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Regiment de Gatinois History

Some information extracted herein is based upon information located on THIS PAGE

Gatinois Regiment's colors [drapeaux d'ordonnance]. The regiment's colors [black and purple] derived from the ancient Auvergne Regiment. Some sources alternate the colors of black and purple in the triangles. To see the original uniform of the Auvergne Regiment click here.  To see the original flag of the Auvergne Regiment click here.


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In 1608, under Henry IV, the Regiment du Bourg was formed. In 1626, this regiment defended the dike which Richelieu had built in his blockade of La Rochelle. In 1635 the regiment received name of "Auvergne." From 1756 to 1763 it was engaged in the war against Frederick the Great in Germany.

The ordonnance of 25 March 1776, divided the Auvergne Regiment: the first and third battalions remained as d'Auvergne; the second and fourth battalions formed the regiment de Gatinois. It was the Gatinois regiment that served in two campaigns in the American colonies during the American Revolution, and which particularly distinguished itself during the Yorktown Siege of 1781 in taking the British Redoubt 9 on 14 October 1781.


As a result the Gatinois was awarded the name of 'The Royal Auvergne' with its motto 'Sans tache'. The flag's design evidently remained the same when the regiment was designated 'The Royal Auvergne'. There appears no basis for the addition of golden fleurs de lys upon the white cross that some modern references exhibit.


To read about the history of the name change of this regiment, see webpage "Seizure of Redoubts 9 and 10 at Yorktown, 14 October 1781"




By the ordonnance of March 25, 1776, the regiment d'Auvergne was split in two. The first and third battalions remained as d'Auvergne; the second and fourth battalions formed the regiment de Gatinois. It was the last [the Gatinois regiment] which in 1781 received the name of 'Royal-Auvergne'.


The Colonels of this regiment, or mestres de camp, were successively: 

     (1) The Marques de Caupenne (Louis-Henri), 18th April, 1776;

     (2) The Count de Briey de Landres (Jean-Gabriel), 9th May, 1778;

     (3) The Marquis de ROSTAING (Jean-Antoine-Marie-Germain), 27th October, 1778; 

     (4) The Viscount de Rochambeau (Donatien) 1st July, 1783;

     (5) De Tourville (Charles-Bertin-Gaston Chapuis), 25th July, 1791; 

     (6) De Fontbonne (Alexandre-Louis), 8th July, 1792.


To distinguish itself from d'Auvergne, Gatinois adopted a yellow collar and white buttons. Its colors were black and violet. Most sources do not support Edward Richardson [Standards and Colors of the American Revolution (1982)] who describes the colors as black and marine blue.


The second battalion, which was at la Martinique since November 20, 1775, went to Saint-Domingo in 1777. The fourth battalion, which was at Calais in June, 1776, left at the end of that year for Bordeaux, and there embarked the 25th September, 1777, to rejoin the second battalion. The regiment remained in garrison at the Cape until 1779. That year it was placed on board of vessels of the fleet of Count d'Estaing, and the 15th September to 20th October was at the siege of Savannah. The companies of chasseurs coveted themselves with glory, the 9th of October, at the attack on the retrenchments. The sublieutenant LEVERT was the first to enter the entrenchments, whose defenders, astonished at such audacity, fled, throwing away their arms. The English, nevertheless, returned more numerous, and the brave Gatinois companies, without support, having lost the half of their number, were obliged to retire. They withdrew in good order, carrying off their dead and wounded, among whom the Viscount de Béthizy, colonel en second, with three wounds, in the left hand, the right arm, and in the stomach; Captain Sireuil, wounded with a biscaïen [musket shot] in the side; Captain de Foucault, knocked down by the concussion from a cannon ball; Lieutenant De Justajmont, killed outright; Chevalier de la Roche-Negley, who had received a biscaïen shot in the head and was later 'trepanned'; Chevalier de Tourville, wounded by a ball which passed from the right breast (téton) to the shoulder; sublieutenant Levert had his clothes riddled with bullets.


