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"French Line Infantry Pom-Pom Company Colours" Topic

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Sapeur Inactive Member03 Jun 2017 4:14 a.m. PST

Looking for information on what the Company pom-pom colours were prior to 1810 please.
My copy of Emir Bukhari " French Napoleonic Line Infantry" states after the new shako design of 1810 the pom pom was a flat disc with 1st company in dark green; 2nd sky blue; 3rd golden yellow and 4th in violet.
No information is given of the company colours prior to that.

Any comments, source references etc., appreciated. Thanks

4th Cuirassier03 Jun 2017 4:26 a.m. PST

I thought before that they were in bicornes with no pompoms?

Sapeur Inactive Member03 Jun 2017 4:31 a.m. PST

4th Cuirassier.
Appears there was a 1807 shako and illustration in the book suggest pom-poms with bicornes as well.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2017 6:58 a.m. PST

I think at that time they had gone to the six company formation so there were only four center companies. If you are looking for the earlier eight company pom-pom colors you should be able to find the answer in a previous post on this topic board. I asked the same thing several months ago.

Sapeur Inactive Member03 Jun 2017 7:39 a.m. PST

Thank you.
Will do a search.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2017 10:30 a.m. PST

TMP link

hope this helps

Sapeur Inactive Member04 Jun 2017 4:38 a.m. PST

Thanks for link. Appreciated

Brechtel19804 Jun 2017 6:44 a.m. PST

Rousselot states that the pompom colors for a 6-company battalion for the four fusilier companies were dark green, sky blue, aurore, and violet.

And it should be noted that the only uniform regulations for the entire army, with the exception for the Imperial Guard who had their own uniform regulations, were the 1812 uniform regulations which did not go into effect until 1813.

What had occurred beforehand were a series of changes that addressed certain items, such as headgear, plumes and cords, epaulets, etc. The regimental commander would usually do what he wanted with those items, along with the color of pompoms for the fusilier companies, regardless of what regulation was in effect, and that undoubtedly took place until the end of the Empire.

Interestingly, it appears that those colors for the pompom or the circular disk that supposedly replaced it were for the 1st Battalion, and Rousselot surmised that the other battalions shako disks were distinguished by a colored lozenge placed in the center of the disk. Probably it is actually unknown.

For excellent information on the uniforms of French line infantry fusiliers from 1804-1812 Planche Number 2 of Rousselot's L'Armee Francaise is an good place to start and not to rely too much on internet websites, which vary in quality and accuracy.

I highly recommend Rousselot as well as primary source information from various manuscript sources for uniform information. Guy Dempsey has produced two excellent works on French uniforms, and Col Elting's four uniform books of Herbert Knotel's work are also very helpful.

Going to the trouble of building a library and assembling uniform information as a subset over the years has proven very helpful in my own research on the period and I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about the research.

Marc the plastics fan04 Jun 2017 10:34 p.m. PST

And for those of us who are not "serious" about building a comprehensive library of research, I will thank those members of TMP who continue to share their knowledge so widely, from what can be a very confusing period.

I have 1896 French in bicornes so I have found the information earlier in this post very useful for Pom-Pom colours. So often when the early period question is asked we get the 6-company colours repeated again. So seeing information on the 9 company versions has been really useful


Le Breton Inactive Member05 Jun 2017 1:38 a.m. PST

Lots of variation by regiment but, as to standard pompom colors ….

From : TMP link

Before 1808, the next prior specification of the pompoms was in 1786. And this was for a regiment of two battalions each of 5 compagnies:

1er bataillon :
compagnie de grenadiers : écarlate
1re fusiliers : bleu de roi
2e fusilers : aurore
3e fusilers : violette
4e fusilers : cramoisie

2e bataillon :
compagnie de chasseurs : verte
1re fusiliers : bleue de roi avec centre blanc
2e fusiliers : aurore avec centre blanc
3e fusiliers : violette avec centre blanc
4e fusiliers : cramoisie avec centre blanc


With the battalion organization changed in 1791 to 1 compagnies of grenadiers + 8 compagnies of fusiliers (and noting that the same colors were used in the same order 1808-1810), the de facto "standard" was, as follows (but no new regulation or specification was issued):
grenadiers/carabiniers : rouge
1re fusiliers : bleu de roi
2e fusilers : aurore
3e fusilers : violette
4e fusilers : cramoisie
5e fusiliers : bleue de roi avec centre blanc
6e fusiliers : aurore avec centre blanc
7e fusiliers : violette avec centre blanc
8e fusiliers : cramoisie avec centre blanc

When ligne regiments formed more or less ad hoc chasseur compagnies (1792 to 1804), it is no surprise to see them assign green as the distinctive (as this was correct per the prior regulations). When we see the creation of voltiguers, establishing officially the former compagnies of chasseurs, their distinctive is given as jaune – yellow, but the pompom is not officially specified, and so various choice of green, yellow and even green+yellow were most common.

