regiment named Egmont

Now we get to even more data that supports the claim that Appelterre, Rissenberg an Baumont were Colonel-Commandants. According to SAMANIEGO 'Herman Lothar of Reinssinberg' had been appointed as Colonel on 1 November 1706. We do not see him or a regiment named for him in any OOB. The solution to this mystery is that after Egmont died, his regiment continued to be named 'Egmont'! On 16 May 1708 there is an Egmont regiment in the Flanders OOB for the Army of the Duke of Burgundy. In a reshuffled version the Egmont regiment is in a place of honor on the Extreme right of the second line 16. In the 25 July 1708 OOB for the main Bourbon this is the same 17. In a 17 August 1708 list for a force under Berwick the regiment Egmont is also present 18. In September 1708 the Egmont regiment was in a force under Puiguion 19. In October 1708 the Egmont regiment was in a force under Vendome 20. In a November 1708 disposition the Egmont regiment was planned to be at the bridge of Steenbrugge 21.

In 1709 the pattern continues: In a 24 July 1709 overview of the Bourbon cavalry, the Egmont regiment is the first of the Spanish Cavalry regiments and fields 2 squadrons22. In October 1709 the Egmont regiment was to be on the Sambre23.

In 1710 we find the Egmont regiment in a 15 March 1710 Memo by Villars for the Campaign 24. So, there is a clear pattern for this regiment in official French documents: It's either designated as 'Colonel-General' or General or with the name of the owner, and this stays the same when the owner has left the regiment or has died. The regiment never gets named for the Colonel-Commandant.

7 Count of Beaumont

7.1 The Count of Beaumont regiment

According to SAMANIEGO the Count of 'Baumont' was been appointed as colonel on 7 April 1710. SAMANIEGO also states that the regiment transferred from Flanders to Spain under Baumont's command. In a 15 May 1710 overview the Egmont regiment, and indeed most Spanish regiments do not appear 25.

8 Sources

SAMANIEGO refers to: Disertacion sobre la Antiguedad de los Regimientos by Dr. Juan Antonio Samaniego, Madrid 1738.

MERLO to: La caballería entre los Austrias y los Borbones by Jesus Martinez de Merlo Colonel of Cavalry published in 2017

9 Notes

1) Mercure Historique et Politique under August 1700 page 224 for Grigny succeeding to Holstein-Ploen.
2) PELET Tome 1 page 463, says the Grigny regiment counted only 1 complete squadron by August 1701
3) PELET Tome 2 page 481, Etat des troupes, tant d'infanterie que de cavalerie ...aux ordres de M. Marquis de Bedmar mentions the Ggrigny there.
4) PELET Tome 2 page 580, Etat des troupes detachées aux ordres de M. de Tallard le 17 Septembre 1702 mentions the Grigny.
5) PELET Tome 3 page 757 Etat des troupes de Campagne et de Garnison, depuis la mer jusqu'a Luxembourg. 17 Juin 1703 has De Grigny with 2 squadrons.
6) PELET vol. 4 page 680 for the Col-gen d'espagne on 29 February 1704.
7) Bedmar to Chamillart 23 May 1704 Campagne de Villeroy and Bedmar en Flandre p. 57 about the Egmont regiment.
8) Dangeau page 387 about Egmont's appointment
9) PELET vol. 5 page 772 for the Col-gen d'espagne in Marsin's army in 1705.
10) PELET vol. 5 page 785 for the general de la cavalerie espagnole in 1705.
11) PELET vol. 5 page 788 for 'Egmont Espagnol' in 1705.
12) PELET vol. 6 page 487 for Brigadier Appeltern on 15 May 1706.
13) PELET vol. 6 page 530 for Brigadier Appeltern commanding a brigade with an Egmont regiment in August 1706.
14) PELET vol. 7 page 294 for Major-General Appelterre in an overview of Spanish senior officers in Flanders and on the Rhine.
15) PELET vol. 7 page 305 for Chièvres camp in August 1707.
16) PELET vol. 8 page 379 and 380 for Egmont in the May 1708 OOB.
17) PELET vol. 8 page 408 for Egmont in the July 1708 OOB.
18) PELET vol. 8 page 425 for the Egmont regiment in the Aug 1708 force under Berwick.
19) PELET vol. 8 page 443 for the Egmont regiment in the September 1708 force under Puiguion.
20) PELET vol. 8 page 488 for the Egmont regiment in the October 1708 force under Vendome.
21) PELET vol. 8 page 516 for the Egmont regiment in November 1708 near Steenbrugge.
22) PELET vol. 9 page 319 for the Egmont regiment in July 1709.
23) PELET vol. 9 page 402 for the Egmont regiment in October 1709.
24) PELET vol. 10 page 244 for the Egmont regiment in March 1710.
25) PELET vol. 10 page 269 for the 15 May 1710 overview of cavalry with most Spanish regiments missing.