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French Military Terminology 1670 - 1815: a Technical Glossary

By Donald Graves

A Brief Note of Introduction

I compiled this glossary when I was in graduate school back in the late 1970s, a time when the skies were always blue, the beer always foamy and the young women often surprisingly friendly. It started out as an exercise for my own personal use but it grew like Topsy and in the end, I think I ended up with about 1,100 terms and phrases.

It should be noted that this glossary concerns a larger period than the revolutionary and Napoleonic era, I was at that time also interested in covering military terminology applicable to the French forces that served in North America from 1670 to 1763. The glossary is also strong on what interested me in those days so there are many terms relating to weaponry, particularly artillery, uniforms, ranks and unit organization. There is very little on the specialized vocabulary for fortifications which is almost all French in origin but I note useful sources for that terminology in my introduction.

When it was completed, my good friend, Rene Chartand, edited it with me, a process that not only took several days but also required the consumption of several bottles as we argued over almost every term until we decided that the definition was more or less accurate. The completed work was published as a booklet by a Canadian museum in 1979 and I was very proud of it, it being my first publication -- for years I kept a copy under my pillow.

It has been out of print for at least 25 years (although Amazon still insists that they can get you a copy by special order) and I had completely forgotten about it until there was a query on the Napoleon Series Forum from someone who wanted a copy and asked whether I was still alive.

I hastened to assure him that I was but this decided me to make it again readily available to those interested in such things. I am therefore placing it on the Series and I hope the readers find it useful but don't ask me to argue over my definitions as my interest in the subject has gone the way of the blue skies and all the friendly young women of yesteryear.

However, the beer is still foamy.

DE Graves

French Military Terminology 1670 - 1815: a Technical Glossary Part I

French Military Terminology 1670 - 1815: a Technical Glossary Part II

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2006

 

 

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