Copyright 21eme Regiment de Ligne
Imperial Decree relating to the uniform
of the foot troops.
Issued at the Tuileries 19 January 1812
Article 1. The dress or the n.c.o.s and soldiers of
our corps of infantry, artillery, sappers and veterans,
shall be composed of a habit-veste, a gilet with sleeves
tricot pantalons, linen pantalons, linen undewear, a
greatcoat, a shako, and a bonnet de police. The colours
presently in service are to be conserved.
Habits and Gilets: General Proportions.
2. The habit-vestes and gilets shall be cut following
the height and build of the men, so that the cut shall
allow the men to perform with ease the movements
ordered, without danger of ripping the seams. To this
effect, the body shall be cut very large, the rear of
the habit and gilet, and the sleeves, and arm-holes
shall equally be cut large. The measure shall be
taken of each man on the body, the shoulders held well
up and back, to take the measure of the back the arms
are held forward. The "fronts" are made so that a hand
can be passed between the habit and the gilet; the
collar when closed, shall be able to take two fingers
behind it. The pantalons shall be cut large enough to
easily contain the underwear, and for the man to be
able to place his knee on the ground with ease. When
the measure cannot be made on the man, the habits,
gilets, and underwear shall be cut for three heights.
Proportions of the Habit.
3. The habit-veste shall be of the colour regulated
for the uniform; the rear shall be of such a length
so that the bottom of the tails fall to 300mm (about
11 inches) from the ground, the man kneeling, and
such that the fronts shall be of a length proportional
to the height of the man; such that the gilet and the
hips are covered. The habit is lined with linen cloth
falling 110mm (about 4 inches) below the height of
the fronts in an oblique line across the tails. The
length of the body is in proportion to the height of
the man, such that the length of the tails, measured
from the bottom of the tails to the centre back shall
be 310, 325 or 340mm (11, 11.5, and 12.5 inches
approximately). The width of the tails shall be 110,
115, 120mm (4", 4"3 lines, 4"6 lines approximately)
measured from button centre to button centre.
Tails and Turnbacks
4. The tails shall be lined with a light-serge wool
cloth of a distinctive colour; they shall be 320mm
(about 1 foot) long; their width is 325, 350, 375mm,
(12,13,14 inches approximately), measured in a
horizontal line, from the seam at the middle of the
back to the front edge: they are cut square at the
bottom of the tails: their width at the bottom of the
turnbacks shall be 200, 215, or 230mm, (7.5, 8, 8.5
inches approximately). The turnbacks are of wool
clQth, as are the ornaments: on the inner edge they
fall straight, and join precisly to the base of the
tails, such that the tails are always joined. The
turnbacks of the fusiliers are decorated with an N
surmounted by an imperial crown, made by means of a
cutting stamp, with cloth of the colour of the habit;
those of the grenadiers shall have a grenade in red
wool cloth; those of the voltigeurs shall be a hunting
horn in yellow wool cloth. These ornaments shall be
70mm high (2.5" approximately), and of a proportional
5. The collar shall be straight and for the three
heights 60, 70, or 80mm (2"4 lines, 2"8 lines. 3"
approximately); they shall be 10mm (4 lines) less
at the front than at the rear; they are closed with
3 or 4 hooks, following the height, lined with serge
cloth and inter-lined with linen. They are stitched
wi th "fine-point" stitches along the edge and again
in the middle, and edged with a piping in the colour
of the cloth of the habit.
6. The habits of the n.c.o.s and soldiers of the
fusilier companies, shall be decorated with two
epaulettes in wool cloth of the same colour as that
of the habit, and placed in the middle of each
shoulder, each epaulette ending on one side with an
"ecusson" and stitched into the seam of the collar,
they are 55mm (2" approximately) at the collar,
piping included, narrowing to 45mm (20 lines) in
the middle, and 70mm (2.5" approx) at the points of
the ecusson; the piping shall be of a dominant
colour, the epaulette shall be stitched at its
superior end into the collar-shoulder seam, and at
the ecusson, attached to a small button placed near
the seam of the armhole, and in the middle of the
shoulder, 20mm (9 lines) from the pojnt of the middle
of the ecusson. This epaulette is backed by a piece
of wool cloth in the colour of the habit, and is
interlined with a piece of linen, and has three
stitched lines along its length, its length shall
be proportional to the lenqth of the shoulder.
