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"Trumpeter Carabiniers during the 100 days campaign" Topic

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Van Damme08 May 2020 4:52 a.m. PST

The uniform plate on the mont-saint-jean site shows the trumpeter for the 1 Regiment de Carabiniers in his restoration uniform. Red collar, cuffflaps and turnbacks and with white lace. Is this realistic and is their any evidence of this or at the time of this campaign the trumpeters had imperial lace and sky blue blue facings as in the 1812 Bardin regulations. All of the uniform plates from Patrick Courcelle for this campaign show the trumpeter in the 1812 style and also the Rousselot plates show no trumpeter in "comte D'artois" style uniform. So for the 100 day campaign is the correct habit for the trumpeter imperial lace and style 1812 or the restoration style. And does this apply for both regiments?

Again thank you for any feedback/advice

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 12:50 a.m. PST

It gets worse than that. Dawson in the new "Napoleon's Waterloo Army" destroys many a myth, often very convincingly. Amongst them is the use of the blue rather than white coat on campaign…….

von Winterfeldt09 May 2020 2:56 a.m. PST

In my view he is not destroying it – there is contemporary evidence of it in 1815 in a print – this would need discussion.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 3:07 a.m. PST

What myths are those?

And the comments and ideas in the Dawson book are on 1815 only and not the rest of the Empire period.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 5:16 a.m. PST

The post here is specifically about 1815, hence the idea of a Restoration outfit for the trumpeter. Of course the comments below are solely for 1815

The myths he dismisses?

Things we all "knew" to be right…..but MAY not be…

The 11th cuirassiers were not short of cuirasses
The second rank of lancers carried lances
No light units had yellow lace on their shakos.
Again the carabiniers…..
There was one other notable one…it was ………????

It might have been Grenadiers a Cheval of IG all wore moustaches. That surprised me+++

or was it the scarcity of the classical green coat with imperial lace for the drummers?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 6:29 a.m. PST

Are any of these so-called myths documented in the book?

And, if you could and have the time, give page references for the 'myths'?

That would be helpful and we could take these ideas in context.

Seems to me there are too many 'mays' and 'mights'.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 7:30 a.m. PST

I stress the "mays" and "mights" are mine in the posting above, not Dawson's

The hairy grenadier a Chev p427 (looks awful…like 95th in a Belgic cap)

white coats p439 and p310 ("These items never existed") referring to blue undress habits

11th Cuirassiers p307 …..a myth that 11th did not have cuirasses.

p248 " clearly it seems in 1814 all the troops were armed with lances etc"

No yellow laced shakos and the scarcity of green laced drummers' coats throughout the book repeatedly.

von Winterfeldt09 May 2020 7:58 a.m. PST

yes Dawson findings deserve full attention – he is one of the very few who visits the archives – a very costly and time consuming effort, at least he pushes research forward and doesn't solely rely on one source alone.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 9:03 a.m. PST

The subject of mustaches for the Grenadiers a Cheval in 1815 is not proven. If they indeed had them, then it was undoubtedly because they were being converted to cuirassiers. There is a portrait of a junior officer of the Grenadiers a Cheval on page 402. It was painted in 1814 and the officer does not have a mustache.

As for the cuirasses of the 11th Cuirassiers and whether or not they had them, the footnote for that cites the 'Dossier of 1814, not 1815. So I would have to say that the statement is a definite 'maybe.'

Regarding the blue undress habits, again the inspection return was for late 1814, not early to mid-1815 and while they are not listed on the return, looking at some of the uniform and equipment returns of other cavalry units, such as the Grenadiers a Cheval, there were uniform items not listed, such as bearskins, that are definitely known to have existed. I do believe that this is a 'perhaps.'

Regarding the use and arming of the lance using 1814 references, it should be noted that 1814 was a year of shortages of many items and they might have been armed with the lance and not the carbine through necessity.

I would submit that familiarization with the overall situation of the army in 1814 and 1815, with shortages in many categories, would imply that the usual practices would have been 'suspended' based on material and equipment shortages. Further, the Armee du Nord was put together and organized in a very short time and the manufacture of new weapons and equipment would have had to have been hurried to say the least.

The idea expressed on page 307 that the Caraninier brigade was assigned with the heavy cavalry of the Guard is not referenced and is undoubtedly incorrect. The Carabiniers were not Guard units and were in Kellermann's Cavalry Corps.

In Chapter 15 the French artillery arm is talked about under the title of 'Support Troops.' The artillery was a combat arm, not 'support troops' and this is, at best, a misnomer.

An interesting comment at the beginning of Chapter 21 reads that Napoleon 'overthrew the restored monarchy with a coup d'état.' That seems just a little curious as the 'monarchy' fled Paris to Belgium before Napoleon arrived in Paris. That isn't much of a coup as a de facto abdication.

