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"Some help with Napoleonic French Voltigeurs (1806)" Topic

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04 Apr 2019 10:05 a.m. PST
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Lord Ashram04 Apr 2019 4:46 a.m. PST

Hi all!

Okay, I need help.

So I need to find what an 1806 Voltigeur shako looks like.

So, there is this:


With yellow on it.

There is also this…


With no yellow.

Then there is THIS, from 1808


WITH yellow.

So I'm a bit confused.

I always thought the 1806 had no yellow on it. But am I crazy?

Like… what's the story with the fellow on the left in this picture below? Got the yellow like the later shako, but the tall plume and front plate of earlier ones?


Here is really the ULTIMATE question here; is it possible to have a voltigeur shako with the yellow, with green braid, that ALSO has a tall green and yellow plume?

Any help REALLY welcome, because I am a bit confused:)


Nine pound round04 Apr 2019 4:53 a.m. PST

And you haven't even raised the issue of colpacks yet…

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Apr 2019 4:53 a.m. PST

It's been a while but my recollection is voltigeurs used a variety of plumes. Some are green over yellow. Some are yellow over green. Some are all yellow. It varies by regiment.

Sp paint it how you like, no one can say you are wrong!

marshalGreg04 Apr 2019 5:04 a.m. PST

It depends on the regiment!
Each regiment has a unique arrangement, especially 1806/08 period.
I have the data on most of the Davout III corps's regiments of the period.
For example 111th de ligne:
Green plume with yellow cap
Yellow pom-pom
Yellow shako band
Yellow shako cords
yellow epaulets with green trim.

"marbotchassuers" has a TMP post with a lot of examples of actual regiment distinctions.

otherwise, 2nd what Extracrispy says


Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2019 5:06 a.m. PST

In 1806, a line voltigeur would almost certainly be wearing a bicorne like the fusiliers. This would have had a tufted pom-pom in variations of yellow and green (like the later shako versions). The colour was the traditional shade of yellow. The epaulettes could be plain like a fusilier's or the fringed yellow and green variations which were becoming universal.

Lord Ashram04 Apr 2019 5:16 a.m. PST

Yikes! This is what I was afraid of… there is a LOT of variety!

So let me ask; the guy at the very top, that miniature… is that shako acceptable for some year (even if it isnt exactly 1806?)

Marc at work04 Apr 2019 5:42 a.m. PST

What about side plumes, or was that just the leger regiments?

marshalGreg04 Apr 2019 6:45 a.m. PST

The dude at the top with yellow shako band…
perhaps this may help you….

Davout ~1807-1810
4 divisions or ~20 regiments less 5 legere, so ~16 de Ligne
Found info on 13 of the 16
Number with KNOWN yellow band = 3 ( 30th de ligne. the 33rd and 111th de lign- both in same division, different brigades)
Number with KNOWN Green band = 0
Number with KNOWN green pom-pom and plume = 1 ( 65th de ligne- but which had a red cap)
Number with KNOWN yellow pom-pom and green plume = 6 ( 17th, 111th, 57th, 12th, 21st, 25th ) All have yellow cap.
I would suspect the green pom-pom and green plume was popular with a different corp of regiments.

Garde de Paris04 Apr 2019 7:12 a.m. PST

Plate 17 of Rousselot's portfolios shows a voltigeur of the 96eme de ligne (near 1806-07 time frame) with yellow top and bottom bands, and single side chevrons, pointed down. Short pear-shaped pompom of green. Green cords and racquettes with a little yellow. all green hair[brush epaulettes with yellow top crescents. Yellow flap to cuff edged red, cuff red edged white. Yellow collar.

This is also shown in Guy Dempsey-edited book of German observations in the Jena era.

He shows the figure you have here with yellow top band, but does not state the year.

Yellow seems to have become standard with top and bottom bands, and side chevrons, around 1812, and certainly with the new Bardin uniform.

Pinterest has a lot of illustrations, this one with some notes of the year depicted.


The elites of Oudinot would have been for the 1809 campaign?

I recall seeing a Rousselot illustration of a grenadier of the 63rd de ligne with scarlet top, bottom chevrons cords and plume (in brass tulip-like holder), and brass grenade on the front, early period for 1806-7, but does not mention the voltigeurs.


Lord Ashram04 Apr 2019 8:27 a.m. PST

Holy CRAP! Okay… so you can sort of get away with… well, a LOT, it seems!:D

Okay… thank you all for the info.

marshalGreg, so if I am reading what you wrote correctly…

I could go with the 111th infantry.

They would have the 1806 pattern shako (so the diamond plate, not the eagle, on the front, and with the braid) with a YELLOW band around the top, and a yellow pom pom and green plume. No info on the color of the braid, so I could go with green. Am I right on that?

Garde de Paris, thank you for that.

