Sunday, September 5, 2010

Voluntaries de Clermont.

Spring has sprung down under and finally my painting mojo has returned!

On the painting front I have returned to painting my own figures again after finishing off some more moderns, medieval and ECW for a number of mates. On the table at the moment are some Front Rank 7YW French light infantry so I have decided to do a unit from “Voluntaries de Clermont,” I have some conflicting information so I have listed what I have found, I have started my work in progress at the bottom of this article. Click on the images to enlarge.

History and Organisation
The Comte de Clermont, Louis de Bourbon (15 June 1709 – 16 June 1771).
A prince of the blood, he was the third and youngest son of Louis (III) de Bourbon, prince de Condé (1668-1710) and Louise Françoise de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Nantes (1673-1743), a legitimated daughter of King Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre Madame de Montespan.

The Comte de Clermont is perhaps best known to history as the fifth Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France, the supreme Masonic authority in France. During the Seven Years' War, Clermont assumed command of the French army of the Rhine in 1758. On February 14, Louis de Bourbon-Condé count of Clermont-en-Argonne arrived at Hannover to supersede Richelieu as commander of the French army. Everything was in such a bad condition that Clermont supposedly wrote to Louis XV:

”I found your Majesty's army divided into 3 parts. The part which is above the ground is composed of pillagers and marauders, the second part is underground, and the third is in hospital. Should I retire with the first or wait until I join one of the others?”

An Allied offensive soon drove his army back to the Rhine. At the beginning of June, the Allies passed the Rhine and forced Clermont back to Rheinberg, then to Neuss. On June 23, Clermont was defeated at Krefeld by Ferdinand of Brunswick. After this battle, Clermont was immediately dismissed and replaced by Contades.
After the war, Clermont took part to the re-organisation of the French army.

The Comte de Clermont, Louis de Bourbon raised the “Voluntaries de Clermont” on May seventh 1758, 1800 men were to form 16 companies of cavalry and 11 companies of Infantry all foreign, including two grenadier companies. On August 15, 1758 difficulty of recruiting men the legion was reduced to 1,200 men divided into two companies of grenadiers, seven fusiliers companies and four companies of cavalry

Re-organisation in 1759 Clermont Prince theoretically had an organization of, 948 men dispatched into 17 companies with:
- a staff with 1 colonel, 1 lieutenant-colonel, 1 major,2 aide-major d'infanterie, 2 aide-major de cavalerie, 1 aumônier (Chaplian), 1 chirurgien-major (surgeon), 1 maréchal-des-logis (logistics officer) , 1 auditeur ( pay clerk), 1 prévôt(gendarme ou policier officer), 1 greffier (clerk of the court), 2 archers (gendarme ou policier) and 1 exécuteur de justice (privilege de prevote et de justice).

-1 company of 3 officers and 60 grenadiers.
The grenadiers company: 1 capitaine, 1 lieutenant, 1 sous-lieutenant, 2 sergents, 3 caporaux, 3 ansepessades, 1 tambour and 41 grenadiers.
-8 companies of 3 officers and 71 fusiliers.
Each company of fusiliers: 1 capitaine, 1 capitaine en 2nd., 1 lieutenant en 1er., 1 lieutenant en 2nd., 1 sous-lieutenant, 4 sergents, 4 cadets, 1 fourrier, 1 capitaine d'arme, 6 caporaux, 6 ansepessades, 2 canonniers, 2 charpentiers, 2 tambours and 72 fusiliers.
also two light guns: Swedes 4 pounders (I also suspect Amusettes)
-8 companies of 4 officers and 40 dragoons.
Each company of dragoons:1 capitaine, 1 lieutenant, 1 cornette, 2 maréchaux-des-logis, 4 brigadiers, 2 cadets, 1 trompette and 43 cavaliers.

