Monday 24 August 2015

1/8e Regiment de Ligne

The 8e Regiment de Ligne was the most senior French line infantry regiment at Talavera.

The 8e Ligne could trace its lineage back to 1776 and the 1er and 3e battalions of the Regiment de Champagne.

In 1791 it was retitled the 8e Regiment d'Infanterie soon to be retitled during the turbulent times of the revolution, 8e demi-brigade d'Infanterie de Ligne in 1796, formed from the following units:

3e demi-brigade de Bataille (1er Battalion, 2e Regt. d'Inf, 5e Bat Vol. de l'Aisne and 5e Bat Vol de la Cote d'Or
1er, 2e and 3e Bataillons Volontaires de Lille
1er Bataillon auxillaire de l'Eure
1er Bataillon auxillaire de l'Aisne

In 1803 with the rise of Napoleon the regiment was retitled 8e Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne under the command of Colonel Jean-Francois-Etienne Autie.

The 8e Ligne could boast a record second to none when it entered Spain with the battle honours of Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland to its credit and Colonel Autie at its head.

Interesting illustration of the 4e bataillon fanion, this battalion was sent
to join the forces operating along the Danube during the Austrian 1809 campaign
The uniform characteristics of the 8e Ligne appear to be a standard look of French infantry, pre 1812 with various forms of cuff flap illustrated from red in the Otto manuscript to white as seen in the Bucquoy plates illustrated here. The Otto depiction shows the voltigeur in 1807, with plain green plumes and epaulettes but with a unique green and yellow shako chord. The plate above would suggest otherwise by 1809. As with all this stuff you end up making an educated choice on what to depict.

Perhaps the most distinctive part of the uniform was the shako plate of the 8th which is consistent with all the depictions showing an Eagle of various designs.

I can find no references to the look of the musicians other than Rousselots  interpretation of the Drum Major in 1809 showing a pink crimson facing to the lapels, so will opt for that colour on my drummers

Other sources used in this post;
Napoleon's Line Infantry, Osprey Men at Arms - Philip Haythornthwaite, Bryan Fosten
French Napoleonic Line Infantry - Emir Bukhari
Napoleon's Soldiers, The Grande Armee of 1807 (The Otto Manuscript) - Guy C Dempsey Jr.
Napoleonic Armies, A Wargamers Campaign Directory - Ray Johnson
Talavera, Wellington's First Victory in Spain - Andrew W. Field


  1. Another lovely unit, I like the effect you get on the light shako covers!

    1. Thanks Paul, I think the white shako cover would have been popular in Spain, and I wanted them to be striking. The buff, off white, white combination is the same as I would use for British trousers and seems to work quite well.

  2. Cracking unit as always I find painting musicians frustrating because of the lack of information the two units I am working on at the moment have light blue facings for no other reason than they were in the osprey plates . I will be glad to be getting back to my British at least I am on solid ground with those .
    Regards Furphy .

    1. Hi Furphy, thank you. Well in the absence of information to the contrary you can at least take comfort that you can't be wrong. A lot of this stuff comes down to educated guess work. I too feel more comfortable working with British regulations, but even then it is surprising how many gaps there are on the information on musicians in a mighty tome such as Franklin's
      Keep on guessing

  3. They look wonderful, great work!