On page 579 there is a reference to the Sailors of the Guard as 'marines' which the latter they were not. France had no marines during the period. The Sailors of the Guard were exactly that-sailors.

On page 604 it reads at the bottom of the page under 'Imperial Guard', 'Waterloo myth would have us believe the Old Guard were dressed in rags and a motley collection of equipment. The originator of this was Hypolite de Mauduit, a man who claimed to have served in the Imperial Guard in 1815, but does not actually seem to have done so.'

First, Mauduit. Where is there any reference or evidence that he was no in Belgium as part of the Old Guard in 1815? He left a valuable memoir and unless there is proof for the assertion (and there is no reference cited), then this comment cannot be supported.

Second, I have never seen or read that the Old Guard was
'dressed in rags' in 1815. The 1st and 2d Regiments of Grenadiers and Chasseurs were correctly uniformed and dressed. For the 3d and 4th regiments of each corps, they were new regiments and might not have been dressed in regulation uniforms, but they were not in 'rags.' Again, this comment is not sourced and is inaccurate.

At the beginning of Chapter 23 it reads:

'Simply put, the Armee du Nord was captured at Waterloo, or at least over 60 percent was: over 14,000 men were made prisoners.'

First, Nord was not 'captured' at Waterloo, though the army sustained heavy losses.

Second 14,000 does not equal 60 percent of Nord at Waterloo, which had (depending on what source is used) 72,000 on the field. That is approximately 20%, not 60%.

On page nineteen it reads 'The suggestion that the army and the veterans in 1814 were treated pretty badly is pretty much a myth, though obviously the army felt badly used at the time.'

I would suggest reading the memoirs of the 'demi-soldes' who were discharged on half-pay and didn't receive they pensions and those officers, who had fought for France for years, were supplanted by royalists, some of whom had fought against France in the allied armies. In short, it isn't a myth and is one of the main reasons that the Bourbons failed miserably in 1814.

While the volume does contain valuable information, there are enough errors and assumptions that are unsupported that dictate this volume should be used with care.

Van Damme09 May 2020 11:08 a.m. PST

Interesting facts questions about the 100day campaign, but back to the trumpeter (just kidding but still curious.
Something that triggered me was the "myth" of the 11th cuirassiers. Never I seen anyone talking about the carabiniers at Waterloo without cuirasses.
Their is an interesting blog about "The traiter of Waterloo"
and at the end of the article their is a quote about the morning inspection before the battle. Apparently quit a few cuirasses needed fixing so if this is true then their must have been carabiniers "galloping" at the squares without cuirass?

Pour être complet, nous pouvons encore ajouter qu'au 15 juin 1815, le 1er carabiniers comptait 32 officiers (et 46 chevaux) et 402 sous-officiers et cavaliers (et 426 chevaux). L'inspection faite ce matin-là mentionne qu'ils portaient 257 cuirasses seulement dont 86 venaient d'être réparées. Le 2e carabiniers avec 30 officiers (et 41 chevaux) et 383 sous-officiers et cavaliers (avec 373 chevaux) n'avait que 225 cuirasses dont 71 venaient d'être réparées.
In this article their is no definitive conclusion on the color of the habit (white or Blue Celeste) with both options seemingly possible.
So is this a myth (carabiniers without cuirass) and how to decide on the color of the habit during the 100day campaign?


Tassie09 May 2020 1:22 p.m. PST

Having spent many, many hours in the Vincennes archives I've got photocopies of all the Carabinier inspection returns and regimental correspondence from 1807 to 1815, all of which I have studied in great depth. The documents of the 1er Carabiniers can be found in carton no. XC91, and that of the 2e Carabiniers is in XC93.

The inspection returns detail all of the issued clothing, including uniform items actually on the men's backs at the time of the review, and also in the regimental magazines in Luneville.

There were never any light blue habits (actually bleu-celeste, which is not sky blue, but closer to bleu-royale) issued, let alone sewn.

On July 21st 1814, the inspector general of cavalry, Kellermann, observed in his revue of the 2e regiment of Carabiniers that the magasine stores were absolutely completely empty of uniform cloth. Furthermore, he stated that:

"Le Corps n'a recu aucun etoffe ni autre materieux pour les remplacements de 1814, ni pour l'habits d'un grand nombre des prisonniers de guerre rentres."

The revues d'inspection of 1814 and 1815 show that there were only sufficient habits made for one each per man.

The receipt for the order of uniform cloth was ordered on 4th March 1815 and was signed by Chef d'Escadron Benoit. The order was for:

2,000 metres of white wool cloth and 250 metres of bleu celeste wool cloth, all of which had arrived by the end of March 1815.

