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Napoleon's Carabiniers

1805-09: THE YEARS OF GLORY 6


3
15
35
23
R'gim nt Piqu t
rman
s
arabinj r regimenLS
n 'ulal' and Empir
1813: GERMANY
1812: RUSSIA
1814-15
INTRODUCTION
Tb advan e - m lensk
Bororuno - Mo'cO\ - inkovo
Th rcrreat- th d quadran - th
The Leipzig campaign
1 13-1 : arri n ervic in
CONTE
The 1805 ampaign - usterlilZ
Th 1 06-07 campaigr - F.-icdland
h 1809 campai n
I 10: Arm llr and n w uniJOl111
Th campaign of France
Th Fir t R storauon
Th Hundr d Da
Table af regim mal aloneL
RONALD PAWLY, born In
Antwerp, Belgium, In 1956 and
stili living and working In that
city, Is a respected member 01
several Intemational societies
lor Napoleonic studies, and
an expert on 19th century
military portraiture. He Is
the author 01 the monumental
The Red Lancers: Anatomy
of 8 Napoleonic Regiment
(Crowood Press, 19981, and
of a study 01 Napoleonic
veterans' tombs in Belgium.
He has previously written
several books In the Men-at-
Arms series including MAA
355: Wellington's Be/glan
Allies 1815; MAA 371:
Wellington'S Du1ch Allies 1815;
MAA 378: Napoleon's Guards
of Honour, MAA 389:
Napo/eon's Red Lancers.
UNIFORMS & EQUIPMENT 39
Th pr -l 10 unifOt111: ap - coats - mall I th . - rank
di,tineti n- - b Its 'wap os - table dre - ridjng manu
hal'. furnitur - ffie r . uniform
h 110unifoI111:helmt- uira -jakt-malllth
rank di tin lions - weapon - riding manti - hor e urniture-
offic r . uniform
The 1812Bardin 111 difi alion
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 44
PATRICE COURCELLE
was bom In northem France
In 1950 and has been a
professional illustrator for
some 20 years. Entirely self-
taught, he has Illustrated
many books and magazine
articles for Continental
publishers, and his work
hangs In a number of public
and private collections.
THE PLATES
INDEX
45
48
Men-at-Arms 405
OSPREY
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Napoleon's Carabiniers
Ronald Pawly . Illustrated by Patrice Courcelle
Sertes editor Martin Windrow
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NAPOLEON'S CARA
INTRODUCTION
IERS
The cuirass worn by Carabinier
Fauveau at Waterloo on 18 June
1815, and now displayed In Les
Invalldes - a vivid reminder of
the limitations of body annour.
and of the realities of Napoleonic
warfare. (Photo: author's
collection)
HE VISITOR TO TI-lE Arm Museum at Le' Invaljd PaIis, who walks
int the r m d v t d w th 1 1 ampajgn and th R toration
I confront d b a dramatic reli taken from the battl fi Id of
Wat rI . In a ill pIa cabinet tands a hands m p Ij h d ui fb
pi ted te I 'Pre ing th martial glarnour of ap Ie n' arm I - ex pt
that a huge hole i' punch d thr ugh b th bre t and back plat ,wher
a &-pound cannonball 'mashed its wa through the trooper right he t
and houlder.
The ight f this ruined armour, nO' engraved with t.he date '18juin
lSr: i 'traordimuil m ving, and th . itor ann t help but imagine
t.h fat fthe 23-y ar-old rabini I' Ant ine Fran oi Fauv au \ bo w r
it on that fatal unda. H r d Witll th 2nd mpany 4th quadr n f
th 2nd R gim nt f Carabini rs - n f nl l:W r gin1 nts to w ar
th learning b -fa d ui '. Brigad d t g t h e l ~ th lit units
of the French h a caval of th Line wok part in the last de p rat
harg ent in vain b Marshal again t the tubborn Btiti h infanu
quare. auveau' cuh rna tand as all loqu t1l ymbol of Ie pailing
urag and lili e, and f th final downfall of ap I on' mpir.
Wh n un nt in Fauveau was t rn [i"om hi 'addl at Wat rloo,
I p 1 arabini I had air ad b en fighting
n Europ 's batt! field f, r 20 ar; but their
histo goe back much furth r.
The origins of the Carabinier
regiments
In the middle f th 16th eOlllry, the French
c mmander ] an d'Albret ad pled th panish
f 'hion farming m tight mount d troops
with a h ner v i n f th infantry' arqucbu
firearm. he use of this till rath r novel weapon
(in Fr nch, ca.rabine) alo gave thes hor men a
new title: initiall carabim, and later carabinier..
Th pI' d d dra oon in the rul of olcli I
wh 0 v II d n h r ba k but ollid fight eith r
mount d or di mount d.
Re ogniuon f th potential f m unted
troop armed in thi \'13. was follow d b a p liod
xp rimCllts that howcd a certail' c nfusi n
\I 1- til b t wa l rganiz them for UI tical
effi t. t fi t they were fonned in regimen but
t11 uni).'; wer di band db Loui IV in 1679; 3
Trumpeter In full dress, 1791;
two years after the outbreak
oJ the French Revolution,
King Louis XVI was still on
the throne, and this unltonn is
still trimmed with redon-white
'royal livery' braid (see Plate A),
although the white-fed-blue
cockade has replaced the white
royal cockade. TNmpeters were
otten very young; most came
Jrom the regimental enfanl$
de troupe - the sons oJ servIng
soldiers. (Illustration by Pierre
Benlgnl, Le Bivouac)
two carabinier w re lh
val
ni r
4
Empir I
I1l II h
apol on r inrroduced
Lh I nits r mal hal
A contemporary drawing from
the Weiland Manuscript,
showing a carabinier In full
dress. He retains the white
tasselled cords and flounder
on his bearskin, rather than the
red speclfled In the regulations.
The waistcoat and breeches are
shown as white; although they
resemble gaiters here, he In
fact wears the high boots or
the heavy cavalry. The firearm
15 unidentifiable.
(Author's collection)
5
6
Carabiniers charging Austrian
cavalry at the battle of
Hochstaedt, 19 June 1800, where
th y served In Gen Moreau's
Army of the Rhine. Their bearskin
caps and red epaulettes Indicated
the CarabIniers' sta1us as the
'Grenadiers' of the Line cavalry.
(Author's collection)
and lonel-general. n mer with I.he lalter
titJ was appointed to pra tieall ve ann in I.h
Line cavalry: the Bus ar ( enJunot), Uil
(Gen U i n ailll- r), Drag on n
Baragua' d'Hilii r) and Mounted h'
(Cen /farm nt), and apoleon' oung r
brOLher Loui the nJlure King of Holland,
recei ed the honorary rank of 01 n I-Cen raj to
th orps f aTa ini r,
DUling the rem nie marking ap lon'
e ronati n Lh arm was repr nt d b r mall
d I gati n. fr 111 a h regiment. hil the , I'm I'
Con uJar uard, now le\ t d to Imp rial tatus,
a led as e c rt l the newt' rown d mp ror: the
arabiniers, quanered al un 'ville, were ordered
b a pecial envoy to march towards Pari and t
assi1. in tJle eel' monia!. On 2 D ember 1 04
eight arabinier squadron, led b Ma hal Murat,
op ned tJl parad from the Tuilelie t otr
Dame al.hedral and bac . Thre da lat I' lh Y
werre m at lhe disnibuti n of the r styl d imp rial r gimentaJ
bann rs r 'eagl '- a magnifi ent er m n that would b pre rved for
po terit b the painter David, h wing a dazzling apoleonic ril.ual
lUJder a radiant sun (lhe reality was rather different, ince it p ur d with
rain n 5 0 ember).
1'h ceremonial duLies arri d OUl in 10'e llaborati n with Lhe
Imperial uard, made the arabini r dreanl of be oming pan f that
m t privil ged rp . This wa imp s ibl . how vel', lh Cuard
all' ad had th M um d I' nadi r" a' its hea cavalry camp n nl.
1805-09: THE YEARS OF GLORY
The 1805 campaign
F II wing Lh rupture of lh Peac [Ami n on 16 1 03, ap leon
- then Lill Fir l on ul- had gath I' d his arm near ili En lish bal1llel
and N rth ea. pr ad all along tJ1 c t fr m Br t to Han v 1', it
on i ted of hard-bitt n vet ran of th wars in hal th Rhin land and
Egypt hi 'Aml f th oa ts of tJ1 can' ~ intended to mount an
invasion of England when th I val situ rion permitted, and l11eanwhil
had all the tim it n eded l train and I' quip, Th Carabinier,
m unted on uperb bla k ho ,w re pan of this arm wb n th vents
of autumn 1 0- em Lh m ra in a twar ,
pan ored and fund d I Britain, ilie Third alition again'l
Fran e w form d in pril I 5 b u'tri, R; ia. w d n and me
minor rman tal . B for it auld mount a tiv operation, how vel'
apoleon fore !.alled it He be an marching his U'O OUl of th camps
n th hannel coa l on 31 ugu t (and had thus abandon d the hope
r invading Britain w II I for it w' finall d era d b on' naval
vi t rya rafalgar on 21 tab r).lgn rant f ap leon' rna m nts,
an u trian am1 und r G n Ma k invad d Bavaria n 2 pt mb r
whil another und I' Ar hduk CharI pr par d t advanc into Ital,
and
ap I n
the Rbil e
part f
a alry divijon Ii ught in lh Fr n h 'nu' left, b tw n
arabini r bdgade harg d
w r thr wn ba k t ward
th vilriu
Stable dress Is, unsurprlslngly,
the order 0' dress least
represented by artists. GenC8ult
drew this trooper - who is not a
carabinier, but gives us a good
view 0' their typIcal appearance
when wearing the fatigue cap
and, In this case, campaign
overalls. (Author's collection)
7

The 1806-07 campaigns


Uefore lhe rcgimenLS were able to rctum to Fr.mce to lhe heroes'
welcome which was being planl1ed for lhe \iCIOli01l5 Grande Annce, the
Cambinicno bcbrall to notice nc,,' llniLS and reinforcements arriving in
GenmHl)'_ Outing the St."Cond half of 1806 lhe)' became aware thai a new
c:nnpaign "'as inllninCIlI.
That 5umlllcr lhe Emperor rcorg-dnil.ed his Cd\WI1'. 011 31 Augtl5l he
d&reed thai henceforth the Cuirassier and Carabinier regiments would
consist of:t staff and four squadrons of IWO companies each. lOulling
820 :.oldie!') dud 830 hurse. DUling warume a firLh squadron. fonned m'
laking men from Lhc fouf squadrons, would setTe as depot squadron.
NOI even a )car I:uer. howe"cr. on 10 1807. lhe depot squadron
was created on a pennanelll basis. A regiment would now consist of a
51.1fT. and fi,'c squadrons of 1\\'0 compani<."S edeh, tot,J.lling 1.040 all ranks
- 41 officers with 59 horses. and 999 men \\;Ih 994 horses.
The new call 10 anns c.lIne ;It the beginning of October 1806. Prussia
and s.uoll)no\\'joined Britain and Russia in:a Founh Coalition, aiming
(0 drive the French :mnics out ofCcnn:any.
On 2 October Ihe brigade .)Ianed marching towards Ihe Pmssiall
ann\. Three da\"S laler Prince Borghese rejoined his r<'"gimem at
Bamberg: the next d:w he was prcscnled to the 1st Carabiniers as their
commander. and officiall\' recognized as colonel br Ihe ofticers and
Iroopers. Gener.!l Nansolll"'S di\'ision 1\"aS now in Marshal Soult's
Cavah) Corps. and the brig-.!de \\'as commanded b\ Cen Defrance,
The Cambiniers did nOl pia\' an imponam pan in the baltJe of.Jena on
14 October. nor in the laler engagemcIHs of the campaign, Pursuing
the be:uen Prussians. Ih<'1' entered Berlin where. on 29 OCtober. the\'
I:t:lradcd logether "';th the Impcri:ll Guard in front of Ihe Emperor and
his splendid" tunloo-out stafT,
After Ihis finn stage of the c:nnpaign the Carabiniel"S found \\;nler
qllarlCI'S on the righl bank of Ihe River OrL)'c: but inJamlary' ISO; they
\I'CI'C scm to Warsaw, where Ihey arrived on Ihe 31st of thai 01011lh, On
Ihe saIne da) Col fllorin oflhe 2nd Regl "'''IS promoted gflliml d,lmgtul,
and replaced at Ihe head of his regiment b)' Col BlancaI'd. a former
s<1l1adron leader of the Mounted Grenadiers of Lhe Imperial Guard,
At \'\':u'S<lW Lhe)' learned b)' means of an imperial pl'odamatioll that a
new campaign against the Russians had sianed; a Russian anllr under
Gell Bennigsell had raided illiO Poland, and Napoleon was purslling il.
