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."


Women in the Second Empire were organised by regulations of the July Monarchy (1830-1848). From 14th April 1832 each Infantry Battalion was allowed four vivandière-blanchisseuses.[1] The regiments of the Imperial Guard were allowed up to ten cantinières.[2] These ‘useful and necessary’ women were nominated to serve their battalion by the regimental colonel and were to be of ‘good virtue and morals’.[3] In barracks the vivandière-blanchisseuse was to run the canteen and do the laundry of the officers and NCOs, and on campaign to act as a victualler providing extra foodstuffs and necessities (as well as comforts) for her battalion.[4] The Royal Ordnance of 4th May 1832 clarified that of 14th April, and laid out in detail the duties and responsibilities of the vivandière-blanchisseuse.[5] Vivandières were appointed at Regimental level by their Administrative Councils who granted their Patentes and also provided their clothing and rations.[6] Vivandières were to wear an oval plate, stamped in brass which bore their unique registration number, the Division or Regiment to which they were attached and number of their Patente which they were to carry at all times.[7]  They were originally forbidden from wearing uniforms because they were civil not military employees of the Ministry of War, but the Royal Ordnance of 4th March 1843 granted vivandière-blanchisseuses a regulation uniform, the same or similar to the regiment to which they were attached.[8] In 1852 the terms vivandière and vivandière-blanchisseuse were officially abolished and replaced by cantinière.[9] This did not stop British observers invariably describing cantinières as vivandières throughout the duration of the Crimean war.


Cantinières and popular culture.

Popular culture demanded, or perhaps required, that cantinières were all young, pretty and buxom. The reality, however, was the opposite: these women were chosen to be cantinières not for their looks but for their hardiness on campaign, and perhaps also to provide a matronly figure to young soldiers and prevent their ‘temptation’.[1]   Such was the public fascination with these women that they even appeared on the stage.[2] Furthermore, such was the public appeal of these women, embellished by their portrayal in popular culture, and accounts of their acts of bravery and military service, that they were a positive contribution towards women's rights in France.[3]

As a result cantinières became a popular subject for theatricals and entertainment. The most popular depiction of the cantinière was through the opera La Vivandière by Donzietti. The title was a deliberate reference to an earlier title for the cantinière. It was first performed in Paris at the Opéra Comique as La Fille du Régiment in 1840 before going to London in 1844 as ‘Josephine or the Daughter of War’.[4] The opera received great public acclaim in France and in Britain.[5] The most famous actress to perform the female lead for a London audience was the Swedish singer, Jenny Lind, one of the prettiest and most celebrated singers of the period.[6]  As noted earlier, like most popular media, the opera defined cantinières in the public imagination as young, brave and pretty.[7]  A comic opera called La Vivandière by Mademoiselle Cerito was premiered in Paris 1844 and transferred to London in the same year.[8] A ballet La Vivandière was first produced in Paris in 1844 and later performed in London and the provinces.[9] There was also a quadrille dance called the ‘Vivandière’ that was also extremely popular,[10] and Vivandière was the name of a St Leger winning race-horse. Unsurprisingly the opera La Vivandière received a popular revival in London at the outbreak of war in 1854, because of the interest aroused by Britain’s new allies.[11]  These stage performances, whilst not an accurate portrayal of the life of a cantinière, helped to cement the romantic beau ideal of the cantinière and no doubt helped in their recruitment.[12]

In Britain before the Crimean war, cantinières were already considered a unique and beneficial feature of the French army.[13]  One military commentator thought that the presence of the cantinières was beneficial to the troops on service, but, because soldiers had to rely on the cantinière to supplement their rations, that there must be a fault with the French army commissariat.[14] More conservative (political and religious) observers thought the presence of women on the battlefield immoral,[15] and the cantinières ‘flauntingly dressed’.[16] A. W. Kinglake was under the erroneous impression that cantinières were prostitutes or could procure them.[17]