By the time the Carabinier brigade left Luneville to join its parent division, on 14th May, the declared amount of material the 2e regiment still possessed in its magazines was as follows:

Etoffes et Effects de toute nature:
Drap blanc . . . . 1,343.47 metres
idem bleu celeste . . . . 60.80 metres

The bleu celeste cloth was only used for the facing elements (collars, turnbacks, piping, etc) of the habits, for the piping of the bonnets de police, and for the body of the saddle cloth (housse).

Look at the proportions of uniform cloth (blanc to bleu celeste) left in the magazine at the start of the Hundred Days campaign. It is roughly 23:1
The proportion of white to bleu celeste uniform cloth used to make a single breasted "habit de cuirasse" is roughly 20:1. The amount of cloth used to make habits and the amounts remaining shows that the Carabiniers used white for the main body of their habits.

Not enough bleu celeste was ever purchased or used to make habits from this colour of wool uniform cloth.

This was also the case in 1812 and 1813.

In my opinion, and I freely admit I have failed to find any regimental correspondence concerning this matter, the Carabinier troopers had sometimes used their bleu celeste, sleeved stable jackets during the long marches during the campaign of 1812 (hence the eye witness sketches showing them wearing this colour) in order to preserve their white habits for grande tenue.

Interestingly, in 1815, the regiment had more than enough cuirasses and helmets for each man. It was noted by the inspector general in July 1814 that several dozen cuirasses needed to have their linings replaced, but they were still serviceable and indeed were still in service.

Immediately after the Hundred Days campaign was concluded, the 2e Carabiniers were reviewed, on 15th August 1815. In the stores were:
Exactly 100 brand new cuirasses, from the Arsenal de Paris, which had arrived after the regiment had left the depot to take part in the Waterloo campaign.

There were also:
101 cuirasses in good condition that had been "in recent use during the last campaign", and 255 cuirasses similarly described, which were in need of repair. Allowing for those lost at Waterloo when troopers were killed or unhorsed, there were clearly enough cuirasses for every trooper, including the 80 replacements, led by 3 officers, from Luneville who reached the regiment on 26th June.

So, gentlemen, it's white habits for the Carabiniers.
I hope that helps.

Tassie09 May 2020 1:37 p.m. PST

. . . also, concerning trumpeter's habits in 1815, the 2e Carabiniers had exhausted all their stocks of green wool cloth, according to the inspection return of August 1815. The number of trumpeter's habits isn't recorded as a separate item. but is (one has to presume) included in the single total of habits in the magazine and on the backs of the ORs.

Unfortunately, one can't tell if these were made by the time the regiment had left the depot to join the army for the start of the campaign in May.

The famous N and eagle design of imperial livery lace isn't listed at all, although this doesn't mean that it hadn't been acquired.

However, white lace, 25mm wide, listed simply as "galon de fil blanc" is listed in the stores.

So, there are several choices for the habits of Carabinier trumpeters, about which we must make an informed, educated guess:

a) Bleu celeste habits with white lace, as had been worn in the Russian campaign.

b) Green habits with imperial livery, as per the Bardin regulations.

c) Green habits with white lace, if one supposes that the imperial livery lace either didn't arrive in time, or never arrived at all at the depot.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 1:48 p.m. PST

@ Tassie

I am utterly thrilled to hear that carabiniers wore white. It looks cooler and is what I have always wanted…

Tassie09 May 2020 1:55 p.m. PST

The 1er Carabiniers depot magazines, at the time of their disbandment, lists green uniform wool cloth, but there was only 2 metres and 71cm left on the roll, the rest having been used to make the habits for trumpeters. Again, imperial livery lace isn't listed.

So, the same range of choices is before us when we paint our trumpeters.

There were 542 cuirasses, which includes those actually currently issued and in the regiment's magazines. Of those, 100 were brand new (as with the 2e regt) and had arrived at the depot in late June, having been delivered in caissons from the Arsenal de Paris, but too late to be worn at Waterloo.

However, 442 cuirasses are listed as having been "used in the last campaign" of which nearly 350 required some attention, mainly again the linings. So again, all the troopers would appear to have been armoured, including those young troopers who joined the regiment in the field at the end of June.

The interesting report about cuirasses mentioned in the online article, "Le Traitre de Waterloo" ~ I'd be interested to know from which original archive source this was apparently found. It certainly isn't in either of the Carabiniers cartons, nor in the box concerning III Cavalry Corps for the Hundred Days Campaign.

Anyway, happy lockdown painting everyone! :-)

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 3:15 p.m. PST

Why wouldn't the two carabinier regiments wear their white uniforms in 1815?