Cr'oss;ng Ibe River Ilug. the followed all lhe trail of lhe
alread), advancing French ann)'. After Ihree days of almOSI cOlllintious
marching they were on the verge of rejoining tJle resl of the French
arm)' when Gen NansOlll)"s division I'''.IS ordered LO hah and 10 take
qllanel"S. WitJlOtlt knowing wh),thc)' had been ordered lO halt, the)' were
nOI presenl at lhe bUlcher), of E)'I:llI on 8 February - an indecisive action
which "'''as foughl in a snm\' blinard and allo\\'cd Benniw;en 10 withdraw
despile heal')' losses on both sides,
New marching orders set tJ1C brigade on the road once again.
crossing the hideous battlefield of E)'lall on 10 February', Some minor
engagements took place: on 16 February' at Ostrolenka they charged
tJle RlL'i.sians wilh their usual elan, before the continuing appalling
weather forct.-o the French La bring the action 10 a dose short of\;ctory,
Snow and cold forced both anllies b.'l.ck into their "';nter quaners unlil
OPPOSITE C.r.blnl.r In lull
d,...., e180', br lhll.t.r 19th
e.nlu.... 'ril,t 06t,III., Th. red
wool urvle. eh ron on hi.
upper left .1_ Indle.te-
th" h. I. ,I....ctr , \I.t.ran,
It Is Interesting thet D6lellle
shows the' fur of the' beerNln
d....Qd to upwe",s,
end , cemlnl dIp on tt.e
shouldtil' belt. tIM
Clrabffl,lera' meln n,..,rm ..
tIM ....bjKt of unc:ertalnty,
-... early Illuetraotloml - .g,
e wetercolour b7' Zb. - do show
thl' erTangemetlt -... wlttI
the' IH9' 181 0 unlfof'm.
jAuthor'I; eollec:tion)
Lh prin; bUl
numb r m n. h
I Lh fi Id in.
n nditi n 11 wed th mO" m III Jar
I' wa n: and un, Lh two annie w uJd Lak
how d no consid ration Ii r tti lr p,
9
10
Trumpeter of the 2nd
Carabiniers In campaign dress,
1806-08. In the earty days of the
Empire the favoured campaign
uniform was this rather plain
single-breasted surlouf.
Trumpeters wore reversed
colours - a red coat with blue
piping and tumbacks: white
epaulettes and silver braid collar
edging are the only 'fantasies'
displayed here, and even the
cords and tauels are removed
from his bearskin. Trumpeters
rode 'whlte' horses (greys)
whenever available; like their
special uniform distinctions.
this was In order to make them
Instantly recognizable In battle,
when their officers relied
upon them to sound the calls
that controlled the troopers.
(illustration by Pierre Benign!
Le Bivouac)
* * '"
The binie wer
Pregel; [r m th r lh
Han v , wh r the ree v r
r pia men' and r m un .
now ,:io ed a period
B 15 0
1 t gt,
16 enJant
regimen
rebuilding.
number d:
into a qui-
II Junol'
r t invade and
arshal ural I d
11
Regimental Colonels
of the Carabiniers
1st Regiment
18.,Uy1189-25.,Uy1791.
VI9CCUll et..l5a/llw'T1, MartrA de
00i. i ..... of the CwabriiIn de MonsIeu"
25 .,Uy 1791- 5 Feb'l8y 119:2:
Jeen.ElaptastI eyn.. MiIriI AdlllBidI ThTbn..nI,
_..-..
5 F8brulwy-16M1y l1al:
J8In FrlWIOOls dB 8Irr\I)9
16 MlIy- 30 SIplIlfrillr 1192;
LaJo_......
30 119:2-30..u.1193
..... - 10 ..u. 17'93 - 23 SIplerroer 1195:
dB..-.ocut dB. lou"
Z3 SIple,.. 1795 - A SIplermer 1199:
..... _"""'
" S8plentIIr 17'9'i1- 2" oec.m.l805:
...... a.-.""""*
2A 18015-1<1 May 1807-
c.. Prnce de GI..esC*
lA .... 1801- 285ePten'1t* 1813;
_........
28 1813 - 19 May 1815:
FrinXlIs a.1I&. ctlfMIiIef dI BaIIrau1
Fto'n 19 May 1815'
""""- ...-
18 r 17
GabrilII Herri. 0:wm8 de B8mII d'Clr'JII8f. (XlIl.' ...... 1Eld
00'. i.idIi 01 2nd Aegimrd: oIlhI Clnbiniln de
I.J:UI, Comte ell RlucaAL dB Besse. lid lhI regrnenr lRi

A Apt _ Alq..I8l 11'92.:
CtaielIrploI. 0llMI'er tel. dB R8n:xllr1
August - 30 1192:
LouIs Ch8tIIS ArlU*TI Be8utfanchlIl d'Ayat
XI SeplllII'lbW 1192 - 29 My 1199:
JeEr'l de Bas!lio'*, Comte d'AngIEn
29.,Uy 1199-31 Auglst 1803:
L.ouIs ArmIn:l Augusll. de CaADinoclln,
""' .."""'"
31 At.9JsI 1803 - 15 JaruirY 1801:
---
23 J<n..lafY 1807 - 28 5ep!emt>er 1813:
-""' ........
28 Seplember 1813 - 19 AprI!18Hi:
MIIrIIlJ:llMI Jo&8ph Desilw
19 AprI- 29 Ncwember 18\.5:
FfiIl'lOOls 8Iugoe1
a much larger French ;:mny into Spain: the
family were taken into exiled and
Napoleon placed his brother Joseph on the
Spanish throne, prO\'oking the first of what
became almost nationwide insulTections all10ng
the population.
July 1808 brought the French their first
setback in Spain - and almost tile only major
victory b)' Spanish regular trOOpS during tllC
Peninsular War - when Cen Dupont was obliged
to surrender his anny at Ba),len. TIle Emperor
decided to take charge of the campa.i!,'ll in
person; however. before leaving for the Iberian
Peninsula Napoleon decided to safeguard his
eastem frontiers by meeting Tsar AJexander I
at Erfurt, The Car.tbiniers ,\'ere called in La
escOrt !.he Tsar and the Grand Duke Constantine
during their joumey LO and from Erfurt. The
Carabiniers' bearing, uniforms and mounts
camed the admiration of both the roral brotllers.
who more than once imited Lhe two colonels to
their table.
After tllis escort duty the brigade retunll.'CI. to
the Elbe, marching !.hrough Berlin on I NO\"embcr
1808 to stay the next day at I'otsdam. With
increasing numbers of troops marching ofT
towards Spain, Marshal Oa\,olll. commanding the
French trOOps in Gemmll)'. dc.:creed thai from
15 October onwards the Grande Annee would be
renamed the Armce du Rhin, and as commander-
in-ehief he ordered a personal escort of half a
squadl'On of c:."\rabiniers. to be selected from
among the squadrons of the brigade: the escorts
would be rotated, cach in immediate
attendancc 011 tile marshal for 24 hours. The
bribtade lell Berlin on 3 December, rctllming to
Hanover to lind ncw winter quarters.
The 1809 campaign
The Peace of Tilsit would prove as fragile as
earlier u'c,ilics; hungry for rc\'enge. the Allstrians
under Archduke Charles took. advalllage of
Napoleon's absence with the majority of his army
in Spain to cross the Ibv:uian border in early
April 1809. The c:.'trabinie1"S wcre still the weak French forces
in centntl and southern Cenllany; still led by Cen Defrance as the 1st
Brig3de of Cen Nansollt)"s hea\)' cavalry di\;sion, !.hC)' fonned pim of
Marshal Bessieres Reserve Cavalry, CoullI.ing seven squadrons in the 1st
Regl and six in Ihe 2nd, Ihe brigade mustered with other forces around
R.."\tisbonIlC, Ingolnadt and Augsburg. 'apolean returned from Spain to
take charge of a threatening silu;ujon and. crossing the Danube. he
di\;ded the Allsui:m fOI'ces at the battle of Abensberg on 19-20 April.
12
Portraits of two officers of the
2nd Regt 0' Carabiniers, both
showing the cap lines looped
down and attached to the
unlfonn. Sqn ldr Hardouln
Tarbe weaMi his sword belt
over the right shoulder, a
common custom before the
new dress regulations of 1810.
It Basslgny. depleted at the
battle of Wagram In 1809,
displays the newly acquIred
chin scales on his bearskln
cap. (Author's collec:t1on)
enain
lind d
f
n \
i nna
n Lh no lh bank r lh
. till mar hjng
Emp r r. H
.oon
thi rare defeal al lhe
ar fully whil
n. r lh
apolioll' -
r
in front f \ hi h lb had laid a
igll with Lb
i ha ".
, it burni h d
oal wilh
CarabInier of the 1st R e ~
1810-12, on guard In
dismounted full dress with
drawn sabre. Without his
cuirass, this trooper shows the
full dress White Jacket with sky-
blue facings piped white, and
sky-blue piping and tumbacks;
his cream-coloured sheep's
leather breeches are confined
by black Infantry-style gaiters
for dismounted duty. His white-
edged ochre sabre belt is
worn over the right shoulder.
(Illustration by Pierre Benlgnl,
La Bivouac)
13
14
A farrier of the 1st Regt, 1811,
In full dress Jacket and grey
campaign overalls, without
cuirass; he rides at ease, with
his chin scales tied above the
peak of his helmet. His trade Is
indicated by the red horseshoe
below the red length-otservlce
chevron on his sleeve; note
also the thick leather tool bolt
attached below his portmanteau.
His sabre has a plain three-bar
guard, curved blade and steel
scabbard, but he retains the old
blackandred Carabinier sword
knot. (illustration by Plene
Benlgnl, Le Bivouac)
t tailing In J0000 m n, ill Emp ror had b n b k d b ill
enormou Ie. WaHon ver lh I aulefi Id n tJl da after tl1
action, and dng th no\ lain d r d with bl ad, he \ hard s yill
'What a ma a ret' ... He de id d that 11 hi n'ral and 'lafI' fEc rs
weI' in utur to have the protection of a cuiras'; h would et the
xample himsel . and bad fine qualit heLmets and cuirasses mad Dr
him and lar hal B rt.hier. apoleon' arm ur was deli,,' r d al Til it in
Jun 1 07; when h tried it on in fr nt of hi' taff th I tt T nearl bur l
11l laughing at t.h ight - ap I on did n t have th build for b dy
armour. Th id a was oon forgotten and tIl cuira tor d awa ; th
rd r t introdu uira se becam applicable nl t g n I I in
comn ar of h a I cavalry units.
B the d r f hri una Eve 1809 the Carabini r undenv nt a
lran formation of unifOll1l mor c mpJ t than is often seen in miJitaJ
hi. tOJ . The Emper r knew thal b th r gimen adored their traditi nal,
auster dark blu and red uniform and the b ar kin which how d
their eli e 'gr nadier status. H kn w that fitLing th maul with ui
would n t b popular. h thought it wi to chang tl1 ir wb Je
ppearan draslicall aU at once - thi might help th m acc pt th e
hanges more willingl than mer 1 i' 'wn armour, whi h would ha
1 ft them I' s mbling th uiras i rs even marc cia I.
apo]eon bjm elf cho e an 'Ancient reek' tyl of bras heun t,
with the routa! plat chjn cale and unbur t r etle in white m tal.
Th narrow c mb rai ed and plac dwell ba k on tll kull for a
la ical app aranc ,wa urm unLed b a ad l wo I chenille or
. alerpillar' luffed WitJl h r ellair. Th cuiras was mad from
tel, but ov r d almost entirel with bras pi l ex pt for a
border. whi h was I ft bare but cmb Hi'h d with bra studs. Th
brass-plated cuirass wa much heavi r han thal of th uiras iers,
and co talmo t double th price (62.2 franc. against 4.01 fran
r the uiras i r ).
