Royal-Deux-Ponts 1757-2003

Inauguration.

The Royal-Deux-Ponts regiment, that along with the with the Gatinais Regiment, executed the decisive storming of Redoubt 9 at the Battle of Yorktown, was honoured again in France Nov. 22, 2003, with a new monument erected at the French Army's Sathonay camp near Lyon. Following the initiative of Col. Mudler, president of the Friends of the Royal Deux Ponts / 99th Infantry Regiment, and the carving of sculptor Mick Micheyl, the monument was unveiled in the presence of military and civil authorities as well as a delegation of the Sons of the American Revolution of France bearing their flag. The Royal-Deux-Ponts became the 99th Infantry Regiment in 1793, and the monument evokes the both the royal and the republican glory of the this brilliant unit. The first recruits were soldiers who lived in the duchy of Deux-Ponts and neighbouring areas speaking German, or similar dialects.

The delegation of the Sons was happy to seize this occasion to strengthen its relationship with the town of Zweibrücken, which was represented at the ceremony by its mayor, Dr. Lambert, and by Dr. Charlotte Glück-Christmann, director of the Zweibrücken museum.

The Regiment under the l'ancien régime.

Under the monarchy, the Royal Deux-Ponts regiment was one of several recruited in provinces where German was spoken. At the time, these units were referred to as 'German regiments', but they all belonged to the Royal Army of France, loyal to the King. Because the Royal Deux Ponts has 'Royal' in its name, a priviledge shared with only a dozen infantry regiments of the French Royal Army. This meant nobody but the French King himself was holding the position of its colonel. This was the case even if, in reality, direct command was trusted to a colonel-lieutenant, assisted by a lieutenant-colonel, whichever prince was owning (as colonel propriétaire) the regiment. It was clear that for this unit, even more than for the others, that the commander-in-chief was none other than the King himself, and the drums and flags of the regiment bear therefore his fleur de lys and the crown.

 

Regiment headquarters : The headquarters of this regiment moved from place to place, as was the practice at the time, but it was always located in France since its creation in 1757. The officers were led by a colonel-lieutenant and a lieutenant-colonel, appointed by the King. From 1776, those two posts were entrusted to Count Guillaume and Viscount Christian de Forbach de Deux Ponts, both of them sons of the Duke of Deux Ponts Birkenfeld, who had been given the titles of comte and vicomte de Forbach (city of the French Lorraine) by King Louis XV.

Officers : When the Royal Army intervened in the American Revolution, the Royal Deux Ponts had 69 officers: 31 were French (the great majority from the border provinces of Alsace and Lorraine), 25 came from principalities connected to the imperial system under the Habsburgs of Austria since the 15th Century, and 12 were from other small European states.

 

Duchy and town of Deux-Ponts [Zweibrücken](Palatinat).

The lands of the elector of Deux-Ponts had been under French rule from 1680 to 1697, then Swedish from 1697 to 1719. They were then an independent duchy, loosely coordinated by the Austrian-Habsburg 'Holy German Emperor' (of which the Duke was one of the electors) until they again became French at the treaty of de Campo Formio in 1797, and then Bavarian from the 1816 treaty of Vienna until the end of World War I. Today they are part of the German state of Rhénanie-Palatinat. At the time of the French Revolution, the duke of Deux-Ponts was Maximilian, cousin of Guillaume and Christian, and himself a former colonel in the French royal army's regiment of Alsace. Heir to Bavaria, he became its first king, thanks to Napoleon, and the treaty of Vienna gave him the Palatine lands including Deux-Ponts, which in German is 'Zweibrücken'.

Above images: :
Colonel Mudler; M. Pierre Abadie, mayor of Sathonay Camp; the sculptor, Mick Micheyl.
'Ordonnance du Roi de France' that created the regiment in 1757.
Recruiting poster used in Alsace by order of the king of France in 1775.

Original page prepared by the French Sons of the American Revolution. Page slightly modified and sponsored at this site by Expédition Particulière Commemorative Cantonment Society. Posted 13 March 2004.