Cantinières were very frequently depicted in colour prints of the French army, especially those of Francois Hippolyte Lalaisse in his famous series The French Army and its Cantinières published in 1859[18] and in The French Army and the Imperial Guard (1853-1860).[19] It was Lalaisse who did the most to popularise the cantinière, showing them always in full dress uniform, the majority being young, shapely, often with their husbands and children, looking lovingly at each other.  Lalaisse was often careful to show the cantinières in a very feminine role, as a homemaker, parent, cook or nurse rather than in her more masculine roles of canteen-keeper or fighter. The Livret d’or des Cantinières enthused over the cantinières’ individual acts of heroism and bravery, often thought the equal of or greater than that of their male colleagues. Their bravery and life stories appeared in historical fiction, such as the writing of Ernest Capendu.[25] Léon Gozlon, Edouard La Barre Duparcq and others extolled their ‘French’ virtues and fighting spirit immediately after the fall of the Second Empire when France needed inspiring images to unite its people.[26]  The fictional heroine cantinière, Victorine Charlemagne fulfilled a similar function during the troubled years 1848-1852.[27] Capitaine Auguste Richard, a French army moralist, reformer and noted critic of the cantinières, wrote their definitive history in 1897,[28] when the existence of cantinières in the French army was being hotly debated.[29] The image of a cantinière took on a political role as well, being linked to the 1st Empire, thus appearing in broadsheets and posters of the Bonapartists during the Revolution of 1848.[30]

Roger Fenton’s famous posed photographs of a cantinière of the Zouaves at Sebastopol is part of the idealised image d’epinal; showing a pretty young woman in a smart military uniform performing the role not of a barmaid or fighter (which many cantinières were) but of a nurse, fulfilling the need of a growing middle-class ideal of women’s roles in society and the family. Ironically, as a cantinière of the Zouaves, his subject was exactly the type of woman who was more likely to be found running a canteen or fighting in the ranks than tending to the sick!

The Cantinières and British Army wives

In direct contrast to the methode of the French army of employing women, the British army considered women a drain on limited army resources and Major John Patterson believed that married men had no place in the army.[31] In addition, unlike French cantinières, it was considered immoral for women to be employed by the army in any capacity, even that of a washerwoman.[32]  Despite the regulations, however, many regiments found that having the wives cook and do the laundry for the men was more necessary on campaign than sticking to the letter of the regulations.[33] These were sentiments that echoed the French regulations for cantinières, which described their duties as both ‘useful, and necessary’.[34] Furthermore, unlike cantinières who drew a full ration, British army wives were only entitled to half-rations and did not have separate living quarters away from the men.[35] Marianne Young thought there was an ‘astonishingly lack of gallantry’ on the part of the British military authorities in sending wives to war, a mistake compounded by the lack of any provision for them.[36] The number of women the British army took on campaign was ultimately higher than the French – four per company during wartime – and represented a considerable tail of non-combatants.[37] French cantinières and their children were also entitled to treatment in military hospitals, unlike the British wives and children who were denied such treatment both during the Crimean War and after.[38] Despite their presence in the war zone, officially children were excluded from the British army, and therefore could not be treated. Meanwhile the French army had its system of Enfants de Troupe, whereby up to twenty-two children (below the age of 14) per regiment could receive rations, education and even pay.[39]

British army wives did not come under any form of military discipline – unlike the cantinières who if found guilty of a crime were punished according to the French Military Code, as were their husbands.[40] French cantinières were also eligible for pensions (based on their husband’s service, not their own) and medals as rewards for their service, unlike British wives, despite many British colonels recommending the wives in their regiments for medals, and in some instances considering them more worthy of decorations than any of the men under their command.[41] Considerable debate raged in the domestic and military press over army wives during the early 1850s: The radical Morning Chronicle considered the treatment of army wives as ‘brutish’ and inhuman, whilst the United Services Gazette in 1854 argued that British army wives, based on comparison with the cantinières, should become more useful to their unit by being able to be employed as a washerwomen and put under some form of military discipline so that she ‘may become a blessing’ to her regiment and ‘learn to respect herself and to become to the utmost of her power a useful member of the military community’.[42] Similarly, the cantinières contrasted strongly with the traditional view of army wives as lazy drunkards; army wives should be subject to a strict process of selection as the cantinières were, thus making them more useful to their unit. [43] The domestic press considered the French armies treatment of women to be a model and that British army wives were a victim of official indifference and neglect.[44] Provision for married quarters in the British army was erratic, as was schooling for any children and medical care; the main excuse for lack of provision being its cost.[45]


