Friday, December 14, 2012

Dutch Army at Seneffe: Cavalry Regiment Langerak

It's been a long while since adding to this Blog, so I have embarked on a programme of accumulating as much information as I can glean on each Dutch regiment and their commanders present at Seneffe. I will post in an effort that collectively, we might muddle toward unearthing the clues to how this army and its opponents may have looked - particularly pertaining to colours and uniforms.


Son of Gideon van den Boetzelaer, Lord of Langerak and Aloysia de Clermont-Gall Rande, Frederik Hendrik van den Boetzelaer van Langerak was born about 1626, making him about 45 when he commanded the later numbered 4th regiment of horse at the battle of Seneffe (sometimes Senef). He took his captaincy in 1661 but four years later in 1665 he was suspended from serive as a result of a duel he fought with a Rhenish Count (not the Palatine) whom he killed. He was nevertheless restored to active service by 1671 in which year he was promoted to colonel and as suggested by Sapherson, raised his regiment of horse. In that capacity Frederik was despatched by William of Orange in 1672 as governor of the fortress town of Hertogenbosch to organise its defences.

Sometime later he must have mustered with William’s army as it was whilst serving under Godard van Reede Ginckel (Commanding the first brigade of horse) and presumably in command of the 4th regiment when he was killed

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of the family Van(s) Boetzelaer is recorded: three golden wolf irons on a red field, an 'aanziende' helmet, a crown of five leaves; tarpaulins: red, lined with gold crest: a golden dragon's head and neck, right converted unions; shield holders: two golden lions.

It is necessary for me to speculate the colours for the regimental uniform, presuming even that they had one for Seneffe. I note according to Safferson that by the nine years war the regiment wore grey coats with red lining (cuffs) which coincides nicely with the red field of the Boetzelaer coat of arms. The 4th regiment later went on to lose the red lining by the war of the Spanish Succession; however, which does not assist in suggesting the regiment maintained a particular colour longer than a particular colonel, a single war or even campaign season. I am certainly satisfied from the evidence of paintings of the period that by Seneffe, uniform regiments were the norm for field armies – if not militias. Determining what that uniform was is less certain.