To find a uitable unit rm to wear und I' Lh b d armour
ral trial pie e were pr . ent d for th mperor' in 'pe lioll'
r d, white, black, and en pik -blu uniform w ron. ider d.
Bla k wa ut of the que tion for the Mini t l' of War; and
both l' gimental colonel were against the idea of
adopting pik -blue, whi h r embl d Ih col ur
\' am b the lowl troops of the rtiHery Train.
Thi I ft twO P ibiliti - I' d or white; and th
Mini. t l' or War dmini trali n, Oml La I ~
d e ac. mad tl1 final ch ic. h r d was
to expen iv prod e, and for I' n of
e on m h ho e tlle white, even tJlOugh a
project to uniform the infanu in white had
I een abandon d a ~ wears earlj r. he n w
unifoll11 for the rabini I' would on i t f a
white ja k LWitJl ky-blu a ing - tb Ian r olour
'upp edl h en b th 'mpre" t the am
tim a th ad po n of h n w armour and
unifonn Ih Carabini r w I' to hand in th ir
mu k . bUl th e would lat r b replaced b
avalry mu ket on .
Th Emp ror. deere al 0 di minu d
the regim ntal fifth dep l 'quadron, di 'persin
i men ber. en the four 'ervi 'gu dron .
ach r giment would now on. ito four
quadron of 2 men and 200 h r e , t tailing
oall rank.
e pit th glamour f the n \ uniIi ml, the
proudl liUst arabini r' wer initiall' unbapp
al th id a fling their traditi nal blue and
red, 1 tal n qui ring [he troubl and burden
of a ui . Th annour \\ thought to b a ign
thal tb wer to ha e tb am talUS as the
ui i rs, whi h was anath rna to them; bUl
nothing uJd alter ap I on" d ci j nand,
giv n lim ,til be r n iI d to the
chan . Impatient to r c iv the n w unifi rm ,
Lt d'Alga wrote to hi par n n 2 ar h I II
thal h uira and helm had graduall
tart d to an'ive. 'Il will mak a fin 0 tum "
wrOle on' Mon i tlr Ian ou , our
gen ral- or ralb r the falh r of our divi ion - ha
pI' mi d u w halJ b Lit uiras ier .'
ith th exc ption of th ruel war n the fb rian Penin ula 1 J0-11
\ a p ri d of r lati epa in Etlr p ; but th r lalion hjp b tw en
ran e and R ia was alwa un h park lhal w uld ignil a
ren \ cI \ r b tw n t11 m \ s Ru ia' trad with Britain. Th island
nao n' vital weapon, whi hall \ d h r lO inrerC r with apol n
ambiti n d pit th la k r a larK arm on th onlin nl, wer lh
r at w allh r at d b h r illl mati nal maritime trade, and th oa '
thal protect d it. With the aim r rippling lh Briti'h nom, \ hi h
funded rhe coalitions form d again l Franc, in 1 06 the Emperor
ign'd his fam us Berwl d cr e Ii rbidding all uClde contacts \ ith
Britaln and th 'Iu i n f all Brio h goods from EltrOp - [h
o-caJlecl' ontinental t m'.
lap I on I arl re gniz d Britain' implacable h tilit t ward his
r lm, and the fa l that h r riv I' r g ld could au e aim t Jimitl
mi chi f through ul hi aI 'late ; h therefore ~ ok thi polk of
embarg very eriousl . [n 1 06 h in tailed hi broth r L ui on th
thl' n of Holland' oj four years later h w '0 incen ed b Loui'
lurning f a blind e lO u'ade with Britaio - impOrtanl to DUlch
in[ r - that he anne 'ed Holland and drove hi broth I' int exil.
(trangel nougb th Emper r himself 001 used imported Engli h
ap, and th mpr J phine omel.im had xouc plan S I1l L
h r b' mans ofBriti h hip.)
In 1 1 11 ar xand r l k th same Ial1ce the r rmer Kin
oui.. , and allowed impo of Briti h c nd Briti h-carried go d via lh
Baltic. tal . Hi final renun iation f the ontinental ,t m enraged
apoleon who i. tled rdel thr II h Ul Europe LO m biliz th 15
1812: RUSSIA
An officer In the full dress order
of the 1810 uniform watches
his passing Carabiniers; this
gives an Idea of the Imposing
presence of the newly helmeted
and armoured heavy cavalry. The
officer's sky-blue shabraque has
broad figured sliver braid edgIng
- see Plate F - and bearskIn
covers to the holsters.
(Author's collection)
mounts
m unts
th
n
cover
d Lh RJ-tine
\ r
mbled. wLing in Janu
r n h and allied troop from v m r
on erge n lh r ad that 1 d Lhrough
Lh
R
French heavy cavalry In Russia,
1812 - a drawing by the eye-
witness Faber du Filur. The
enormous losses of horses
during the march into Russia
'orced the troopers to remount
themselves as best they could
from local breeds like the kon/as
- small horses with long tails
and manes, that lived In herds
In the Russian forests. The
Carabiniers and Cuirassiers
looked ridiculous, with their
feet and sabres almost scraping
the ground. This Carabinier's
shabraque Is shown as distinctly
non-regulation.
(Author's collection)
16
at lIch a rat
~ b i n i e r [
ining th
e f battle and on tant evasive r tr ats left
f their m em nts and disp iti n ;
aJ battl t inflict am r al damag
armi
a hiev
a tion'
Borodlno/Moskowa
n 7 pt mb r J 12 l.h first major baltl b [w n l.h r n band
Ru ian armi [0 k pia nth plain fB r din ( in id ntall ,part
th tate th Ru sian g n ral Pnn Bagration); the Fr nch
w uld nam thi action 'th Mo k wa'. afl r a lillJ riv r Lbal cr d th
banJ Ii ld. Her, m 60 mil we of 0 ow, th n wi app illt d
R ian veraJl mmand r n Mikhail Kutuz \' alt mpl d [ d fi nd
Gros's romantic painting of Lt
de Larlbolslere taking leave of
hIs father before riding In the
charge on the Grand Redoubt at
Borodlno which cost him his life.
Ferdinand de Larlbolslere wears
full dress uniform with cuirass;
among the non-regulation
details are the red horsehair
mane failing behind his helmet
crest, and the absence of the
officers' sunburst badge from
his breastplate - the latter
seems to have been removed,
as the cuirass shows a hole
or rivet where the 'star' was
normally "Ked. On the left an
orderly stands waiting with
his officer's horse; In the
right background Carabinier
trumpeters (who are shewn
In the uncropped picture to be
wearing cuirasses, Incidentally)
sound the calls for the advance.
(Author's collection)
17
18
A detailed drawing showing
Lt Ferdinand de Larlbolslel'6
of the 1st Carabiniers. This
clearly shows the absence of
the breastplate badge; the mane
at the rear of the helmet crest;
the cross of the Legion of
Honour attached to the cuirass
left shoulder strap; and the darit
blue cuirass lining, edged with
double silver lace. It seems to
have been a rule that regimental
officers had two sliver stripes
and general officers a line
of embroidered leaves.
(Author's collection)
th apital, and ach 'id w uld commit am
120 00 m n. he Ru ian arm wa drawn up in
a defen i e front about 3 mile wid b tw n tw
road from molen k t 0 CO" masked t am
extent b wood and tr ams and an hor d on
everaJ field r d UbLS. Th large t, on th Ru ian
entr -right, was known as the rand R doubt,
and was heavil fortified and armed - an
wi 0"1 called i a' 01 an f fir pow r'. It \
pposile thi ector that G n Mombrun' 2nd
avalr orp was depl d.
Drawn up on th battl field awaitin ord I ,
th cam lmd rhea Russian artiU ry fir and
m v teran b cam angry at having to uB:i r
th e asualti s without a hance t strik back.
rgeam-Maj r Ravat of tll arabini rs shout d
OUL, ' ith r we harge, r w 1 a th fi Id.', t
whi h hi apt du BaraiJ r pli d,' ne more word
and I'll br ak ow' g bumi rabl jean-Foutre! [ 0 d-for-noming]' h
N h Id hi P a ,and a few minutes lar r th order to charg arrived.
After everal vain aU mpts LO take th Grand R d ubI: the Fr n h now
launched a rene\ ed infan alta k support d b m' es of cavalry to
sweep away the Ru ian infanll drawn up in tr ngth around tlle fi Id
works. 0 over th advance towards tlle trongpoint 'ome 200 French
gun b mbaI'd d it, reducing the redoubt i elf LO an unr ognizable
wt' k. h as ault was laun h d at ar und noon to Ipm und r tll
ommand of n UgusL de auJain ourt, and drawing in tIle 2nd 3rd
and 4th rp f th Re rv vaLry.
Tb harer was mad in O'3.diti nal
frontal attack in traight and compact , d Li ring ho k after
hock to the defender. r walkin forward half..wa to the targ t, th ,
would hall and check fonnation . the order to advan e th y would
tart at walking pa ,in re ing t a ITot after balf th di tan e then
a c I rating a ain inl th gall p, under co tant h ut d ordel to
em:1.! (' lour ranks'). n1 wh n the W I' within m 60 ards
from th en my would tb rd r b giv 11 to increas p d to a full
charg or'tripl g Il p', finally r acrun the momentum to torm if to
th ranks of Rus ian infantry, alread haken b cannon fire. For tho
unfortllnat who formation had b n weakened and dislUpted b'
tll cann nad th approach of LI wav of cavalry m t ha e be n an
in diol' rrightenin p ctac! .
ter nomlOU 10 on bolh id ,th . 01 an of ftr ' from th
raJld R d u t I1nall fell il nt. Whil th Carabini r brigad was
rallvin after th hal' pt du Barail w aj Ravat witll Ru ian
bl ad drippin r m hi abr and 'oaking hi d ht I eve. 'Well
pLain.' Ra'aL b uLed. am I till a mi rabl jean-F'outre?'
ri were h' h. L jud e b' tho e recorded am ng th offi er
of the b' de. from th I l arabini'r, apt Baill and ILt
bricoun "-ere - and Lt d Larib i iere would di f hi . wound' a
fe\\ d Later; L.dr Baillien urt., apt d'AI a , L tz inccnot
and u and La R h lin, Mill land P rr w r
\ unded In thr nd qn Ldr B r kh im and Lt D e
listed as killed, and Col B1ancard, Sqn Ldr Viel, C"1pt Benoit, LL Prcvot-
Sans;lc de FOllchimben. and SILts Aublin and Langlois
wounded. C."1rl Schell, a trlllllpeter in the 2nd Regt, wrOle in his
memoirs: 'After the roll calion 8 September, \lie becamc aW'dfe that
360 troopel1l and 17 officers were absenl. My company lost all its officers;
our sergealll-m.yor led us in the baule.
Among the senior ranks of the Grande Armce at Borodino, 12 French
generals were ki1Jed including Napoleon's valued old comrade Gen de
Caulaincourl. One less iIlusu'ious casually became more famous than
all the others. however, because of the record left for poSlCrity by
two famous French painters: Gros and Lejeune. Both pailllings are
testimonies to tllC glor)' of soldiers who are prescnled. in their gleaming
br.lSS cuirasses and c1assicall)' shaped helmets, as resembling andent
Creek gods of war. Fcrdinand de Lariboisicre, son of the inspector
gener'll of the French aniller)' and a fanner page to the Emperor,
had been commissioned sOIIS-lielltenullt in the 1st Company of the lSI
Squadron in the 1st Regimen[ ofC"1rabiniel1l all 9 November 1811. His
mortal wounding at Borodino was represemed in a painting b) the
soldier-artist Baron Lejeune. Howcver. the posthumous ponrait by Gros
shows liS a confident young officer [uming his head to....'ards the
regimental trltlnpclers who are calling the bligade 10 charge, whilc
bidding farewell to his father.
The story was that Cell Comle de Lariboisierc had positioned himself
facing the Grand Redoubt .....hile the Carabinier brigade marched pas!
to deploy for their charge: secing his fatllcr. the 21-year-old Iielilenant
left the ranks to shake his hand. ani}' moments later the young officcr
was hit by a ball, and aflel' thc ballie some soldiers of his company
carried him to his father's tent. The Emperor's own surgeon, Alexandre
YV3n, remO\'ed the bullet thaI same night. but Ferdinand died a few
days latcr at Mojaisk. His f-ather .....ould su.... the retreat frOIll Mosco......
but would dic from exhaustion ill Konigsberg on 21 December I 12.
