Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Huguenot regiments in British service - part 2

In this article the five regiments of Huguenot refugees in the British Army will be briefly discussed. As has been written in the introductory post, there were three Huguenot regiments of foot, one of horse and one of dragoons.

The regiment of horse was formed about March 1689 with nine troops as a body guard to Friedrich Hermann, the 1st Duke of Schomberg who as also colonel. Schomberg fell during the Battle of the Boyne on 1 July 1690. Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny and the later Earl of Galway succeeded Schomberg to the colonelcy. However, that seems to have happened only on 15 January 1691.

The origin of the regiment of dragoons is a bit more difficult to trace. According to English sources (Dalton) the regiment was raised 1 October 1695 and its colonel was Armand de Bourbon, Marquis de Miremont. However, in de work by Glozier and Onnekink of 2007, a regiments of dragoons was formed by Miremont as early as 1690 in Switzerland from Huguenot refugees for the Dutch Establishment. It may have been known as Balthazar's Regiment of Dragoons, though may have been called Miremont's from 1690 as well, and was seemingly placed on the English Establishment 1 March 1696. However, the regiment is shown in the Army Estimates for 1696, published in December 1695.

As for the foot, these regiments were all raised 1 April 1689.
The first regiment was commanded by Isaac de Monceau de la Melonière, who retained the colonelcy until the disbandment of the regiment.

The colonel of the second regiment was François du Puy du Cambon. On 12 August 1693 he was succeeded by Comte de Marton, the later Earl of Lifford.

The last regiment was initially commanded by Pierre, Comte de la Caillemotte, a younger brother of Henri, Marquis de Ruvigny. Like Schomberg he met his death at the Boyne, and was succeeded on 16 July 1690 by Pierre de Belcastel. (It is interesting to note that Belcastel raised a regiment of Huguenots on the Dutch Establishment in 1701.)

In late 1698 the five Huguenot regiments appear on the list of forces on the Irish Establishment, having been shipped from Flanders directly to Ireland. This was probably an effort by William III to save them from disbandment. However, since Parliament had decreed that only native regiments were to be retained, the Huguenot regiments were disbanded in March 1699. Officers that had become English subjects were placed on half-pay. Thus ends the story of the Huguenot regiments in English service.

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