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"33e de ligne uniform peculiarity." Topic

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Carta195816 Jan 2022 6:39 a.m. PST

Hi everyone, I am moddeling this regiment as part of Friant's division of 3rd Corps 1809 and I found details on this excellent site


With descriptions and plates showing the 33rd's unique collar tab. I imagine that many here have this regiment as part of their 1809 3rd Corps. I wondered has any brave soul actually attempted to represent the destintive collar tab , or 'patte" in French, at smaller scales? According to the article this detail was in use to 1815. Thanks for any comments.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 8:06 a.m. PST

From my researches, I think that the tab was dropped for the white uniform and was not readopted with the return to blue. Certainly I have not put it on 'my' 1809 33rd Ligne.

Carta195816 Jan 2022 10:45 a.m. PST

Hi Artilleryman, from the Berjaud site there are various examples of the tab used with both the white uniform and after and a plate from 1812. I have just now painted a few figures and am happy with the look of them. As we spend a lot of time trying to research, possibly in vain, some details, like drummers uniforms to distinguish our regiments I couldn't resist taking advantage of this unique collar detail. It's not that difficult to paint ;)

SHaT198416 Jan 2022 3:10 p.m. PST

Hi Allan

1. Dont confuse white habits with vestes shown. The blue collar is a giveaway here.
2. While 'republican' uniforms had many variations, it isn't impossible that these attributes were retained. The tab is certainly one of them!
3. 'research, possibly in vain' is a constant. You are lucky to get any regiments attributes, and they vary so much by era/ campaign as well. I can attest that I read of some 'carry-over', but cannot be specific.

As to drummers/ musicians, there are some basic 'norms' in facings that you can apply in general to make units unique in your army.

My fallback principle, is if I cannot locate any prior evidence, use the attributes of some other known regiment anyway as a template. Removes the angst!

regards dave

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 3:50 p.m. PST

A fair point Carta. I distinguish my 33 Ligne by the 'fact' that the CO kept the white uniforms for his drummers after the return to blue for everyone else.(I made that up, but given the leeway in regulations, it could have happened.)

1809andallthat18 Jan 2022 8:40 a.m. PST

Anytime you find good evidence of a uniform distinction – and I think an explicit reference in the Memoirs of the former Regimental commander is pretty good evidence – I say go for it.

The 33rd are on my list to do for 1809 and I will certainly be adding the collar tab.

Vive la différence!

setsuko18 Jan 2022 8:58 a.m. PST

I painted the 33rd for my 1812 army, but didn't know about this. Now I feel like I missed out, lol.

SHaT198418 Jan 2022 10:47 a.m. PST

>>the CO kept the white uniforms for his drummers after the return to blue for everyone else.(I made that up, but given the leeway in regulations, it could have happened.)

That is perfectly reasonable AND there would have been plenty of left over cloth in the regimental stores (at their expense), or uniform habits left over once the regiment was reclothed, with which to retain a 'parade' full dress band and musicians in the regiment.

Whilst it wouldn't have been too practical on campaign [white musicians among the blues], remember the 3 years that the Grande Armée sat in middle Europe until the outbreak of 1809 war was a time of consolidation and concentration of everything- manpower, equipment and clothing~fashion at the Empires peak.

The Peninsular exercise notwithstanding…
cheers d

MarbotsChasseurs19 Jan 2022 12:05 p.m. PST

From Paul Lindsay Dawson, taken from my Facebook group where he kindly shares his archival research.

"The collar patte for the 33e is a figment of the imagination of post epoch illustrators. Reliance on the work of Boisellier, Bucqouy, Rigo, Forthoffer/Knoetel to tell us about a regiments uniform is not reliable. The 33e is a classic cases of lies, more lies and additional lies. 'We all know' the 33e wore white habits faced violet as Rigo, Bucqouy et al present lovely plates based on the very much post epoch source 'Petit Soldat de Strasbourg', which for the 33e is certainly and almost entirely, fiction. Inspected on 27 November 1807 not an inch of violet broadcloth was listed, nor we note shakos beyond the depot company, no distinctions for voltigeurs collars. The inspecting general was Schauenberg – a stickler for the regulations – and he makes zero mention at all of white habits in use or the need to replace them. Nothing in the regiments paper work suggests white habits were ever made. Therefore, all those lovel images and painted soliders of the 33e in whtie habits are in error. So, given we know Bucqouy invented his special series dedicated to the 33e, we then have to ask about the existence of the collar patch. Again, its a big nope. Bucqouy and Boisellier again rely on the 'Petit Soldat de Strasbourg'. When we look at the inspection returns that exist, in 1811 not one grenadier had epaulettes or plume. Reviewed in 1813, 1814 and 1815 again the same result: no grenadier epaulettes, no aigrettes, no grenadier schako. Given Boisellier painting appended to this post of a grenadier of the 33e with epaulettes, aigrette and grenadier schako, we can be very sure that it is fiction. The over reliance of secondary and tertiary sources means that uniforms which never existed in the epoch are given credance as real, which makes correcting the record ever harder for the historian. About the 33e, French historial Pierre Juhel came to the same conclusion as I have."