Thanks for your patience, guys:)

Garde de Paris04 Apr 2019 8:59 a.m. PST

I might have info on some regiments, including those below. Come from Rousselot, Boucqouy, Rigo and others.

I recommend that you put your plans on this site, for a specific regiment. I have puttered along for years "building" and French army for Spain, and at 82 will probably do no more.

My first interest was in doing 1 36-figure battalion for each regiment in each division of the I Corps under Victor.
I have "stuff" on…

9eme leger – Classic short jacket. all black shako, green plume with yellow tip, WHITE CORDS. yellow cuff flaps and collar. lozenge on shako.
24eme de ligne – all black shako w/lozenge. green cords with some yellow ties; green plume tipped yellow.
96eme de ligne all of the 1st Division – as above! lozenge. However, I have done mine from a later, more somber period 1809-10 All black shako with eagle plate. green cords and ball. Scarlet plume with lower 1/3 yellow! Yellow collar edged white.

16eme leger – long-tailed coat or "habit." Carab and volt had red edging to vests and habit. I need to dig, but seem to recall yellow bands and or chevrons on shako, lozenge.
8eme de ligne -
45eme de ligne, – and
54eme de ligne, – I have NO reliable info on their regiment.
all of 2nd Division of I Corps.

27eme leger
63eme de ligne
94eme de ligne; and
95eme de ligne,
all of the 3rd Division of I Corps.

I had planned to add a battalion of sailors (siege of Cadiz) to the 1st division, but never got around to it.
That would be a 12 battalion division for my wargame army.

Minus the sailors, this composite division served at Fuentes de Onoro, supporting Massena.


Lord Ashram04 Apr 2019 9:09 a.m. PST

Yeah, I am actually just looking for the shako, as I am actually ORDERING one, but want to make sure I get it right!:D And I really wanted…

A) a voltigeur shako

B) a voltigeur shako with a big old plume

C) a voltigeur shako with a bit of color on it

So now I'm trying to figure out if I can find an example that has those three elements!:D

marshalGreg04 Apr 2019 9:21 a.m. PST

@ LA
I do not have my "limited" resources hand.
GdeP give great resources to seek.
I cannot answer to "lozenge vs Eagle" except the Lozenge was during the 1806 uniform/shako issue per most of those sources and the Eagle phased it out in most cases by 1812/13.
There was always exceptions, of the Colonel of the regiment's desire and what was available to the regiment's supply.
Yellow upper band, with green pom-pom and plume with yellow cap had to exist on some regiments. Right now know one has confirmed which ones beyond that of GdeP has presented.
You cannot go wrong with that paint scheme!

Happy painting!

In addendum: One thing your information presents is the NCO seem to have the red pom-pom. This would make sense, for the easy identification of them by their commanding officer, in the conditions of a skirmish deployment. It was visual warfare and that what attracts us to this period.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2019 1:05 p.m. PST

Basically, unless you can hunt out an illustration of the specific regiment, do your own thing in yellow and green!

von Winterfeldt05 Apr 2019 10:45 p.m. PST

I agree with artilleryman, for voltigeurs of line infantry in 1806 a had, the shako of the light infantry looked differently.

Lord Ashram07 Apr 2019 7:38 a.m. PST

Okay, so would it be okay to go with that very top one (the mini) that has yellow both at the TOP of the shako, AND at the bottom, with an 1806 pattern shako?

Garde de Paris07 Apr 2019 5:14 p.m. PST

A voltigeur of the 33rd is shown in the white uniform in Bucquoy with all-yellow tall plume; yellow bands just top and bottom, and yellow cords. Boring! brass diamond on front.

A voltigeur of the 4th line in 1809 is shown in Bucquoy with yellow top band and single side chevrons. Black bottom band. brass edge to visor. Green ball, green plume tipped scarlet. White cords. eagle plate over half-moon shaped shield. Odd.

It is so sad when sources are not noted. That first figure looks totally possible, just not regimental number.


Widowson10 Apr 2019 1:58 p.m. PST

I wish we could develop a data base of all the French infantry distinctions. It would be VERY helpful.

MarbotsChasseurs11 Apr 2019 10:28 a.m. PST

Well at least we know the 2e Legere before 1810 has no shako band and white cords. This a painting from a soldier in a prison camp from the 2e Leger I believe in 1813-1814


5e Leger c.1806


9e Legere Voltigeur 1806


15e Leger Voltigeur and Chasseurs 1805 no band


8e Ligne Voltigeur and Fusilier c.1807-1808


21e Ligne Voltigeur c.1807-1808


22e Ligne Voltigeur c.1807-1808


24e Ligne Voltigeur c.1807-1808


46e Ligne Voltigeur c.1807-1808


64e Ligne in 1806 wearing a hat with green ball and puff


Lt. Jean-Louis Lacorde Voltigeur Office 84e Ligne 1809-1813(retired due to injuries suffered during retreat from Russia)


85e Ligne Officer and Voltigeur in shako no band c.1807-1808


88e Ligne c.1805-1807 petit soldats the voltigeurs are in the back on the right in a hat


94e Ligne Grenadier and Voltigeur c.1807-1808


95e Ligne Voltigeur in a hat


96e Ligne 1807 in shako with yellow band c.1807-1808


So it seems most didn't have a top or lower shako band, but this could change depending on the Colonel's orders which could change at any time due to death, promotion, or retirement. Some of the regimental histories do have a section on uniforms which give some good details.

