Prussian Reserve Infantry: 1813-15
Part III: Uniforms of the Individual Regiments
By Robert Mantle
Note: In these notes, 'cadre' refers to the NCOs and musicians seconded from the Stamm-Regiment.
Brandenburg Infantry Regiment (No 12)
Beofre July 1813, this was the I Reserve Battalion, Leib Infantry Regiment. OFficers and cadre wore the regulation uniform of that Regiment, poppy-red facings, and white shoulder straps.
The men wore the regulation shako in a cover, or grey cap witha poppy-red band. (Some men were still wearing caps in June 1815.) Black single breasted reservists jackets (some men in grey jackets) with poppy-red collar patches. No tails or shoulder straps were worn. Buttons were of white metal, though some sources state these were covered in the same material as the jacket. The majority of privates wore white trousers, outside grey gaiters, (black or grey breeches are also recorded). A cartridge box on a black belt, regulation pack with white straps, white haversak on the left hip and grey greatcoat over the left shoulder.
Before July 1813, this was the II Reserve Battalion of the Leib Infantry Regiment. The officers, the cadre and 517 men wore the regulation unifrom of that unit. The remainder either wore the uniform of the I Battalion or a blue kollet of the regulation pattern, with a blue collar, poppy-red collar patches and white shoulder straps. The rest of the uniform and the equipment was as for the I Battalion, but short swords were also worn. These had white belts.
Before July 1813, this was the III Musketeer Battalion, First West PRussian Regiment. The officers and cadre wore the regulation uniform for that Regiment, with crimson facings and white shoulder straps.
Privates wore either a grey cap with a crimson band or a regulation shako in a cover. The grey Reservists jacket had crimson collar patches, the buttons were covered in grey material and there were no shoulder straps. Grey breeches and black gaiters were worn. Equipment consisted of a cartridge box on black belt, grey cloth pack and haversack, both with white straps, and grey greatcoat.
After the linking of these three Battalions, the distinctions of the Second Brandenburg Infantry Regiment (poppy-red facings and shoulder straps) were adopted by all ranks who wore the regulation uniform. The men of the II Battalion issued with the kollet with collar patches changed their shoulder straps to poppy-red, and the Fusilier Battalion changed their crimson collar patches to conform witht he rest of the Regiment.
First Reserve Infantry Regiment
Until July 1813, this was the III Musketeer Battalion, First East Prussian Infantry Regiment. Officers and cadre wore the reulation uniform with brick-red facings and white shoulder straps, while the privates wore grey caps with an orange-red band rbearinga red figure 1, grey tailless jackets with white shoulder straps and grey trousers or breeches with black gaiters. Equipment consisted of a cartridge box on a white belt.
After July 1813, the Battalion's appearance was radically changed when the 'British' uniform was issued. The shako was the conical model described in detail above, with a white and red cockade, white over red plume and a brass oval badge with a lion rampant. They wore a dark blue 'British' jacket with white turnbacks bearing blue grenades, a red collar, round cuffs and shoulder straps, all piped white. Eight yellow metal buttons were worn on the front of the jacket, evenly spaced, and two on each cuff, with bars of white square ended lace. Dark blue or white trousers wer worn tucked into gaiters, a white belt for the cartridge box and a regulation pack with white straps. Brown Bess muskets were used by this Battalion.
NCOs of this Battalion carried short swords on white belts and wore crimson wiast sashes. Musicians wore bars of white lace on their sleeves like their British counterpart.
II and IV Battalion
These Battalions, formerly the 1st and 2nd East Prussian Reserve Musketeer Battalions, adopted the regulation uniform of the First East Prussian Regiment.
All ranks dressed as the II and IV Battalions but with black leather belts instead of white. Before July 1813, this was the 1st Lithuanian Reserve Fusilier Battalion.
Second Reserve Infantry Regiment
The three Battalions of thei Regiment were the III Musketeer Battalion, the I Reserve Musketeer Battalion and the I Reserve Fusilier Battalion respectively of the First Pomeranian Regiment. The officers and cadre wore the regulation uniform with white facings and shoulder straps, with white blets for Musketeers and black for Fusiliers. Before July 1813 the men of all three Battalions wore an all-grey Reservist uniform - cap, tailless jacket, breeches and black gaiters (even the buttons were covered in grey material). The cartridge box had a white belt and the greatcoat was grey.