MarbotsChasseurs19 Jan 2022 12:17 p.m. PST

Also, my Bejaurd kindly shared with me the inspections reports from Schauenberg's archive in Strasbourg.

The general reviewed the 33e Ligne depot on 23 October 1807, mentioning the tenue as passable, with no unusual uniform distinctions mentioned. In this review of the depot of the 3e Ligne, he mentions the habillement of the musicians and tambours will wear the celestial blue with red revers (lapels).

SHaT198419 Jan 2022 1:01 p.m. PST

All very interesting Mike, but I wonder a little punitive??

OK, so we have a situation of where French 'regulations' or decrees perhaps made a statement, and like [Russian] Viskatov, it comes out that no such uniform actually were created/ existed.

>>When we look at the inspection returns that exist, in 1811 not one grenadier had epaulettes or plume. <<

Returns on what exactly? The uniformed men on service; or in the regimental/ depot stores; or plausibly simply a case of bad bookkeeping and nothing else [ie bad records when things actually DID physically exist]??

I'm wondering how, given the 'elite' deference and nature of the entire army, how some regiments would appear "not one grenadier had epaulettes or plume".

Seems inconceivable to me. Given that the infamous Bardin 1812 uniform kept these attributes as regulation, how could they not be present beforehand?

On the 'tab' issue, I believe it possible that some part of a regiment in central Germany 'could' have been given a slight attribute like this from say, a military milliner contracted to repair or supply uniform parts, or an 'enemy' store of captured supplies. Didn't someone illustrate a capote also with collar tab? [My own modern greatcoat has such tabs under the collar for buttoning in inclement weather I believe].

I'm certainly not disagreeing with the concept of secondary-later errors/ mishandling as stated, but the conclusions seem quite harsh.

Who checks the checkers kind of thing; in government service [inspections] you showed what you wanted seen, and hid the rest…

cheers dave

MarbotsChasseurs19 Jan 2022 1:35 p.m. PST

I am no expert of uniforms for sure! I have the inspections of 1808 that show the major change of organization, but not 1811. The inspector general noted by Mr.Dawson is very precise and detailed. He even comments on the officers of the regiments and changes needed. I would imagine he would point out anything unusual.

Also, Colonel Schobert of the 3rd Ligne has a detailed order book describing what his regiment should wear. He added green piping to the collar of their greatcoats. No doubt regimental distinctive existed, but we have portraits and reports of white uniforms for the 3e and 12e Ligne, but none for the 33e Ligne that I know of online.

Honestly, I have no idea what they wore, but I for sure like the purple and white combination if it is real!

Carta195819 Jan 2022 5:56 p.m. PST

Hi Michael, first I want to say how much I have enjoyed your marvelous plates you have generously shared here and your dedication to research. As someone with very limited knowledge I respect Mr Dawson's and your input. However, I am at a complete loss as to how to disregard the Memoirs of General Roguet, who on the Bejaud site you recommended, seems to state that he introduced the collar tab uniform distinction and goes on to say that it was in use until the end of the Empire period. I respect, of course, yours and Mr Dawson's research but remain most perplexed.
I would be extremely grateful if you could enlighten me on presumably erroneous recollections of the esteemed General and former Chef de brigade of the 33e de Linge. If, on the other hand, I have been confused by the translation of the these memoirs or am talking nonsense I respectfully apologize.

setsuko20 Jan 2022 2:30 a.m. PST

I think it's an excercise in weighing contradicting evidence, which is basically the core of any work in history. If I write in my diary that I'm sure I went to buy milk today, but someone digs up my receipts and finds no milk on it, you have to decide whether the material evidence or my first hand account is more believable. So in this case, I assume you have to judge yourself whether the first hand account or the the material evidence is more believable regarding the uniform.

