The Chacon regiment

Chacon Cavalry Regiment
A.k.a. Algarve
Palacio Condal in Cassarubios del Monte
Gonzalo Chacon was born in the Palacio
Ducal in Casarrubios del Monte (Toledo).
Photo by Santiago Lopez-Pastor
Commanded by:
Gonzalo Chacon
As regiment
Gonzalo Chacon16 March 1701
Pr. Alexandre de Croy
Luis de Acosta18 March 1704

1 Chacon Y Orellana

1.1 The Chacon family

For the first commander of this regiment we have to look for Gonzalo Chacon de Orellana Y Mendoza (c. 1651 - 9 December 1722 Pamplona). Gonzalo was the third son of Rodrigo Alfonso de Orellana Toledo later 3rd Marques of Orellana la Vieja, and Aldonza Chacón y Zapata. Because he was a younger son, he used the name of his mother. Chacon distinguished himself in the defense of Luxemburg in 1684. From 1686-1689 Chacon was captain in the cavalry. In 1690 he became a Maestre de Campo of the Spanish infantry tercio later known as 'Portugal'

with his infantry regiment Chacon then fought in the defense of Mons in 1691, the Battle of Neerwinden (July 1693) and the defense of Charleroi. These engagements were not successful, but Chacon's conduct was good 1. Chacon was made Lieutenant-general of Cavalry in Flanders with the rank of sargento general de batalla on 7 June 16952. He became Castellano of Gent in February 16973. Gonzalo Chacón de Orellana y Mendoza would later make a career that gave him his own little biography cf. below.

1.2 The Company of Lt-General Chacon

Traditionally the army of the Spanish Netherlands had an independent company for the general of Cavalry, and one indepenedent company for each of the two Lieutenant-generals of cavalry, but also one for the . In 1695 Chacon became a lieutenant-General of Cavalry, and got this company. I do not yet have a specific mention of the company in an OOB.

1.3 The Chaconne regiment

The Chacon regiment was created in Flanders in 1701 from the independent company of Chacon. Its first colonel was Don Gonzalo Chacon4. It consisted of 4 companies of 35 mounted men. The first was the company of the colonel Chacon. The second company was that of Lieutenant-Colonel the Chevalier de Bournonville. The other two were those of Pedro de Villamil and Jacob de la Tour. Four other companies were raised somewhat later by Chevalier Valbeden, Chevalier Hartman, Baron de Kerquen and José de Munguia. Other people were Sergeant-Major Bernabé Piñedo, adjudant-Major Martin Esteff, Chaplain Adraen van den Bok, and surgeon M. de Tabier 5.

The oldest specific mention I have of the cavalry regiment 'Chaconne' is of 1701 when it had 2 squadrons, with 1 still forming but expected to be ready at the end of August6, this no doubt referring to the second four companies. In April 1702 the Chacon was in camp between Antwerp and Lier with 2 squadrons7. In September 1702 it was in Boufflers'army and somewhat later that month in Léau. In 1702 Don Gonzalo Chacon became captain general of Granada on account of his services in Flanders8.

2 Prince de Croy

2.1 The Croy family

Antoine de Croy (d. 1546) was Seigneur de Sempy and Thou, Knight of the Golden Fleece, governor of Quesnoy. With his first wife Louise de Luxembourg, he had Jacques de Croy Seigneur de Sempi etc. Jacques married three times. First with Anne Henin, of whom Antoine Seigneur de Fontenoi dead without children. Second he married Anne de Hornes, with her he had Anne de Croy. As third wife Jacques had Jolande de Lannoy heritière of Molembais and Solre. With her he had Philippe de Croy.

Philippe (d. 1612) became Comte de Solre in 1592 and knight of the Golden Fleece. Philippe also married three times. With Anne de Beaufort he had Jean de Croy (d. 1640), who married Jeanne de Lalain heritière of Condé and had: Philippe Emanuel de Croy (d. 1670) Knight of the Golden Fleece Comte de Solre governor of Hainaut. Philip Emanuel married Isabella Clara de Gand-Vilain. With her he had Philippe Emanuel de Croy (c. 1641 - 1718) and Balthasar de Croy Marquis de Molembais

2.2 The Croy-Solre family

Philippe Emanuel de Croy (c. 1641 - 1718) founded the Croi-Solre branch of the family. He was Comte de Solre et de Buren, Baron de Molembais and Beaufort, Seigneur de Condé. In 1672 he married Anne Marie Françoise, daughter of Duke Alexandre de Bournonville. He was made Prince de Solre in 1677. Philippe Emanuel switched to the French side, and in 1688 he raised the Walloon Regiment de Solre for Louis XIV. He distinguished himself in the sieges of Mons, Namur and Charleroi and the Battles of Fleurus and Neerwinden. Philippe Emanuel became a French Lieutenant General in 1702