(The n.c.o.s and grenadiers... to be added)
7. The fronts are decorated with a piping in a
distinctive colour, they are cut square ,at the base
and hooked closed along their entire length, and
measure from the bottom of the collar, for the three
heights 350mm (13"), for the second 375mm (14"), and
for the first 400mm (15" approximately) long. They
measure at the widest part, in an horizontal line,
160mm (6"), piping included, in the middle they are
90mm (3.5"), and at the base, 80mm (3").They are
backed throughout their length with wool cloth of
the colour of the body of the habit, which allows,
if required, the fronts to be crossed over the body.
The width of the ecusson, piping included, measured
from point to point shall be 75mm (2"9 lines); the
upper edge of the front follows exactly the line of
the collar, without overlapping it. The point in the
middle of the ecusson comes to ,within 10mm of the
piping of the epaulette. "This proportion will vary
for the grenadiers. There are 13 hooks on the fronts,
not including the three on the collar. Each side of
the fronts is decorated ,with small buttons, the
buttonhole at the top of the front opens at 25mm
(11 lines) from the point of the ecusson; the second
buttonhole shall be 100, 105, 110mm (3"8 lines,
3"11 lines, 4"1 line approximately) from the first
depending on the height of the man, the five others
shall be at equal distances such that the final
buttonhole is 20mm (9 lines) from the piping of the
fronts. A piping of the colour of the turnbacks joins
from the bottom of the fronts to the begining of the
Sleeves and Cuffs
8. The sleeves are lined with good linen, and are
large enough to contain the gilet. Their length is
such that they fall precisely to the bend of the
wrist. The cuffs of the line infantry, artillery,
sappers and veterans, is of the colour regulated for
the distinction of the uniform. They are cut 11Omm
(4" approximately), high, lined entjrely by the cloth
of the sleeve presenting only some 80mm (3"), when
folded, they are piped white. The cuff is stitched
from the flap, at the opening on the upper part of
sleeve, without overlapping the flap, it follows the
curve of the sleeve and ends on the underside (at the
cut to which the cuff-flap is attached "trans").
The length of the cuff is in proportion to the size
of the arm and to the sleeve to which they are fixed,
they are stitched so that they cannot be folded down.
The cuff is open at the ends of the cuff. There
is on the upper side of the opening a flap 11Omm
(4") long by 35mm (1"4 lines) wide, piping included.
This flap is in the colour of the habit, part passes
above the cuff in the middle of the sleeve. The flap
is pierced with three buttonholes by means of which
the cuff is opened and closed. Three small buttons
are placed correspondingly on the lower part of the
sleeve, the first at 20mm (9 lines) from the bottom
of the cuff, the second 20mm ( 9 lines) from the upper
part of the flap, the third in the middle. This flap
is decorated with a piping in the colour of the cuff.
The centre of the buttonhole is 2Omm (9 lines) from
the exterior edge of the cuff.
The cuffs of the light infantry are pointed, of the
colour of the habit, with a white piping; they are
55mm (2") at the inner part of the curve, and 95mm
(3.5") at the point.
Pockets and their Flaps.
9. The pockets are under the tails and made in good
quality cloth; they open at 55mm (2") under the tails
they are l60mm (6") deep and 190mm (7") wide; their
exterior form is in the proportion of the model. The
exterior flap is only figured by means of a piping;
and is of the form of the crescent curve of a circle
(two crescents joined trans). The piping is of a
dominant colour, and shall be stitched onto the habit
without cutting the cloth. The flap is not figured
on the side where it apparently joins the habit
(neither with stitching nor piping), on this junction;
the unper edge of the flap is placed in line with the
buttons of the tails; the lower edge of the flap
passes underneath the turnbacks. The flap has three
points, at each of' these is placed a large button;
at a distance of 20mm (9 lines) from the edge, the
length of the flap is 240mm (9"), its width, at the
point in the middle upto the "junction" shall be
95mm (3.5") .The distance between the points shall be
70mm (2.5"); the width of the flap measured at the
three points shall be the same.