After July 1813, the privates of each Battalion had a distinctive uniform.
A conincal shako was worn as for the I/1 R.I.R., a single breasted dark blue jacket with red collar, round cuffs and turnbacks, red shoulder straps and yellow metal buttons. On the front lower edge between the buttons and the turnbacks were bars of white pointed ended lace, two on each side: these were later removed. The regulation shako in a cover was later adopted and the jacket given another row of buttons, so it resembled the Regulars' kollet. This Battalion received black English knapsacks. The rest of the uniform and the equipment remainded the same.
The uniform was the same as for the I/1 R.I.R., but the jacket had red turnbacks and plain red shoulder straps. The lace loops were later removed from the tunic.
This Battalion wore the dark blue kollets with scarlet turnbacks, collar, shoulder straps, round cuffs without buttons and yellow metal buttons in two rows. Blue breeches and black gaiters were worn and also white shoulder belts, despite being a Fusilier Battalion. In 1814 this Battalion is recorded as wearing a 'British' pattern jacket with the lace removed and an extra row of buttons, with a regulation covered shako.
By 1815, all Battalions were wearing Prussian shakos in covers. Between March and June 1815, the entire Regiment adopted the regulation uniform with the white facings and yellow shoulder straps of the Third Pomeranian Regiment.
Third Reserve Infantry Regiment
Before July 1813, the men of all four Battalions wore the all-grey Reservists' uniform, described in the notes on the Second Reserve Regiment. The officers and cadre wore the regulation uniform of the Second East Prussian Regiment and this uniform, with its brick-red facings and poppy-red shoulder straps, was adopted by all Battalions. Cross belts were white for the I and II Battalions, black for the III.
In 1815, the entire Regiment was recorded as wearing yellow shoulder straps.
Fourth Reserve Infantry Regiment
Before the armistice of June 4 1813, the officers and cadre seconded from the Third East Prussian Regiment wore that Regiment's uniform (brick-red facings and yellow shoulder straps). The men wore the all-grey Reservist dress with breeches and gaiters described above, the cartridge boxes and the grey cloth packs had white straps. Individual companies were distinguished by a cloth roundel on the cap band and a matching bar across the grey shoulder straps, coloured white, red, yellow and ligth blue for the 1st to 4th companies respectively. In addition, the I Battalion carried French sabre-briquets captured at Halle in April 1813. During and after the armistice, the following uniforms were worn.
French shako with badge and cockade removed. Dark blue habit-veste, single breasted with short tails, red collar and turnbacks, the latter with white grenades. Round red cuffs with two buttons each with two white square ended lace loops. White metal buttons, white trousers, possibly French and black gaiters.
Knötel does not illustrate this uniform on his plate of the 4th R.I.R. so it is possible that it was replaced by the uniform described below.
Conical shako as for I/1 R.I.R. 'British' jacket, identical to that worn by the I/1 R.I.R., but with pointed lace. Blue trousers worn outside the gaiters. Regulation pack with white straps, grey British greatcoat. NCOs wore short swords on white belts, yellow lace on collars and cuffs and yellow waist sashes.
As for II Battalion with the following differences: black belts and straps. Privates removed the plume from the shako and the lace from the tunic. NCOs dyed the base of the plume black, retained the lace but discarded their sashes.
Between March and June 1815, the entire Regiment adopted the regulation uniform of the Third West Prussian Regiment (crimson facings and yellow shoulder straps).
Fifth Reserve Infantry Regiment
Before July 1813, all four Battalions wore the same uniforms. The officers and cadre from the Stamm-Regiment (the Fourth East Prussian), wore the uniform for that unit with brick-red facings and light blue shoulder straps. The remainder wore an all-grey Reservists' uniform with white shoulder belts (black for the IV Battalion, the former 3rd Lithuanian Reserve Fusilier Battalion). During the armistice, new clothing was issued as follows:
Regulation uniform, Fourth East Prussian Regiment.
Uniform as II/4 R.I.R. without piping on the cuffs. British packs.
Uniforms as for II Battalion, but green jacket and trousers. Red turnbacks, black leather belts, probably passed on from IV Battalion on its disbandment.
Uniform as for I Battalion, but with black leather belts.
