OK, well my French Napoleonic army was starting to complain to me pretty bitterly about lack of equal time on the blog, and the cavalry men in general were feeling slighted; hence this post concerns the French Chasseurs a Cheval of the Line. These guys were the workhorses of the French Cavalry, responsible for scouting and screening, as well as providing the bulk of the limited cavalry assigned to each Army Corps. Not quite as flashy as their Hussar comrades in arms, they are still never the less my personal favorite among all the French cavalry of the Napoleonic Wars.
At the start of the wars of the Revolution there were but 12 regiments (1789), but their numbers rapidly increased, reaching 26 regiments by only 1793. At the start of the Empire in 1804 there were 24 regiments, numbered 1 to 26, with the 17th and 18th being vacant, those regiments having been disbanded under the Republic for "acts of indiscipline". Under the Empire, the 22nd - 26th regiments were evidently habitually broken up and assigned as staff troops or guides to the various Army Corps and their commanders. Later, the 27th (1808), 28th (1808), 29th (1808), 30th (1811) and 31st (1811) regiments were raised from various sources. The 31st regiment had an evanescent existence, being converted almost immediately to the 9th regiment of Chevau-Leger Lanciers, wearing a dark blue Polish style uniform completed with czapska, and sporting buff colored facings and Czapska top.
Under the Republic, the Chassuers wore a dark green dolman akin to the hussars, but generally without the pelisse, decorated with copious white (silver for officers) lace/braiding. Officially the dolman was abolished under the Empire, but its use persisted for quite some time in certain regiments. Regiments known to have been at least partially clad in the dolman include the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 20th and 24th in the early years of the Empire (1804 - 1806), the 4th in 1808 and the 5th as late as 1811. Trousers were generally dark green with white lace on the knots and seems when worn with the dolman, otherwise the seam only was usually piped in the facing color of the regiment. In 1809, most units would have been wearing the the habit Kinski, which was replacing the older habit long. The facing colors appeared on the turnbacks, collars, and cuffs as well as piping the lapels or seam of the jacket. Waistcoats were worn, and could be seen below the lower V-cut of the jacket. Officially there were white, but green, red, yellow, orange and facing colored versions were all known, often laced in imitation of the dolman.
Theoretically, a regiment consisted of 4 squadrons of 2 companies each, the first company of the first squadron being the compagnie d' elite, more or less corresponding to the grenadiers of the infantry of the Line. On paper, each company had 82 troopers, 1 trumpeter, 14 NCO's and 3 officers, with a regimental staff of 21, thus totaling some 821 men; in practice such numbers were rarely if ever achieved, especially in the field, with 600 men probably being a regiment in pretty good shape.
The regiments were assigned facing colors as below (turnbacks not worn on the dolman, obviously); where an item was dark green it was piped in the regimental color, and collars and/or cuffs in the facing color were piped in dark green.
Regiment Turnbacks Collars Cuffs
1st Scarlet Scarlet Scarlet
2nd Scarlet Green Scarlet
3rd Scarlet Scarlet Green
4th Yellow Yellow Yellow
5th Yellow Green Yellow
6th Yellow Yellow Green
7th Pink (Rose) Pink Pink
8th Pink Green Pink
9th Pink Pink Green
10th Crimson Crimson Crimson
11th Crimson Green Crimson
12th Crimson Crimson Green
13th Orange Orange Orange
14th Orange Green Orange
15th Orange Orange Green
16th Sky Blue Sky Blue Sky Blue
18th ( vacant )
19th Aurore Aurore Aurore
20th Aurore Green Aurore
21st Aurore Aurore Green
22nd Capucine Capucine Capucine
23rd Capucine Green Capucine
24th Capucine Capucine Green
25th Madder Red Madder Red Madder Red
26th Madder Red Green Madder Red
27th Madder Red Madder Red Green
28th Amaranth Amaranth Amaranth
29th Amaranth Green Amaranth
30th Amaranth Amaranth Green
Head gear was a black shako with a silver plate and white cords, the cords being abolished in the later years, at least officially. In full dress, plumes were worn, again being later abolished. These were usually facing color over dark green or vice versa; white for senior officers and usually red for the compagnie d' elite. Elite companies generally wore red epaulets, and usually wore the balck fur colpack as well. Officers, whether of the elite company or not often wore the colpack, and often wore red or green leather boots in full dress. Their webbing for full dress was also often of leather in the facing color with silver ornaments. On to some pictures!
A final shot of the 16th Chasseurs as they charge up a gentle ridge; note that in this case the trooper of the compagnie d' elite has both a sky blue plume on his colpack and a sky blue bag piped white. Foundry figures once again.
Thanks again for reading; not my best painting on these figures which were done more than 10 years ago, before adopting my current techniques. Still I think they are a dashing group!