Napoleon Series Archive 2009

Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?
In Response To: Forthcoming Book ()

Hi,

I look forward to reading this translated work. I beg your forbearance if the following does not appear to be directly of relevance – I don’t think this is a matter of semantics.

From « avant-propos » p ii of « Le bataillon des marins de la Garde, 1803-1815, (1905) Eugène Lomier, Jean Baptiste Grivel (baron), Publisher Impr. E. Lefebvre

« Napoléon 1er, qui se connaissait en hommes, a dit des Marins : On les a trouvés, au besoin, matelots, soldats, artilleurs, pontonniers, tout ! »

I have been perusing this work together with a short article by a certain Jean Sarramon recently entitled Marine Land Operations in the Peninsular War in "New Lights on the Peninsular War: International Congress on the Iberian Peninsula (Selected Papers) 1780-1840"

Whilst there would have been many a sailor in both the “marins de la garde” and the relevant ranks of the “equipages de la flotille” it would appear preposterous to suggest that they were formed or operated as “sailors” for any protracted period from 1803 onwards (even perhaps during 1804 – 1805). The 44e were indeed allocated as HQ and hospital guard during the third invasion of Portugal (amongst other duties) but did not do any sailing as far as I can tell.

Whilst there is clearly a nautical origin in their formation and appearance etc (e.g. the retention of naval titles for officers and the use of anchor insignia), they would appear to have operated as primarily land based troops (and perhaps most often as infantry) throughout the period. Indeed, it would also appear that at least half of the other ranks of the “equipages de la flotille” were comprised of workers – most likely including stevedores, dockers, dock labourers and longshoremen and such like in their number as well as ship builders and pontonniers etc.

It would appear to me, and here I admit I do not have a good grasp of French, that “marins” is clearly a generic term to identify / differentiate these units from infantry (garde, line and light) and cannot simply be reduced to the single term sailor – matelot.

With the exception of the navigation of small craft on rivers in mainland Europe and the Iberian peninsula, this would appear to be one operation these troops were not asked to undertake – at least commonly.

Anthony

Messages In This Thread

Forthcoming Book
Mémoires du capitaine de frégate Pierre Baste
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Peut-être a-t-il s'est trompé ...?
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Marins, Marines, Matelots, et bric a brac...
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Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?
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Russian unicorns
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Observations upon Russian Ordnance
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Russian ammunition and caissons
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Thank you for the clarification
Unicorns vs howitzers
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Quotes
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Memoirs
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L 'Armee Russe sous le Tsar Alexandre I 1805-15.
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Let's not get ahead of ourselves
Of Possible Interest.
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Operation of Guns
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Ready, Fire, Aim...
Sidearms?
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The spelling should have been 'Adye' throughout.
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The spelling should have been 'Adye'
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Willett - two 't's.
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Some Familliia Adye Stuff.
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Re: Russian unicorns
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Russian artillery officers
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Russian Artillery
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Of Possible Interest.
ADMIN! Re: Of Possible Interest - use caution
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Re: Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?
Russian guns in French service????
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Armies of 1812
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Horses, Artillery, Resupply, and Logistics
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AnXI Howitzer Carriage
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Jack of all trades?
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Very nice - thank you :-)
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Very kind - thank you :-) *NM*
Shako
Many thanks: is the peak detachable?
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Re: Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?
The point is: they were Soldats not Matelots :-) *NM*
Matelots and Soldats...
Marins, Matelots et Soldats....
Re: Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?