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"1809 Comment by Suchet - what hat is he referring to?" Topic


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Comments or corrections?

John Edmundson25 Jan 2021 12:04 a.m. PST

According to Philip Haythornthwaite (Osprey MAA 141), in November 1809, Suchet reported that "the medley is over, no more hats, no more white coats". This suggests that the white uniforms were phased out over a period of time; no surprises there since the order of October 1807 was to replace them as they wore out. But what's the reference to hats? I thought the consensus was that the bicorns were well gone by 1809. Is it a reference to something else?

Cheers,
John

BillyNM25 Jan 2021 4:03 a.m. PST

I think he is referring to bicorns as no other form of headgear was eliminated around this time and shakos are caps while bicorns are hats.

von Winterfeldt25 Jan 2021 6:35 a.m. PST

In 1807 and 1808 a mix of blue uniforms, white uniforms, hats and shakos were worn (for line infantry), in 1809 then the transitional phase was over and the shako was worn instead of hats, and the blue coat again was the coat for the French line infantry.

hats is the right expressions, bicorne is the wrong one, the hat of the French line infantry was a tricorne, it had three tips, agreed the front one was quite flat compared to the classic tricornes but it was there.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 8:10 a.m. PST

I don't believe either bicorne or tricorne were contemporary terms.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 12:52 p.m. PST

I'm with Billy on this one. Remember Suchet was talking about the Army of Spain, which is initially 4th battalions or equivalent sent out of depots no doubt with whatever the quartermaster had handy. So if you had such on hand, you'd give them the hats and white coats rather than so uniform troops going to join the regiments in Germany. You can only imagine the mess after those units were consolidated in Spain into new regiments.

MarbotsChasseurs25 Jan 2021 1:27 p.m. PST

Ian Smith kindly sent me this information for the 3e Ligne on 1 November 1807. You can see that the chapeaux are hors de service and 1,800 schakos can be seen in good condition. There were chapeaux which were in bad condition, so as Robert said, I can't see why they wouldn't be used in a pinch to fill the thousands of new conscripts sent to the regiments and then shipped to Spain. All a guess though.

picture

However, the 3e Ligne only had 2 officers detached to the Army of Spain in 1809 from the 4th Battalion. Not aware of any full battalions from this regiment actually serving in Spain till post-1809.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 1:44 p.m. PST

Chapeau, chapeau, chapeaux. He never said hats.

MiniPigs25 Jan 2021 2:17 p.m. PST

I repeat: cat, hat

In French, chat, chapeau

In Spanish, el gato in a sombrero.

https://seuss.fandom.com/wiki/Cat:_Hat

John Edmundson25 Jan 2021 2:33 p.m. PST

Suchet is expressing relief that "the medley is over" right at the end of 1809. That suggests that "in 1809 then the transitional phase was over" may be a little optimistic.

I'd expect that the regiments that received the 1806 white uniforms would have received shakos – that there would be no white coat and "bicorne" hat combination,but that regiments that received the white uniform in part could well have some in the old – blue coat, hat/chapeau and all.

As for the regiments that never got the white coats, it seems from what Suchet wrote that the "medley" continued well into 1809. Would this have been a bigger issue in Spain? There were a lot of 4th Battalions on the Danube too, although I'm not convinced by the 4th Battalion argument. Would they be supplied with old uniform that was now non-regulation?

Cheers,
John

MarbotsChasseurs25 Jan 2021 4:08 p.m. PST

John,

I believe Terry Crowdy's book details conscripts from the 9e Legere in the 4th Battalion before Essling marching with the most basic equipment and uniform and little drill. I do wonder what they would be uniformed in.

The rolls of the 57e Ligne show conscripts arriving at the depot from the Piedmont and being sent right away to Spain to serve in another regiment. Do you think the 57e Ligne fully uniformed men who barely served a few days and then transferred somewhere else? It would be hard to imagine that they would waste their own stores for men no longer with the regiment.

Michael

Major Bloodnok25 Jan 2021 5:34 p.m. PST

if the above mentioned chapeaux are Hors de service ie US (unserviceable), why would they be serviceable for new conscripts?