The sky blue habit was usually worn by officers and was a long-tailed habit and used for walking out dress. And as officers were responsible for paying for their own uniforms, I don't see a problem here. Rousselot shows an officer and an NCO in a sky blue long-tailed habit for walking out dress.

There is, apparently, a 'simple portrait' of Quartermaster Jean-Antoine Guillot of the 1st Carabinier Regiment dated 16 March 1813 which shows him in a sky blue coat. The portrait is in the Musee de l'Armee.

According to Rousselot, the green uniform for trumpeters didn't take effect until 1813. Prior to that they wore sky blue habits.

Rousselot also states that the unpublished text of the 1812 uniform regulations gave officers sky blue habits.

At the Dusseldorf Review in 1811 the trumpeters were seen in sky blue habits as was the kettledrummer. At the same review, the trumpeter sous-officier was in a blue habit and had a horsehair tail to his helmet, white as was the helmet comb.

If there is any references that contradict or dispute these details I'd like to see them.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 2:06 a.m. PST

What brilliant responses from all of you. Brechtel and Tassie, you have both made a great effort to research this and it is much appreciated. This is very important information nad most welcome for those of who want our Carabiniers to look their best.

DrsRob10 May 2020 2:13 a.m. PST

All these details need not be discussed, because they're beside the point.

The questions were:
1. Did the carabiniers wore white coats in 1815? You agree that they did.
2. What coatees did the trumpeters wore in 1815? Details on what they wore in 1811 or 1813 are not relevant. From mid 1814 until the 100 days Napoleonic symbols such as the livery for trumpeters would have been eradicated as much as possible. During the 100 days attempts would have been made to reintroduce them.
So only material from 1814 and 1815 would have any relevance to the question.

von Winterfeldt10 May 2020 4:23 a.m. PST

DrsRob + 1

Tassie10 May 2020 4:58 a.m. PST

Good points, DrsRob, and well argued.
However, please allow me to make one observation.

What the trumpeters wore *before* 1814-15 is still relevant regarding what they might have worn in the Hundred Days.

This is because unless the trumpeter habits worn in 1813 were lost or destroyed on campaign, these garments would definitely have been put back into the regimental stores in Luneville, and could therefore have been reissued in 1815.

This would have been a quick and easy solution for the colonel when he considered "What shall we give our trumpeters to wear?" for the Hundred Days campaign.

In their review of July 21st 1814, the ORs of the 2e Carabiniers had 236 habits, in service and being worn, (including those of senior NCOs and the trumpeters) of which 32 needed repairing. There were also 61 habits in the stores which had been worn and used, and needed repairing before they could be reissued.

The 1er Carabiniers were reviewed by Kellermann over the course of the same two days. Their situation is similar to their sister regiment.
They had 284 habits, issued and being worn at the time of the review, of which 72 needed some repair work. Plus, they had 32 brand new, unissued habits in the stores, as well as 91 habits in the stores which had been previously issued and required some sewing repairs or alterations, before they could be reissued again.

The 1er Carabiniers had 18 trumpeters present and under arms at their 1814 review, and the 2e regt had 16 trumpeters. (Somewhat more than one might have expected)

Although the habits of troopers and trumpeters are not listed under separate columns, it is reasonable to assume that at least some of those habits listed in the stores as having been "previously worn and needing repair" could well include those of trumpeters.

Therefore, habits made prior to 1814 are still, in my opinion, relevant to what the trumpeters could have worn in the Hundred Days campaign.

For anyone interested, at Waterloo, the 2e Carabiniers had 10 trumpeters in the field. The oldest was:
Henri Morel, trumpet major, born 10th December 1761, and was 53 years old.
The youngest trumpeter was his son, also called Henri Morel, who was just 14, born on 16th Oct 1800, and served with the 3rd squadron.

The other young trumpeters who definitely served at Waterloo included:

Louis Beauve, aged 15, matricule no.32, born 1st December 1799.

Joseph Patte, aged 16, matricule no.158, born 5th April 1799.

Auguste Thurotte, aged 16, matricule no.22, born 18th May 1799.

Joseph Nardot, aged 19, matricule no.20, born 18th June 1796, so he celebrated his 19th birthday on the slopes of Mont St. Jean!

All of these individual ORs details for the 2e Carabiniers can be found in the Vincennes archives, in the original muster ledger, catalogue no. 24YC9.

Tassie10 May 2020 5:03 a.m. PST

. . . I'm not saying that older trumpeters habits were definitely worn at Waterloo, but if one assumes that they had been repaired between the July 1814 review and the start of the Hundred Days campaign, then their reissue in 1815 is a possibility that can't be ruled out.
That's why, in my opinion, habits made and worn before 1814-15 are still relevant to our discussion.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 5:14 a.m. PST

That's why, in my opinion, habits made and worn before 1814-15 are still relevant to our discussion.


