The Bourbonnais Regiment was organized in 1597 from the garrisons of Provence. The regiment received the name “Bourbonnais” in 1673. It served in Corsica.
The Bourbonnais Regiment was sent to America with Rochambeau in 1780. On March 16, 1781, the regiment participated, on the ships Ardent and Jason, in the naval battle between British admiral Arbuthnot and French admiral d’Étouches at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay.
At the time, it was common for land troops to be “garrisoned” on warships, to fight side by side with sailors. There were casualties on both of these ships. The British squadron succeeded in blocking the French squadron, in cooperation with Lafayette’s force, from trapping Benedict Arnold’s force on the James River.
With the Rochambeau’s other regiments, the Bourbonnais Regiment made the overland march from Newport, Rhode Island to join Washington’s army on the Hudson River near Dobbs’ Ferry. The regiment then marched to Annapolis, Maryland, boarding frigates and transports of De Grasse, then sailing for the James River in Virginia.
After arriving in Virginia, the regiment marched from Williamsburg to Yorktown on September 28, 1781, and occupied Pigeon Hill on September 30. The British had deserted the strong redoubt which they had erected there.
From that time until the two parallels had been completed, about October 14, and the French and American guns and mortars had been mounted, the Bourbonnais Regiment served its turn in the trenches with the rest of the army. Some of its chasseurs also participated in the taking of the two British redoubts on the night of October 14-15, 1781.
The Bourbonnais Regiment was the seventh from the French left, being brigaded with the Deux-Ponts Regiment, under Major General Baron de Viomenil.
After the Yorktown victory, the Bourbonnais Regiment returned to New England in the long marching column of Rochambeau’s army, with its slow artillery and wagon train. By the end of 1782, the regiment had left America and returned to France.
From 1776 to 1783, the Bourbonnais Regiment was commanded by Colonel Marquis de Laval de Montmorenci, with Viscount de Rochambeau, son of Count de Rochambeau, as Colonel en second, until November 1782.
Flag description: White Greek cross. 1st and 4th cantons, purple; 2nd and 3rd cantons, blue.