Reestablishment of the Company of Musketeers by Louis XIV

The absence of this elite corps was sadly felt during the terrible episode of the uprising known as the Fronde

“The superb and valiant company of the “grey musketeers” was missed by Turenne in the bloody combat he waged against the Prince of Condé beneath the walls of Paris. The gendarmes and light-horses were seen attempting (with success) to compensate by vigorously charging the rebels on 2nd July 1652. They lost many men and a number of valuable officers.” 
E. Bourassin et E. Leliepvre

The King, Louis XIV, was crowned in 1654. From as early as 1656, he decided to increase the number of his Guard and Mazarin took advantage of the situation by suggesting that the King reestablish the Musketeers. So, in 1657, Louis XIV officially reestablished the Company of the Musketeers. 

“If one considers the general state of the officers in the King’s House for the year 1657, one sees that the mounted musketeers of the king’s ordinary guard are composed of 150 men of war, with the king as their captain, Mr. de Mancini as lieutenant-captain, a standard-bearer two chief sergeants, a fourrier [an administrative sergeant], a trumpeter and a sergeant-blacksmith. Like the first company, they are only obliged to escort the king when the king goes out; then, they march on horseback, two by two, before all the other guards. The allowance of the musketeers is 35 sous per day. As for their privileges, exemptions and prerogatives, they are the same as those enjoyed by the king’s other domestic officers and those that dine at his table.” 
Charles Samaran

Veterans regained their former positions in this reconstituted Company and it seems that Mazarin encouraged this in order to compensate for his nephew’s inexperience. 

The customary practice of quartering in private homes was eliminated and the musketeers were given their old quarter –the Faubourg Saint-Germain—in which they were proposed lodging, each consisting of a room with two beds (for the musketeer and his valet) and equipped with a stable for two horses.

“From this moment forward, the people of Paris made an event out of going to see these elite soldiers on parade or on maneuvers in Vincennes or Neuilly, magnificently fitted with blue tunics emblazoned with the silver cross. [The people] chose the days during which the king himself commanded.” 
Charles Samaran

Here is what we can read regarding the musketeers’ dress in the Journal from a voyage to Paris in 1657-1658 (published by M. Faugère in 1862): 
“Certainly, these men have been well chosen and are clothed magnificently, because each has a blue tunic with large silver crosses with golden flames culminating in a lily. The entire tunic has silver braiding. No one is accepted who is not either a gentleman or else known for outstanding bravery. Seigneur Mancini (the Duke of Nevers) is the captain. They have two drummers and two pipers…” 

The journal’s author adds, dated 20th November 1657, “We learned from Mr. Lemonon that the King, wishing that the company be mounted, had ordered his Musketeers to provision themselves with grey horses, and that these horses should have a long tail.”

But the musketeers didn’t just parade around and in the same year 1657, they followed the king to Sedan to aid in the siege of Stenay mounted by the Marquis de Fabert. Fortunately, the Duke of Nevers was seconded by an old soldier, the sub-lieutenant Isaac de Baas, who brought some of his competence to the aid of Mazarin’s nephew. The rank of ensign went to one of the king’s gaming partners, Joseph-Henry, son of Monsieur Tréville. 

After distinguishing themselves with the capture of the fort, the musketeers continued the combat and would earn their glorious reputation, as Puysegur relates in detail: 
“In this same year of 1657, in the middle of the war against Spain, Marshal Turenne conquered several maritime positions in Flanders from the [Spanish] crown and the city of Mardik among others, which surrendered on 3rd October. With the aim of assuring the protection of this site, which was absolutely vital to his plans for the following campaign, the General raised a garrison of many men there, which was attached to a sizeable corps of English troops. But Louis XIV, fearing that the Spanish would stop at nothing to reestablish their domination over this city, added to the security measures that had been taken a detachment of his Musketeers, whom he dispatched under the command of Monsieur Nevers."

The following year, Marshal Turenne, who had decided to open the campaign with the siege of Dunkerque, had the site occupied in the month of May, and he arrived on the 25th. The city of Mardik having nothing to fear from the Spanish by this time, the detachment of Musketeers left and joined the Corps that was with the King near Calais. His Majesty, desiring that they not miss any occasion to attain glory, entrusted a detachment of Musketeers to Lauroide, one of the Camp Marshalls, with orders to report to Marshal Turenne’s camp.

"The Prince of Condé who, out of discontent with Cardinal Mazarin, had joined the Spanish, commanded their army under Dom Juan of Austria. He resolved to come to Dunkerque’s rescue and, on 13th June, set up camp in the dunes at three-quarters of a league from Monsieur Turenne. The latter, having sighted the enemies’ position, made the decision to fight them the next day. The detachment of Musketeers arrived a moment before the French army went on march. Laroide, who cammanded them, ordered his troops to dismount and assembled them for battle at the front line. An officer came to tell him that this was not their place. Lauroide responded, “I am going to take a position that you won’t envy.”
At that moment, he marched right past the regiments of Brittany, Montgommery and the King’s Dragoons, posted to the right of the dunes near the French Guards, and took up position in front of the first line [of troops]. The Prince of Condé noticed this daring move and was amazed. The position of this detachment of Musketeers contributed much to winning the battle. 
The Musketeers fired with such accuracy that the cavalry regiment of Guitaut, which had advanced to charge the French Guards, was put in disorder. [The regiment] was in turn charged by the Royal Regiment and that of Grammont, who succeed in breaking and dispersing its ranks. The Prince of Condé, who saw the beginning of a rout, marched forth at the lead of new squadrons and attacked the Royal Regiment and that of Grammont. Forced to yield to numerical superiority, they retreated under the fire of the French Guards, who preserved them from a total defeat by opening their ranks to let them pass. 
The Musketeers’ fire continuing to frustrate the Prince of Condé’s plan of attack, he attempted to dislodge them and sent superior forces to charge them several times. But, despite all his efforts, they held the position they had chosen and continued to serve well right up to the end of the battle. Louis XIV never forgot this brilliant feat and liked to tell the story often.” 
Le Thueux

It was during this epoch that Charles de Batz de Castelmore, alias d’Artagnan, integrated the Company of the Musketeers as sub-lieutenant, replacing de Baas who left his commission for health reasons. 

“Mazarin, having given him two handsome gray spotted horses from his stables, asked d’Artagnan, in exchange, to try to help his nephew develop an appetite for the soldier’s trade. On this point, d’Artagnan was mindful not to be over-zealous. Promoted lieutenant, he found infinite pleasure in the contempt Mancini seemed to have for his commission. The King took a particular liking to his new company and received d’Artagnan quite often to transmit his orders.
Only the esteem he had for [Mancini’s] uncle made him bear the nephew’s presence at the head of the Company. Indeed, Louis XIV wanted an incomparable troop at his entire disposal.” 
Courtilz de Sandras. 

In this new Company, the King now chose each Musketeer personally. The rules were strict and the discipline merciless.

“Whenever the lieutenant-captain’s report contains only praise, the King grants each Musketeer an officer’s position or the possibility to buy a company, or even a regiment. This helps to maintain a permanent state of competitiveness within the ranks of the Company.” 
Arnaud Jacomet.