What is being overlooked is that there was a definite 'wear out' period for uniforms in the Grande Armee and that French regimental commanders generally ignored what the regulations said and uniformed their 'heads of column' as they pleased.

And it is also interesting that the first uniform regulations for the French army of the period for the entire army were the Bardin Regulations of 1812. And that regulation really didn't come into effect until after the Russian campaign and the army had to be reuniformed.

And the Bardin Regulations did not apply to the Imperial Guard as they had their own uniform regulations that didn't apply to the rest of the army.

DrsRob10 May 2020 7:23 a.m. PST

That's why, in my opinion, habits made and worn before 1814-15 are still relevant to our discussion.

That is indeed a possibility. With my remark that:
only material from 1814 and 1815 would have any relevance to the question.
I was just referring to archive material and other sources, not to the actual coatees.

Tassie10 May 2020 7:33 a.m. PST

Aha, ok, understood.
Thanks for the clarification, DrsRob.
The habits worn by the Carabinier trumpeters in 1815 is a fascinating subject.

Van Damme10 May 2020 11:33 a.m. PST

I`m impressed with all the knowledge being shared in this topic. A BIG thank you to @Tassie, @Brechtel198, QDrsRob, @von Winterfeldt and others.
I`m not an historian but a enthusiastic hobbyist about the Napoleonic era. Its fun to piece together the most historical correct dress in equipment and colors for the units involved. So I don`t have a preference for white or blue, just the correct historical choice. My question about the color of the habit came about by watching the uniform plates on the mont-saint-jean site by Alexis. He states that the official habit is white and the one worn on campaign is blue céleste. Looking at his sources, it looks like he is influenced by Patrick Courcelle. He in turn is influenced by Lucien Rousselot (at least this is my impression). Their are a few articles about the color of the carabiniers uniform during the 100 day campaign which suggest that blue céleste was the color on campaign. Le Sabretache nr 108, article "La Seconde Tenue des Carabiniers 1811-1815 by Lucien Rousselot; Tradition Nr 177, article "Carabiniers pendant les Cent Jours" by patrick Courcelle and Rousselots "Armée Francaise Planche nr 2" (CARABINIERS 1810-1815).
Most of the arguments are subjective (saving the white uniform for parade,..), the use of a habit d'écurie in blue céleste and based upon the naive portret of maréchal des logis Guillot of the 1st Regiment. I have the utmost respect for the above artists and their knowledge of the subject so I wonder why they are so persistent in their claim. The research from "Tassie" shows an objective fact that their was not enough Blue Céleste material to produce about 850 new habits.
Their is one note/question from me about the blue céleste; Regulations state that the blue color for the turnbacks, collar, piping,cuffs, saddle cloth,… was blue ciel. The habit écurie was blue céleste.
Paul Lindsay Dawson wrote an article about the correct french blue colors based on original samples. Can`t find the link anymore but copied the text in a file. Blue Ciel is a deep blue color, much darker then blue céleste.
Shouldn`t their be a note on the amount of blue de ciel or didn`t they made any difference in the magazine between the blue color shades?
So white it is for the 100 day campaign. Seems the trumpeter habit will stay an educated guess.
Thanks again everyone for all the contribution on this topic.

ConnaughtRanger10 May 2020 12:40 p.m. PST

"The subject of mustaches for the Grenadiers a Cheval in 1815 is not proven." At times like this, I realise my 50 years' interest in the "Napoleonic" Wars is irredeemably shallow.

Handlebarbleep10 May 2020 7:23 p.m. PST

This discussion has propted me to look again at Paul L Dawson's work on the Armee du Nord. Much of the archival evidence is compelling, and revises much of our understanding. Some of that accepted wisdom, it appears, is based on flimsy or non-existant evidence, so does indeed qualify as a myth.

Saving their white coats from getting dirty. Well, it sounds plausible to the modern ear. However, it doesn't seem to have bothered the Austrian Army, Prussian Cuirassiers, The Dutch Guard or for a brief period the whole French Line infantry.

It's worth noting that our period pre-dates modern UV reflective "whiter-than-white" detergents. Indeed, the period broad cloth may well have been considerably less white than we might expect today.

DrsRob11 May 2020 12:36 a.m. PST

Van Damme:
Their is one note/question from me about the blue céleste; Regulations state that the blue color for the turnbacks, collar, piping,cuffs, saddle cloth,… was blue ciel. The habit écurie was blue céleste.

Given the fluidity of terminology at that time and unlike Paul Dawson, I'm not convinced there's any difference between bleu de ciel and bleu céleste. Tassie's findings regarding the clothing of the carabiniers seem to confirm my doubts.