During the Crimean War, the French cantinières attracted considerable comment from British soldiers through their wearing of uniforms, and particularly trousers. British soldiers in the Crimea were quite taken by the cantinières; because they were the only women they had seen other than the few bedraggled army wives, and because the cantinières were quite obviously better off than British army wives.[46]  Despite most of them being middle aged, experienced campaigners, most if not all cantinières were described as ‘perfect’ specimens of womanhood, and many British soldiers declared their love for them. Most cantinières ‘caused a great sensation’ and ‘her Bloomer costume got quite a crowd round her.’[47]  One soldier writing from Varna described a cantinière thus: ‘...with her glazed hat, bound with tricoloured ribbon, stuck coquettishly on the side of her head, her tunic showing a very pretty waist, and her pantaloons with a double red stripe, she was the most astonishing sight.’[48]  In direct contrast to the cantinières were the British army wives.[49]  One British rifleman was astonished to see

A troop of soldiers’ wives, certainly in a most indecent plight, so far as dress and appearance went, and who, walking along the streets and darting into shops and rummaging their contents, were the unconscious object of disgust.[50]

British army wives, from their lack of pay, discipline and serviceable attire were becoming ‘quite savage-like and unfit for decent society’.[51] Many other soldiers and newspaper editors agreed about the ‘plight’ of the British army wives, so much so that the ‘Central Association for the Aid of the Wives and Families Ordered to the East’ was established in London to improve their lot.[52] Religious commentators considered that it was totally immoral for women to go to war, but if a wife had to follow her husband, then she should be looked after to an even higher standard than her husband, reflecting her ‘delicate’ constitution. Furthermore caring for the wives prevented a collapse in army morals as ‘if the wife were degraded, the degradation of the husband would soon follow.’[53]

The cantinières, by contrast to British army wives, always had:

 a decent soldier-like dress on, and being compelled to wear it, and keep themselves tidy, and getting…pay and being kept under discipline and in good order. Them’s regimental women for you![54]

The ‘bloomerised dress’ of the cantinières was considered a singular advantage over the civilian dress worn by the British wives who accompanied the army:

Their smart glazed hats and cockade, their blue frock and crimson pants, their boots and spurs, their lace and regimental facings and little swords, in some instances, and their men's seat on horseback shows much campaigning advantage over the once fine bonnets and draggle-tails of our rather uncomfortable female campaigners. The French ladies have decidedly the best of it.[55]

Colonel George Bell (1st Royals) thought that soldiers’ wives were ‘much in everyone’s way’ and a useless encumbrance ‘straggling along in the mud’, compared to the energetic, ‘useful and smart’ cantinières of the French army.[56]

The editor of the Patriotic Fund Journal thought the cantinières were a refreshing ‘gleam of sunshine’ amidst all the dirt and chaos of the Siege of Sebastopol. They were believed to set an enviable standard of cheerfulness, good heart, and bravery to male soldiers, caring little for the cold, mud or shells.[57] One commentator believed that ‘truly dress is a great improver of persons’, and that the uniform of a cantinière transformed a rather uncouth ‘lady of the sabots’ into the most dashing and military of personages.[58]  The cantinières were of a ‘coquettish smartness’ despite many of them being perhaps middle aged.[59] Dr David Greig thought that the cantinières ‘were generally good-looking and their dresses ‘set them off to great advantage’ in great contrast to British army wives.[60]

Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander (14th Regiment) believed that British army wives should be uniformed and put under military discipline as cantinières were. He felt that the British army wives were badly done by and their civilian dress was useless in the field.[61] The smart uniforms, military discipline and importance given to them by marching in the ceremonial tête de colonne with the Eagle gave the cantinières their own unique esprit de corps. Described as the ‘daughters of the regiment’ their often-extravagant parade uniforms made them the pride and honour of their regiments.[62] Cantinières who encountered British army wives thought them an ‘insult… to her sex’.[63]  British wives were thought to be ‘astonished’ and wonder ‘at the manly costume of the useful cantinières, who…are treated with equal courtesy by officers and men.’[64]The dress of the cantinières also presented a complete contrast to the uniforms issued to the British armies’ female nurses: whilst the uniform of the cantinière presented her as a soldier and exaggerated her femininity, the British uniforms were designed to de-sexualise.[65]  So taken was Colonel Clayton of the 1st Lancashire Militia that he organised cantinières in his regiment in honour of their ‘brave’ French allies.[66] Their appearance ‘neatly attired in the costume of the regiment, marching…at the head of the Grenadier Company’ added ‘brilliance’ to the military spectacle attracting ‘no small share of attention’.[67] According to Marianne Young, a Mrs O’Flanaghan of the 88th Regiment adopted a form of dress similar to that of a cantinière to good effect.[68] Other British observers, however, were shocked not only by women in a war zone, but by the immorality of women wearing trousers and riding their horses astride.[69] During the balls held by the French army in spring 1855, the presence of cantinières and their wearing of trousers outraged many British officers’ wives, because respectable women did not wear trousers.[70] Cantinières were unique in European society by wearing trousers at a time when such cross-gender dressing was illegal in many countries, including France.[71]

