Tuesday 29 March 2022

French Flags Mini-Project: Flags Carried By Infantry Regiments at St Cast 1758 Number 4: Regiment Boulonnais

The regiment was first raised in 1684, of two battalions. It saw much action in the War of the Spanish Succession, serving at the battle of Blenheim, where most of the first battalion was captured, and subsequently, amongst other actions,  at Oudenarde, Wijnendale, Malplaquet, Denain and various sieges.

Only one battalion in much of the Seven Years War and ranked 74th.

The flags were the same from 1684-1791.

My translation of Susane's account of the regiment in the SYW, Volume 7:

At the beginning of the Seven Years War Boulonnais was in garrison in Brittany. It remained attached to the defence of the coast of this province and was at St Malo during the various attempts at bombardment of this city by the British. On the 11th September 1758 it was this regiment that threw the British into the sea at St Cast. A considerable body of British troops managed to land on the 4th at St Lunar close to St Malo. This body had sized the position of St Cast and rapidly surrounded it with entrenchments. The Duc d'Aiguillon, governor of the province, got together all he could find of regular and militia troops but hesitated to attack a fortified enemy with so few troops. Boulonnais, led by its colonel La Tour d'Auvergne, hastened to engage the enemy, followed by the regiments Brie and Marbeuf. They broke into the entrenchments, despite the musketry of the British troops and the cannon fire from their fleet nearby, and forced the enemy to abandon their position and retreat to the shore. Boulonnais then harrassed the left, pushed it towards the sea and followed the enemy into the water up to waist height and during the entire re-embarkation fought hand to hand with men in despair. The carnage was frightful; 200 British troops were killed or drowned, and an equal number who could not reach  their ships and who sought their salvation by climbing the rocks were captured after the combat. Boulonnais, which had fought under the constant barrage of the fleet, also had great losses; its colonel was dangerously wounded.

In 1761 the regiment was sent to Saint Dominica, and because of that it escaped the reforms of 1762 which led to the disappearance of the greater part of its contemporaries. An Ordonnance of 30th April 1762 increased it to two battalions, incorporating various detachments of other troops which were also in the colonies. The regulation of the 10th December of the same year attached the regiment to the service of ports and colonies.

And this was the uniform in 1756: