Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A tale of Cantieres and Grenadiers

As some readers might recall, included in some odds and ends on my pre-Historicon painting table were a Cantiniere and her loaded pack donkey by Connoisseur miniatures, and the Molly Pitcher figure give-away figure from ? Perry miniaturizes a few years back. I had some breathing space in the painting queue, and this polished them off shortly before leaving for Fredericksburg.

Here's the Trio; I think Molly is still pretty usable as an early 19th century European woman, probably from a rural area where keeping up with the latest fashions in Paris, etc is not feasible! In any case, women are severely under represented in my collection... just as they are among wargamers!  :-)

Remember that Essex  Chasseur a Pied "casualty" figure "playing the air guitar" as James so memorably put it? I figured he could just as well look like he was accosting the Cantiniere for her wares... or her favors! 

On the other hand, our Guardsman might be mortally wounded after all; from the chapter on Montmirail in Lachouque's wonderful The Anatomy of Glory: Napoleon and his Guard, comes this poignant tale.
On this day a drummer of the Guard was among the killed. He was the legal spouse of the vivandiere Marie Tete-du-bois, famous in the battalion for her tart tongue and her bravery and kindness. They had been married in Verona. During the Marengo campaign she had borne him a son, who was now drumming in the pupilles. She had nothing left in the world except him. Perhaps the Emperor would make him a sergeant - if God permitted..."

In memory of this story, Marie, her donkey and her fallen Guardsman appeared as "extras" on the table in both of the Historicon Montmirail games. If you look carefully, you can see them in several of the shots from the 2nd game, alongside the road from the French table edge to Le Tremblay. Marie grieves for her fallen husband and hopes to approach the Emperor to ask for an imperial boon for the son of one of his beloved "grognards", fallen in his service that day. 

La Grenadière
In honor them and all of the Grenadiers, the above is "The Grenadier's Piece" (as opposed to "The Female Grenadier"), one of the better known French Napoleonic marches.


  1. Nice figures and great story! It has been too many years since I last pulled Anatomy of Glory off the shelf. Now, I must revisit your Montmirail photos.

  2. The Anatomy of Glory is a great read. I only acquired my (very lightly used) copy about 2-3 years ago at a convention for the paltry sum of $30... a small fraction of what it would have cost 10 years ago. Good for me now, but a bit sad for when I pass on! That stash of books so carefully collected may have far less value and interest than it would have 20 years ago!

  3. Great extras for the table. I have a plan for a few of these, but there is so much else on the painting list as well.
    I bought my copy of Anatomy of Glory when I was a member of the History Book Club; in the '90's. Good luck to the unlucky one that has to sort through my books and miniatures.

    1. Thanks. Mike. Yes, that is a bit on an issue, although one we don't lkike to think of; what will become of our collections of books, figures, etc, collected and with much energy over the years. Of course, the absolute worst thing would be for someone with no idea of their value. monetary or otherwise, top just throw them out.. Ideal would be to pass them on to friends and/or relatives who would understand their value, both monetary and sentimental. Intermediate would be to sell them off ion various ways. Some kind of wargaming estate planning is probably needed!