Ferdinand was buried in Russia, and his father lies al the Invalides in
Paris; but the hearts of both son and mther were remO\'ed before burial.
and are blllied together at the family chapel of their chateau at
Louvigne-du-Dcserl.
Another incident was recorded during the charge of the 1st
Carabiniers: while they were overrunning Russian infantl)' Capt
Macreau, following close behind the regiment. heard someone
shouting his name and lurned to see a ,,'olltlCled NCO trapped under
his fallcn horse. Riding back, Macreau recognized him as Sgt
Bologuigny, a tall It:lian, who was still holding thc regimental eagle
high. The captain could do nothing for llologuign)' except to rescuc
the regime mal standard.
Despite appalling losses on both sides - some 40.000 Russian and
28,000 French casualties - the resuh .....as indecisive; Napoleon had
shown little tactical flair, and perhaps the first signs of those inexplicable
attacks oflethar!:."Y which would mark his laler career. KIllUso\, continued
to retreal: at 9am on the moming of 8 September. Cen Chouard's
brigade recrossed the battlefield, I\'here a heavy frost mercifully hid
some of the horrors. Several officers were assigned [,0 search the ground
o\"er which the brigade had charged in order to find an)' woundcd
Carabiniers who might survive. 1.
20
A detail from Le/eune's Moskowa
painting; Lejeune's pictures are
always accounts of different
events during a battle, united
Into single scenes. Here we see
an even more romanticized
vision of the wounded Lt de
Laribolsiilre, carried from the
battlefield by a few Carabiniers
and greeted by his father. In
this version of events Lejeune
himself - an ADC of Marshal
Berthler, In hussar unlfonn -
brings him the cross of the
Legion from the Emperor. In
reality the young officer lay for
hours on the battlefield until
the end of the action allowed
him to be found and brought
to his father's tent.
(Author's collection)
011 10 pt rob r, Lh arabiniers harg d the Russian trOOP at
ojai k, but th played litL! par in the oth r d la 'ng action whi h w r
fought b h Ru ian r arguard. n th aft rno n of ]4 pt mber
arshal Mu.rat., at th h ad of the cavalJ ,finaJ] ntered a Mo c w
bandon d b th Ru ian arm - and n paru d u'oyed b U1 fire
appar nu tarted b Ru i n < n.
An un a atmi ti was agre d t all w n goLiations; Napol n
exp et d Lhe ']'ar to'U or p ace term, but wa di appointed. Th
Ru ian wer onfidel1l of their long-t rill advantage; tb rande
Armee enjo ed a bri f glut \ hi! th mptied Mo cow' l r hou
but U1 city uld never feed and helter u h numb r during the
coming wil1l r. t th nd f thi' P Ii d 1urat' avah I cam und r
'rp,i alta k at ink n 1 0 lober. The King of aple ath r d
uira i rand at-abinier and harg d 10 r 12 tim in ord r to
r store the 'ituaLi nand lh e entuall managed t de tr a full
Rus ian division. a uaJtie w re hjgh however; and one of them wa
I Blancard of the 2nd arabinier, who could enter another wound
on hi rvi e record.
apol 11 ac ept d thal h w uld ha\ to withdraw, and the arm '
retr at fr m Mas ow b gaD on 19 0 lob r 1 12. On that am da
ur ntl n ed d r infor III n for th arabiniers alTived' dllJin th
whole retreat maJI d La hm nts from th r ar d pots w uld orne up
to join the brigade as repla ements, but as n as th arri ed the
would disapp ar like no\ in th sun.
The retreat from Moscow
From the first da th r u' at w, onducl d und r ndition of eliou
di order. Thou and of arts carria e and wa on cramm d with u el
b ory low d d wn th reo"eat ver the bad road. he logi tic prepa-
ration were wh II inadequat , and with wint r oming on ap leon'
LI ual in i l nee that hi armi Ii e off th country on tl1e line of
march was a mass ntenc of
death. Tho e who fell behind
b cam the victim f the
k hor emen wh on-
hani d U1 olumn;
Lraggler w re Lak n
prison r, bUl this wa a
privil ge mainl r rved for
offi el' - even if spared th
lanc -U1rust or pi tal bullet
tro per w re ripp d of
anything on i red valuable
and 'imply left b hind half
nak d in th now and
fre zing wind.
Within a di integrating
arm man wLiLS were oon
redu ed to their offi r with
ju l a ew 10 al m n till
gath r d around their agle.
How r, me regimen
managed to slay more or less
inU\ct and disciplined, though
all'ead)' greatJ)' weakened in
su"cnglh and losing more men
\\ith evcT)' mile they rerreatcd.
The best werc units ....ith
a S!.rOng rct:,rimenU\1 tmdition,
such as the Old Guard and
the Cambinicrs.
On 14 November. near
Smolensk, once proud
Carabinier brig"dde numbered
onl)' some 200 wellmoullled
men, and these were incor-
pomted illlO one of two ad hoc
regiments fanned from
the remaining moullled hea\)'
ca\'d.IT)', undcr lhe command
ofGen TIle
unit in which the Cm"binicrs
served soon became known as
the Regimclll Piquct: this
managed to sun'h'e ulllii
lhe retreating aml)' reached
Kovno, .....hcre it ceased to
existlhrough lack of men and
horses. During its existence
lhe last moulHed men had rcnclcrc.'d lhe nccessary proteclion to the foot
columns wherc\'cr thcy were ablc. The dismounted hea\'y troopers werc
gathercd into a fonnation ofbctween 6.000 and 7,000 mcn, marching al
the head of the ann)' as well as they could.
Anothcr unit crc;ued during the retrcat .....as the 'Sacred &llladl"On.
AI Bobr on 23 Novembcr the Emperor decided to gathcr all mounled
officers illlo one I:lrgc unit to sen'c as his bodyguard. and generals
werc ordered to assemble the remaining onicers of their corps. The
Escadron Sacre would be composed of four companies of 150 men
each. drawn from the officers of thc former four cavalry corps. The
commandcr-in<hicr was none other than Marshal r...lurat; thc coloncl
was Gell Gl"Ollchy. formcr commander of the 3rd Cavalry Corps.
Divisional gencrals scn'cd as captains. brigade generals :IS lieutenants,
colonels were NCOs, and sCluaciron leaders, captains and lieutcnants
served as simple troopers. The 1st Compan)' was commanded by Cen
Sainl-Germain. the 2nd b)' Gen SCbasliani, the 3rd b)' Gen Lahoussaye
and the 4th by the Saxon Cen Thic1milnn. Howe\"cr. the idea .....as ncver
really embraced. and the unil never had more than aboul 300 officers.
Voluntcers for the squadron from the 1st Carabiniers wcre Col
Laroche. Sqn LeII' Coimer, AdjMaj Chautcl, CaplS B11'd.t, Macreau and
Etienne, and Lts and SILlS Varlier, Coca, Benard, Rival, Lebon,
Gerson, Millct, Per and Domjcux. From the 2nd Rcgl one rinds the
nallles of AdjM;ys de I'Epinay and Dupart, Capt Midy, and LIS and
SILts Cre\'3.11X, Dubar.lil. Dcspreaux, d'Argent, Doria. de Chabaux and
de la Viemillc.
TWo Carablnlef'l ahowIng
lashlonablot 0Q)'tI to _r u..
riding .,..,.,t\tl when d'-"ted.
This w.. quite InacIequMe In
u.. elrt_ of the
RUAlen winter; _Iry boola,
too, .tmolt gu.8ranteed hvoIlbftto,
slnce they __ 100 tJght to nt
erry uaefUl _tof in&ulIIUng
mllteriallMIde. For the 1810
uniform the c.ped, .....,......
genervualy cut cloak wat made
of I Whlte/allyblue mbted wn....
thet 'Pl)Mf1ld White It .n)'
distance. The regu..tklns
specified thet It be III'Mld on the
coll.r and up the fnHIt edges In
aky-blue, IKll Mf'e Vernel shows
the lining as _r1et. He also
pIllntt the helmet pWt_ In the
same braN coloUr .. the skull
.nd pe.ks, wfth only the
crowned 'N' In white met.I.
ThIs w.. In IICCOn1ence with
the 1812 a.ntIn regulltlons,
but was not I/WI)'$ obeyed by
the (Aft Vemet;
_............,
21
22
Following the ann)' headquarters, the members of this S<luadron had
to look aner themselves in every respect, even finding lorage for their
horses. Mosl ofikcrs preferred 10 march with their few remaining loyal
soldiers or in groups with their ser"anlS or orderlies; in Ihis way it was
easier to find food and to protcct themselves against the evcr-preselll
Cossacks. (Threc days aftcr Napoleon abandoned his anny and left for
P.uis on 5 December. the few remnanLS of the Sacred Squadron would
be disbanded; the remaining officers were ordered to rejoin their units,
but most of these had all'cad), ceased to exist.)
Arriving ncar the Rivcr Bcresina, thc Regimen! Piquet helped protect
the bridges during the first two days of thc crossings. On the third day,
28 Novcmber, Gen L.uour-Maubourg was leading the regimcnttowards
aile of the makeshifl blidges to cross in their tum whcn sevcral Russian
squadrons suddenly chargcd, crcating panic among tbe thousands of
stragglers gathcrcd on the cast bank. Lmour-Maubollrg turned about
and led his regimen! towards the Russians. who instantl)' gave \ \ ~ 1 Y .
Taking lip a position on the riverside plain between the Russians and the
bridgcs, the hcavy troopers continued to protect the retreat. This
dcmonstration of discipline and Ilghting spirit attracted othcr moutHed
soldiers and officers who still had the will to fight (even some gcnerals),
and many nowjoined the Regiment Piquet.
Mter their heroic stand at the Beresina had allowed large numbers
of men to escape cermin captivity, the unit crossed the river themselves
and followed the army. From now on the Regimem Piquet mainly
provided nank protcction, though their ranks dwindled day by day
from frostbite, exhaustion and starvation. Finally rcaching thc Russo-
Polish border ncar Kovno, they crossed the Nielllen into friendl)'
territol}. General L..-'lI.our-Maubourg expressed his gratilllde to the
rcmaining soldiers, allowing them to continue on their own or lO
relllrn to their units. Nearly all the Carabinicrs asked to continue
escorting the general's sledge; but at Glimbinnen he look his final
leave of the bare dozen remaining mounted Carabiniers, who thcn
tried LO find their brigade.
Once OUt of Russia at last, the survivors of this horrific reu'eat wcre
dispersed to diffcrcl1I places; the Carabiniers alTived at Konigsberg to
lind orders to march to Elbing and then to Marienwerder, whcre they
wcre allowcd a \\'cek's rest. Being 011 friendly lcrritory did not mean
that thcir sufferings wcrc at an end, however. Many of them died from
exhaustion and typhoid. Another m ~ o r cause was the change in diet;
suddcnly, aftcr months on shon Tdtions, they arrived in wellprovided
towns. where overeating and drinking killed many of them.
Barely recognizable as Carabinicrs, the survivors were from time to
time confronted with their miscrable condition whcn they saw well-
drcssed and superbly mounled Carabinier reinforcemcnts arriving
from LlIncvillc. While the men tried to find their respective units,
those who were still mounted and fit were gathered into a provisional
regiment, LO sen'c under the Viceroy of Imly, Napoleon's able stepson
Eugene, who was trying to hold off the advancing Russians and put
down an uprising in Prussia. While his rag-t.'lg army concentrated along
the Elbe, the rest of the troops were sent to different dcpots in
Germany or Fl"allce. Here the pitiless arithmetic of the Russian
campaign would finally be collated.
Sergeant In barracks dress,
1810. His plain sky-blue single-
breasted jacket displays his
rank stripes on the rorearms,
and sliver/scarlet Intermb:ed
epaulettes. His knee breeches
are shown as cream colour,
worn with white stockJngs
and sliver-buckled black shoes.
He cames his white bonnet de
police piped with sky-blue; here
the Illustrator shows the tassel
as white Instead or sky-blue.