Whilst the beau ideal of the cantinière was a coquettish, very shapely young woman, the actual reality, judging from photographs, was almost the opposite: from contemporary photographs the majority of cantinières appear matronly.  Mesdames Jouillousse and Perrin of the 2nd Grenadiers à Pied de la Garde Impériale present a severely corseted and crinolined appearance,[72] whilst Madame Bourselet can only be described as fearsome.[73] Captain Charles Thoumas of the 7th Artillery described his batteries' cantinière as the ‘very illegitimate and very ugly wife of the Corporal-Quartermaster’ and a cantinière of the Chasseurs à Pied of the Imperial Guard as having the ‘voice of a Corporal of Engineers’.[74] One cantinière of the 2nd Zouaves, ‘Mother’ Marie Monteil was aged at least 60 by the outbreak of the Crimean War, having served in the Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard during the 1812 campaign and been with the Zouaves from the formation of the first battalion in 1830.[75]
Marianne Young asserts that most cantinières had the figure and uniform which showed they were experienced soldiers, neither very young or very pretty but ‘...of a carriage, figure and constitution suitable both for the due effect of her costume, and the due performance of her required duties.’[76] Punch poked fun at the British soldier’s unquestioning belief in the beauty of the cantinières based solely upon popular culture: ‘sentimentality receives a frightful smash when the real object makes her appearance, with a face full of wrinkles…and a mouth full of French slang of the least recherché character’.[77] Indeed there was an old-soldiers idiom that the quality of wine was the inverse of the quality of the cantinières’ face: pretty cantinières found it easy to run a business whereas more homely ladies had to have higher quality victuals to compete.[78] A similar view was taken by the Hibernian Magazine, that the cantinière was probably not young and graceful but a welcome face, experienced campaigner and shrewd businesswoman who was therefore of more use on campaign than the pretty young things of popular imagination.[79] 

