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Régiment du Cap
106éme Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne (Cap)
106éme Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne
106e Rég inf.png
Regimental uniform after the disposal of the monarchy.
Active 1772–1796
Country  Kingdom of France
France Kingdom of France (1791–2)
 First French Republic
Allegiance King of France
French Nation
Branch Kingdom of France La Marine Royale
France French Royal Army
France French Army
Type Line Infantry
Size HQ, 2 Line Battalions, Depot Battalion
Part of Colonial Army of Saint-Domingue
Army of the West
Headquarters Cap Français
Engagements

The Régiment du Cap (Regiment of the Cape) was a colonial infantry regiment of the French Royal Army created under the 1772 French Colonial Troops Ordnance. The regiment would serve during the Anglo-French War/American Revolutionary War and the Haitian Revolution until 1796 when it formed part of a new demi-brigade. The regiment's successor, the 106éme Régiment d'Infanterie would serve the modern French Army until 1940 when it was disbanded following the Battle of France.

Anglo-French War/American Revolution[edit | edit source]

Formation[edit | edit source]

Under the 1772 French Colonial Troops Ordnance, the first colonial 'regiments' were formed from the various independent colonial legions and companies. The Régiment du Cap was formed from the infantry companies of the Légion de Sainte-Domingue and took on the role of guarding the port of Cap Français, which was one of the busiest ports in the French Antilles. From the regiment's formation in 1772 until the revolution, all French colonial regiments were uniformed in the same way; dark blue coat without lapels but with red cuffs, collars, and epaulette straps. Dark green facings, and coat lined with white and the turnbacks white with anchors indicating it was controlled the Secretary of State of the Navy (the Admiralty) Secrétaire d'État à la Marine. The regiment's grand gaiters were white, and a black tricorne with white trim and a bourbon white ribbon.[1][2][3][4]

Two fusiliers of the Régiment de Pondichéry and Régiment de Martinique, and a drummer of the Régiment du Cap in 1789.

During the Anglo-French War/American Revolutionary War, the regiment provided detachments to many of the naval squadrons operating in the North West Atlantic and Caribbean. One of these expeditions embarked in 1779 with the fleet of the Charles, Comte d'Estaing and took part in the Siege of Savannah.[2][4]

Siege of Savannah[edit | edit source]

Towards the later end of 1779, the Continental forces were eager to re-take Savannah, Georgia, which was a launch point for many of the British raids in the area. In communication with the Continental Commander, Southern Department/Army Benjamin Lincoln a large raid was to be conducted against the city. As the Jean-Baptiste Charles, Comte d'Estaing arrived with his squadron, a small French ground force joined them. This force consisted of personnel many infantry and colonial regiments, along with a small detachment of artillery. As the squadron neared the city, it was required to stay away due to the local naval batteries and possible heavy artillery, therefore most of the troops disembarked some 5 miles away and marched to join their new American allies.[5][6]

On 15 September the first trenches were dug, and on 24 September they vigorously repulsed an attempted exit by the British. On 9 October they were again attacked, but after a fierce battle, and the French were repulsed and force to re-embark for the West Indies again. Captain Dumouriez and two lieutenants were wounded there on 9 October during the attack on the entrenchments.[2][5]

Later Campaigns[edit | edit source]

Another detachment embarked in 1782 on the frigate Amazone, where it lost Lieutenant Guilhem and several soldiers during the Action of 29 July 1782 off the coast of Cape Henry, Virginia.[2]

Peacetime[edit | edit source]

When the troubles in Saint-Domingue started, which later expanded into the Haitian Revolution began in 1790, the regiment was employed against the band of the mutinous Vincent Ogé, and defeated it on 29 October.[2]

French Revolution[edit | edit source]

On 1 April 1791, provisional regulations were announced following the initial stages of the French Revolution. This new ordnance grouped most of the line regiments into 7 "classes" of six regiments each, the 8th series maintained the colonial regiments, and the 102nd-104th regiments. The exceptions were the foreign regiments and regiments of the household. Each class was divided further into two "divisions", each of three regiments. In the case of the du Cap Regiment, it was part of the 8th series and 5th division, and uniformed as follows; peak casque, with stiff black horsehair crest and mock leopard skin turban helmet, white collar, 'revolutionary blue' turnbacks, white jacket, white breeches, white gaiters, black boots, white pockets, 'revolutionary blue' pocket trim, crimson cuff flaps, dark green cuffs, dark green facings, and white buttons.[1][2][7][8]

Another change for the regiment came on 11 August 1791 when the regiment passed from the Admiralty to the War Department, effectively making it a regiment of the French Revolutionary Army. The regiment was also ordered to be renamed, but this doesn't seem to have happened.[9]

Haitian Revolution[edit | edit source]

A group of former slaves murdering white civilians during the Battle of Port Français.

