French infantry uniforms & facings
infantry uniforms underwent many changes during the Revolutionary
and Napoleonic Wars, moving from the white coats of the Royal
Army to the dark blue coats of the revolutionary forces.
on there was much resentment between the older regular troops
(les blancs) and the newer units (les bleus), so in 1793 the
official uniform was decreed to be blue.
shortages meant that many units did not change from their
white coats for some time. In 1806 some units were changed
back into white as part of an army transformation, but few
remained in the former royal colour for long.
They were difficult to keep clean on campaign and it is said
the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte himself ordered the return
to blue after seeing the white uniforms showing too much blood
at the slaughterhouse that was Eylau.
breeches with black knee-length gaiters (occasionally white
in summer) were regulation, although the revolutionary armies
often used civilian red, white and blue striped trousers on
wore bicorne hats up until 1806, when stronger felt shakos
troops generally had red pom-poms and cuffs, with cloth shoulder
straps; voltigeurs yellow collars with epaulettes combining
yellow, green and sometimes the addition of red. Grenadiers
had red shako plumes, epaulettes and turnbacks.
were grey or a bluey-grey.
1811, orders were made for uniforms that distinguished each
fusileer company of a battalion.
first company would have dark-green pom-poms, the second sky-blue,
the third an orange-pink and the fourth violet.
were only to be used by senior officers. A colonel had white,
a major red-topped white and a chef de bataillon had red.
More junior officers and non-commissioned officers were to
have white pom-poms, with those in voltigeur companies wearing
yellow and grenadiers red.