In 1763 they became the “Legion de Clermont Prince”. On March 19, 1766 the regiment is named after his nephew the Prince de Conde and takes the name Legion de Conde. The legion was disbanded in 1776 along with all French volunteer units. The unit was then reformed as the 4e Regiment de Chasseurs-à-Cheval becoming the Regiment de Chasseurs de Bretagne in 1788, finally becoming the 10e Regiment de Chasseurs in 1791

Officers I have found for the of the legion from 1758 to 76
Lieutenant colonel le Baron de Blaisel until February 10, 1759
Lt Col Marquis de Comeiras, Captain au Regim, de chevalier, de Seyffel incorpoire and ci-dev. 1759 to July 1762 (captured at Zeirenburg in September 1760)
Lt Col M. Baron le Chevalier De Maille (not sure which year commanded)
Lt Col en second M le Chevalier de Blaisel

Maj (Lt Col) Count de bar Saint Romans
Col Com M. le Chev de Virieu
Maj M de Pagenflech
Maj Dahamel (dragoons)

Capt Inf
M. Beaucoufin
M. Thiery
M. Defruelles
M. Desfonties
M. de Beaulieu
M. de la Barthe
M. Cailet
M. Belbeze

Capt Dragoons
Marquis de Cheneviare
M. Cornier
M. Schwart
Baron de Coehorn
Machais du Blaigis
M. de Beauregard

Lieutenants Inf
M. Tourtoulon (capt 2nd)
M. Pafquet
M. Langenetiere
M. Vanlerberghe
M. Delpueche
Chevalier Duchafteler (aide-major d'infanterie)
Chevalier d'Hauterine
M. Buronne
M. Peyrony
Count de Mayria (I suspect this is Louis Joseph de Bourbon 9 August 1736 – 13 May 1818)

Lieutenants Dragoons
M. Dejean (capt 2nd)
Chevalier de Villereau (capt 2nd)
Chevalier de Cangey (capt 2nd)
M. Laval de Garner
M. Cauffe
M. Chateauneuf
M. Villereau
M. Gerard (Provost)
M. la Caiffe
M. Sujuy

In 1759, 1,200 Volontaires de Clermont marched with the duc de Broglie's corps in the german campaign of that year they captured two enemy standards (yet to find out which ones?). Almost all of the legion were captured in Zeirenburg in September 1760Marquis de Comeiras (colonel of the Volontaires de Clermont)was taken prisoner along with 40 officers and 400 men, 400 others were recaptured by the French during the skirmish.

Dragoon’s Uniform
1758-63 Buff coats, breeches (white in summer, red also depicted possibly the grenadier coy of the dragoons?), red collar, cuffs, lapels and lining and waistcoat. White buttons (pewter) white buttonhole lace on coat and waistcoat, red epaulettes.(some images have buff cuffs and collar and no lapels). Brass helmet with beaded red turban (cross hatched with yellow lace)with white egret, also images with brown fur turban black horse tail, buff cloak with red collar, armed with sabre, carbine and a brace of pistols, buff belts (white belts), brown cartridge box. Black knee length gaiters. Some images have a Square blue saddlecloth (Dr Marbots) with blue pistol housings or a buff saddlecloth with white and red lacing (Mouilard), Saddle and tack black or dark brown.

1763 Buff coats, breeches, red collar, cuffs lapels lining and waistcoat. White buttons (pewter) white buttonhole lace on coat and waistcoat, red aiguillette worn on right shoulder, buff pistol housings edged white with six red diagonal central stripes on the housing (I have seen no images of this yet) or a buff housing with three red fluer-de-lys.

1767 Sheepskin housings edged buff for dragoons, black boots

1758-62 Buff coats, breeches (white for summer, red also depicted possibly for the grenadier coy?), red collar, cuffs (no lapels) lining and waistcoat. White buttons (pewter) white buttonhole lace on coat and waistcoat and white lace around the collar. Brass helmet with red turban with yellow cross hatching, a yellow (French Masonic) Maltese cross cockade, white aigrette (feather plume) for Fusiliers, red aigrette for grenadiers and a single red epaulette on the left shoulder, buff belts, brown cartridge box. White knee length gaiters for summer, black for winter. All OR’s were armed with musket, bayonet and hanger (short sword) with a red brown musket sling.