Since there had been no direction since 1786, and since the whole world had changed (as well as bataillon organization), and since pompom and similar decorations were to some extent in the province of the colonel, there was great variation. Common local choices : chasseurs in légère regiments all with green pompoms (their "correct" color per 1786 regulations), all fusiliers in ligne regiments all with blue, the same with white center and a company number, tricolor designs (especially in ex- Garde nationale bataillions), etc., etc., etc.

Lastly, anyone attached to the état-major of a regiment (and this to include the chefs de bataillon) should have had a white pompom – "should" of course, does not mean "did".


Specificification of the pompoms in February 1808:
grenadiers/carabiniers : rouge
1re fusiliers/chasseurs : bleu de roi – the dark blue of the uniform coats
2e fusiliers/chasseurs : aurore
3e fusiliers/chasseurs : violette
4e fusiliers/chasseurs : cramoisie – crimson, a dark, slightly puplish red
voltiguers : jaune – yellow


Specificification of the pompoms in November 1810:
grenadiers/carabiniers : rouge – a pure medium red, maybe a bit toward scarlet/orange red, but not like a crimson/purple red
1re fusiliers/chasseurs : vert fonce – dark green, like French dragoon/chasseur à cheval uniform coats
2e fusiliers/chasseurs : bleu céleste – literally sky blue, but rather darker than we might think of today
3e fusiliers/chasseurs : aurore –- literaly the color of the dawning sun, a light golden yellow with touches of orange and pink
4e fusiliers/chasseurs : violette : literally violet, rather a dark purple
voltiguers : jaune – yellow, rather a pure yellow without any orange, perhaps a bit pale by modern standards

Marc at work05 Jun 2017 4:56 a.m. PST

Another great list Bret – thanks

Brechtel19805 Jun 2017 7:49 a.m. PST

From Rousselot, Napoleon's Army 1790-1815:

Infantry of the Line: Fusiliers 1812-1815.

'The fusilier shako was topped by a flat woolen ornament, dark green for the first company, sky blue for the second, aurore for the third, violet for the fourth. These plain colors would apply to the companies of the first battalion, but how were those of the other battalions distinguished? Probably by means of a lozenge of a particular color placed in the center of the plume or ornament. The circular of 21 February 1811, no more than Bardin, had not anticipated this.'-33.

'In the Freyberg manuscript, dated 1813, there appears a very regimental fusilier, wearing the same shako without chinscales, ornamented with a white cord and a round blue pompom with a yellow tuft, as well as several grenadiers wearing the old style uniform coat with lapels hooked together, and wearing either the shako with cord and plume, or the bearskin.'-33.

Infantry of the Line: Fusiliers 1804-1812.

'Figure 9a shows the same shako but decorated with a pompom and with chin straps and a braided cord finishing in raquettes and tassels. Each regiment finished off their shakos as they pleased; one sees shakos decorated with plumes, with or without chinstraps and with the shako cords position diagonally.'-28.

'In principle, the hat was decreed on 4 Brumaire, Year X (26 October 1801). It was decorated simply with just a cockade, held in place by a strap and a uniform button. Some regiments made use of colored cockade straps and added pompoms of varying sizes, either round or lentil-shaped that sometimes deformed the hat. 'Order the corps to war only round pompoms and forbid the use of those as worn by the 57th, which place an undue strain on the hats and generally add a bad effect.' (General Vandamme's order of 21 June 1805).-27.

Whether or not there were 'official' specifications for pompoms and their respective colors for shakos and hats from 1805-1815, the only ones that Rousselot specifically mentions are those for fusiliers in the 6-company infantry battalion that was in existence after 1808.

And he also specifically states that different units had different ways of ornamenting the shako, which included plumes, pompoms, etc. He also shows a white pompom with a yellow tuft on top of it and also numbered on the pompom.

The conclusion that can be drawn is that the pompom colors beginning in 1805 were generally left up to the units themselves and the commanders of those units and whether or not the prescribed four colors were followed from 1812-1815 is not definitely established.

French regimental commanders would routinely ignore official regulations and generally did what they wanted, even after the 1812 Uniform Regulations were promulgated and at least partially enforced.

Sapeur Inactive Member05 Jun 2017 11:53 p.m. PST

Thank you for all the information. I believe I am a lot clearer on things now.

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