(illustration by Pierre Benlgnl,
Le Bivouac)
1813: GERMANY
23
24
Sergeantmalor standard-bearer
of the 2nd Carabiniers In
campaIgn dress, 1813-14. Here
we see a blue single-breasted
Jacket without collar facIng:
more than one artist represents
Carabiniers on campaign post-
1809 In blue uniforms - an
entIrely plausible feature, given
the speed with whIch the white
uniform would get dirty.
Normally a Junior officer carried
the regImental eagle, but
sometimes, for lack of officers, a
senior NCO had thIs dangerous
honour. The regimental eagle Is
of the 1812 model; It would
carry the battle honours ULM,
AUSTERLITZ, lENA, EYLAU,
FRIEDLAND, ECKMUHL and
WAGRAM. We know that the
eagle of the 2nd Regt returned
from Russia In late 1812, thanks
to the devotion of one
Lt Lavleuvllle. (illustration by
PIerre Benigni, Le Bivouac)
During those ix weeks ap leon cone ntrated on rebuilding his
annie. Regimental depo wer bur ring wiLh On l;pts and thou and
more \ er on lh roam marching to j in th field arm ; but they wer
m tly onl patchil dr s d and quipp d and hastil ua.in ,and the
normou 10 sin Rus ia had left the arm chronicall h l"l [v t ran
a and regimental offic n army with a 'paper' u'ength of om
500,000 n ver approached thal numb r in th field, and of th se wh
did r ach apol on aboul two-third \ ere raw teenager. part from
the casualtie in exp rienced men, the 10 s of hundreds of thou and of
horse in Rus ia had I Ft the 6 ur ca all corp m r had w of th ir
former Iv and with th Allie pr . ing f; rward n ev raj fr nlS th
Empir' hmnken tenito was hard pr d to provid the n ary
rem unts. M re than one caval 'regiment' uld in fa t fi Id only the
tr ngth fa ingl quadron.
c rclin to th armi rice term. hosriliti \ uld r op n n 1 ugu l
1 13. The Allie had concentrated thre major for e :
The Ann of the orth, with aboul Ii 0,000 Pms ians wedes, Russian
and oned ennan', ommanded b the rown Prine of wed n-
ap I on's (orm l' marshal, Bemad lte.
Th Ann [ile ia, with 'ome 110000 Pru ian and Ru ian troop
under n Blucher.
The Arm f B h mia, with om 230,000 men und r the u'trian
en chwarzenb rg and th Ru ian n Barcia.
here was also a re erve of about 0,000 Russian
under en Bennig n in Poland, and anoth r of
ar und 30000 u'trian guarding th River Inn,
ap I on cho e orLitz the pivot for hi ne 'l
Call1paign, and cone ntrat d hi' r rv around this
p int b tw n th River Katzba h and Dr d n.
With a front lin that tr t hed from Han1burg to
the u trian bord r, th mp ror had to di pel e
hi force wid I . in th north, arsbal Da out
'ontroJled the region around Han1burg, n irard
w at agd bourg and ar hal udin t ntroJled
Witlenb rg. neral B rtrand and R yni r wer
intend d to tak B rLin wh n ho tilitie reop ned
(althoughthi wasne ra hi v d).
Facing BIll her, apol none ntrat d 1arshal
e 's and n eba tiani' orp around Liegnitz,
ogether with al hal a donald' at LOwenberg,
iarshai Marm n' at BumJau and n Lauriston'
al nmdb rg. h P lish n Poniatovrki and
Marshal i t r c ntrolJ d the b rder with B h mia,
n ral Duro n I and ouvion t- yr wer at
Dr d n and in th Pin a-Koni l in region. and n
andamm' orp tood at Bautz n with n Lat ur-
aubourg' cavalry. During Lhe 1 13 campaign the
arabinier bJigade erved together will1 th 1st
uiras ier iJ1 en aint- rmain' 2nd H a
aval Divi ion, part of n 'bastiani' 2nd avau
rp with Mal hal a donald' (1) of th Bbl'.
(rmll i mud 011 page 33)
1791-94
1: Carabinier
2: Trumpeter
3: Officer
3
2
A
B
3
REVOLUTIONARY WARS.1790s
1,2& 3: Carabiniers
2
CONSULATE & EMPIRE. 1804-05
1: Louis Bonaparte. Colonel-Geneml of Carabiniers
2 & 3: Officers
4: Carabinier
3
c
D
THE EARLY EMPIRE,
1806-10
1: Officer In service dress
2: Trumpeter in parade dress
3: Carabinier in parade dress
2 3
CAMPAIGN DRESS,
1806-10
1: Officer
2: Trumpeter
3: Carabinier
2
.-'
t'.. ;
E
F
PARADE DRESS. 1810-15
1: Field officer
2 & 3: Carabiniers
TRUMPETERS & DRUMMER, 1810-14
1: Trumpeter, 1810
2: Kettle drummer, 1810-14
3: Trumpeter, 1810-13
G
H
CAMPAIGN DRESS, 1813-15
1: Trumpeter
2: Carabinier
3: Officer
2
3
The Leipzig campaign
On 16 August 1813, 2-1 hoUl'S bcfOl'e the armistice omciall)' ended.
BIl"lCher opened his ofTensi\'C. This would prove 10 be a new t)1>e of
campaign: this time the ABies ;woided direct contact with the Emperor's
main forces, and cOllcellLrated on be'iling his lieutenants, E.'lch timc
thC\' gained some success. the\' retreated in the face of Napoleon's
con.sequelll advance \,ith his reserves, beforc manocU\,-ing to defeat
another detached French corps.
Bll"lchcr's unexpected ad\'allce pllsht.'Cl the French trOOps backwards:
Napoleon inllnediatel)' responded, but the Ann)' of Silesia retreated
before him. By now Dresden was threatened 1' the Austrians from
Bohemia, and Napoleon had to tllm ag'.-linsl this new threat. le:l\ing
Marshal Macdonald to dt.-al ....ith the Pmssians. \\11en Napoleon .....as
engaged at Dresden, ntl"lcher ad\.ll\ced again, defeating Macdonald on
26 August at K..1t1:bach. This battle cost tile French 10,000 killed. as man)'
taken prisoner and about 100 guns, and won BIl"lcher tile rank of marshal
and a plincedolll. After a 24-hour rout Macdonald "'as able to .... lIy
behind the River Bober: his defeat out.....eighed tile gains of Napoleon's
0\\11 \ictol) at Dresden.
Napoleon manOCU\Too \'ainl\' to bring tile AJlies to a decisive kittle
,,'hile his lieutenants "'cre defeated one In one. but on 8 October his ally
Bavaria changt."<f sides. A .....eek later tile Emperor concenlJ"ated aboUl
15;,000 men and 900 guns arOlUld Leip7jg......here he ....'Quld figln 'tile
Battle of thc Nations' October) ag-.l.inst the much larger forces
of Blucher. SCh....'arlenblirg and finalh' Bcmadotte, TIle complex story of
this battle is fllll)'cO\"ered elsewhere: and although tile Emperor managed
to extract a brge p.'lrt of his ann)' from encirclement his defeat .....as still
crushing, and COsl him hi.... laSl all). S:l."on)"l
j\t LeipLig. Cell 1st and Sebastiani's 2nd
Cavall")' Corp......cre placed solllll-east of the cit), facing the ach.tIlce
of Schwarzenberg, \\'hich l'\apoleon had intended to be lhe poim of
decision. The he'I\')' ca\'ah)' were dl'awn up on the French centre-left.
the 1st Corps behind the \illage of Liebertwolkwiu and the 2nd lx-hind
the .....oods between thill \'illagc and the Kollllberg hill. Macdonald's
XI C.o!l>s was some W'd)' behind their left flank, before HoI7.hausen, As
the baule progressed this wing \,'cre driven in north-weslwards, and by
lhe of the 18th, Sebastian;'s 4,800-0dd troopers would be
behind Macdonald's infantl1' di\'is;ons before lhe \'illagc of Slot!erilz.
The Cuirassier officer SILt Rilliel wrOte in his journal (published in
1908) thaI the 2nd Cavillry Coq)S was deployed in column of regiments,
with the lSI C;mlbi"iers in from and Cen SCbastiani with his sl.'lff off 10
their right. Suddenl)' a lllass of enemy cavall1'. mainl)' Hungarian
hussars, charged c10\\'11 on tile Qmtbiniers. The general waved his aiding
crop and exclaimed. 'Brd\'Q! This \,ill l>e channing - hussars charging
Carabiniers!' But instead of accepting the challenge. which their
;lnnour. \,'eapons and training should ha\'e fitted lhem 1,0 meet without
difficulty, the lst Car:tbiniel'$ reponedl)' tumed lheir horses and fell
back. Far from reSloring the situation, the 2nd Regt followed them,
pulling the 1st Sqn of tile 1st Cuirassiers with them, OnI)' the last two
Cuirassier squadrons kept fonnation and charged, supponed b)' the
ad\'ancing 2nd Bde ofGen Saint-Cermain's di\ision. Rilliet claims that

33
34
An Impression of the rear
view of the Carabinier uniform
of 1810, by Job.
(Author's collection)
al lh
th
wi1h other d tachments int provi ional r -
iment.,; til . - weI' to join 111 main ann' in
recapturing nnan and Polj h tcniLOry.
he Ci t dctachm nt w n f 60
bini r. r the 1 t Re and 33 for th 2nd,
all di mounted. larchin \'ja tr I w'
ainz and W ' I. til )' aniv d at M gd bw'g
n U 1St I and \ er ir u d with the
. hon; . a thi mall d lacllm III
added cvernl Carabinie still ani\ing
fr m Russi and [Tom hospital. Th Lun ',iIle
1 pt. )011 'CIll an 111 r 1.\ d tachmen
and with number ri jng two quadron c uld
b rganiz d: on of th 1 I R'gt mmand d
b pt uillawne, and ne of the _nd led b'
apt F r-t. g ther the quadran COUIlL d
16 ollic ,four ergeant-m,y n;, r. ur JOlll7iers
and uffi i III corp rals.
During the amli ti e rJun - uguSt I 13,
'(agd blll'g b came J entr for th n 11-
U ti l10ftr p ,arm and ammunition. tth
nd f Ih armisti e lh lag 1 burg garri 11
had b n il1l nded t make a rti t j in
Ma 'h I udin t'. mar h t wards B din, hut
in tll v III \.hi exp dition nev r happ ned,
and IJagdeburg', 25.0 tfong garri on "
n under . i e b AJlied tr p. The gani n remain d a ti\'e,
how vcr: th v anied ul'e eral u cessful .ortie t lind a tJ ,r cider
and r. od. and at 0 in rder to k ep up the I. n i n in the
t n'ur Lhal m re u'o p \ ere ti d lown b ' lh ie
II 14 April I 14 new r a hed the i' ilial \.h Emp r r had
abdicat d. n 23 pril an i n d. and w .
handed over to th Hie. on 1 en I'ill L Marai.. military
gov mor of thc cit)' and AD t the Emp 1'01'. left for Fran e with the
I' main fth gan'ison - . m 1 ,Om nand 4 gtl11 .
1814-15
Tn 1 14. re rganized el again, th ara ini r brigade parti ipated in
til "ampaign of France', now 1 db.-h fOllner alan I of Ih 2nd
Regt. n Bhncard. The I 1 campaign was one f rced march
and c unter-marche' a p I 11. med t I' eli 0'1' I' hi' old
brillian e. VI ith a mall but v ry m bile arm}. he kept at b r; r month'
th mu h tr I1g rand IW rging armi. 01" th alition; on
o a i n. ind ed, h cam do La d i'i\' vi tori . TIl Carabinie'
till pan f en ailll- y rmain" h a\' avalt divi i 11. di tingui bed
th m '1'1' at Brienn (31 January 1 14), ulna (3 FebrualJ').
auchamp (14- ebruary), raonne (7 arch), Laon ( 1\farch), rci
ur- ube (20 March). and on 2 h at Fere-Champ noi.e - all
de p rat I auk ugbt ag-ain l h 3\'V dds. But th v ,wh Imin I,
'up ri r numl e' th iii rCf'r1 lh Fr n h lroops awa from
Painting by Vemet of an officer
In full dress but without cuirass,
following the 1812 Bardin
regulat ons (as so often, the
gauntlet cuffs hide the Jacket
cuff detail whIch are the only
way to distinguish the 1st
from the 2nd Regiment). It Is
Interesting to see two saddles:
the entirely blue one on the
horse WiIS probably for everyday
use, and the sliver-edged one
(right) for full dress. In several
paintings Vemet shows the
pistol holster covers In cloth
rather than In the usual
bearskin. The red plume on
the left of this helmet Is also
unusual. Before 1810 the Junior
officers wore red plumes on
their bearsJdn caps, and senior
officers white plumes, this might
also have been the case after
1810. but we only know of white
plumes for senior officers In full
dress. (Author's collection)
35
36
Paris: after a fierce but brief resistance the capital capillliated, and
lhe fil1it signs of defections from Napoleon's anny - and from among
his seniOl' commanders - became apparent. The Emperor tried to
:lbdicate in fa\'our of his infant son at Fomaineblcau on 6 April, but the
Allies reject.ed this pia)' and insisted on unconditional surrender. This
....'as agreed on II April, and soon afte.....'ards Nilpolcon took thc road
to the south and exile on the lillie Mediterranean island of Elba.
