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"How do you find the likely uniform of a french line drummer?" Topic

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Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 5:38 p.m. PST

Has anyone compiled a likely list? Or is that task something akin to a Roman torture?

When I look for a specific drummer, I can google-fu it but the results are frequently unconvincing with very few primary or near primary sources. For example I am doing the mighty 18th in Ney's third Corps, 11th Division, 1812. A google of that leads me to pictures of 18th from a model soldier shop and more compelling references to the drummers of other line units.

What do you people do to find out the likely uniform of a particular unit?

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 7:35 p.m. PST

I paint generic drummers.

Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 8:15 p.m. PST

Clearly the only rational response to this problem Old Glory!

La Fleche08 Sep 2019 10:34 p.m. PST

Wouldn't 1812 Line Infantry Drummers be wearing Imperial Livery per the January 1812 Bardin Regulations?

Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 11:58 p.m. PST

I don't think the Bardin regulations were implemented in 1812 by any significant measure, so the Drummer Anarchy was still about.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 12:11 a.m. PST

I am afraid that it is just a matter of hitting as many sources as possible. Google images etc is a good start and sometimes you get lucky straight away. After that, all you can do is look through as many books as possible and the work of reputable artists. Osprey, Courcelle, Knotel, Bucquoy, Rousselot, Letrun and Mongin etc. And of course, you can always ask on TMP. You just have to hit the books and sources and hope you get lucky. If you cannot find the exact regiment, then extrapolate from another regiment of which you do have the detail. It works for me.

dibble09 Sep 2019 1:35 a.m. PST

Pre Bardin

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 1:39 a.m. PST

It looks we know about a score at most, pre Imperial livery (1812+/ but when in 1812😏) . A lot can be found on internet.
Rest use licence, using variants of the same. Probably no pink and purple with yelly dots. Thinking of a (pure) gamer nearby. 😠🤗

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 2:54 a.m. PST

I'm a simple soul. Many known liveries are listed in the Osprey Line Infantry and Light Infantry volumes and elsewhere. Pick a livery you like, and build that regiment. If you start with the regiment instead, you may be pursuing information which no longer exists. That can be a very long search.

Supreme Littleness Designs09 Sep 2019 5:07 a.m. PST

A variety of drummers from my blog:



von Winterfeldt09 Sep 2019 5:50 a.m. PST

in 1812 no Imperial livrée – this comes up with Bardin in late 1813, there exist original drummer uniforms captured in Russia 1812.


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Garde de Paris09 Sep 2019 8:20 a.m. PST

Bucquoy is also a good source of information, with the Infantry book showing the 18th from 1805 into 1812. Please note the Dibble's posting of the Rousselot plate show the Drum Major of the 18th in 1804-05 – figure 13.

Bucquoy shows a sapeur, 1812, Bardin jacket, scarlet collar edged white; scarlet lapels edged all around white; cuff covered by guantlets; turnbacks hidden. Bearskin, white cords, no brass plate, tall scarlet plume. They also show a sapeur in 1813, now with the basic Bardin jacket – white lapels edged scarlet, as for the fighting men.

A drummer of grenadiers is shown for 1812 in the green Bardin jacket, yellow/green livery in 7 chevrons on each sleeve, scarlet collar an cuff edged in livery, 4 chest tapes, pointed, in livery. Turnbacks white. Shako with tall scarlet plume; scarlet top band; scarlet V on sides. Black leggings up to below the knee.

Cornetist of voltigeurs shown same coat, but yellow collar edges in livery. green epaulettes with yellow crescents. tall green plume tipped 1/3 yellow, in yellow ball. Yellow top band and v's on shako.

Because of the extra tapes on the lapels of the figure above, I wonder if it may be the coat of the Drum Major, perhaps worn on route to save the newer Bardin verion.

No easy way to get information for specific regiments. I like the Rousselot illustration figure 1 for the drummer with scarlet shoulder "pads" edged yellow, but with shako, a "generic" drummer. Same for figures 2 as generic sapeur.


Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 1:13 p.m. PST

Thanks for those suggestions.

As I am starting on this project I might see if I can compile a list and put it out there for comment.

Did drummer uniforms ever differ significantly between battalions?

dibble09 Sep 2019 5:16 p.m. PST

Sorry, it's a bit late but here are some Bardin (1812) drummers:

1er Leger

There were variations as can be seen above. I may have other examples. I'll have a look and get back to you in a day or so.


Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 5:55 p.m. PST

Thanks Paul!

That is very helpful indeed.

SHaT198409 Sep 2019 9:00 p.m. PST

You can also scour French sources (as I had to do) like Carnet de La Sabretache, Uniformes, Malibran and a myriad of specific articles here there and everywhere.

Rule of thumb, uniforms were rarely changed wholesale (unless perhaps except under Imperial review). Find some previous tete du colonne and sometimes musicians were similar, if not exact; apply the colour scheme to updated uniforms.
I'm sure some Bardin style uniforms appeared in the main 1812 Army of show piece formations, as by 1813 the requirements would have been far less.

von Winterfeldt09 Sep 2019 10:38 p.m. PST

I'm sure some Bardin style uniforms appeared in the main 1812 Army of show piece formations

I disagree, the French armies marching into Russia were already equipped and uniformed before the Bardin regulations were issued, no contemporary source – nor any captured French uniforms in Russia 1812 show Bardin uniforms, this is well discussed in Napoleon's Last Grande Armée.

Dave Jackson10 Sep 2019 3:44 a.m. PST

Emir Bukhari's book on "French Napoleonic Line Infantry 1796-1815" has a description of many musician uniforms.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2019 4:46 a.m. PST

They use stocks. Even regulations have leeway. Nothing is totally centralised nor done colpletly the same way. Read of recruits from German département having a sort of "Germanized" short tailed coat as it is the way they did it there, possibly for the same guys before they were "officially French". Besides at that tile to reach the different production places, impliment the changes….
I remember a picture of the officers of the Legion ( can't remember which unit) around 1980s, of the 6 not two had the same dress nor right the same tint in it. Imagine before industrial stable (?) textures.
Then when they change? Do they still have the funds for the renewed glorious thing? As we don't know much, try do "once " those we are supposed to know, get others in the same fashion with variants.

von Winterfeldt10 Sep 2019 5:11 a.m. PST

Read of recruits from German département having a sort of "Germanized" short tailed coat as it is the way they did it there

Interesting, can you please tell me the source so I can read up on this as well, thanks.

4th Cuirassier10 Sep 2019 5:27 a.m. PST

Loving the red trousers on that captured uniform…

dibble10 Sep 2019 5:41 a.m. PST

Dave Jackson:

Emir Bukhari's book on "French Napoleonic Line Infantry 1796-1815" has a description of many musician uniforms.

Unfortunately, Dave, the Almark book you quote has its illustrations in Black and white line drawings. If it had been published in full colour, it would probably have been a classic. Shame it wasn't re-released in full colour in the format of the other tomes from Almark, like their Nations in Arms series which are little gems.

Paul :)

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2019 9:59 a.m. PST

von Winterfeldt
as often it was some time ago before I started needing to refer to things;) and getting more than "impregnation" (!!) from readings. It was also linked to some of the prussian reserve using these when they took over the Halle depot in 1813. So, in fact, they might be a local Bardin stuff. No idea. but the Germanas making Germans typed dress makes sense. I am not going to peer into the sources to find it. A friend recently sent me his research on 127-128 -129 rgt for 1812 all Germans with variants too and I found 18th light. but they are not Bardin types. It goes also that Habit veste that can be worn looks very much like a Bardin sort of, esp if we cannot see the rear!
I am not sure all our pictures sources from the end of the 19th to now are so safe to be 100ù armoured against critics.

mollinary10 Sep 2019 10:07 a.m. PST

4th Cuirassier, I think that is the lining of the tails of the coat!!!

von Winterfeldt10 Sep 2019 10:16 a.m. PST

well 1813 is a different case, yes there must have been some Bardin stuff around.

Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2019 2:59 p.m. PST

Hello dibble

thanks for the heads up about the Almark publication. I have bought it anyway because the one I have about the Prussian Army by David Nash is excellent. Whilst it contains few colour plates and a host of black and white sketches of comically gnomic proportions, the text contains very specific uniform descriptions especially for the reserve regiments. If only that book had all been colour!

Anyway re-reading Dave Jackson's post it seems clear that he was referring to descriptions rather than colour plates, and I am hopeful it is still a good resource. But I do take your point about a lost opportunity to publish in colour!

Cheers LPWC

Dave Jackson10 Sep 2019 5:06 p.m. PST

Dibble….agree completely. Yes….I said "descriptions" on purpose as the illustrations, barring a few, are in B&W.

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