1763 Buff coats, breeches (white for summer?), red collar, cuffs (no lapels) lining and waistcoat. White buttons (pewter) white buttonhole lace on coat and waistcoat. Fusiliers now wore tricorne hats laced white, grenadiers in short bearskins with fleur-de-lye brass plate and red aigrette, red epaulette all ranks, buff belts, brown cartridge box. White knee length gaiters for summer, black for winter. All armed with musket, bayonet and hanger (short sword)with a red brown musket sling.

1766 Buff coats, breeches (white for summer), red collar, cuffs, red lapels, lining and waistcoat. White buttons (pewter) white buttonhole lace on coat and waistcoat. Fusiliers now wore tricorne hats laced white, grenadiers in short bearskins with fleur-de-lys brass plate, buff belts, brown cartridge box. White knee length gaiters for summer, black for winter. All armed with musket, bayonet and hanger.

1758-66 Buff coats, breeches (white for summer?), red collar, cuffs (no lapels) lining and waistcoat. White buttons (silver) silver buttonhole lace on coat and waistcoat, silver lace on waistcoat, buff belts. Brass helmet, with leopard skin turban, with a white aigrette. A silver aiguillette for officers on the right shoulder. Also I found images of a brown fur turban, with a silver fleur-de-lys and a red aiguillette. I have seen no images of an officer in a tricorne, although I think this may of happened, so my colonel will be wearing one.

I could find no decent information on the musicians (as usual for Légion étrangère regiments) so I made some semi educated guesses, based on the musicians of the Conde Infantry regiment and the Bourbon-Conde family colours (buff and red).

Brass helmet with red turban, yellow lace and white aigrette, Buff coats, breeches, red collar, cuffs lining and waistcoat. Six buff laced red reversed (upward point) chevrons on each sleeve(conjecture based on Bourbon Conde house colours), with buff swallows nests laced in red on the shoulder (conjecture, based on the Conde dragoon regt), White buttons (silver) silver buttonhole lace on coat and waistcoat, buff belts, brass drum with the Bourbon-Conde coat of arms, azure (blue) field with three golden Fleur-de-lys couped by a small red baston (based on the conde infantry regt drum).

The legion was also iisued two light guns qouted as "sweedes", 4 pounders, I will use the fine Eureka 3pdr pieces for these. I also suspect amusettes may of been issued also, because at the seige of Zeirenburg four light pieces were captured by the British and Hanoverians, then the French counter attack recaptured two of the pieces back. Also the Fusiliers de Montagnes and Chasseurs de Fischer were issued them. I intend to scratch build one of these or get my mate mike to do it for me.

the colours below were carried by the Legion from 1758 to May 1763, a white cravat with mixed yellow and red cords I suspect, I think they also would of carried a kings colour, but if anybody knows for sure please leave a message below. In May 1763they were ordered not to carry any colours or drums into battle so I suspect they then became a true light infantry unit used for skirmishing, screening and outpost duties .

croix blanche, deux cantons ventre de biche à un losange en diagonal rouge, deux cantons rouges à un losange vertical ventre de biche. Just resize this one for your figures.

Since Front Rank do no standard bearers,musicians or extra officers I decided to have a shot at sculpting some helmets on some spare French officers, and musicians and I have left the colonel in his tricorne, here is the result so far.

If anybody has further information please let me know.


further notes and assumptions
Information deciphered from:-
Alexndre Dr Marbot plates,
Mouilard plates
Funcken plates
I found an image of the grenadiers in short bearskins from 1760 from an image from the Royal Library Madrid collection, found in Rene Chartrand’s "Louis the XV’s army, light troops and specialists".
Voluntaires de Saint Victor were incorporated in 1763 which may of caused the hat change?
Officer Names were taken from the"gazette de France"

Universal magazine.