BillyNM25 Jan 2021 11:44 p.m. PST

I expect ‘hors de service' means no longer in use and not unusable, a hat (or chapeau if speaking in French) if unusable/unwearable would surely be thrown away?

MarbotsChasseurs26 Jan 2021 3:44 a.m. PST

Since regiments were inspected by different Generals, could there be a difference in standards of hors de service? I will check what I have from the correspondence of Majors on uniforms of conscripts.

Whirlwind26 Jan 2021 4:05 a.m. PST

I'd expect that the regiments that received the 1806 white uniforms would have received shakos – that there would be no white coat and "bicorne" hat combination,but that regiments that received the white uniform in part could well have some in the old – blue coat, hat/chapeau and all.

As for the regiments that never got the white coats, it seems from what Suchet wrote that the "medley" continued well into 1809. Would this have been a bigger issue in Spain? There were a lot of 4th Battalions on the Danube too, although I'm not convinced by the 4th Battalion argument. Would they be supplied with old uniform that was now non-regulation?

Suchet's force was mainly based on Moncey's Army of the Observation of the Ocean Coast. This was originally composed mainly of provisional regiments, made up of groups of c.4 coys from the following regiments:

Line:
3*, 4, 8, 12, 21*, 22, 24, 27, 30, 33*, 34, 39, 40, 44, 45, 51, 54, 57, 59, 61, 63, 64, 69, 70, 85, 88, 94, 95, 96, 100, 103, 105, 111

Light:
1, 6, 9, 10, 16, 17, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28,

I have starred the regiments which received white coats. So in Moncey's original force, the white coats would have been concentrated in some coys of the 11th Provisional Regiment, which later became the 118th Line, and in the 12th Provisional Regiment. I hit one stumbling block – I don't know which Line regiment 12th Provisional Regiment became, it seems to have disappeared from the orders of battle before the rest – broken up as reinforcements?

Anyway, since lots of these troops were assembled in 1807, it is no surprise necessarily that many were in the pre-white blue uniforms with the bicorne/tricorne headgear.

FatherOfAllLogic26 Jan 2021 6:47 a.m. PST

Hats off gentlemen to your vast knowledge.

MarbotsChasseurs26 Jan 2021 9:36 a.m. PST

I asked Paul Dawson about the hors de service chapeaux. I asked what would occur to the chapeaux. Here is what he said,

" sold on, and the felt ground down to make new chapeau. The habits got sold off to rag dealers who ground the cloth down to make shoddy and mungo. nothing went to the dustbin."

I asked would each inspector have a different standard of hors de service?

From Paul, "there were guidelines: date of issue erg length of time in use, and visual inspection. If an item was in use beyond the required service it got taken from them. If your habit life was expired before it was due to be replaced, you the soldier had to buy a new habit. It is all covered in the Police regulations of 1792 and 1808 for the internal governance of regiments."


My last question: Would men who were wounded receive a new habit? Or just had to make their own repairs?

Paul's response, "It would depend on how badly the chap was wounded. If he was hospitalized his kit was taken off him, and when he rejoined he was re-issued new"

A little off the original topic!

Robert le Diable26 Jan 2021 10:15 a.m. PST

It's likely that if it were his Chapeau that got badly damaged, he wouldn't need any new equipment at all. Interesting discussion around the familiar quotation.

MarbotsChasseurs27 Jan 2021 9:27 a.m. PST

Robert le Diable,

General Legrand (Le Grand) would disagree with you. However, in most cases, you are probably correct, if their chapeau was badly damaged (most likely wounded in the head) they would have not survived. The general is lucky he survived the Battle of Essling!

link

MiniPigs27 Jan 2021 9:53 a.m. PST

Hi MarbotsChasseurs,

What book is this from?

MarbotsChasseurs27 Jan 2021 10:51 a.m. PST

MiniPigs,

It comes from the 1908 issue of Carnet de la Sabretache. I have not read the whole thing yet, but I remember reading either in this or somewhere else, that he was very depressed during the opening battles of the 1809 campaign as he had not long ago found out that his young son died in Spain. The famous painting after his death of the young S.Lt. Charles Legrand as an officer of the cuirassiers by Gros

link

This is a direct link to that issue link found on page 274, and then another link to every year they were issued link

John Edmundson27 Jan 2021 11:39 a.m. PST

How old was he? He looks about 12!