Wit.h the monarchy restored and peace rClUl"Iling to the European
continent. the Carabiniers retul1lcd to their depot at on
13June 1814.
The First Restoration
Undcr the First Restoration the ann)' was reduced to normal peacetime
proporrions. A ro)'al ordnance of 12 Ma)' 1814 recognized the
Carabiniers' honorary precedence in the Line ca\'alry', ....ith two
regiments each of four squadrons of {\\'o companies. The regimental
'itaffs would consist of eight officers and 12 rankcrs ....ith 23 hOl'SCS, and
e:'lch compan}' ....ould ha\'e four officers. 74 mcn and 63 horses: the
regimental strength was thus 40 officers. 604 rankers and 527 horses.
The restoration of outward signs of the (mC'im rigi"1L saw I.he
Carabinier brigade become Le Corps de Carabiniers de Monsieur.
under the command of Marechal-de-cunp Coone d'Escars and the
Comte d'Anois - King Louis unpopular )'ounger brother, who
receh'ed the rank of honor:tf)' colonel by ro)'al ordnancc on 20 May
1814, On the e\'ening of the following 30 October thc CoUIlI. of Artois,
weating C;lrabinier unifonn, came to Lune\'ilIe for an inspection: the
next da)' he had both regiments paraded ill frout of him, and on
I November. the da)' before he left. he g;lthered both regiments on foot
in the manigr or riding school. There twO long tables were set for the
troopers and NCOs, crossed at the ends b)' another long t..,ble for the
count. officers and guestS of both regiments. After a distribution of
dccomtions, the officers and men were to a luncheon presided
o\'er b), their honorary colonel.
After drinking the hcalth of the regimenls, some members of the
count's elllourdge, in the traditional manner, threw their emptied
glasses to slllash on t.he ground. At this, lhe Carabinier officen; followed
their example br dl'awing their long swords and smashing up lhe elab-
orately dressed tables. Bollles. plates, glasses and dishes flew through
the ail' in frab'1lICllts. 1.0 thc considerable shock of thc Comtc d'Artois,
The next da), the COUIll left Lunc\'ilIe \\ith an escort of Car'abiniers
who followed him I.Owards Nanc),.
Shortly afterwards. Cen Pail hold distributed the new regimental
standards which were to replace the old eagles. This was not. the only
impelial emblem that the anny ordered to discontinue by the nc\.'
go,cnllllel1l.. On 22 July 1814 ncw helmets were distributed 1.0 both
Carabinier regimentS. in the same st),le as pre\iollsly but tlOW ...ithout
the 'I'hite metal frOIll plate sho,\ing the crownt..d C)vher 'N'; instead the
plate sho,,'cd the honol'af)' colonel's blazon of arms, When Napoleon
escaped from Elba in 1815 and retllmed to power, he found a
full)' equipped and full strength brigade who were eager to unscrew the
Count of Anois' amls from their helmets, (Officers, who had to pay for
their own equipment, probably still had their old impelial helmets.)
hi. j ume I fr m lh uLh
Iba gar!; n, becam a
Officer In winter undress
uniform with overcoat, and
senior officer In winter petit
tsnus de ville, c1810. Off duty,
the officer on the left wears his
blcom. With the comfortable
sky-blue double-breasted
overcoat he wears black
stockings for wInter, and black
shoes with silver buckles. On
the right, his senior colleague
wears a sky-blue single-
breasted uniform coat with
collar and cuffs In the same
colour piped sliver, and white
tumbacks. For winter he wears
dark blue trousers and the
traditional heavy cavalry boots,
and an epee Is frogged to a
belt passing under his clothing.
(illustration by Pierre Benlgnl,
Le Bivouac)
37
38
01 Le pold and 2 h r Drag n [[j
uiton. Col ourticl' and 20 t11 r uira ier
ollie >rs. Tn the 121.h Div, ell ROll al d 'Hurbal
and Donop. 1- randj .U1 an La rai , and
28 oth I' fie r becam c, ualti
The Linc cmrab ofch 3rd m'p' wcr followed
up Lh ,101 es, in th ir (Urn, b, en uyot', H a
avail of th u<u'd - ch Ll h LI > xa 't hain of
command re pon ibilit, f r Lhi' Lill k i till
di pULed, Tllcse lIni made lhre "parale
charg .,' ith th usualla k of 1..1 e " Th' later
qu n of charge, b' the wh Ie R s rv avalry
(ex ept the arabiniers) - 63 'quadrons, totallin
perhap 9,000 m n - ar de' lib d b e e-
witn se', bUL L1,e detail are confus d.
t some Lime ar lind 5,' 0-61 m, while lhe
char e 0 chc uard Dragoon and Mounted
Cr nadiers w re in l11 pI' c of p tering OUL in
exh u ted frustraLi n, an infantry atta k \ a
m LImed ea't f the Houg um [t cis and
enclosme , by the divi ion of Cen Bachelu and
Fo , The e troop' were r pu] ed b lIea\' fire from ALlied batteric and
the'quare f dam' light infantry brigade - notably L11 7]sl and 52nd
R'gimcl1t' - whi h had b en brought forward inLO the front line behind
the nonl, asL orner of the H ugoum nt r hard. It was at about th
'alllC time or 'lighLl 'l t I' that th arabini r brigad \ as thrown illt
an attack a ainst t11 <Ulle Briti'h 'quare "
itLing their hoI' patienLl, in Ul ir gleaming bra' armour ancl
scarlet-crest d h ImeLS, n Blan ard' regim nLS wer bound to altra t
the e of'Mar hal a h 10 k d around wildl or ev I' more m n
t invesL in his fail d gamb]. n ral K 11 nnann later wrOLe that h
had III word to 'lOp tl1 m, blll toO lat. Th 'weI' verlooked
I' m lh fir t b th BriLi h infanu r and gun n [h r Sl whi h in
1 ] 5 d minat d Ih ,lop m re 'harpl than it ha cion in th lat I'
r [ion of the Lion <found (L11 Wim apt d Bra k. f the R d
Lancer. ompared it to the gall 'of an amphith au' overlookjng th
ar na), 1n ob dien e to th mal hal' unqu lionable orders the'
start d to walk their h av}' h 'e forward on to th ,lop - de p in
mud. tom up b innunl ra I h 0 s, and number d b}' d ad and
dying h I' and m n.
radually warming up tlleir m unLS as tl1 1110 cd to a trot and a
alll 1', Ul arabini pi ked lip P d in Ih la. t fe\ doz n yard, and
dr v up 0 and b tw n u1e nem 'qual' . nabl. like all pr viou
char . to break lh infanu n: i tan . th ',er fir d upon rom all
side, !lotabl b th 71 I Lighl lnfanU)' at tl1 ir ront and Lh 52nd f)O
Lh ir right. apt d Bra k would writ : .... h arabi! i r brigad
merg don ur right at a g ntl trOL' I d in olumn f u'oop, r 'd
th al'en alon . and rode all al I g th n TIl ball rie t llack tl1
Briti h righl. Th n WIEnert n" musk I' and nn n fire brok out
t lh r, t tJ:'k to eth r t tl1 am rg l, and mix d with th
t1lt1nd r f th ir firing [we heard] three blllCh r hr. In f, w
m m nLS, b' d ath r Right. th arabiru r had vani hed.'
Charging Carabiniers in full
dress, f 81 o-f 5, Carabiniers
were traditionally mounted on
large black horses of Norman
or Flemish breedsj but despite
their strength, their final charge
at Waterloo was robbed of Its
full Impact by having to attack
up a muddy slope that had
been repeatedly churned up by
thousands of other horsemen
for hours beforehand, and was
obstl'\lcted with masses of fallen
horses and men, Their corps
commander Gen Kellennann
would later write that he tried
in vain to prevent Marshal Ney
committing this last reserve to
his failed attacks; and that 'half
of the brigade was laid low'
by the BritIsh musketry and
artillery. (Courtesy Hennann-
Historica, oHG. Munich, Germany)
OPPOSITE Interesting reeon-
struction of a Carabinier
wearing a cuirass as early as
1802. Support for it survives in
a letter written by Gen Gassendl
on 23 June 1802, In which he
mentions that some neWly made
cuirasses for the Cuirassiers
were sent to the Carabiniers
while they were serving In the
Army of the Rhine. (Illustration
by Pierre Benignl, Le Bivouac)
G n ral Blancard wa - \ ound d n again. and 01 R
mmand r f the 1st Re l, had hi h r kill d und r him; h wa
r "cu d and Laken to af ty b hi men. An th r wounded offie r was
apL Marceau who had saved the regimental eagle at Borodin .
adl . the arabini rs w u1d al am a f LU L in Lb hi t I f
at rI by another act - an L r treach I ,- suppa edl' at Lh crid al
m m nt when Nap leon was pr pat;ng to nd hi Imp rial uard
infantry int th batLl in the h p of breaking Wellington's line b r. re
th pproa hing Prus ian oven h 1m d the Fr nch ri hl flank. An
offic r of the 2nd arabiniers, apt du Barail, lefL the French Lin s
under the prete t far onnai ance; when his companion would go
110 further h suddenI lapped spurs to hi h r e and galloped aero s
LO the A1li d line, houting 'Vive Ie Roil' H t Id Ll I Ib m r til
52nd, th anill ry oromand r ir ugu tu raser, and Maj Blair f
dam', bl;gad till t infonn W Jlingl a f til iml ading atta k by
th Imp rial 'uard. 1n fa thi d f, tor Lold the British n thing thaI
the auld n t have pr eli led [01' th m Ive.
111e rotal 10 se of th R erv avah are not re orded, but w r
e timaL el b r d Iph hier (I 62) aL ,000 men. harras (I 69)
wroLe that Ne 10 t on -third of his men and hor e that man of
tho wb returned w r on fi or, and that th r mainel r wer
apabl r litue more lhaL da . Though beaten at Wal rloo the
at'abini r till [ought a fi w rearguard a ti n in d fen
of th ir count. L II enan. Lh sabred uleir wa thr ugh
the u trian infantry. and at h vr mont rh did the ame
to Lh Ru ian. Rail .ng aL Rims, th I am el of apol on's
econd abdi aLion.
ncler the and Re'toraci n the new reduction' in the army
w uld 11 0 affect Ul arabinier thi time but Ul would
III 'iv. 11 ordn n c [16 .luI 1 15 r rganized Lhem il1lo a
'ill Ie r im nt one mar und r th name [ arabini r cI
Mansi ur. M n ar later, under Ul nd Empir , lheir
dream ofj ining th Imperial uard would com tru.
UNIFORMS & EQUIPMENT
The pre-1810 uniform
Th bearskin cap was fi db' d ref 26 0 t b r 1 01:
1. m (12. 72in) tall, it h uld ha bad s arl t, 001
floun r. and t II d at ach nd, but in fa L it em thal rh
arabiniel' n v r ad pt d the" ,keepin their whit cord as p r Lh
] 791 regul Lions. Th top of me bu by at the back wa covered with a
round pi c of Cat'l l f It doth d c rat cI wilh whire cro d trip .