Philippe Emanuel and Anne Marie Françoise had: A) Alexandre-Emanuel Comte de Solre ( 1676 - 1723 ) B) Albert François dit le Chevalier de Croy C) Alexandre Jean François de Croy Comte de Beaufort (d. 1744). In the regimental history of the French Solre Infantry regiment by SUSANE, the regiment is raised by Philippe Emanuel in 1688, on 22 January 1696 it's given to A) Philippe Alexander Emanuel de Croi Comte de Solre son of the colonel. It then fights at Chiari, in the Battle of Luzzara 1702, and almost all other Italian battles. In 1707 it returns to Flanders, and joins the Battle of Oudenaarde. On 20 March 1709 the regiment is given to C) the Chevalier de Croi-Solre brother of the preceding colonel. He is killed shortly after at Malplaquet and replaced by B) Albert-François de Croi, Comte de Beaufort. The story of this strange succession is explained by the fact that simultaneous with the Solre regiment, the Walloon Poitiers regiment had been raised. The Poitiers had been given to B) Albert François Chevalier de Croi-Solre on 25 July 1700. According to SUSANE the third son followed the first in 1709, and when he died he was in turn replaced by the second. Most probably SUSANE was correct in filling in the Comte de Beaufort, but this was Alexandre Jean François, not Albert François.

The problem with this regimental succession by SUSANE is that Alexandre Jean François de Croy Comte de Beaufort lived till 1744. Furthermore Albert François was succeeded in the 'Poitiers' regiment before the Battle of Malplaquet that took place on 11 September 1709. The reason is probably in the promotion of the eldest son Alexandre-Emanuel to Maréchal de Camp on 20 March 1709 and Lieutenant-General on 1 October 1709 Histoire généalogique et héraldique des pairs de France, this probably forced Alexandre-Emanuel to sell his regiment before Malplaquet. Therefore the correct version is in the Dictionnaire de la noblesse, contenant les généalogies: Albert François was killed at Malplaquet, where his body was lost.

Alexandre Jean François de Croy Comte de Beaufort seemed a good candidate to be our colonel. Still according to the Dictionnaire de la noblesse: He became the colonel of the Solre regiment after the death of his brother. After Philippe had became king of Spain Alexandre Jean François had switched to Felipe's service with the consent of Louis XIV. He signaled himself in the Oran affaire against the Moors, at the Battle of Bilouton, the Siege of Livorno and the 1744 Battle of Velletri, in which he died. All this seems confusing. Especially the idea that he becomes colonel of this regiment and then leaves it to become a French colonel, and then switches back to make a big career in Spanish service. The explanation is that Alexandre Jean François served in the Spanish infantry, something to investigate later on and is not our colonel.

2.3 Marquis de Molembais family

Balthasar de Croy founded the Molembais branch of the family. Balthasar Marquis de Molembais married Marie Philippina de Crequi.

2.4 The Croy-Havré family

Other sons of Philippe de Croy (d. 1612) were Charles Philippe Marquis de Renty and Philippe François Vicomte de Langle (d. 1650). Charles Philippe maried Claire de Croy heritière de Havré. After Charles Philippe de Croy died his widow Philippe Marie Claire de Croy married his widowed half-brother Philippe François Vicomte de Langle, sieur de Tourcoing, who became Duc d'Havré in 1620, Knight of the Golden Fleece, governor of Luxembourg. Philippe François and Marie Claire de Croy had:

Ferdinand François Joseph (1644-1694) Duc d'Havré et Croy Prince and Imperial Field Marshal, Grandee of Spain, Knight of the Golden Fleece, Admiral of Flanders. With Josephina Barbara de Halewijn daugter of Alexandre Duc de Wailly he had three sons and five daughters. Charles Joseph (1683-1710) de Croy Duc d'Havré et Croy etc. Lieutenant -General killed in Battle near Saragossa; Jean Baptiste (1688-) 'Domheer' of Cologne, but left the church after the death of his older brother; Ferdinand Joseph Ernest; Marie Ernestine Josephine (b. 1673) married to Philippe of Hessen-Darmstadt in 1693.

2.5 The Comtes De Roeux

All the above to identify 'Prince Alexandre de Croy', the next captain mentioned by SAMANIEGO 9. This does not mean that we have identified him. The head of the Croy family at the time was Ferdinand Gaston Lamoral de Croy (d. 1697) Comte de Roeux, Prince of the empire, Grandee of Spain, Baron de Beaurain, etc. With Anne-Antoinette de Berghes (d. 1714), he had: Alexandre Prince de Croy mestre de camp killed on the Speyerbach on 15 November 1703, and Philippe François, who coninued the line of the Comtes de Roeux. Quincy has this death specifically as 'Le Prince de Croy' Colonel Histoire militaire du regne de Louis Le Grand So: we have two Alexandre de Croy's, one that lives till 1744, and one that has a mark that he was killed at the Speyerbach in 1703. No doubt our colonel is Alexandre prince de Croy from the line of the Comtes de Roeux. It explains why he lost the regiment, and why the other Alexandre made a long career in the Spanish army.

2.6 The Croy Regiment

I do not have a date for this appointment. The first mention I have of the 'Croy' regiment is when it was ordered to Luxembourg on 1 February 1703 with 2 squadrons10. In June 1703 the Croy were in the army of the Rhine11. According to CLONARD the Croy regiment fought in the Battle on the Speyerbach. Indeed the regiment is in the French OOB for 15 November 1703 12. In 1704 the Croy regiment was again destined to Alsace13. Which is easily explained by the delay in picking up the new name.

