HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE

FRENCH NAPOLEONIC CUIRASSIER UNIFORMS

FRENCH CUIRASSIER REGIMENTS 1804-15

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REGIMENTAL FACING COLOR AND POSITIONS
TRUMPETERS UNIFORMS
BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

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REGIMENTAL FACING COLORS AND POSITIONS

Facing color positions are turnbacks, collar, cuffs, and cuff-flaps.  Where the regiment's facing color position was to be dark blue according to the charts below, that position was piped in the facing color.  For example, where a regiment with a yellow facing color has a dark blue collar, the collar is piped  yellow.  If, on the other hand, a regiment with a yellow facing color has a yellow collar, the collar is piped dark blue.  Cuirassier regiments wore a single-breasted habit-veste underneath the cuirass usually with heavy gauntlet gloves so that only the collar and turnbacks were visible.  The lace color of all cuirassier regiments was white (silver for officers).  Button color of all cuirassier regiments was white metal tin (silver for officers).  Jackets for all regiments was dark blue and breeches were a pale yellow/biege.

REGIMENTS to 1810

NOTE: habit-veste was rather long-tailed and the rear pockets either horizontal (H) or vertical (V).  Turnbacks for all regiments in this period in the facing color

 

Pockets Scarlet Yellow Position
 

Horizontal

 
1st 7th cuffs, cuff flaps, collar
2nd 8th cuffs
3rd 9th cuff flaps, collar
Vertical 4th 10th cuffs, cuff flaps, collar
5th 11th cuffs
6th 12th cuff flaps, collar

 

REGIMENTS 1810 to 1812

NOTE: the habit-veste was shortened somewhat and the rear pockets and turnbacks were eliminated thus making it impossible to distinguish regiments except by the collar and cuffs.  In addition, two new regiments were raised and new facing colors introduced.  Note that the color "aurore" is a French term for the color of cloth that comes closest to a golden sunrise.  It is used exclusively by the Imperial Guard as their "button and lace" color.  When duplicating this color, think in terms of pale orange, pale yellow, and a touch of pink.  The color "lie de vin" in French is a moderately dark grape.

 

Scarlet Aurore Yellow Pink Lie de vin Position
1st 4th 7th 10th 13th cuffs, cuff flaps, collar
2nd 5th 8th 11th 14th cuffs
3rd 6th 9th 12th   cuff flaps, collar

 

REGIMENTS 1812 to 1815

NOTE: the tails of the habit-veste were substantially shortened in 1812 to prevent "roll up" of the trooper's coat tails under the saddle.  The facing colors of the 1810-1812 regiments was retained.  False vertical rear pockets and turnbacks were re-introduced and were , with the collar, finished in the facing color of the regiment.  The distinguishing feature of the regiment's uniform was the cuff and cuff-flap which, when gauntlet gloves were worn, made identification of a regiment within a group difficult at best.

 

Scarlet Aurore Yellow Pink Lie de vin Position
1st 4th 7th 10th 13th cuffs, cuff flaps
2nd 5th 8th 11th 14th cuffs
3rd 6th 9th 12th   cuff flaps

 

 

TRUMPETER UNIFORMS

In general, trumpeters wore the reverse colors of their regiment.  For example, a trumpeter of the 11th Cuirassiers in the 1810-1812 period would have a pink habit-veste, pink collar piped dark blue, cuffs dark blue piped pink.  However, trumpeter uniforms varied widely at any one time.  Trumpeters typically rode white or gray horses.

 

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FRENCH CAVALRY ORGANIZATION AND RANK INSIGNIA

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Splendeur des Uniformes de Napoléon: CavalerieÉditions Charles Hérissey, Évereux, France, 2002.  ISBN 2914417071.

Les Cuirassiers, Les Uniformes du Premier Empire, Collection du Cdt E. -L. Buquoy, Jacques Grancher, Editor, Paris, 1980.

L'Armée Française, Plate #'s 15, 37, 46, 91, and 102, Cuirassiers 1804-1815.  Lucien Rousellot.

Napoleon and Austerlitz, "The Glory Years" of 1805-1807, Volume 1.  Scott Bowden, The Emperor's Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1997.  ISBN 0962665576.

Napoleon's Cuirassiers and Carabiniers.   Emir Bukhari with colour plates by Angus McBride, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London, 1976.  ISBN 0850450969.

Napoleon's Regiments, Battle Histories of the Regiments of the French Army, 1792-1815.  Digby Smith, Stackpole Books, Pennsylvania, 2000.  ISBN 1850450888.

Miniaturas Labayen Color Guides, Series 33 (Cuirassiers).  Ramon Labayen, Spain. 

 

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