In 1791, the revolution of the black became widespread, and the regiment marched against them, attacked them on 27 August where they killed a hundred and dispersed the rest. The revolt however did eventually reach Cap Français, and the regiment fought well initially, but several times on the verge of coming to grips with the battalion of Normandie and Artois who had rebelled upon arrival on the island. Finally, the contagion of the example threw them into insubordination of their colonel the Baron de Cambefort on 19 October 1792.[2]

When the Spaniards crossed the border from Santo Domingo, the battalion regained its patriotism and under the energetic command of General Étienne Desfourneaux, the regiment showed its bravery in which it was able to wipe its distributing history. It was with 300 men that the general, at the end of 1793, defended Fort Crète-Sale against 700 Spanish.[2]

In France[edit | edit source]

Under the 1793 amalgamations, the regiment was originally slated to form the 187éme and 188éme Demi-Brigades, but these formations never came to place, and the demi-brigades only existing on paper.[1][2]

In 1795 the regiment arrived in Le Havre and towards the end of that year arrived in Beauvais and joined the Army of the West Armée d'Ouest and participated in the Pacification of the West, "Pacification de l'Ouest" until late 1796. Finally, on 12 November 1796 the second wave of amalgamations caused the regiment to amalgamate with the 49éme Demi-Brigade, 29éme Régiment d'Infanterie, Bataillon des Fédéres des 83 départments, 6éme Bataillon de Volontaires de Rhône-et-Loire, 2éme Bataillon de la Formation d'Orléans, and 19éme Bataillon de Volontaires des Réserves to form the 13éme Demi-Brigade de Deuxième Formation.[2][8][9]

Commanding Officers[edit | edit source]

Commanding officers of the regiment were:[2]

  • 1772–1780 François de Reyaud de Villevert
  • 1780–1784 Louis Auguste Elzéar, Comte de Sabran
  • 1784–1786 François, Vicomte de Fontanges
  • 1786–1792 Joseph Paul Augustin, Baron de Cambefort
  • 1792–1796 N. Dassas

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Susane, Volume I, pp. 312, 359, 368.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Susane, Volume VII, pp. 402–404.
  3. Lienhart & Humbert, Volume IV, p. 82
  4. 4.0 4.1 Smith, Uniforms of the American War of Independence, pp. 175, 180–181.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Susane, Volume III, pp. 84–91.
  6. Savas & Dameron, p. 14.
  7. Lienhart & Humbert, Volume III, p. 43.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Smith, Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars, pp. 43–47.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Smith, Napoleon's Regiments, pp. 153–154.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Louis Susane, Historie de l'Ancienne Infanterie Français, Volume I, 1849 Naval and Polytechnical Military Library of Paris, Paris, France.
  • Louis Susane, Historie de l'Ancienne Infanterie Français, Volume III, 1851 Naval and Polytechnical Military Library of Paris, Paris, France.
  • Louis Susane, Historie de l'Ancienne Infanterie Français, Volume VII, 1853 Naval and Polytechnical Military Library of Paris, Paris, France.
  • Dr. Constance Lienhart & Réne Humbert, The Uniforms of French Armies 1690–1894; Volume III: The Infantry, Originally published in 1906.
  • Dr Constance Lienhart & Réne Humbert, The Uniforms of French Armies 1690–1894; Volume IV: Artillery, Engineers, and the Train. 1906.
  • Theodore P. Savas & J. David Dameron, The New American Revolution Handbook, 2010/2011 Savas Beatie LLC, New York City, New York, United States. ISBN 978-1932714937.
  • Digby Smith, Kevin E. Kiley, and Jeremy Black, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the American War of Independence, 2017 Lorenz Books, London, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-0-7548-1761-1.
  • Digby Smith & Jeremy Black, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars, 2015 Lorenz Books, London, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-0-7548-1571-6.
  • Digby Smith, Napoleon's Regiments Battle Histories of the Regiments of the French Army, 1792–1815, 2000 Greenhill Books, London, United Kingdom. ISBN 1-85367-413-3.

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