Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Les Cantinieres

Cantinieres were a unique and beneficial feature of the French Army from 1657 to 1898. The French Second Empire - 1852-1870 - has been frequently described as their "Golden Age" as it was in this period they received their glamorous uniforms, were popularised in story and song and in commercial prints the rather sacharine "Image d'Epinal."


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Letters home from the Crimea

Wakefield Voices from the Crimean War now available from Lulu!


The private letters and personal experiences of Wakefield men serving in the Siege of Sebastopol. This book collects letters sent home from the Crimean War by soldiers and sailors from the West Yorkshire town (now city) of Wakefield, which were published in the local newspapers. Through these letters these men reveal their personal experiences and thoughts about the war, as well as their allies, their enemies, and their generals.

Friday, 23 November 2012

French Logistics in the Crimean War

The logistics of the French army in the Crimea were the responsibility of the Corps d'Intendants Militaire, an organisation created in 1817 by Marshal St Cyr. It was formed from the fusion of the Commissaires du Guerre (War Commissaries) and the Inspecteurs Aux Revue (Review Inspectors) - the former were responsbile for procurement and supply, the latter for quality control and superintending the internal administration of every regiment in the army. Thus, from the outset, the Intendance Militaire suffered from a split-personality: responsible for procuring supplies and also checking their quality.

Photographs of French Artillery

Continuing the theme of French Artillery,  here are some photographs in my personal collection of French artillery officers c.1860. These photographs are copyright Anthony Leslie Dawson. Please do not copy or use without permission.

An anonymous Chef d'Escadron decorated with the Legion d'Honneur.

French Artillery in the Crimean War

During the Crimean War the French army used two main types of Field Artillery - Artillerie Montee (mounted artillery) where the gunners rode on the limbers and caissons (but NCOs and Officers were mounted) and Artillerie a Cheval (Horse Artillery) where the gunners and officers were mounted on horses.

They were armed with the revolutionary 12-cm calibre shell-gun or Canon-Obusier (literally, Gun-Howitzer) designed by Louis-Napoleon which could fire explosive shells, solid round shot and case shot (Mitraille).

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Vive Les Chasseurs!

Photographs of Chasseurs a Pied, c.1860

A much-decorated anonymous Capitaine whose medals include the Legion d'Honneur, the British Crimean War Medal with three clasps (Alma, Inkerman, Sebastopol)

A relaxed-looking Sergent in walking-out dress, with his Bonnet de Police a Souffle on his knee.

A Corporal in undress, wearing his leather gaiters.

A very smart-looking Chasseur wearing his shako with its elaborate dark green and red plume

A member of a battalion's Fanfare - from 1855 each batalion of Chasseurs was allowed a "Fanfare", equipped with instruments a la Saxe.

The Changing faces of Louis Barnet

Presented here are photographs of Capitaine Louis Barnet (1820-1898), of the 40eme de Ligne during the Second Empire.He is a typical example of an officer who worked his way slowly, but surely up the ranks.

Louis Barnet was born in Paris, 19th June 1820 and died 31st October 1898 at his home, 50 Avenue de Wagram, Nueilly-sur-Seine int he department of the Seine.

He was awarded the Legion d'Honneur with the rank of Knight (Chevalier) 7th April 1865. He served during the Franco-Prussian War and was awarded an annual pension of 250 Francs by the Legion d'Honneur  from 12th December 1871. It was paid in half-yearly installements from 1872 (first payment made 1st January) and the last payment was made in the second half of 1885.

Photographed here in old age c.1890

A reservist, c.1870. He retired from the army in 1867.

Photographed in 1865 (L) and 1864 (R) Capitaine of the Voltigeur Company, a rank and position he attained on 24th August 1863.

Lieutenant of Voltigeurs (promoted 1854) photographed here in 1862. He had been promoted Sous-Lieutenant from Sergent-Major in the 40eme 30th September 1850 aged 30.