Conrad Hawkwood said...

nice on big willow..I have even seen them in the flesh!!1

abdul666 said...

An excellent rendition of a spectacular unit!

No dragoons as yet? I suspect 'Enterburger' would be ready to share the shipment cost, I'm pestring him to acquire some; and as he mentioned on your TMP thread, since FR does neither standard-bearer nor musician, he would willingly call for your converting skills...

Regarding the musicians, they wore essentially the same uniform as the troops since the whole unit wore the Conde livery (very 'feudal'!). I remember (but not from where) a cavalry musician differing from the dragoons mainly by a (feathered?) tricorn and a large scarlet collar; seen from the back, but I suspect no lapels -most cavalry musicians wore a variant of the 'hunting coat'.
Ventre-de-biche is slightly more orange than 'chamois' (as used for car cleaning)

abdul666 said...

'Archer'= military police (under the 'prevot').
'Greffier' = judicial clerk / court secretary.
Thus 'auditeur' probably = prosecutor?

Bluewillow said...

thanks Abdul, the musicain livery is the most difficult, I have yet to make a decision on how I will depict him, the chevrons and swallows nest idea is from a Funcken plate of another Bourbon-Conde regt. I will add a picture on our clubs forum Ne Plus Ultra for further discussion,I will change the definition of the staff also.


Conrad Hawkwood said...

you and you bloody lets see a zombie manned one please

Bluewillow said...

no time for sculpting Zombies at the moment, have time for a amusette though!

abdul666 said...

The picture of the amusette is a rough reproduction of a plate in de Saxe 'Reveries'. Don't be misled by the helmet: the 'Clermont' at first -just like the dragoons of 'La Morliere'- used a straight copy of the helmet devised by de Saxe for his Uhlans. The Marshal used this helmet again in the illustrations of his 'Reveries' but with a difference: a kind of metallic 'bird' (metallic 'wings' of Polish origin on each side of a kind of 'swan's neck') in stead of the 'Roman' crest and horsehair: your illustration clearly depict this last type of helmet.
De Saxe had some 'amusttes' built when he was retired in Chambord.

So there is no doubt that the 'Clermont' had a pair of light 'swedish' 4 pounders, sorry...

abdul666 said...

PS: "Aumonier" = chaplain (armourer would be 'armurier').

I'd suggest to exchange 'clerk' and 'pay clerk' between 'auditeur' (probably finances controller) and 'greffier' (surely the secretary of the regimantal Court).

abdul666 said...

28mm zombies in tricorns?
("They call me, Lola, Rheinhardt. Pleased to meet you.": their next opponents?)

Imho not really a matter of conversions: a few cuts & scratches with wire cutter / knife, appropriate painting (waxy skin, black eyelids, bloody wounds) and a very 'muddy' 'weathering' to make them look freshly unearthed.

Bluewillow said...


Thanks, change the terms around.

I was aware that the image is from De Saxe Revieries, I guessed they may of used 3 or 4 pdrs (swede as described in documents). I still would fancy an amusette though!


abdul666 said...

Then a 54mm musket would be suitable, perhaps filing down the butt to be 'in scale'?
De Saxe's 'amustte' is the ultimate evolution of the good old 'galley arquebus / rampart musket'.

Bluewillow said...

I think I will sculpt one from scratch If I can!

Anonymous said...

Very nice unit .
Sorry but as artillery piece you show us an amusette from Marechal de Saxe , it was a rampart gun with that can be loaded by breech, not a great success !.
During the seven years war most of the lights troops received two small artillery pieces of one pound, called " à la Rostaing" , light troops never had short 4 pounds "à la Suédoise".
More information on Kronoskaf coming soon.

JL Vial
Nec Plurubus Impar

sajid hussain said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.