Sixth Reserve Infantry Regiment
This Regiment was formed from Reserve Battalions of two different Regiments, producing an interesting variety of uniforms, particularly during the 1815 campaign.
This was formerly the I Reserve Musketeer Battalion First West Prussian Regiment and officers and the cadre wore that Regiment's uniform (crimson facings and white shoulder straps). The men wore grey caps with crimson bands -- some may have had crimson piping around the top. The grey jacket differed from the standard Reservist model by having short tails and grey turnbacks, piped crimson. Shoulder straps were white and crimson patches were attached to the collar; the buttons were of yellow metal. Grey breeches, black gaiters and a cartridge box on a white belt completed the uniform.
Formerly the IV Reserve Musketeer Battalion, First Silesian Regiment: the regulation uniform was worn with yellow facings and white shoulder straps was worn by the officers and cadre. The men wore grey caps with yellow bands and grey tailless jackets with yellow collar patches and white shoulder straps. The rest of the uniform and the equipment was as for the I Battalion.
The former II Reserve Musketeer Battalion, Second West Prussian Regiment wore the same uniform as the I Battalion, but the cap, jacket and breeches were dark blue.
All three Battalions had reuglation packs by 1815.
On March 25 of that year, the 6th R.I.R. became the First Westphalian Regiment (No 18). In his L'Armée Prussienne de Waterloo, F R Bourdier states that the majoirty of men had received the regulation uniform (rose pink facings and white shoulder straps) by June 1815, but a small number 'quelques rares élements' still retained the old uniforms. In addition some men wore the regulation uniform but with crimson or yellow facings, while others had removed these old facings but had not received rose coloured cloth and went to war with collar and cuffs in the same colour as the kollet.
Seventh Reserve Infantry Regiment
This was formed from Reserve Battalions of the Second West Prussian Regiment. The officers and cadre wore its uniform (crimson facings with poppy-red shoulder straps).
The Battalion wore grey caps, grey tailless jackets with yellow metal buttons, crimson collar patch and red shoulder straps. Grey trousers were worn, and a cartridge box on white (later black) belt was carried.
II and III Battalions
Headgear was either the cap, as for the I Battalion or a covered Prussian shako (made of straw) with a white ring painted on the front of the cover. The jacket was cut like that of the I Battalion, but had grey shoulder straps. These were piped crimson as was the front and upper edge of the collar, the cuffs and the front edge of the coat. The remainder of the uniform and the equipment was as for the I Battalion.
On March 25 1815, this Regiment became the Second Westphalian Regiment (No 19) and by June the whole unit had received regulation unifroms with rose pink collars and cuffs and poppy-red shoulder straps.
Eighth Reserve Infantry Regiment
The officers and cadre for the I and II Battalions were seconded from the First Pomeranian Regiment (white facings and shoulder straps); those of the III Battalion from the Colberg Regiment (as above, but poppy-redshoulder straps). The men of all three Battalions wore the Reservist uniform -- grey cap, jacket and trousers. The collar patches and the cap band were white. The packs were of grey cloth and the cartridge boxes were the large pre-1807 model. All belts were white.
During the armistice of July-August, new uniforms were supplied by the British.
The shako was as for I/1 R.I.R. (the red and white cockade was later changed to black and white). Dark blue single breasted jackets were worn with short tails and white metal buttons; collar, round cuffs (without buttons), shoulder straps, turnbacks and piping on the lower edge of the tunic were light green. Shoulder 'wings' of the same colour were worn. The dark blue trousers were usually worn outside the gaiters, but sometimes inside. The regulation cartridge box, pack and linen haversack had white belts or straps.
The shako was as for I Battalion. The jacket was as for I Battalion, but with red collar, cuffs, turnbacks and shoulder straps (the last piped white). No 'wings', or piping on thejacket's lower edge. Button-holes were trimmed with white lace loops with pointed ends. The rest of the uniform and equipment was the same as I Battalion.
The cnical shako had a green plume and brass badge, representing a stringed bugle horn. The British rifleman's tunic was a very dark green, single breasted, with three rows of white metal buttons stamped with a bugle. The tunic had a dark green collar, round cuffs (no buttons) turnbacks and shoulder straps but no shoulder 'wings'. The tails had two vertical pockets. The flaps had three points and were piped green with two buttons. Rifle green trousers and black gaiters were worn. The regulation cartridge box and pack had black straps whereas the linen haversack had a white one. This Battalion, appropriately had British greatcoats.
