Wednesday, November 23, 2016

French Napoleonic Line Infantry in Bicorne, Part 2


Here are the second pair of new French Napoleonic Line Infantry wearing the older uniforms and Bicorne prior to the adoption of the shako.


This new unit is designated as the 27e Ligne


It is descended from the Lyonnais Regiment, raised in 1616.


The 27e fought at Ulm Eylau, Friedland, Essling, Wagram, Almeida, Lutzen, Dresden, and Waterloo.


Of course, most of these figures are actually wearing the fatigue (forage) cap, or bonnet de police. Note the 5th figure from the left with his bicorne strapped to the back of his pack for safe keeping! These little touches made these Old Glory figures in Campaign Dress especially fun to paint. 


Next up is the 8e Ligne.


Descended from Austrasie regiment, which was raised rather late (1776). 


The 8e fought at Austerlitz, Danzig, Friedland, Vittoria, Essling, Wagram, and Arcis-Aube.


Rather out of fashion by the Empire, I have none the less given this unit some very Republican looking tricolor trousers!


Vive l' France!  (and I see I managed to put the flag on upside down once again - grrr!)


The blue and red Micron pens came in handy for doing the stripes!


Veillons au salut de l'Empire, Hymn of the Napoleonic Empire


Veillons au salut de l'Empire was in fact a revolutionary song composed by Boy-d'Alayrac in 1791. It is derived from an opera created under the old regime, in 1787: "Renaud d'Ast". The tune is that of "Vous qui d’amoureuse aventure" (You who love adventure). Gossec wrote the orchestration of this air in 1792. The revolutionary words were penned by Girey-Dupré. The Empire to which the song refers has no connection with the Imperial regime of Napoleon which would not come into existence for another 13 years. "The Empire" here represents the French Republic and its Sister Republics, the whole of the conquests of Freedom vis-a-vis the monarchies of the continent. With the subsequent establishment of the French Empire under Napoleon, he took advantage of the ambiguity of the title to make this song its unofficial hymn. 


Although I have been aware of this music since about 1970 (I have an old Nonsuch record of Military Marches, Fanfares, and Choruses from the time of Napoleon, which includes it, and it is also referenced in Chandler as well, IIRC, with the lyrics), I had had not realized that is origins were Revolutionary until doing the background research for this post, despite the lyrics which seemed a bit incongruous for the Napoleonic state! I picked out the tune on the piano from the recorded music, and had occasion to play it on my baritone horn once in college as a celebratory tune while I and the rest of the Marching Band were changing out of our (very Napoleonic styled) uniforms. The Band Director heard it and hazarded a guess as to the source of the tune, naming some popular group I'd never heard of. He was quite surprised when I replied (doubtless with horrid pronunciation of the title)
"Veillons au salut de l'Empire, by d'Alarac and Gossec, Hymn of the French Napoleonic Empire." Considering that this was just after the end of the Vietnam War, the Revolutionary lyrics might have been more generally acceptable than the Imperial connection!


Veillons au salut de l'Empire
Veillons au maintien de nos lois
Si le despotisme conspire
Conspirons la perte des rois.
Liberté, que tout mortel te rende hommage
Tremblez, tyrans, vous allez expier vos forfaits !
Plutôt la mort que l'esclavage:
C'est la devise des Français.




Let's ensure the salvation of the Empire,
Let's ensure the maintenance of our laws;
If despotism conspires,
We conspire the downfall of kings!
Freedom! (repeat) that every mortal pays you homage!
Tyrants, tremble! You will atone for your crimes!
Death rather than slavery!
That's the motto of the French


Du salut de notre patrie
Dépend celui de l'univers.
Si jamais elle est asservie
Tous les peuples sont dans les fers.
Liberté, que tout mortel te rende hommage
Tremblez, tyrans, vous allez expier vos forfaits !
Plutôt la mort que l'esclavage:
C'est la devise des Français.

Ennemis de la tyrannie
Paraissez tous, armez vos bras,
Du fond de l'Europe avilie
Marchez avec nous au combat:
Liberté, que ce nom sacré nous rallie
Tremblez, tyrans, vous allez expier vos forfaits !
Nous servons la même patrie
Les hommes libres sont français !

Jurons union éternelle
Avec tous les peuples divers
Jurons une guerre mortelle
A tous les rois de l'univers.
Liberté, que ce nom sacré nous rallie,
Poursuivons les tyrans, punissons leurs forfaits !
On ne voit plus qu'une patrie
Quand on a l'âme d'un Français.

20 comments:

  1. Nice painting and story to boot.

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    1. Thanks, Joe. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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  3. Peter, enjoy seeing your early war French mustering out. Having painted many French in both Shako and bicorne, I think I prefer the look of bicorne. How many more French battalions do you expect to field? The 8th must have been disgraced to be ordered to fly their flag upside down!

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    1. Thanks, Jon. The bicorne is certainly much easier to paint, isn't it? Overall, I prefer the look of the shakos, but I have really enjoyed the bicorne wearing units as a change of pace.
      While I have to add the Grenadiers and Voltigeurs the next time I renew my ARMY CARD, plus another Legere unit (perhaps the Tirailleurs Corses or Tirailleurs du Po?) to go with them, I expect that to be about it; that will bring my total to 32 Ligne and 8 Legere regiments of 18 figures each. If I need more than that and don't want to use stand ins from my 5 regiment Italian, Westphalian, or Saxon Divisions, not to mention the Bavarians, Wurttembuergers, Badeners, and/or Poles, Barry, Greg, and others in the Hartford group have quite a few more. Of coiurse, with Barry's Frenchmen, I have those command stands with dogs relieveing themselves on French wounded... Perhaps LaPisse should be commanding them instead?! :-)

      The poor 8e; perhaps their upside down flag was a protest by the Republican sympathizers in the officer corps against the Empire? I have plenty more Signifer flags, so I will probably have to fix that!

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    2. Peter, do you have any of the limited edition Dave Allsop figures that old Glory produced years ago? If so, how do they compare with the 1st Edition French?

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    3. I think that was way, way before my time with Old Glory, which really started with my first HMGS convention circa 1999.

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  4. Another super looking unit mustered :-)

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  5. More super looking units, I do like the bonnet de police worn by half the first unit, it's much more characterful than the pork pie fatigue cap that replaced it.
    Best Iain

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    1. Thank you, Iain. I agree with you re; the bonnet de police vs the later ? pokalem cap.

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  6. Looks fantastic Peter, I must add a few conscripts in fatigue caps. Great story too!

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    1. Thanks, Mark. They are a fun change from the usual!

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  7. Great looking units. The tricolor pants are a nice touch.

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  8. Thanks, Jake. Very Rebublican, but fun as a variant!

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  9. Lovely work again Peter, they really do look unmistakably French in those pants. Just the ticket.

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    1. Thanks, Lawrence - I had fun with their pants. Hmm, that sounds vaguely naughty, LOL!

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  10. They look dynamic and superb (love the trousers...)...et superbe article, bien sûr!

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    1. Thank you Phil, glad you enjoyed them!

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