3 Luis de Acosta

3.1 The Acosta family

Don Luis d'Acosta was appointed on 18 March 1704.

3.2 The Acosta regiment

On 12 May 1704 there were 6 squadrons designated Costa in the OOB 14. Under Acosta's command the regiment rode into Germany in 1704 and participated in the Battle of Blenheim. According to CLONARD only 80 men were left after the battle. In a table about the troops returning to Alsace it's listed as Croy Espagnol with 2 squadrons 15, but this table does not refer to real strength. In an OOB for December 1704 the Acosta is indeed missing 16, but this probably has to to with returning to the Spanish Netherlands.

On 12 May 1705 the Acosta is in the Flanders OOB 17. In the same OOB there is a another Costa regiment that fields 5 Squadrons, these are Bavarian or Colognese. In the 14 July 1705 OOB there is again an Acosta regiment with 2 squadrons 18. The Acosta regiment was at tbe Battle for the Lines of Brabant and probably suffered high casualties.

On 10 August 1706 the Acosta was in the OOB for Flanders with 1 squadron, the Costa with 3 19. On 10 May 1707 the Acosta is in the OOB for Flanders with two squadrons 20. On 17 August 1707 it was in the third line of the OOB with two squadrons 21. On 16 May 1708 the Acosta was again in the OOB with 2 squadrons 22. On 25 July 1708 (after the battle of Oudenaarde), it was still in the Order of Battle 23. The Acosta was again in a 17 August 1708 OOB 24. On 24 July 1709 the Acosta regiment was in camp at Denain with 1 squadron 25. On 27 October 1709 the Acosta was to camp along the Sambre with 1 squadron 26.

In 1710 the Acosta is in the reserve of an OOB of Villars' army of Flanders with 2 squadrons 27. Later in 1710 Acosta brought the regiment to Spain 28. In Spain it was renamed to 'Algarve'.

4 Sources

For a biography of Gonzalo Chacon: Gonzalo Chacón de Orellana y Mendoza at DB~e of the Real Academia de la Historia.

5 Notes

1) Cf Chacon's biography under the sources
2) Expedientes de militares: siglos XVI al XIX by Emilio de Cardenas Piera, Instituto Luis de Salazar y Castro, page 98 for Chacon becoming Lieutenant-General in 1695, page 97 for him becoming Maestro de Campo de Flandes, without mention of cavalry or infantry.
3) The biography has 1693, but in February 1697 OHC 2 March 1697 has Chacon arriving to Gent Castle to command there ad interim.
4) SAMANIEGO page 450 has that Chacon's regiment was created in Flanders in 1701.
5) CLONARD vol 15 for the names of the company captains
6) Pelet Tome 1 page 463, says the Chaconne regiment counted only 1 complete squadron by August 1701
7) Pelet Tome 2 page 480, Etat des troupes, tant d'infanterie que de cavalerie ...aux ordres de M. Marquis de Bedmar mentions the 'Chacon' with 2 squadrons.
8) Compendio Annual for 1702 has Chacon's appointment as captain general of Grenada.
9) SAMANIEGO has that de Croy succeeded Chacon without date.
10) Pelet Tome 3 page 724, Etat des troupes qui doivent marcher au pays de Luxembourg. It mentions Croy as Spanish cavalry with 2 squadrons.
11) Pelet Tome 3 page 883, Ordre de bataille de l'armée du Rhin, 6 June 1703 mentions the Croy regiment as present with 2 squadrons.
12) Pelet tome 3 page 913 for the Croy in the 15 November 1703 OOB.
13) Pelet Tome 4 page 922, Etat des troupes qui seront en Alsace sous le commandement de M. le Maréchal de Marcin. It mentions Croy specifically as Cavalerie 'espagnol'.
14) Pelet tome 4 page 870 for the 6 Acosta squadrons.
15) Pelet tome 4 page 923 for the two squadrons after Blenheim.
16) Pelet tome 4 page 934 for the missing Acosta in late 1704.
17) Pelet tome 5 for the 12 May 1705 Flanders OOB.
18) Pelet tome 5 page 575 for Acosta in the 14 July 1705 OOB.
19) Pelet tome 6 page 530 for Acosta in the 10 August 1706 OOB.
20) Pelet tome 7 page 299 for Acosta in the 10 May 1707 OOB.
21) Pelet tome 7 page 305 for Acosta in the 17 August 1707 OOB.
22) Pelet tome 8 page 379 for Acosta in the 16 May 1708 OOB.
23) Pelet tome 8 page 409 for Acosta in the 25 July 1708 OOB.
24) Pelet tome 8 page 425 for Acosta in the 17 August 1708 OOB.
25) Pelet tome 9 page 320 for Acosta in the 24 July 1709 camp at Denain.
26) Pelet tome 9 page 402 for Acosta in the 24 July 1709 camp along the Sambre.
27) Pelet tome 10 page 277 for Acosta in Villars's army in 1710.
28) SAMANIEGO has that D'Acosta succeeded De Croy on 18 March 1704, and brought the regiment to Spain.