John

MarbotsChasseurs28 Jan 2021 7:24 a.m. PST

John,

I believe no more than 19 years old. You are right he barely looks over 12!

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2021 1:57 p.m. PST

In a scene reminiscent of the quote "Somethings 'fishy' in Denmark…" on clothing stores and purchasing:-

Frederic Berjauds' excellent site provides a look into the dark side of opportunism and speculation at all levels, involving at its peak one of the central Corps and regiments of the Grande Armée- the 75eme de ligne.

75eme de ligne

Here's a translation wth my 'corrections' of dodgy wording that the translator AI simply doesn't comprehend. Notably, the word theft or fraud doesn't appear, but is inherently inferred (IMO only).


-1807-
After Friedland's victory, Koenigsberg was evacuated by Lestocq, where the 4th Corps entered and found considerable resources.

The Regiment occupies cantonments on the Vistula.

On September 11, 1807, the Emperor wrote, from Rambouillet (France), to General Dejean, Director Minister of War Administration:
"Mr.Dejean, you will find enclosed documents relating to wastes/ losses that took place in the 75th Regiment. Give me a report on this case and on the draft order sent to me by Mr Lacée. It seems appropriate to me that you should immediately order the arrest of Captain Gomeret and the other officers who allegedly participated in this squandering. I want you to give me a detailed report [so] that I can print an order [to] the army; and in this report you will propose the withholding [of funds], at the expense of the officers making up the Executive Council, of the sum whose payment is frustrated [unpaid]. Take all necessary steps to stop squandering so contrary to the good of the service.

NOTE ON THE 75th RÉGIMENT CASE.
Rambouillet, 11 September 1807.
The board cannot be accused, since the transaction may have been done in two different ways.
The cloth may have been received by the body [regimental store]; after being received, the store guard and the clothing master may have sold the cloth, and the board did not know: in this case, the clothing officer and the store guard are guilty, and the board of directors [Regimental Executive Council] is [guilty] for nothing in this squandering.

The cloth may not have been provided, the store guard and the garment clerk may have given the receipt that will have been given to the board of directors [Regimental Executive Council], who cannot go and measure the cloth parts: then this board is misled like the minister; attacking him is as if attacking Mr.Dejean, who is also responsible.

Consequently, it is not a question of seeking the metaphysics of responsibility, but the culprit. He appears to be either the captain supplies, or the store guard, or the tailor; it is necessary to have the perpetrators arrested, the appointments withheld, and to register ownership on the property, if any.

Comes a second investigation, the purpose of which is to determine whether the merchant has been paid or not. If it has not been [paid] in the treasury, it is immediately necessary to make the deduction and to have this money deposited at the depreciation fund, as a contentious object, until the matter is settled".
(Correspondence of Napoleon, t.16, letter 13142; General correspondence of Napoleon, t.7, letter 16354).

>>
September 17th, 1807, in Saint-Cloud,
a "Report to the Emperor in relation to orders given for the arrest of a captain of the 75th of line, and in measures taken to be the examination of malpractice is subjected that of which the directorate of this body is accused"; Napoleon answer: "Delay a report, next Wednesday, on all depredation of bodies".
(Picard E. and Tuetey L.: «Unpublished correspondence of Napoleon 1st kept to the Archives of War», Paris, on 1913, t. 1, letter 1299).

October 7th, 1807, in Fontainebleau,
"The general Dejean gives an account to the Emperor of the malfeasance of Mr Martin Tisson is guilty, charged with [providing] clothing supplies for the 75th régimentd' infantry, with the complicity of a captain of this regiment";
the Emperor answered:

"Returned to our Chief Judge, Minister of Justice, to continue the case against Mr Martin Tisson, in accordance with the laws of the State" (Picard E. and Tuetey L.: «Unpublished correspondence of Napoleon 1st kept to the Archives of War», Paris, on 1913, t. 1, letter 1333).

The Decree of October 9th, 1807 adds that Captain Gomeret, in charge of regimental clothing (Adjutant?) as well are involved in the affair of squandering/waste [aka fraud] within the 75th, as the Master Tailor of the 75th of line, accused both of having sold some cloth to a private firm.
<<

regards davew

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