Saturday, January 31, 2015

Le Chevalier discourses on Chasseurs Britanniques, Part One

Chasseurs Britanniques
Part One – the Shako

So here we go. Working on a Chasseurs Britanniques uniform. This will be an 'other ranks' uniform, but I will most likely add serjeant's insignia just because.

Sources disagree a bit on whether the Chasseurs were outfitted as a Line Regiment or a Light Regiment. I am leaning towards the Light Regiment and am going to do my kit in that style.

Starting at the top we have the Shako. Actually a pretty useless piece of head ware, however it is quite impressive and dwarfs many top hats in sheer height.

I went with the earlier stovepipe Shako and was able to pick one up from Corps Sutler. This came with the bugle style issued to emigre and contract troops. This is not the style of insignia I wanted, but the Shako is correct.

As far as insignia goes there is some degree of variation.

Plumes/tufts: Companies in Line Regiments wore one of three colours of plumes. White for grenadiers, white over red for line companies and green for light companies. In light infantry regiments all companies were outfitted as light companies. I went with a green wool tuft from Spencer's Mercantile.

Shako Cord: Similar to the plumes/tufts the colour of the cords designated the type of unit. In Line Regiments the grenadiers and line companies wore white cords while the light company wore green. Light Regiments all wore green. I purchased my cord from Spencer's Mercantile.

Plume/Tuft and Shako cord from Spencer's Mercantile

Shako Plates: All of the Shakos had brass shako plates. Some regiments had regiment specific ones while other used a standard one. To further complicate matters some light companies and light regiments adopted the light infantry bugle badge. I am going with the bugle, I have one, but am not confident it is quite right. I think the loops at the top are supposed to be kind of squashed into a rounded triangle rather than nice, round loops. I also think the cords are supposed to hang straight down rather than be draped over the cords. Then again, I have seen some information to suggest that all of these styles are accurate, so who knows?

So, other than the bugle badge (if I decide I do not like the one I have) I have all the parts for my Shako and just need to assemble it.

 Next step will be looking at the uniform tunic.

~ Le Chevalier


“Wellington's Mongrel Regiment”

Corps Sutler:

Spencer's Mercantile:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Le Chevalier discourses regarding his British Infantry Rifle

 Dear Readers,
Another post regarding "Manly" topics from the desk of Le Chevalier:

The Quest for a British Infantry Rifle, end of chapter one

So, I started my Quest for a British Infantry Rifle and the kit to go with over two and a half years ago.
Here are the links for the first two installments, originally published on the Gentlemanly Pursuits blog:

I did indeed receive my rifle soon after that last posting, so just over two years ago. There was a bit of a problem with the hardness of the frizzen and angle of the hammer, but local gunsmith Jerry Cook fixed these in short order.

I switched from the officers' style cartridge box to an other ranks box. I did this mostly for conveniance, but also for more usable storage space. I am not firing from paper cartridges, but I do carry enough ball, patch and powder to fire 60+ rounds before restocking.

I fire a .610” round ball with a 0.015” patch and a powder charge of 80 grains of 3F. Most of the people I shoot with shoot 40-50 caliber, so it is pretty noticeable when the Baker goes off. We were shooting to snuff candles a couple months back and the turbulence caused by the .610” ball sometimes put out two candles.

So, chapter one is done. I have the rifle and kit and am shooting regularly.
The next step I decided on was to pick a proper uniform to wear while shooting. The obvious choice would be 60th or 95th rifles, but as much fun as the greenjacket would be, that would be too easy.

The Chasseurs Britanniques was originally the French Royalist army led by the Prince of Conde in the early days of the French Revolution. By 1803 they were in British service as the Chasseurs Britanniques and issued the famous red coats. Evidence suggests that like some of the other emigre units in British service (King's German Legion for one) that the Chasseurs may have been issued Baker rifles, at least for the light company. Well, that is where I am going. Starting at the top I have my shako with proper insignia.

~ Chevalier

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Le Chevalier discourses on Sutlers, Seamstresses, and Swords

Dear Readers,

I am very excited to share a guest author here at The Fox & Thimble.  My darling Chevalier has decided to contribute a series of articles to the blog, concerning military costuming & accoutrements.   Here is his first contribution:

Sutlers, Seamstresses, and Swords
I bought a pair of Fugawee Paul Revere boots back in February 2012 (so almost 3 years ago). A couple of months ago I went to wear them and noticed that the sole was becoming separated from the upper. I contacted Fugawee to see if they did repairs. Instead they promptly sent me a brand new pair of boots and paid shipping both ways. Now that is what I call customer service! 

 So, Theo made me a nice, new waistcoat and we decided I needed a Cobb Creek Hunting Coat to compliment it. I sent them a swatch of the waistcoat material and they promptly returned a recommended fabric plus half a dozen other choices if I did not like that one.
So, I ordered the coat on the 3rd, it was done and shipped by the 17th, and I received it on the 19th. Excellent fit, well made and it even has inside pockets – very useful when shooting.

A good friend of mine in Medford, Oregon runs Castille Armoury. Castille produces historically accurate hilts and blades, they can pretty much make anything you want. I have been exclusively buying hilts from him for many years (pre-dating the Castille Armoury name) and exclusively buying blades from him for the last couple of years. He is working on a more accurate sabre simulator and gave me a call today to borrow a couple of my pieces for research.

Also on the subject of swords, William Wilson's long awaited Bolognese Sidesword book came out last month. This is a sort of sequel to his Italian Rapier book “Arte of Defence.” Neither of these are straight translations, instead they are a very useful introduction and overview of the systems discussed.

“16th Century Single Sword Combat:”

“Arte of Defence,” 2nd edition:

“Arte of Defence,” 1st edition:

– Chevalier