NCOs of all three Battalions had yellow lace on their collars and cuffs and carried short swords on belts of the appropriate colour. They also wore yellow waist sashes.
Ninth Reserve Infantry Regiment
This unit was formed from Reserve Battalions of the Colberg Regiment and the officers and cadre wore that Regiment's uniforms. The men wore the grey Reservist uniform: the cap band was white and bore the number of the Battalion in grey. NCOs are recorded as wearing these numbers on blue shoulder straps. The cartridge boxes were carried on black belts.
During the armistice, 'British'-style uniforms were issued.
The uniform was similar to the I/8 R.I.R. but with black belts. By 1815 the plumes had disappeared from the shakos. Musicians had green 'swallows nests', laced white and the drum hoops had diagonal bands of green and white. Officers wore the regulation uniform with green facings and red should straps.
The uniform was the same as the II/8R.I.R., but this Battalion originally wore red shoulder wings. These were later removed, as was the lace on the jacket and the shako plumes. Black belts were worn. Officers and musicians were dressed as in the I Battalion but with all the green facings replaced by red.
The uniform was similar to the III/8 R.I.R., but the collar, cuffs turnback and shoulder straps were black. This Battalion wore black shoulder 'wings'. Musicians had black 'swallows nests' laced white. The officers wore the same uniform as those of the I Battalion buth with black facings.
NCOs of all three Battalions had gold lace and carried short swords. They did not wear sashes.
Tenth Reserve Infantry Regiment
This Regiment was formed from Reserve Battalions of the First Silesian Regiment, and the officers and cadre wore its uniform (yellow facings with white shoulder straps). The remainder wore grey caps with a yellow band, tailless jackets with yellow collar patches, yellow metal buttons, grey shoulder straps with white bands across them, grey trousers, and black gaiters. The cartridge box had a black belt. Later, covered Prussian shakos were issued, with calfskin packs (with white straps), grey haversacks, and grey greatcoats, carried bandolier fashion. The I Battalion retained the grey colour of their jackets, shoulder straps and trousers, but these were dyed dark blue in the II Battalion and very dark grey, almost black in the III.
On March 25 1815, this Regiment became the First Rhineland Regiment and by June the majority of the men and all the officers, NCOs and musicians were wearing the regulation uniform with crab-red facings and white shoulder straps. The remainder, still wearing their old uniforms, were grouped on the left wing of each Battalion, in the second rank.
Eleventh Reserve Infantry Regiment
Reserve Battalions of the Second Silesian Regiment (yellow facings, poppy-red shoulder straps) were linked to form this unit. The officers and cadre wore the uniform of the Stamm-Regiment and the Reservists wore the same uniform as that of the 10th R.I.R., but with red shoulder straps. By 1815, covered shakos, regulation packs (white straps) and greatcoats and linen haversacks had been issued.
In March 1815, this unit became teh Second Rhineland Regiment, but by June 1815, only officers were wearing crab-red facings and poppy-red shoulder straps, the distinctions of this Regiment.
Twelfth Reserve Infantry Regiment
The I and II Battalions were formed by Reserve Musketeer Battalions of the Leib-Infantry Regiment, the III by the III Reserve Musketeer Battalion, Third East Prussian Regiment, and the officers and cadre of these Battalions wore the uniform of the Stamm-Regiment. Initially the Reservists of all three Battalions wore grey caps; tailless jackets, either without shoulder straps or with grey ones' grey trousers or breeches; and black gaiters. Equipment consisted of a cartridge box on a black belt, packs and haversacks of grey cloth with white straps.
After the formation of the Regiment, poppy-red patches were attached to the collar and regulation shakos in covers were issued. The majority of men had received calfskin packs by 1815 and all had been issued with short swords. Belts were now white for I and II Battalions and black for the III. Musicians had poppy-red 'swallows' nests, laced white.
The distinctions of the Fourth Brandenburg Infantry Regiment (poppy-red facings, light blue shoulder straps) were only worn by officers int eh 1815 campaign.
Placed on the Napoleon Series: January 2001
© Copyright 1995-2004, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.