With that said, pretty much everything we know regarding first hand accounts based on criminal case research etc points towards them being way less reliable than people expect, even when the person has no agenda behind falsifying their accounts. Humans are simply very bad at remembering exactly what happened.

MarbotsChasseurs20 Jan 2022 6:47 a.m. PST


I agree that having primary source material from the Colonel of the regiment makes it very hard to understand why he would write it down if it wasn't true. That I have no answer for, but it could have been a regimental distinction that was fazed out when the uniforms wore out and not continued by the next Colonel, which the regiment in 1806 went through a decent amount of command changes due to sickness and battlefield casualties for the etat-major.

As Setsuko mentions, first-hand accounts can be tricky and as much as I enjoy reading Marbot, I can not figure out how he can remember everything with such precise detail when writing about it 20 years later. Maybe he kept a detailed diary during the Napoleonic Wars. However, I have run into many cases with wounded officers whose service record according to the regiment is very different than their pension papers. These were legal documents created verbally and then written down using whatever material was available, but if a man says he was wounded slightly on his service record, it could show a more in-depth description by the surgeon-major who is trying to get the officer a good pension.

I will give you one example of a first-person account that I have found contradictory on one subject I have researched. According to Dr. Larrey, Colonel Jeanin was grievously wounded in the face in 1807, and Dr. Larrey even mentions he treated him in great detail, however, at least from his service record it shows he was wounded in the jaw in Egypt. We know he was wounded in the jaw because there is a portrait by the famous painter Jacques-Louis David (Jeanin was married to one of his daughters for a short period) showing the scar on his face as a General of Brigade. Also, his service record found in the 2YB papers of the 12e Legere shows that the Colonel received a canister round to the jaw in Egypt. Granted, Dr. Larrey treated thousands of patients, and no doubt actually treated Jeanin in Egypt as he was a member of the Guard. However, Dr. Larrey might have just mixed up the dates due to writing many years after the event occurred.

Sorry for the long post, but sadly I do not have the answer, as uniforms are not my strong point!

Carta195820 Jan 2022 11:26 a.m. PST

Tack Setsuko, thanks too Michael for you replies. I agree that with first hand accounts we have to be careful of bias or simply confusion and error creeping in. I tend to think that indivuals accounts of battles can be especially difficult. Regarding this particular example concerning uniform details which the person instigated I feel it could be more accurate than for example if we compare a memory
of an operation on one patient out of many thousands as in your example of Larry. In the end each of us chooses to paint their miniatures according to their own desires. Often portraying the troops in eloborate full dress uniforms rather than in ragged campaign dress. I hope to be able to paint many hundreds of French line infantry and relish the chance to show something unique despite the uncertainty. Again thanks for your contributions.

MarbotsChasseurs20 Jan 2022 12:40 p.m. PST


I agree that we should paint our miniatures the way we want! I will add that the button on the collar was not uncommon for at least the chasseur a cheval regiments according to portraits. Below shows a few examples that other regiments had including an Italian chasseur.

Portrait of Colonel Jean-Baptiste Demengeot 13e Chasseurs a cheval 1806-1809


black and white portrait of Colonel Eugune de Montesquiou of the 13e Chasseurs a Cheval.


a copy shows better details.


Chef d'escadron of Chasseurs a cheval


Colonel Marbot of the 23e Chasseurs a Cheval


Sous Lieutenant Giovanni Bertoglio – Le 3e régiment de chasseurs à cheval Italiens



SHaT198420 Jan 2022 2:16 p.m. PST

Quoting myself…
>>I'm certainly not disagreeing with the concept of secondary-later errors/ mishandling as stated, but the conclusions seem quite harsh.<<

So I believe Mike that despite Mr. Dawsons status, you are agreeing with me and given the paucity of information, conclusions must be used with caution.
Thanks for the added pics, I knew they were around but didn't have inclination to fully research such.

I agree on paint as you will, there aren't many purists left to compete against anyway!
cheers d

MarbotsChasseurs20 Jan 2022 3:44 p.m. PST


I would caution that Mr. Dawson's experience and sheer amount of archival information at his disposal makes him an expert on the subject. I have 1% of the archival documents he has and even with the documents I have I am finding information that is contrary to what I have read in the past.

