Sunday, 3 February 2013

Camp Scenes

These are some of the sketches sent home by French officers and soldiers during the Crimean War to their families, showing in detail their daily lives.

A convivial party of French officers; the seated figure on the right is an Artillery Officer - you can just make out the crossed cannons on his giberne.

This was drawn by Sergent A. Maurice, 4e Compagnie, 1e Battalion, 3e Regiment du Genie and included in a letter to his parents dated 29 December 1854. He entitled his sketch - a self-portrait perhaps? - "A Sapeur du Genie dressed for the trenches": he is wearing a red Zouave cap, a fleece jerkin over a short "patelot" (jacket), his regulation blue trousers and long gaiters. He has abandoned his cumbersome Sabre-Glaive but retained his giberne and bayonet.

A Zouave dress in "Tenue de Travail" (working dress) in his tasselled Fez, smock, baggy red pantaloons, gaiters and jambieres.

 Not to be mistaken for a Zouave, this Spahis formed the personal escort of General Saint Arnaud, later General Francois Canrobert. Many British soldiers thought their "Oriental" uniforms "Grotesque" and mocked their flowing capes, called a Bernous, thinking that they looked like "old women".

A relaxed group of French cavalry officers: the two standing figures are officers of Dragoons ( the 6e and 7e Dragons were in the Crimea) whilst the seated ifgure is a Hussar or Chasseur d'Afrique wearing his dolman.

Finally, some "Anglais".L-R a "General en Tenue de Fantasie" (General in fantasy-dress); an officer and two men of the 8th Hussars, Scots and English troops and finally a Guardsman in his tall bearskin.

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