[1]T. Cardoza, Intrepid Women. Cantinières and Vivandières of the French Army (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010), chapter 5; A. L. Dawson, French Infantry of the Crimean War (Nottingham: Partizan Press, 2011), p. 288;
[2] Ibid.
[3] É. Robbe, ‘Les Cantinières, les femmes d’honneur’, Napoleon III Magazine, no. 12 (Octobre- Decembre 2010), pp. 78-81.
[4] ‘Haymarket Theatre. Donzietti’s ‘La Fille du Regiment’’, The Morning Post (7 March 1844); ‘Theatricals’, Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper (10 March 1844); ‘Music and Drama’, The Era (10 March 1844).
[5] ‘Haymarket Theatre. Donzietti’s ‘La Fille du Regiment’’, The Morning Post (7 March 1844).
[6] G. G. Foster, A Memoir of Jenny Lind (New York: Dewitt & Davenport, 1850), p. 41; Anon, Review of the Performances of Mademoiselle Jenny Lind (London: J. & L. Dickinson, 1847), pp. 21-22.
[7] Cardoza, Intrepid Women, pp. 119-120.
[8]  ‘Her Majesty’s Theatre’, The Morning Post (23 May 1844).
[9] ‘Easter Amusements’, The Era (18 April 1852).
[10] ‘Her Majesty’s Theatre. Great Attractions’, The Morning Post (23 May 1844).
[11] ‘St James’s Theatre’, The Morning Post (22 June 1854).
[12] Cardoza, Intrepid Women, p. 120.
[13] ‘The Military Force of France’, Jackson’s Oxford Journal (7 November 1829).
[14] ‘Sketch of the campaign in Kostantinah in 1837’, The United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine for 1839, part 2 (1839), p. 64.
[15] ‘Christian Missions to Turkey’, Evangelical Christian, vol. IX (1855), p. 343.
[16] Cardoza, Intrepid Women, p. 121.
[17] G. De Gaury, Travelling Gent: the Life of Alexander Kinglake (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972), p.  175.
[18] H. Lalaisse, L’Armée Francaise et ses Cantinières (Paris: G. Orengo, 1859).
[19]  H. Lalaisse, L’Armée et la Garde Impériale (1853-1860) (Paris: Hautecoeur Frères, 1860).
[20] Les Cantinières de l’Armée Française (Paris: Chez Martinet, 1860).
[21] De Moraine, Cantinières et Musiciens de l’Armée Française (Paris: Lemercier, 1859).
[22] De Valmont, Costumes Militaires Français (Paris: ND).
[23] Sinnett, Les Cantinières de France (Paris: Chez Sinnett, ND).
[24] J-M Haussadis, ‘La Gloire de la Petit Soldats’, Soldats Napoléoniens, no. 16 (Decembre 2007), pp. 59 – 71. For a list of toy soldiers by Messrs Pellerin see  http://www.culture.gouv.fr/public/mistral/joconde_fr accessed 31 May 2011@ 20.43. For a complete iconography of the Second Empire Commandant Sauzay, Iconographie du Costume Militaire Tome III, (Paris: R. Chapelot et Co., 1903).
[25]  E. Capendu, La Vivandière de la 17eme Légère (Paris: E. Dentu, 1868).
[26]  L. Gozlon, La Vivandière (Paris: E. Dentu, 1872); E. De la Barre Duparcq, les Femmes Militaires (Paris: Aux frais de l’autour, 1873); P. & H. de Trailles, Les Femmes de France pendant la Guerre et deux Sièges de Paris (Paris: Hadol, 1872).
[27] Cardoza, Intrepid Women, pp. 155-156.
[28] Capitaine A-J-C Richard, Cantinières et Vivandières francaises (Paris: E. Flammarion, 1897).
[29] Cardoza, Intrepid Women, pp. 185-188.
[30] Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris. Poster: ‘La Mère Napoléon ou la Vivandière d’Austerlitz’ http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5609329r.r=vivandiere.langEN accessed 3 May 2011 @16.34.
[31] Major J. Patterson, Camp and Quarters: Scenes and Impressions of Military Life (London: Saunders & Otley, 1840), p. 114.
[32] Rappaport, No place for Ladies, p. 20.
[33] Ibid, p. 133.
[34] Cardoza, Intrepid Women, p. 114.
[35] Ibid.
[36] ‘Our Camp in Turkey’, The New Monthly Magazine, vol. 103 (1854), p. 248.
[37] Ibid, p. 21.
[38] ‘Naval and Military Intelligence’, The Morning Post (8 September 1856).
[39] Dawson, French Infantry, p. 199.
[40]  Ibid, p. 178.
[41] Archives National Française (ANF), Paris, Acc. ANFF70 Fastes de la Legion d’Honneur/Medailles St Hélène, includes requests from cantinières for the Legion d’Honneur. See also, Cardoza, Intrepid Women, p. 1163-164; Marquess of Angelsey, Little Hodge (London: Leo Cooper, 1971), p. 84. Colonel Hodge described Mrs Rogers of the 4th Dragoon Guards as more deserving of a medal than any man in his regiment.
[42] ‘Army Wives’, The United Services Gazette (21 October 1854); The United Services Gazette (4 November 1854); ‘The Church in the Army – No. II’, The Morning Chronicle (25 March 1852); ‘The Church in the Army – No. IV’, The Morning Chronicle (28 April 1852).
[43] ‘Army Wives’, The United Services Gazette (21 October 1854); The United Services Gazette (4 November 1854).