On May 26, 1781 the siege and capture of Pensacola by the Spanish was assisted by a French detachment of 800 men, which consisted of Regiments Poitou, Agenois (including Chasseurs) Gatinois, Cambresis, DuCap. Many of the operations (i.e. Gibralter and Minorca) the French were put under the command of the Spanish. While the Gaitinois was definately there, the specific companies involved are unknown, but it believed they included the Chasseurs and Grenadier companies.


After, the siege was raised, the Gatinois returned to the Cape, and in 1781 it was made a part of the corps d'armée which the Marquis de Saint Simon led to the United States to reinforce Rochambeau. It took a glorious part in the siege of Yorktown and the capitulation of Lord Cornwallis. The 14th October, with the Royal Deux-Ponts regiment and under Lieutenant-colonel de Lestrade, it attacked with extreme bravery, and carried one of two redoubts on the left of the British defensive works. Captain Sireuil, of the chasseurs, was again wounded, this time very seriously, with two other officers. After the victory, Washington, expressed his admiration to the French units by presenting to the regiments Gatinois and Royal-Deux-Ponts the three pieces of cannon which they had captured from the redoubt 9. The Gatinois re-embarked soon after the British surrender and returned to Saint-Domingo.


An ordonnance of the 11th July, 1782, changed the name of the regiment and gave it, in recognition of its splendid conduct in America, the title of the 'Royal- Auvergne'. That favor was accorded the regiment at the request of Count Rochambeau, who, at the siege of Yorktown, at the moment of a decisive attack, addressing himself to the grenadiers de Gatinois, said: "Boys, show that Gatinois and Auvergne are one." The grenadiers swore to be slain, even to the last man, to merit that they be given back the title of 'Auvergne'.

In 1791 Royal-Auvergne became the eighteenth infantry, then was discharged in 1791. The eighteenth infantry, which has now [1903/5] succeeded, is in garrison at Pau.


Juste-Antoine-Henry-Marie-Germain, Marquis de ROSRAING, Colonel.




Colonel commandant.


Le marquis de ROSTAING (Juste-AntoineHenry-Marie-Germain). Le grade de brigadier lui a été conféré, 1e 5 déc. 1781, pour s'étre distingué d à prise d'York, 


Colonel en second. 


Le vicomte de BETHISY (Jacques-Eléonor), né à Calais, le 4 déc. 17-18. Blessé grièvement à Savannah en 1779.




De l'ESTRADE (Claude), né au Puy [Velay], le 5 avril 1730. Brigadier par distinction, le 5 déc. 1781, our ses actions courageuses à Yorck, en V irginie. 




CHAPUIS de TOURVILLE (CharlesBertin-Gaston), né al Hettamre-la-Grande, le 4 janv. 1740. Bons services en Amérique oil il a fait près d'un an les fonctinne de major-général. 


The above text, with minor editing, is from Les Combattants Français de la guerre Américaine 1778-1783. Du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1969. Listes établies d'aprees les documents authentiques déposés aux Archives Nationales et aux Archives de Ministère de la Guerre.] [58th Congress, 2d Sesssion, SENATE, document No. 77. [Société des fils de la Révolution américaine]. The report was first published in Paris in 1903, pp.805-806. 


There is confusion as to the spellings and pronunciation of the regimental name. Some modern interpretations like to use the Gâtinais (GAH-tin-ays) spelling and pronunciation. The use of the Gâtinais spelling and pronounciation, is partly derived from the fact of how you refer to a kind of person from that current region of France, thus the modern spelling.  This modern approach is also observed in the monuments that honor the regiment. However, recent research has shown that the proper pronunciation is (GAH-TIN-WAH), and spelled as Gatinois. This is the older, more accepted spelling and pronunciation of this regimental name, as it was in the 18th century.

Regiment de Gatinois


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