Th dark bIll full dres Iwhit at had a traigl mnding
liar of the ame blue, edged with 'carlel piping. Th uffi
w r 'carl l pip d with blu . fr m 1791 lb tw r gimen
Ii tingui h d only b rll uff flap. th f rll 1 t
t bein <lrl Lwith blu pipin nd th of th 2nd
bein in reversed coloUl- . The culm a" 'carlet lapel had
'even mall button dOl n each outer ed . and thr
larg _r on , eonLinu d th lin b 1m th right lap I. h 39
40
This portrait of Cpl Marteau of
the 1st Carabiniers clearly dates
from after Ratlsbonne In 1809,
since the bearskin Is fltted with
chin scales. Note the white
edging to the strap of his red
epauiette, the while bride edged
with red, the crossed white
braid on the red top patc;h of his
bearskin, the red plume and the
white tasselled c;ord with two
flounders.
were de r-at d with Lhret: lar bULL nand
d \ ith ingl-
hlike the full
UI". piped wiLh
wn
41
Portrait of a trumpet-major of
either Carabiniers or Cuirassiers
between 1796 and 1806,
displaying the old-fashioned
powdered hairstyle - cropped
at the top, long over the ears,
and tied into a long pigtail at
the back. He wears a slngle-
breasted dark blue coat, with
double sliver braid stJipes
edging his collar Inside a line
of scarlet piping. His epaulette
strap shows a narrow red centre
between broad sliver braid
edges, a sliver bride, a silver
pad with a radial effect, and
Intermixed sliver and scarlet
crescent and frlnge.
(Author's collection)
The 1810 uniform
h helmet wa mad fy II w bras and d oral d with a r ntal band
in \ hite metal ending al the b . e fi r lh chin cale; a br r wn d
'N' ,\laS pia d ntrall on thi- band. \ hi h wa iweplup into a pint
belm th froJlt of th mb. narrower white In tal band ntinued
from behind tb chin ale bo e around th rear b, a the kull. Th
from peak had an edg binding of b . th r ar ne k guard an edging
ofwhil me1.<1 I. Th bomb r r l' d orat d with fluting, and
bra large red chenille ('cal rpiJlar') r padd d hOI ehair. h whit
m tal chin cal c n i led of16 I" , , fix d t I ather SUtlp ; Lh \ hit
metal b w r fa Itly d unbUl l d ign with a bl liv -poin tar
in the centr ,
'h steel cuirass had a
leaving a 25mm bare t I bard r all TOlUld
ri e ,Th bre' l nd ba k plat w re h II t geu1er b a b It [natural
I alh r with b buckle, and by wo I ath r h ul I" trap pr t t d
b br ai, t rminauJ iI br plate pier ed with two fixing h Ie
fOl- md. Tr p r had n mbl 111 n th br a tplale. h in ide of
th breastplat was padded with 'tron loth tuffed wilh hoI' ehaiJ-; the
edge of this lining prom,ld d above b 1m and in th armh Ie of
the cuiras , showing dark blue wilh a line of whit edgin .
he h n-tail d iJ1g1 -br 'l d jacket, whit, with a traighl
tanding ollar and utE f k -blu pip d with whit. Th front. ed e of
,addl b hind it b a I op of trap. h b n twa am d frogged
verti cal I to lh word b It. t th I ft hip.
Stable dress in Iud d a blu fatigu p - bonnet de police 'ti La
dmgonne'- pip d I' d, with a br ad whil band ar wld th t P f
the 'l1.uban', whit t:as 1 al the lip f th tuck d-in flame'
hanging er th r nt dg of th turban, and a \ hit gr nade
badge n th 'onL I ubi -br ' t d blu I th tabl jack t
wa w m with faligu tr u e in while or lu lin n.
he arabinier w r a I vele riding mantle mad
fr m I th of a white/blue mixed wave - giving a lighl
blu -gr app arance - wilh r d linin howin al th
front; thi had a tanding collar and a houlder ape. Wh n
not worn this lI11mleau wa roll d and placed on lOp 0 the
portmant au, Th tatt r , dark bill, d d with whit
and di playing a whil gr nad al b th nd; it was initiall
lindri al in hap but h ng d l a r tan ular v I' i n
fr m ab ut 1 O. ,hit heep kin addl eyer wilh
vandyke' r'w IF -l lh' edging [red cI lh. wa worn r a
dark blue half-shabraqu (addl loth) with white r nad
the quar d corner, and dged with whit braid.
Officers' uniforms were essentially the arne as tho e of th troop but
mol' finel tailored II ing high r quality m trial'. Th ir bll ton w r
iJver d; th ir p ial pall m paul lle with embr id red gr nad
I aul lle I p the gr nad n their al turnb ',their ap ord
and ta el, and th d' ng of lh ir hI" belts wer all f i1v r m talli
braid and embr id I, mpan' grade fficer' wore a carl t cap
plum , fj Id grad r talI offi e ,or whit, he offi 'ridin
manU wa dark blu witl1 I" d lini_ng at the front dged in iJver.
42
Trooper's brass helmet, showing
details of the upswept comb
and chenille, and the crowned
cypher 'N' on the white metal
frontal plate. (Author's collectIon)
A trooper's brasshllted
Carabinier sabre. showing
the shell embossed with a
grenade. The scabbard Is of
black leather with brass fittings.
(Author's collection'
lit ja k l \\'
sk '-blu
1812 Bardin modifications
In 1 12 lh I' modifi ali n t th L 10 regulati n' were i 'u d;
ffi 0\' from 1 1 l1\ -d. man' of lh merel ratified e ci 'un
unifoml pm ti e , and for lh arabinier th chan \ re probably
minimal. The jacket cuffs w r to be red lor the 1 t Regl. r maining k ,-
blue (i r t.h 2nd; both r giro n henc ~ rth had "l-blue cufTnap with
\ lUte piping. Th while wah oat \ as t b I \' I ' . and the emlls
f gr 1 lh, Th blu .tabl jack t had a ingl ralh I' than two r o ~ ,
uf buu I , nd a id p k l; and th Id 'night ap' bonnet d.e IJOliee was
t b r pI c d with th 1 12 polwlem trp ,in white wit.h k -blu piping
and bad e. h grenad 1\ lh end of th p rtmam au wa 1.0 b
repla cd wilh a r 'mcntalnumber and the habraqu dging\ as to be
a in le \ \ ~ d e uipe.
ABOVE A drawing of the white
pokaJem'. with sky-blue badge
and piping around the front and
ear flaps. (Author's collection)
LEFT Vemet painting of a famer
of the 1 t Regt In tenue de route,
and a corporal In stable Jacket
and 'pokalem' fatigue cap,
according to the 1812 Bardin
refonns. The famen white
Jacket shows a sky-blue collar,
the red cuffs Introduced for the
1st Carabiniers by Bardin, and
the red horseshoe of his trade,
Note his buttoned grey campaign
overalls reinforced with black
leather: and two black tool bags
tied at his waist. The corporal
wears his sky-blue single
breasted stable Jacket with white
breeches and black gaiters, His
rank stripes are shown as red,
although regulatIons called for
white edged with sky-blue. 43
ABOVE A trooper's brass waist
belt plate with grenade badge.
(Author's collection)
RIGHT Breast- and back plates
of a trooper's brass-plated steel
cuirass. (Author's collection)
A flne ellample of
an officer's helmet
with Its original bOll. The
skull Is copper red; the comb
Is gilt, as are the star on the
silver sunburst rosett.es, and
the crown and 'N' on the highly
decorative silver front plate.
The sllve.... scaled chin straps
are tied together with tas-
selled gold cords.
44 (Courtesy Piasa, Paris)
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
hi" in the library of Lbe B 19ian Ro I Arm Mus urn, Bm . I
Le Manu (fit dfJ Librairi run pul hr (Paris, 1 9)
Bu'. apitain, Livre d'Or de arabiniers (Pari, 1 9 )
pp n', B rnard, P. our ell , Hougou7Tlont - at rloa 1 1-,
Le ame d.e La ampagne o. J, di' on de la Belle Jian e
( rus els. 1 9
arg nd, J. Le uiras. des Carabiniers (Pari,) 11)
ncl ur, Jan-Philipp, l aI., (ffte Bam: Grand !lor'" de
fa Cavalerie rrancaise - 1 J-, Les amets d La ampagne 0.5,
Edjli n d la B lJe Allian e (Bm I, 2002)
Bulletin and j urnals: Le Pas La Giherne, nifonnes, Tradition
Co fumes e/ nifo17n (Fran van udale)
THE PLATES
A: 1791-94
A1: Carabinier
A2: Trumpeter
A3: Officer
All three figures are reconstructed after dress regUlations
and period engravings. The trumpeter A2 wears the
standard regimental uniform but with white-and-red lace on
the sleeves, cuffs. lapels. pockets and shoulders: this. in
combination with the blue coat. gives the national colours of
revolutionary France. The turnback grenades are still blue;
and note the details of his sabre. The powdered and queued
hairstyle of all these figures is still very much 'ancien regime'.
The bearskin cap is of a model with upswept fur and a
leather front peak. The horses were mainly black or bays
(brown horses with black manes. tails, and legs below the
knees), but trumpeters rode greys. The troopers' saddlery is
of the standard French heavy cavalry pattern: that of the
officer A3 is of a more personal taste, and Includes a large
shabraque edged with red cloth.
B: REVOLUTIONARY WARS, 17908
B1, 2 & 3: Carabiniers
This period was marked by shortages of uniforms and
equipment, and soldiers laid hands on anything they could
find, on the battlefield and elsewhere, to more or less
complete their inadequate government issues. The brown
bearskin worn by one trooper (B1 - after a contemporary
German document) - still bears a plate with the former royal
motif, and the fur dressed to sweep upwards; he wears
'ducksfoot'-shaped shoulder straps instead of epaulettes.
and his carbine is slung over his shoulder on a length of
rope. Another trooper (83 - after Seele) wears an adapted
infantry coat; both he and the third (82 - after Mellinet) have
greyish overalls with a yellow stripe down the buttoned
outseam. Saddlery is simplified, and a mixture of French and
captured Austrian equipment is used.
C: CONSULATE & EMPIRE, 1804-05
C1: Louis Bonaparte, Colonel-General of
Carabiniers
C2, C3: OHicers
C4: Carabinier
The Consulate was a prosperous period of
relative peace. when elite regiments had time
and money to spend on their uniforms
and equ pment. The 'royenst' Carabiniers
returned to their ancien regime hairstyles and
uniforms, and officers ordered their coats
decorated with sliver 'brandenbourgs'
around the buttonholes: C2, C3 & C4
are all reconstructed after Hofmann. The
bearskin caps were now dressed with
the fur combed downwards, but were
still shown as being of a lower model
than those specified in the October 1801
Officer's red copper cuirass, with slivered
'sunburst' badge; note also the elttra turned
edge on the Inside of the bare steel borders.
(Author's collection)
regulations, which would soon appear. Napoleon's younger
brother Louis Bonaparte (C1 - after Ysabey), the future King
of Holland, was named as the Colonel-General of the
Carabinier branch: for Napoleon's coronation as Emperor in
1804 he wore this regimental uniform with massive sliver
embroidery, aigulllettes, and the sash of the Grand Cross of
the Legion of Honour.
D: THE EARLY EMPIRE, 1806-10
01: Officer in service dress
02: Trumpeter in parade dress
03: Carabinier in parade dress
All these figures are reconstructed after dress regulations
and period engravings. The traditional style of Carabinier
uniform is still worn, but by now, following fashion. the cut is
more closely fitting, the bearskin caps are taller, and the hair
powder has finally been discontinued. The bearskins -
Inadequately secured to the head by a leather strap passing
under the pigtail at the back of the head - are still dressed
with White cords, despite the change to red In the 1801
regulations; only the officer 01 has yet acquired a long
attachment cord passing under his epaulette to a coat
buttonhole, to prevent his cap being lost in battle. The
trumpeter 02 wears a regimental uniform in reversed colours
laced and decorated with white, including dark blue
epaulettes. Note that 03 carries his Dragoon musket with
the butt forwards and down in a leather 'bucket', the barrel
secured by a strap.