Hope this helps

MarbotsChasseurs11 Apr 2019 11:40 a.m. PST

Want to add a few more.

33e Ligne Voltigeur in hat


33e Ligne 1807 Voltigeur in white uniform


112e Ligne Voltigeur 1807


I believe 1809-1812 the uniform hit the peak of different variations and colors with drummers, sapeurs, Tambour Majors, Musicians and elite companies. It seems 1806-1808 with so many campaigns and reinforcements new uniforms were coming into the war battalions, which could cause different uniforms within a battalion.


Lord Ashram13 Apr 2019 6:26 a.m. PST

Thanks so much, guys!

SHaT198411 Oct 2019 4:29 p.m. PST

Late to the party-
'en generale'… bands of lace around shako (top and/ or bottom) were a mid-Empire (not before 1809-10ish) development and they were conceived as a replacement for cords. Those things that were 'extra', expensive and liable to damage or loss.

So for most infantry, nothing before Wagram. Unusually, there are one or two instances where 1800 style shakoes of Carabiniers were given top band of scarlet. By no means common.

As you have found out, colours not only varied by unit, but over time. The mixture of all 3 in one uniform is less likely than only two.

BTW, that illustration of 112e with white cuff flaps is suspect. That's a modern uniform artist with typewriter captions, so I wonder if a transcription error has occurred. Where was this regiment quartered? As is the depiction 33e de ligne with yellow cuffs!

The only white cuff flaps to exist I now of were on the white 1806 habit, and the Grenadiers de la Garde.

And Michael is dead wrong about 'new' uniforms in the period 1806-08. Prussia 1806 was on the heels of Austerlitz (December 1805/ Frimaire Year 14) and said Grande Armee resided in occupation all over Germany and Austria.

Yes they received reinforcements and clothing, but only what was already manufactured. Then flowed into 1807 Poland with Eylau campaign.

During this time relatively few changes were being made or issued. Sure the administration was working on it- the biggest example being replacing the battle worn chapeau (aka bicornes) with a 'remodel' upgrade of the 1800, 1804 and 1805/06 issued shakoes. (And none had coloured bands)!

Of course the biggest disaster was the 1806 'white' habit (we don't have enough woad to dye cloth!) but that 'standardised' and centralised manufacture under 'Government' auspices (and thereby costs) of a number of embellishments- s stiffer collar on habits, cords, sabres, belts, plumes for full dress, pompoms and epaulettes etc.

So in a way it did a service for uniformity. The new 'cut' was tighter and more efficient; lost were the 4 button cuffs now, variety of flaps, real or deep pockets, more efficient sabre (if at all) and bayonet belts, tighter gaiters and means to keep them waterproof etc.

This also formalised the termination of the 'queue'- long and powdered hair traditionally worn. This change was encouraged by Junot* himself when recommending the 1800 shako be adopted by the newly formed Grenadiers of the Reserve in 1802 @ St.Omer (ie aka Boulogne) to replace the crappy bicornes.

You cannot match battle dress daily wear with fanciful and fantasy tete du colonne costume dress.

On greatcoats- the camp du Boulogne was a wet place- such that greatcoats were made and issued from stores and in embarkation trials as necessary. At this time they were 'advised' to be paid for by regimental funds.

Prior to the surprisingly quick transfer to eastern France/ Rhine in August 1805, several divisions/ Corps were issued with greatcoats paid by for by the Ministry of War. Yet their actual 'regulated' use was not ratified (by decree) until some months after Austerlitz. (Yes – I have the actual documentary totals from the French Archives).

*More to this another time.


MarbotsChasseurs24 Oct 2019 4:12 p.m. PST


Thanks for the information. The 112e is a reprint from the historique du 112e regiment, but as you pointed out it could be wrong. Also, the voltigeur from the 33e ligne is from the great website by Frederic Berjaud link

Do you have any information on the break down of officers from each company and battalion in the 3e, 57e,72e, 105e Ligne and 10e Legere for 1809 prior to the Battle of Thann or Teugen Hausen. I have the wounded and killed officers of all these regiments and the LdH papers from Base Leonore, but since you have information from the French Archives you are probably the best to ask.


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