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"Spanish uniforms - 1809" Topic

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Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2016 10:12 a.m. PST

I have quite a few reference books with Spanish uniform info but they either don't mention or clarify the following three questions. Or I just missed it. I'm hoping the throbbing brain that is TMP can help out.

Yes, I realize that Spanish uniforms can be a mess…

1) What was the uniform of the Cazadore a Caballo trumpeter? It looks like the Line and Dragoon regiments had red jackets with dark blue turnbacks, but there are no turnbacks on the Cazadore a Caballo uniform so I'm wondering what got reversed, if anything.

2) Was the Canarias Regiment a regular line infantry regiment? I'm not talking about the Canarias Grenadier or Militia units but the "regular" infantry unit raised there. In looking through the Osprey books I see a plate from 1797 where they look like regular line infantry uniforms. However, there are two plates dated 1810 that depict an officer in shako. If that was the case, did the whole regiment wear shakos? If so, how far back did that go?

3) I see conflicting information about the red plume for the Line Infantry 1805 fusiler uniform. Was it something that not all units wore? Was it a carryover from earlier days? Or did they all have it?


keithbarker08 Jul 2016 5:39 a.m. PST

I looked at El Ejercito y la Armada en 1808 José María Bueno and other sources


Cazadores a Caballo trumpeter 1808: Red jacket with yellow collar and cuffs and white piping in same style as the trooper. Red breeches with white piping. Same shako as trooper. Probably red cloak and red saddlecloth with white edging. Where possible, they would have ridden greys. Trumpets were brass, and it was common practice to have the regiment's arms on the trumpet banner.

Dragoon trumpeter 1808: They had the same style uniform as that of the troopers, with the coat colours reversed (red coat with lemon yellow turnbacks, not blue as you wrote) and the usual regimental facing colours/distinctions. Where possible, they would have ridden greys. The saddlecloth may have been red edged in white and the cloak red (Suhr shows these in Hamburg). Trumpets were brass, and it was common practice to have the regiment's arms on the trumpet banner.


The Canarias Regiment was not one of the regular line infantry regiments that existed in 1808. There was however a "Batallón de Infantería de Canarias" which went to the mainland in 1809 and in 1810 probably became the "Regimiento de Infantería de Canarias".


The fusiliers of the line regiments should have had a bicorn with a red plume and a red cockade held by lace in button colour. However IRL there don't appear to have been enough bicorns to equip all the fusiliers and some went to war in forage caps. Becuase of the general shortages and influx of new recruits to the line regiments, I somehow doubt that all fusiliers had a red plume.

I have some of my notes on the Spanish army on the internet


which may be of interest

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2016 6:17 p.m. PST

keithbarker – thank you for the response.

Concerning the Canarias Battalion/Regiment, I was unclear on my request. What uniform do you think they wore went they were on the mainland in 1809? Was it the regular infantry style as pictured in the Osprey plate for 1797, would of it had been what looks like the regular fusiler uniform in the 1810 drawing in the Osprey book, or would it have been something else?

keithbarker09 Jul 2016 2:28 a.m. PST

There are illustrations showing the garrison of Cadiz made between October 1809 and March 1810. These including two officers from the Canary infantry battalion: one in dress uniform (No.24) and one in campaign uniform (No.9). We don't know when during his stay in Cadiz, that Antonio Pacheco Pereira made the illustrations of the Canary infantry battalion.

You can see all of these here…


Bueno did a good drawing of the dress uniform based on this…


This looks not unlike the regular infantry uniform except for the shako replacing the bicorn and the pointed cuffs.

So if I was going to add the Canary infantry battalion to my army, perhaps to refight Talavera, I personally would follow Bueno (in the absence of better information) and extrapolate the uniform of the company-grade officer shown to be used for privates, sergeants (green? epaulets) and field-grade officers (no epaulets). Or swap to a brown coat if all my other troops were in campaign uniforms.

Hope this helps.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2016 9:08 a.m. PST

That does help and was the way I was leaning.

I'm doing 15mm so I'm thinking of using some spare Westphalians for this regiment.

keithbarker09 Jul 2016 12:31 p.m. PST

And in the realms of wild guesses, I would paint a drummer in the same uniform as the privates but with the red and white livery of the royal household replacing the piping on the collar, cuffs and lapels.

Give the guy in the top right of this picture a shako and red collar and cuffs – to get an idea of what I mean!


Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2016 3:54 p.m. PST

That's an interesting idea for the drummer. I just might do that. Thanks for that!