E: CAMPAIGN DRESS, 1806-10
E1: Officer
E2: Trumpeter
E3: Carabinier
The officer (E1 - after a contemporary picture) wears what
appears to be a trooper's coat, to which he has added the
silver epaulettes (thinly fringed on left, fringeless counter-
epaulette on right) of his subaltern status. His shabraque is
drawn out Into rear points decorated with silver tassels -
certainly an extravagance that only officers could afford. The
trumpeter (E2 - after dress regulations and contemporary
paintings) is again in reversed colours; but both he and the
trooper (E3 - after a contemporary painting)
wear the single-breasted surtout, very
popular within the Carabinier regiments.
The trumpeter's is scarlet. lined and piped
dark blue, with white epaulettes and
grenade badges; the trooper's is dark
blue. lined and piped scarlet, with white
grenade badges, and white braid
edging the straps of the scarlet
epaulettes. The officer and trumpeter
both wear 'baggy' dark blue trousers
noticeably more loosely cut than the
trooper's overalls. The metal chin scales
added to the bearskin caps Indicate that
these uniforms were worn in or after
1809. when this feature was ordered in
Vienna; and aU three figures have
attachment cords on their caps. Note that
E3 has his musket fixed butt forward on the
right side of his saddle, Its 'bUcket' Just
showing beyond his mount's shoulder. 45
46
,.--
/"
/
/
/
I
I
\
CarabInier tnlmpeter, as recommended by Bardin In 1812;
compare with Plate H1. The helmet has a white chenille;
and the sky-blue collar Is edged with the 'Imperial livery'
braid, of green-on-yellow altematlng crowned 'Ns' and
eagles, edged with red. More than one artist shows the
tnlmpeters wearing cuirasses; this would seem enUrely
sensible on campaign, but no documentary proof for the
practice has yet been found. (Author'S collection)
F: PARADE DRESS, 1810-15
F1: Field ofticer
F2 & F3: Carabiniers
During 1810 the Carabiniers received their new uniforms
and armour, ordered by Napoleon's decree of 24 December
1809: all these figures are reconstructed from the
regUlations and from contemporary pictures. (The armour
was not at first popular; it was not only uncomfortably
heavy, and need.ed constant polishing - it was also seen as
an insult to their bravery.) The major or colonel F1 wears
a helmet skull and cuirass of a coppery red shade, con-
trasting with the yellower brass alloy of his helmet comb.
Otherwise his officer status Is most obviously marked by
the silvered sunburst decoration on his breastplate, with a
central copper star; and by the sliver or silver-plated fittings
and decorallons of his uniform and equipment. Note the
double silver braid edging to his cuirass lining. and the
double sliver chains on its blue-faced shoulder straps. As a
field officer he wears a pair of epaulettes with thick fringes.
The officer's saddle Is recognizable by the special
Carabinier lace edging, and the fur holster covers. F2 &F3
illustrate the paler brass helmet and armour of the enlisted
ranks; note also the newly issued musketoon carried
muzzle down on the right side of the saddle, hanging from
the second belt worn over the pouch belt; the pouch, heavy
with cartridges, resting on the portmanteau: the bayonet
frogged to the sword belt on the left hip; and the straight-
bladed sabre with a plain three-bar guard, carried n a steel
scabbard. The white riding cloak on top of the portmanteau
is folded to show its partial sky-blue lining.
G: TRUMPETERS & DRUMMER, 1810-14
G1: Trumpeter, 1810
G2: Kettle drummer, 1810-14
G3: Trumpeter, 1810-13
The uniforms of regimental trumpeters of Napoleon's
armies. and to an even greater extent those of the musicians
of each unrt's lele de colonne. are often variously Illustrated
and described In pictorial and documentary sources. In an
age when absolute uniformity and adherence to regUla ions
was seldom rigidly enforced, these uniforms stili offered
some of their historic opportunities for special display,
according to unit custom and the wealth ot the officers. With
the introduction of the new while and sky-blue Carabinier
uniform a number ot choices seem to have been put forward
and tried oul. One was this red coat (G1 - after Rousselot in
'Le Passepoll'). faced and lined dark blue and laced white,
Including tasselled bars across the chest. and worn with the
old bearskin cap. To whatever extent this was adopted, It
was soon dropped in favour of a more conventional surlout
In sky-blue faced, lined and laced whrte (G3 - after the
famous collection of 'cardboard toy soldiers of Strasbourg'),
with plain lace bars across the chest, and worn with a whlte-
crested helmet. Some contemporary illustrations also show
trumpeters wearing a cuirass. Uke every elite mounted
corps the Carabinier regiments also had a mounted kettle
drummer for parading on special occasions; G2 is
reconstructed after dress regUlations.
OPPOSrTE Detail drawings of the
Carabinier helmet according to
Bardin, the officer entrusted
with writing the new 1812 dress
regulations for the French Army.
This profile clearly shows the
dramatically 'classical' shape,
with the comb set far back on
the back-swept skull and the
chenille crest protruding far
forwards. (Author's collection)
Vemet painting of a trooper and
officer of Ute 2nd Regt;fter Ute
1812 Bardin reforms the 2nd
Carabiniers were Identifiable
by sky-blue cuffs, the 1st by red
cuffs, both with sky-blue flaps.
The trooper - here wearing
black gaiters for dismounted
duty - shows clearly how the
An IX musketoon was hooked
to a second shoulder belt over
the pouch belt. Armed with
this carbine, a heavy sabre, a
bayonet and two pistOlS, and
wearing armour, the Carabiniers
- like the Cuirassiers - could
be considered as the 'tanks'
of Napoleon'S time.
(Author's collection)
H: CAMPAIGN DRESS, 1813-15
H1: Trumpeter
H2: Carabinier
H3: Officer
All these figures are reconstructed after dress regulations
and contemporary SOurces. In 1812, after several unsuc-
cessful attempts to temper regimental excesses in the
dress for drummers and trumpeters particularly, Napoleon
ordered a new regulation uniform for them. For the first time
regiments had to adopt the 'Imperial Livery'; a green
uniform with chevrons and bands of yellow-green-red lace
on the sleeves, cuffs, collars, tails and around the buttons
on the chest. In this uniform. worn from 1813 onwards, Hl
retaIns the Carabiniers' sky-blue collar, cuffs and piping.
Another distinction is the white 'caterpillar' crest on the
helmet, though this was sometimes also represented as
sky-blue.
The white uniforms of the Carabiniers were so prone to dirt
when In the field that replacements for campaign use were
apparently adopted. More than one contemporary artist (e.g.
Albrecht Adam during the Russian campaign) shows
Carabiniers in blue uniforms of a shade between sky-blue
and the normal French blue - see H2, a trooper at Waterloo,
after contemporary pictures. We know that other cavalry
regiments replaced their full dress uniforms when on
campaign, so it is plausible that the Carabiniers did the
same. Alternatively they wore their stable jackets or undress
uniforms of that colour. The Waterloo campaign was
characterized by a number of transitional uniform features.
All royalist emblems had to be removed. yet since there was
practically no time to replace them with Imperial equivalents
soldiers often wore neither - e.g. this trooper has no helmet
insignia. Note his red grenade turnback badge; and the
old- style shell guard and black sword knot attached to his
new- style curved sabre.
The mounted officer H3 also wears a substitute campaign
uniform, here a long-tailed mid-blue coal, under his copper-
red cuirass; but when the Emperor was present and
commanding in person the officers were supposed to wear
their white full dress uniforms in the field. Note that his
helmet comb is made from the same copper-coloured alloy
as the skull; and the long red horsehair mane hanging below
his chenille - this gave some extra protection against cuts,
as well as being decorative.
47
48
INDEX
FiglllC) ill uuld refcr to iItU)Ir-.HiollS.
Ahbtd.Josc:pll
c\e",iIIWsS ,KCOurllS 9. 12-13
(>r 11
AIlx'mdcrl.Tsotro(Russi,. 10. II, 15
Treou), of 5.6
'Ar111) of the CoastS of the Ocean' 6
1\lIstcrlilJ, hallie of 7
Austri,lll armies 5,6. II. 12. 13
Bal'day. Geller-II Michael 24
Bassignac. Colonel Jcom de 5
Ikllnigs.cn. General Levin 9
Ikl'lmdouc, Cro,,'n Prince of S",'cdcn
24. 33
Bcssicrcs. Marsh:.1 11
Blancard, Colonel 8.9. 10. 19,20.35.
37,38,39
Bliichcr. Gcm:rnl Gd)bard 21. 2fl
Borghcsc. PI'ince C;llnillc 7.8. 9
Borodino. b..111lc of 17-20
campaiJ:"lIs
1'oiapoleonic
(1805) 6-7
(1806-07) 8-9
(1809) 11-13
(1812) 1.'l-23
(1813) 23-1.33-5
([813-14) 34-5
(1814-1." 3S-6
Friedland 9-1 I
rCln::l.l frOl1l Moscow 20-3
as Rc\,n]uLiomlry troops 5
;IS Roptisl troops"
Carnbinicrs de Momicur ..
C1ral)in;I'('S elu COlllpU: de Prm't'l1ce '1
dll Roi "
Chambrouc. Sc:rge:lm <J
Charles. Archduke of Austria [I, [2
Ctmlilions Fnlllce
Third 6-7
Fourth 8
Sixth 23
'Comincuml S)'stem' If,
cuirasses 3,3, [3-101,41,44.45
dAlhrd.Jc;m :}
d'Anglan, Comic >
d'Anois, UUllte 36
D;l\'Olll, Marshal Louis II
Defrance, C-enem[ 9. II. 12
Elbing 9
Antoine :1
Friedland. b;lIl1e of 9-10
Friedrich Wilhelm, King nf I'russia to
helmets '11.42,44, ,16
Kellermilli. 37.38
KlllllZO\', General Mikail 7.17
I...;lriboiserc. Uell!. Ferdinand (It: 17,
18.19.20
Laroche, Colonel Frall,ois 7.9,21
Army Museum 3
LOllis XIV, Killg of Fr;lllce 1
l\'lad.. (;cucrnl Karl fi
l\l:igdcburg garrison 34-5
Mosko....l. bauit' of Jet BorodillO,
b;-mle of
:'>1;lrshaIJO;lfhiln Ii. [Ii, 20.
21,23
Gencml 7, 8. 9, 10. II.
[2.15
IJonap:lrtf'
iUlll rcfonns OfCar;lbinit'T
Rt'gilllCI1LS 5-6
return from Elha ('xile 37-9
Nl,'crwindcn. b;ulJc of 4
N,,\. :'>larsh:.1 Michel 3.37.38. 3!,l
I'CllinsU!;lr W,lr II
Portugal 10
I'rcsshurg. Trcatl' of 7
rank diqinctions 010,012
Rcgimclll Piquet 21.22
rcgimenmlorg;lllh;inion
at bomle of Hodm."ledt 6
Colonels of regimCIlI II
:Il first
and French +-6
and i\'llJXlIi:OI1 8
Olig;ns 3--4
Rille!. S/IJeutemlllt
elc witne!>S ;U:COUl1l 3:'1. 31
:If'Il1;es 7
Sacred Squadwl1 21-2
K:lrl 24.33
Soult. Marsh..1Nicol;ls R. \1
Spain 10-1 I
nIsi!. Pellee of 10. II
uniforms 39-4'1
1'1'('-1810 3!J-41
1810 41-3
18121\ardil1 n\o<lifir;ulon< 43
t".lnlbini(n 5,9,13.21, AI, B. C-l.
03. .3. f2, F3. H2. 34. 35. 38,
39.015,46. 'Ii. 47
Coq)or..1 40
dnl1nmcr.. G2.46
r.lrrieT 14. 43
heal) c:II'al'1' 16
LOUIS Bonap:lflc el,45
Nap<J[conic changes [3-15
ollkel'S 12. 15. 17, A3. C2, C3.
01. EI '1. H3. 37. 45. 46.
017.47
tiding m:lIllle< 21,41.42
Sc:rge:tlil 23
Sc:l'gc:lm,M;tiur 201
smhle drcloli 7. 'II
TI'U111jX'Hn'!,jor 41
4, 10.;\2.02. E2. GI.
G3. HI, 40. 42. 015. ,16. 'Ii
Viennil
capture of 7.12
VillerX'Il-<:;llIche. b."lillc llf 5
Wagl.lIll. b,mk of 12.13
WalerlO!.>. b:m1e of 37-9
we;lpons 10-1. 12, 42
The uniforms, equipment. history and organization
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apol on's
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and cuira se . R -form d aft r
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1 12, th f u hl at Leipzig
and in man actions f th
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