Tassie11 May 2020 12:52 a.m. PST

Actually, bleu-celeste is a richer, deeper blue, than bleu-ciel. It's not darker, though.

Just think of the subtle differences between shades of green for British line regimental facing colours . . .

The well known mannequin of the 5e Hussards at the Chateau de l'Emperi, in Salon-de-Provence, wears an original bleu-celeste dolman.


And the mannequin of the officer of the 1er Carabiniers also has bleu-celeste on the collar and cuffs of his original habit. It's not sky blue / bleu ciel.


Bleu-celeste was a distinctly and deliberately different shade of blue from bleu-ciel.

I've seen and handled the original cloth samples used by the Ministry of War in 1813, that were given to the approved uniform cloth manufacturers, and there are two different samples, one for bleu-celeste and another for bleu-ciel, both with the official wax seal of standard quality.

Hope that helps :-)

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2020 1:10 a.m. PST

@ Handlebarbleep

Saving their white coats from getting dirty. Well, it sounds plausible to the modern ear. However, it doesn't seem to have bothered the Austrian Army, Prussian Cuirassiers, The Dutch Guard or for a brief period the whole French Line infantry.

Indeed. AIUI, and it's completely counter-intuitive, if you wanted in this era to keep your best coat clean, you'd wear your white one as much as you could. This is because if your coat was dyed any colour, you would scrub the dye out in scrubbing the muck out. Your white coat was made of bleached natural wool. The procedure for dyeing in this era was to use lactic acid derived from sheeps' milk – you soaked the coat in the latter and you left it out in the sun for 8 months or so.

TMP link – see post at 3:22 a.m. PST

So you could scrub a white coat as much as you needed to and you wouldn't remove the colour. If you got a blue or red coat seriously dirty, cleaning it thoroughly would remove colour as well as muck.

I don't buy the idea that 200 years ago you wore your blue coat to keep your white one nice. You more likely did the opposite.

Tassie11 May 2020 1:23 a.m. PST

Interesting and well argued observations, Handlebarbleep.

Actually, keeping uniform items clean was a major headache and constant consideration at the time.

That's why Prussian infantry and cavalry invariably wore shako covers, seemingly regardless of the weather, and why the Old Guard didn't wear their white gaiters at Waterloo.

Don't forget that the Bardin habit-veste had revers (plastrons / lapels) which could be buttoned across, in order to protect the regimental facing colours.

In 1804, Colonel de Preval, commanding officer of the 3e Cuirassiers, in his ordre du jour, 17 Germinal An XII, (April 1804) and published by Magimel, Paris, in 1806, decrees in "Article XIV, tenue modifée selon les circonstances" that plumes were only to be used for grande tenue.

Article XXVI gives the sous-officiers several paragraphs of detailed instructions for how the troopers were to keep their white waistcoats, clean, as well as the white lace on their saddle cloths and their culottes de peau.

Furthermore, he states, that their habits were only to be worn in grande tenue.

These regimental orders were reproduced, faithfully, in the Carnet de la Sabretache, "La Centenaire des Cuirassiers," in 1904, as well as by Bucquoy in his work on the Cuirassiers.

So, how does that relate to our topic and debate on the Carabiniers?

Well, by 1810, de Preval was the senior inspector general of cavalry, and his reviews and critial observations about the turnout of the Cuirassier and Carabinier regiments in 1810 and 1811 certainly don't pull any punches.

However, the Carabiniers did not have a second, bleu-celeste habit which they could use on campaign. The regimental maitre-tailleur (senior regimental tailor) and his subcontractors only submitted receipts for the making of white habits, which can be found in the Vincennes archives, in boxes XC91 and XC93.

And in any case, there was only sufficient bleu-celeste uniform quality cloth received by the regiments to allow for collars, cuffs, turnbacks and saddle cloths.

The inventories of the regimental stores for the Carabiniers account for:

a) the number of habits made, and when,
b) how much wool uniform cloth was used for their production,
c) how much it cost to have them made,
d) who made them (i.e. which subcontractors, under the direction of the maire-tailleur)
e) how many were issued,
f) how many needed repairing, and
g) how many had been lost, destroyed, or were beyond repair.

The Carabiniers did not have a second tunic in bleu-celeste.

It didn't exist.

Faber de Faur's sketches, drawn on the spot in 1812, using graphite, are invaluable first hand, primary source material.

However, they were only reproduced by him as watercolours 16 years later, when they were published as prints. So how reliable are the uniform details of the colourised versions?

He shows a single Carabinier in bleu-celeste, in Russia. As we know that it can't be a habit, it can only be a sleeved stable jacket, or the blue is an error of memory, because of the passing of time since 1812.

von Winterfeldt11 May 2020 1:50 a.m. PST

about the white coat I have a bit a different opinion, first soldiers had no choice – they would have to wear what you get.