I'll probably go with white lace on the shako's or even none at all.

tuscaloosa24 Sep 2016 12:22 p.m. PST

Adding on a question about the Spanish pre-1808, if I may:

1. What color were Spanish artillery carriages?

2. Was the yellow color of the Spanish dragoons' tunic and trousers a bright canary yellow, more of a dull ochre, or what?

Thanks in advance…

keithbarker27 Sep 2016 4:43 a.m. PST

1. Spanish artillery carriages were painted in a blue grey. The pigment was cobalt blue that could be mined in southern Spain, which faded to grey after many years exposed to the elements. The metalwork was painted black.

2. The yellow color of the Spanish dragoons is normal described as "Lemon Yellow".

Almansa regiment in 1806…


However it depends what you mean by pre-1808! In 1803 the dragoons were all converted into light cavalry/hussars and then wore that uniform. They were converted back in 1805 but some regiments still wore the light cavalry uniform in 1808.

Villaviciosa regiment in 1807-1808


PS if you are interested in the Spanish army I have some of my notes on my web site..


and I would recommend the 2 books by Cronin/Summerfield

tuscaloosa27 Sep 2016 1:38 p.m. PST

Very helpful Keith, thank you. I saw your website right after I posted, and it did indeed address my questions. Greatly appreciated!

MiniPigs09 Aug 2018 3:18 p.m. PST

Does anyone know if this Spanish uniform is simply a fanciful one or if there is an actual unit that wore it?


summerfield10 Aug 2018 1:48 p.m. PST

I think you should consult our books on the Spanish Army

Spanish Infantry

Spanish Cavalry, Guard and Artillery


MiniPigs11 Aug 2018 7:19 a.m. PST

Why is that? Is that unit in there?

summerfield11 Aug 2018 10:26 a.m. PST

Spanish Artillery carriages were middle blue in colour.

The Spanish Dragoons wore yellow uniforms that over time photobleached and faded.

Prince of Essling13 Sep 2018 11:56 a.m. PST

Having looked at Coronel J J Sanudo's "Base de Dataos sobre las Unidades Militares en la Guerra de la Independencia Espanola" entries for Canarias it is clear that both "Batallon de Granaderos de Gran Canaria" and "Batallon Fijo Provincial de Canarias" (Regimiento de Infanteria Milicia Provincial) went to Cadiz. From the slightly confusing information it is the latter that became "Regimiento de Infanteria de Linea" on 5 March 1810.

See notes on "Spanish Units at the Battle of Albuera
by Steven Thomas" at link which helpfully sums up a number of contradictory comments including the chronology of the unit at link

Also see Juan Torrejón Chaves "Unidades Militares Canarias en Defensa de la Independencia de Espana (1809-1811)" at link The paper discusses the involvement of troops from the Canary Islands in the Spanish War of Independence (Peninsular War), during the years 1809, 1810 and 1811 – the shipment of military units on the Islands and their transport to the Peninsula, the integration with the Army of Extremadura, the retreat to the Isla de León, defending it, and intervention in the Battle of Chiclana. Special attention is devoted to Batallón de Leales Canarios (Granadera Canaria).

MiniPigs18 Sep 2018 6:00 p.m. PST

Is it the case that the vast majority of Volunteer Spanish uniforms in the Peninsular War are simply lost in time and space?

Prince of Essling22 Sep 2018 4:34 a.m. PST

@MiniPigs – an excellent question or should I say challenge. Will see what I can come up with comparing Bueno's list of newly raised units during the war and the uniform info I have access to. May take a while but I suspect you are right….

MiniPigs27 Sep 2018 5:41 p.m. PST

I found it. The Guardia Salinera. It apparently existed and has a tribute reenactment group:


Which is nice because I was going to make up the unit anyway.

Spanish Napoleonics are very cool.

18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2018 7:11 a.m. PST

Excellent information here.

MiniPigs28 Sep 2018 11:19 a.m. PST

Is it Spanish siege guns which were red?

Prince of Essling03 Oct 2018 9:45 a.m. PST

See Stephen Summerfield's article "Spanish Artillery (1745-1808)" in Smoothbore Ordnance Journal Issue 4: 18th Century Artillery (2012) at the napoleon series website – link to the article PDF link

The Spanish painted their ordnance in a blue grey and not as some authors think grey. The pigment was cobalt blue and when exposed to the weather for years it has a tendency to fade to a grey. The cobalt blue was derived from cobalt oxide mined in southern Spain that was sintered with silica (sand) at 1200 C. It was a very stable colour and was popular too in the Spanish Naval Regulations from 1772. The metalwork was painted black.

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