[44] ‘Editorial’, The Times (22 February 1854); ‘Letters to the Editor: Soldier’s Wives and Children’, The Times (27 February 1854); ‘Letters to the Editor: Soldier’s Wives’, The Times (7 March 1854); ‘Editorial’, The Times (2 May 1854); ‘The wife I leave behind me’. Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (26 February 1854).
[45] M. Trustam, Women of the Regiment: Marriage and the Victorian Army (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), chapter 5; ‘The Church in the Army No. IV’, The Morning Chronicle (28 April 1852).
[46] N. Bentley, ed, Russell’s Despatches from the Crimea (London: Panther History, 1970), p. 33.
[47]  ‘Soldiers Letters’, Daily News (7 April 1855).
[48] Reynolds's Newspaper (18 June 1854).
[49] Rappaport, No place for ladies, p. 58.
[50] ‘Pictures of the War’, Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (25 June 1854).
[51] Ibid.
[52] ‘Association in Aid of the Wives and Families of Soldiers Ordered to the East’, The Times (8 March 1854); ‘Wives and Children of the Soldiers Ordered Abroad’, The Times (8 March 1854); Rappaport, No place for Ladies, p. 26.
[53] ‘Christian Missions to Turkey’, Evangelical Christian, vol. IX (1855), p. 343.
[54]‘Pictures of the War’, Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (25 June 1854).
[55]War Gossip: Bloomerism in the French Camp’ Reynold's Newspaper (23 July 1854).
[56] B. Stuart, ed, Soldier’s Glory. Being ‘Rough notes of an Old Soldier’ (Tunbridge Wells: Spellmount, 1991), p.  269.
[57] ‘The Vivandières’, Patriotic Fund Journal, vol. 1 no. 1 (1854), p. 102.
[58] The Rambler, vol. III  (1855), p. 132.
[59] Thomasina Ross, trans, Algeria in 1845: A visit to the French possessions in North Africa (London: Richard Bentley & Co., 1846), pp. 250 to 251.
[60] D. Hill, ed, Letters from the Crimea. Writing home, a Dundee Doctor (Dundee: Dundee University Press, 2010), p. 85.
[61] Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Alexander, Passages of the Life of a Soldier (London: Hurst & Blackett, 1857), vol. 2, p. 90.
[62] ‘The French Expeditionary Force’, The Morning Chronicle (17 July 1854).
[63] Ibid; ‘Our Camp in Turkey’, p. 248.
[64] ‘Our Camp in Turkey’, p. 248.
[65] Rappaport, No place for Ladies, pp. 104-105.
[66] ‘The First Duke’s Own’, The Lancaster Gazette (14 June 1856); ‘The Vivandière’, Manchester Times (21 June 1855).
[67] ‘The First Duke’s Own’, The Lancaster Gazette (14 June 1856).
[68] ‘Our Camp in Turkey’, p. 249.
[69] Rappaport, No place for Ladies, pp. 58 and p. 187; ‘ Our Army in the Crimea’, Daily News (8 October 1855).
[70]  J. O. Baylen &  A Conway, eds, Soldier-Surgeon: The Crimean War letters of Dr Douglas A. Reid 1855-1856 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1968), pp. 128-129.
[71]  Cardoza, Intrepid Women, pp. 163-164; Robbe, ‘Les Cantinières, les femmes d’honneur’ pp. 78-81.
[72] Delpérier, La Garde Impériale, figure 44.
[73] Dawson, French Infantry, plate on p. 179.
[74] General C-A Thoumas, Mes Souvenirs de Crimée 1854-1856 (Paris: La Librairie Illustrée, 1892), p. 25 and pp. 171-172.
[75] Lieutenant J. Spitz, Historique du 2eme Régiment des Zouaves (Oran: Paul Perrier, 1901), pp. 77-78. ‘Vieux Mere Marie’ died in 1860 and was buried with full military honours.
[76] Rappaport, No place for Ladies, p.58.
[77] ‘The Romance of the Vivandière’, Punch Magazine vol. 27 (1855), p. 125.
[78] Cardoza, Intrepid Women, p. 140.
[79] ‘Aspects of French Military Life’, The Hibernian Magazine, no. 1 (July 1864), p. 64.
[80] Rappaport, No place for Ladies, p. 58.

[1]   V. L. J. F. Belhomme, Histoire de l’Infanterie en France (Paris: H. Charles-Lavauzellle, 1892) vol. 5, p. 178.
[2]    Ibid; L. Delpérier, La Garde Impériale du Napoléon III (Nantes: Editions du Cannonier, 2000), p. 29. The Guard had two cantinières per battalion (of which there were four), one cantinière for the État Major and one for the Section Hors Rang.
[3]   Belhomme, Histoire de l’Infanterie, p. 179.
[4]  Bordeaux, ‘Medailles de Cantinière et de Vivandière’, p. 319. See also Cardoza, Intrepid Women, p. 123.
[5]    Ibid.
[6]    Bordeaux, ‘Medailles de Cantinière et de Vivandière’, p. 319; P. Charrié, ‘Les Insignes des Vivandières’, Soldats Napoléoniens, no. 16 (Decembre 2007), pp. 73 – 74.
[7]  Ibid.
[8] Hennet, ‘Vivandières et Blanchisseuses’, p. 48.
[9] Ibid.



  1. A well written and researched article on one of my favorite subjects. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Scott! There's a lot more where that come from. In part 2 Im going to look at their interaction with British soldiers and why they were ultimately supressed.