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"French Legion de Francs 1793 in the vende" Topic

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Terry3725 Apr 2019 10:30 a.m. PST

I am looking for information on he Legion de Francs that was in the Vendee in September 1793. Structure and uniform information. If anyone has anything on them or a source, it is appreciated.



Prince of Essling25 Apr 2019 2:06 p.m. PST

From link

1re Légion des Francs, composed of 3 battalions formed with detachments of 20 men taken from each of the units in the divisions de l'Ouest (JM 1er vendémiaire an 7).

2e Légion des Francs, composed of detachments of 20 men taken from each of the units in the divisions de l'Ouest (JM 1er vendémiaire an 7).

I note from page 332 of Camille Rousset's "Les Volontaires 1791-1794" that the 2nd Legion was also called "Legion Rouge".

The picture supposedly shows:
• Fusilier, Vendée, 1794
• Standard-bearer, Light Infantry
• Chasseur, 1ͤ ͬ Légion de Francs, 1797
• Chasseur, 2ͤ Légion de Francs, Wales, 1797

Prince of Essling25 Apr 2019 2:13 p.m. PST

Picture by JOB of the 1st legion


Also see this exchange on the Legions TMP link

Terry3726 Apr 2019 9:53 a.m. PST

Thank you for the information. Most of it is for the later period after the Vendee, which is what I am seeking. The Osprey book does show several legions, but all formed after the Vendee revolt of 1793.

Prince of Essling, that link is for help for the background which I did not have.

Thanks all,


Prince of Essling26 Apr 2019 2:45 p.m. PST

Apologies for the confusion – looking at Gallica – Convention nationale. Décrets prononcés [dans les séances du 20 septembre au 2 octobre 1792] [- Suite des décrets prononcés dans les séances des 3 et 4 brumaire de l'an quatrième de la République française une et indivisible] link

Date of Decret 20 September 1793 "Decret relatif a des chasseurs de la legion des Francs, qui, le 11 de ces mois, ont franchi la Loire a la nage." From other extracts this relates to the names of the chasseurs who swam across the Loire. I have not yet found the decree that sanctioned the formation of the Legion.

Terry3726 Apr 2019 7:32 p.m. PST

Prince, I have a feeling from what I've found that it might be an ad hoc unit formed in he field, but I'm not sure. The time frame of September 1793 seems about right though. Any thing you are able to find and share is very much appreciated!!!


Prince of Essling27 Apr 2019 2:26 a.m. PST


Not a made up unit as it is listed along the other Legions in Volume 3 of Adrien Pascale's "Histoire de l'Armee et de tous les regiments depuis les temps de la monarchie francaise jusqu'a nos jours" – page xiij (or 479 out of 503 when looking at a pdf).

I do note that "Legion des Francs ("de Mayence") is not in this list. In Volume 2 on page 332 (or 442 of 634 when looking at a pdf) lists the Garrison of Mayence returning to France and l'armee des cotes de la Rochelle. This list includes this Legion so I suspect this may be your Legion.

"Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie francaise" by Louis Susane doesn't refer to these Legions.

Will have a look later at Victor Belhomme's "Histoire de l'infanterie en France" to see if it has any additional info.

Prince of Essling27 Apr 2019 2:42 a.m. PST

Assuming it is the Legion des Francs (de Mayence) wiki has this article (taken from Georges Six, Dictionnaire biographique des Généraux et Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire) on Jean Fortuné Boüin de Marigny
link as he was their commander. Unfortunately no picture..

Also see link

Prince of Essling27 Apr 2019 6:13 a.m. PST

Arthur Chuquet's "Les Guerres de la Revoltion – Mayence (1792-93)" – page 192 (or page 219 et seq if reading from a pdf) says the Legion des Francs (formerly various independent companies known as "Volontaires de Siege" who harassed the besiegers along the left bank of the river) consisted of 400 infantry and 1 squadron of Chasseurs. Digny-Smith's "Napoleonic Wars Data Book" has the Legion with 5 companies.

Prince of Essling27 Apr 2019 1:03 p.m. PST

Victor Belhomme's "Histoire de l'infanterie en France" Volume 4 page 21 (or 31 of 715 if reading a pdf version) says:

"Une partie de l'armee du Rhin se trouvee bloquee dans Mayence. Avec des detachments de divers corps et des companies isolees, il fut forme le 27 janvier [sic 1793] dans cette ville une legion des francs de Mayence, compose de deux bataillons a 9 companies de 100 hommes."

Page 101 (or 111 of 715 if redaing a pdf version), on 24 August 1795 a 3 battalion Legion Francs was formed at Rennes. This incorporated the legion des francs de Mayence, companies franches of Coulommiers, Melun, the volunteers of Brest and the chasseurs of Soldberg.

Terry3727 Apr 2019 7:04 p.m. PST

Prince, Thank you very much!!! Great organization info, but no real uniform data. Still very much appreciated!!!


Prince of Essling28 Apr 2019 2:19 a.m. PST

Terry37, Unfortunately the references are silent on their actual uniform, also no luck trawling the internet for a possible image. However some of the various books mention that francs were prescribed "gris-blanc" uniforms, though as Chasseurs they could have been uniformed in green….


von Winterfeldt28 Apr 2019 5:52 a.m. PST

indeed there is a plate by Boisselier where he paints a soldier of a company franche – in light grey – I once read about those companies but I cannot remember where.

Terry3730 Apr 2019 7:36 p.m. PST

Thank You Gentlemen!!!


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