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"1806-07 French white uniforms question" Topic


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348 hits since 8 Nov 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

holdit08 Nov 2017 5:21 p.m. PST

One for the uniform experts:

When the white uniform was introduced for some French infantry regiments, did the shako come with it, or did some white-clad units still wear the bicorne?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 5:48 p.m. PST

I have seen sketches of the white uniform with bicorne, but I don't know whether that was planning or shortages. For that matter, I've seen a letter from a French general in Spain c. 1810 bragging that hr'd finally gotten rid of all the white coats and bicornes. But note that this does not directly state that the same soldiers were wearing both.

I don't think most of us appreciate the price and scarcity of clothing as late as the Napoleonic Wars.

Col Blancard09 Nov 2017 9:27 a.m. PST

As stated by Jouineau:

In 1806, Emperor Napoleon, facing indigo shortage because of the British naval blockade, remembered that pre-revolution French infantry was wearing white. He decided, as a trial, to dress some regiment companies in white, but with the distinctive colours following the 1806 regulations. The application was very random as there were lots of differences between white uniforms. The white uniform was officially dropped in 1807, but survived until 1812 as with the 15th line infantry in Spain.

images gathered on a Google search (maybe not free of use?):

picture

picture

picture

Based on Jouineau's infographics I believe that the shako was being introduced at the time of the trials, and therefore some white units may still have worn the bicorne.

holdit09 Nov 2017 11:22 a.m. PST

Very helpful responses. Thank you very much.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2017 9:40 a.m. PST

Could these double as Italians or other allies?

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