Yet, a lot of officer's coats, like in the French Army in almost pristine conditions survived, because they were hardly worn and when only on special occasions.

The Austrian officers often did wear a pike grey coat, despite it was forbidden, just to preserve your white coat as much as possible, this is seen up to the ranks of generals, the Saxon cuirassier officers would wear a blue frock coat on campaign – to preserve their white coats,


the Westphalian infantry officers had a surtout of blue instead of white, the Prussian cuirassiers post 1808 did wear on campaign often a Litewka – which was dark blue.

Coats were usually made from wool – it was forbidden to wash them, all you could do was to brush off the dirt, on the white coats moreover they could be pipeclayed, but all this would put a heavy strain on the qualiry of the wool.

Dirt is crying out loadly on a white coat, while it wouldn't be that evident on darker colours.

Saxon infantry did wear a kind of smock over their white uniforms in 1806


Now this has nothing to do with the light blue coats and or stable coats of the Carabiniers à Cheval.

Here from an anonymous contemporary picture, supposedly July 1815


other contemporary prints showing Carabiners à Cheval in blue coat



as for 1815 – thanks to Dawson there are strong arguments of the white coat, still a blue one is shown on a contemporary print – let's see what further discussion will show.

Tassie11 May 2020 2:00 a.m. PST

Actually, just for your interest, von Winterfeldt, it was me who did all of the Carabinier research on Paul Dawson's behalf, at the Chateau de Vincennes.

The interpretations of those documents and the conclusions are his own, but it was me who went through all of the original documents boxes, and studied them.

Tassie11 May 2020 2:08 a.m. PST

. . . we literally worked alongside one another on many trips to Vincennes, over a period of four years.

I did the research on the Cuirassier and Carabinier regiments for 1814-15.

Paul did absolutely everything else.

And like I said, the interpretations and conclusions are entirely his own.

Tassie11 May 2020 2:21 a.m. PST

With the greatest respect, how reliable is the figure in the blue coat, with the sabre tucked under his arm?

To be honest, the image shows him wearing a *garment* with blue sleeves. As one can't see any turnbacks, one can't say that it's a habit; it could equally be a sleeved stable jacket.

Ditto for the image of the charging Carabiniers.

But interesting documents, all the same.

But I draw your attention back to the stores and inspection returns of the Carabinier regiments. No blue habits were ordered, made, or issued.

DrsRob11 May 2020 8:11 a.m. PST

In 1825 the uniform of the carabiniers changed from white to sky blue. This may have confused later painters.

Tassie11 May 2020 8:13 a.m. PST

I believe the same as you, DrsRob.

That is decidedly possible, if not probable, for I can think of no other explanation as to why the Carabiniers are sometimes shown wearing bleu-celeste habits, which were certainly never manufactured.

The regimental paperwork ~ cloth orders, tailors' receipts, subcontractors invoices, regimental depot stores returns, inspection reviews ~ all prove that the bleu-celeste habits never existed for the rank and file during the First Empire.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2020 12:06 p.m. PST

In 1825 the uniform of the carabiniers changed from white to sky blue. This may have confused later painters.

Rousselot didn't think so and he gave first hand proof regarding the blue uniforms of the carabiniers based on eyewitness accounts at Dusseldorf, as already posted.

DrsRob11 May 2020 12:58 p.m. PST


Rousselot didn't think so and he gave first hand proof regarding the blue uniforms of the carabiniers based on eyewitness accounts at Dusseldorf, as already posted.

Why wouldn't the two carabinier regiments wear their white uniforms in 1815?
According to Rousselot, the green uniform for trumpeters didn't take effect until 1813. Prior to that they wore sky blue habits.
At the Dusseldorf Review in 1811 the trumpeters were seen in sky blue habits as was the kettledrummer. […]
In your earlier post you didn't mention the 1825 change, so why bring it up here?
You even stated quite clearly that you have no doubt about the white coatees. You're references to Rousselot have to do with the trumpeters coatees (and the undress coats for officers)
As far as the latter are concerned I already replied that whether they were sky blue in 1811 has no bearing at all on the question whether the coatees in 1815 were green.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2020 9:12 a.m. PST

Is it plausible that the pictures of carabinier troopers in blue coats are wearing sleeved waistcoat style stable / shell jackets? Or is the suggestion that no blue tunic existed at all?

In other words, would a blue coat be correct if you took the tails off, or is that unsupported too?

I much prefer white – the carabinier uniform is by a country mile my favourite – but if the odd blue coat could have appeared I'd be inclined to include one or two.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2020 9:21 a.m. PST

In your earlier post you didn't mention the 1825 change, so why bring it up here?