What seems to be our understanding of what the French army wore may change with his current books coming out. I know he is doing one on the Ligne infantry, which should shed light on the uniforms of the 33rd.

Carta195820 Jan 2022 6:33 p.m. PST

Thank you Michael once again and for sharing these fascinating images,even one of yourself! I appreciate your time in replying. Looks like when I get around to getting some cavalry I'll have a field day with the chassuers!

von Winterfeldt21 Jan 2022 5:31 a.m. PST

the inspection report by Schauenbourg is a strong argument, because indeed, I agree absolutely with Paul Dawson, he was a stickler for detail.

I saw only a few of those inspection reports, when I was in SHD – Vincennes in the past, but the amount of paper work and attention to detail is usually quite impressive

SHaT198421 Jan 2022 12:40 p.m. PST

>>I would caution that Mr. Dawson's experience and sheer amount of archival information…

I yield to the greater knowledge of experts willingly Mike; so offer no insult to the review, yet I am concerned by the results and conclusions made we are led to believe.
I wonder if, in isolation without fuller context, such 'interpretation' is equally more reliable?

MacColla12 Feb 2022 5:01 a.m. PST

It never ceases to amaze me how often someone who is about to promote a new book, particularly a very expensive one, has discovered some revolutionary new uniform information that has been unknown for the past two hundred years or more. Especially when it contradicts the contemporary memoir of General Roguet. There again, Roguet didn't have a book to sell…..

von Winterfeldt12 Feb 2022 9:06 a.m. PST

L. Dawson made the huge effort to check a vast amount of archival material in the French armies, I applaud this huge effort, in case he share his information here for free I am surprised about such denigrating comments.

Erzherzog Johann13 Feb 2022 12:14 p.m. PST

"L. Dawson made the huge effort to check a vast amount of archival material in the French armies, I applaud this huge effort, in case he share his information here for free I am surprised about such denigrating comments."

Yes, Mr Hollins comes to mind . . .

MacColla14 Feb 2022 9:08 a.m. PST

Paul Dawson himself in the full passage quoted from says his book will replace all previous books on Napoleonic French Infantry uniform. If that isn't promoting a new book what is? Dismissing the work of Bucquoy and others as "lies, more lies and additional lies" is really denigrating, don't you think? And describing the Petits Soldats de Strasbourg as "very much post-epoch" is rather disingenuous when you take into account that Thiebaut Boersch who initially drew the petits soldats died in 1824 – not very much post-epoch at all. In fact research shows his drawings started "vers 1800" and "des 1806" and was mainly produced between 1810 and 1815. It's a question of what research you use and what you chose to disregard – like General Roguet's inconvenient memoir – to draw your conclusions.

tvlamb22 Mar 2022 3:28 p.m. PST

Back to the subject, I have the 33rd drummers with red facings, swallows nests, collars and cuff slashes all piped yellow , blue cuffs, and yellow shakos based on Herbert Knoetel paintings.

SHaT198422 Mar 2022 3:52 p.m. PST

>>L. Dawson made the huge effort to check a vast amount of archival material..

As have many of us [my 7 months in France etc…] and I now very much regret not having the knowledge to have dug deeper into them…

Just getting the inner details of the Grande Armée and IV Corps seemed nirvana to me; yet there was a world of other resources there; not that I didn't use 'Les Invalides'; Chateau L'Emperi etc. but I should have joined and curried favour among the 'La Sabretache' officers and patrons.

Whilst tipping the applecart is a standard commercial publication ruse or tactic, if we can indepedently decide for ourselves if the author is 'fair' and 'persuasive' in their arguments, then they have done their job.

>>Back to the subject,
Any troop with yellow shakos is more likely to be the band- musicians, not the 'battalion' drummers. But use as you wish.

"Herbert Knoetel paintings" has been criticised for manipulation and 'fantasy' by others as having suspect, or zero, source material. The great cleansing of WWII Allied bombing is the catch-all excuse used, which may or may not be relevant.

Whilst my radar was particularly acute to such drastic and delitating 'standards' of knowledge, I can see and accept that such material was used in influential ways, just as the plain text history books of nearly 200 years were, somewhat trite representations of reality, perverted by the relevant eras thoughts and actions.

Colonial 19th Century dialogue and old world 'domination' of the facts, is indeed being overturned…
cheers d

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