Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


Uniforms of the French 23rd Chasseurs-a-Cheval 1811-1812

By Robert Burnham

The 23rd Chasseurs wore the typical Chasseur uniform of the 1808-1812 period. Facing color was capucine, which according to Knotel was "an orange-brown, which in practice emerged as anything from bright yellow to an abused scarlet. Frequently... contemporaries saw it as a dull orange."

Coat: The coat was the distinctive Kinski, which was "... single-breasted, short-tailed... Fastening down to the waist by means of nine pewter buttons and piped the length of the breast in the regimental colour" Waist coats "double-breasted of white or scarlet cloth, single-breasted of red, green or regimental colour" Knotel shows a major of the 23rd Chasseurs wearing a waist-coat in the regimental color.

Breeches and Overalls: Hungarian style breeches were worn with 1cm wide piping down the outside seams and with a bastion loop (pointed instead of a knot) down the front of the thighs. The chasseurs most likely replaced the breeches with overalls while on active duty. Officers may have had two white stripes down the outer seams of the overalls.

Headgear: The 23rd Chasseurs probably wore the 1810 style shako with a white eagle shako-plate with stamped with a 23. The elite company may have had the fur colpak, however it was probably being phased out by then.

Equipment, Saddlecloths, etc: Would be the same as for other chasseurs.

Trumpeter: Knotel shows an 1811 trumpeter with a single-breasted red coat, with nine rows of white lace, with a pewter button on the ends and center of each row of lace (3 for each row), and red shoulder straps, piped in white. Cuffs, collar flashes, and turnbacks are in the facing color. Breeches were either white or light colored leather. The shako is yellow, with white cords, and a white band around the top seam. The plume is white, but Knotel cautions that this may indicate a headquarters' trumpeter. Saddlecloth is black with capucine wolf's teeth edging.

 

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