I was quoting you regarding the 1825 idea. So, I didn't 'bring it up.' I merely commented on Rousselot's work for the period, not 1825.

von Winterfeldt14 May 2020 4:59 a.m. PST

It could be the sleeved waist coat as well. Faber du Faur, in the original water paintings (published by the Bavarian Army museum at Ingolstadt) – according to which the plates were engraved (sometimes with minor changes) one can see two pictures with carabiniers in blue dress, aside from the well known plate 23 – close to Liozna, 5th of August 1812,also plate 78 in front of Borowsk 26th of October 1812.

Rousselot provides in the text to his plate published in Sabretache

" Le rapport daté du 25 novembre 1811 et addressé au comte de Cessac par le général Nansouty, à la suite de l'inspection qu`il vient de passer aus 2e régiment de carabiniers, nous apprend, que "le régiment a un uniforme blanc de la coupe de celui des cuirassiers ; il a aussi un uniforme bleu céleste."

In the so called Breitenbach Manuscript – of 1813, the author nothes, "pour le service ordinaire, un habit court bleu céleste à passepoils blanc et grandes roughe"

In a contemporary picture showing a NCO of 1er regiment – you will see him in a "tenue de ville à pied vers 1813" in a blue uniform coat with collar – as published by Petard in Uniformes Nr. 37, 1977 pp.20 – I guess too many sources pointing in one direction.

This is not to say what they did wear in 1815 – there I have to re read again Dawson – but the blue dress did exist and was worn, along the white one.

So Faber du Faur, Albrecht Adam, Breitenbach Manuscript, Elberfelder manuscript, Nansouty, anonymout print of about july 1815, as well as NCO mentioned above by Petard, all contemporary source mention at least a blue or light blue – let's say tunic did exist and was worn.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2020 6:05 a.m. PST

Thanks von W. I haven't seen those sources. I read the Rousselot caption as allowing for the "uniforme bleu celeste" to be the same garment described in Breitenbach as "un habit court bleu celeste", because Rousselot doesn't say the blue uniform was a copy of the white one save for its colour. He says the white was the same cut as the cuirassier coat and that there was also a blue uniform, not further described.

I think on balance I'm persuaded the blue coat was a tailless shell jacket, although I can see how some might think the same evidence inconclusive. For 1815 it does appear that there was nothing to hand from which to have made any blue tunics, but that doesn't mean none had been kept from previous years.

Tassie14 May 2020 6:25 a.m. PST

von W,
Note how Nansouty only says that the white habit is of the same cut as that worn by the Cuirassiers.

"le régiment a un uniforme blanc de la coupe de celui des cuirassiers; il a aussi un uniforme bleu céleste."

If a bleu-celeste garment was worn in the field, it was not a habit. The stores returns, tailoring invoices, cloth orders and receipts, etc, etc, all make this clear.

A sleeved gilet d'ecurie can be the only explanation for what was apparently observed.

And Faber de Faur's graphite sketches only became watercolours in the 1820s . . .

von Winterfeldt14 May 2020 8:24 a.m. PST

About Faber du Fauer, he made scetches in black and white – with notes for colours and as well coloured or partly coloured scetches, they are in the possesion in Munic mincipal museum and also in the ASK Brown collection.

Already in 1816 he displayed those for the public, it would be very interesting to see those published.

Tassie14 May 2020 10:04 a.m. PST

I agree, von W. it would be good to see the original written notes that de Fauer made in 1812, in the field, regarding uniform colours, as well as his first colourised versions.

Tassie14 May 2020 2:03 p.m. PST

Benigni shows a Carabinier in the 1812 campaign in a bleu-celeste garment, which does not have tails of any description and which has a bleu-celeste collar.

The sleeved veste d'ecurie would fit this description well, made of bleu-celeste tricot.


dibble14 May 2020 2:29 p.m. PST

Rousselot's Renditions of Restoration Carabiniers.


dibble14 May 2020 2:56 p.m. PST

And of course, we have these 1810-1815 renditions.

Paul :)

von Winterfeldt14 May 2020 10:11 p.m. PST

I re read Dawson about the Carabiniers, I won't argue with his findings for 1815 – but his statement that the blue coat / tunic – was an invention of 20th century modern artists is wrong, as seen – and I pointed out some contemporary sources, this goes back into the Napoleonic time and in my view cannot be ignored.

von Winterfeldt14 May 2020 10:18 p.m. PST

Rousselot's Renditions of Restoration Carabiniers.

the top image is not for Restoration but from his plate published in Sabretache regarding the blue tunic of the Napoleonic time, he wrote a good text to the plate as well, which seemingly is completely ignored by Dawson where he very well explains his reasoning basing this on contemporary evidence – it should be read and not dismissed.

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