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Napoleon’s Hussars and Chasseurs (ePub)

Uniforms and Equipment of the Grande Armée, 1805-1815

Military > By Century > 19th Century Military > Frontline eBooks Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic Military > Regimental History

By Paul L. Dawson
Frontline Books
File Size: 173.1 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781399030793
Published: 30th November 2023


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Small men, with big egos and moustaches, the hussars of Napoleon’s army wore some of the most flamboyant and stylish uniforms of the epoch. In this book, the uniforms of the seventeen regiments of hussars are discussed in detail by renowned historian Paul L. Dawson, along with the dress of their brethren in the thirty-two regiments of Chasseurs à cheval, with an emphasis on the highly elaborate dress of the trumpeters.

Having been granted access to over 1,000 archive boxes, held in the Service Historique de l’Armée de Terre in Paris and the Archives Nationales, the author is able to assesses how the wide ranging 1806 uniform regulations and the more famous Bardin regulations were adopted in practice. This vast resource, as yet untapped by the majority of researchers and historians for understanding the Napoleonic era in general, provides detail never previously revealed to the general public.

This is possible because every year a regiment would be inspected, and the condition of the uniforms assessed. A return of all the clothing to be disposed of was made, and the appropriate number of new items ordered. Items of clothing and equipment needing repair were also recorded, as was how many pieces had been repaired since the last inspection. Upon joining a regiment, the recruit was given his first full set of clothing and equipment, which came from stoppages in his pay. Each item of clothing had a specified life – a bearskin had to last twenty years, for example. If the items needed repair or replacement inside the prescribed period due to misuse, the cost was borne by the soldier. All of this was recorded.

These invaluable sources provide bias free empirical data from which we can reconstruct the life story of a regiment, its officers and above all its clothing and equipment. In addition to the official records, the author has constructed how the regiments were dressed from diaries, letters, and even cases of fraud.

As well as providing the recorded details, this book shows in scores of beautiful illustrations exactly how each regiment appeared. These images include period paintings as well as works specifically commissioned for this book, plus unique photographs of existing items of uniform. Now, for the first time since the days of Napoleon, we can say exactly what was worn by Napoleon’s light cavalry.

Review as featured in

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, January 2024

"Napoleon’s Hussars and Chasseurs" is not merely a historical account but a visual feast, making it a must-read for both military history enthusiasts and those captivated by the elegance of Napoleonic-era fashion.

Reader review

About Paul L. Dawson

Paul L. Dawson BSc Hons MA MIFA FINS, is a historian and author, specialising in the French Army of the Napoleonic War. In addition, as a noted equestrian, this allows him to have a greater understanding of what was and what was not possible for cavalry and other troops which utilised horses. Working as a historical tailor producing museum-quality replica clothing gives him a unique insight into construction techniques of the period, as well the knowledge and ability to decipher documents from the period.

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