10. Proportions of the Gilet.
The gilet, with sleeves, shall be cut round, and lined with
linen as shall the sleeves; it shall be of white wool cloth,
it shall be cut 15mm (7 lines) shorter than the fronts of
the habit. The buttonholes shall be made in thread and
backed by a little band of linen or "straight cloth" (droit-fil),
which shall be the length of the buttons to line the opening
of the button-holes. The buttons and button-holes shall
number 10, and there shall be an open pocket on the right.
There shall be placed on the base of the rear of the gilet,
on the left side, between the two seams,a button of cloth,
designed to fix the giberne: this button shall be 25mm (1 inch
approximately) from the bottom of the gilet.
11. Collar of the gilet.
The collar shall be in wool cloth of the same colour as
the body of the habit, closed by means of two hooks, it
is 15mm,(7 lines) less than that of the habit.
12. Epaulettes of the gilet.
There shall be attached to each shoulder a flap of cloth
of the colour of the body of the habit lined with cloth of
the colour of the gilet, this flap is of equal width at the
top and the bottom, shall be 35mm (15 lines) wide, it
is cut square at the bottom and stitched into the middle
of the shoulder at the armhole seam: the upper part is
rounded, it is attached to a little uniform button precisly
fixed under the seam of the collar.
13. Sleeves and cuffs. The sleeves and cuffs of the gilet
shall be 15mm (6 lines sic.) shorter than those of the habit.
the cuffs are of cloth of the colour of the body of the habit,
they are open on the exterior seam of the sleeve without flap
or piping: the cuff shall be 70mm (2.5 inches) high: the
opening is extended 55mm (2 inches) above the cuff, and the
second is 25mm (1 inch approximately) from the cuff. (sic)
(Note in the French text I have the text does not make
sense I assume that the postion of the first button is
missing from the original French, it is reasonable to assume
that this is positioned at the mid-point on the cuff, if you
know different please let me know.)
14.Pockets of the gilet
The pockets of the gilet, consist of a flap 35mm (15 lines)
wide at a height of 120, 125, or 130mm (4"6 lines, 8 lines,
or 10 lines approximately), measured from the base of the
front of the gilet, the length of this flap shall be 190mm
(7 inches); it comes to 55mm (2 inches approx) from the
centre of the buttons. The depth of the pocket on the right
shall be 110mm (4 inches approx); the pocket on the left
is only simulated.
I5. The buttons of the habit and the gilet are of brass or
white metal, they are solid, and the tail is pierced with
two crossed holes rounded at the corners. There are on each
habit 8 largedbuttons and 22 small; they are arranged thus,
three large on each pocket, two large on the "tail" , seven
small on each front, three on each cuff, one on each epaulette
there are ten small on the gilet, equally spaced.
(Note no mention is made of the buttons, of the gilet, on
the shoulders or cuffs of the gilet)
16. The trousers, un-lined, shall be of white wool tricot,
with a large flap, which is attached by five buttonholes to
four buttons stitched onto the belt, and to that of the middle
of the three buttons which close the belt, it rises 8Omm
(3 inches) above the hip not including the belt, it is held
up by the braces, there length is such that they fall to
within 40mm (l8 lines approx) of the ankle, without either
cords or laces. the opening at the bottom of the trousers
cut straight or along the seam shall be 135mm (5 inches).
Belt of the trousers
17. The belt of the trousers shall be 8Omm (3 inches) wide
without bellows or buckle. this belt is "doubled' and carries
four buttons to which the braces are fixed: there is on the
right of the belt a pocket 110mm (4 inches approx) deep, and
110mm (4 inches anprox) wide; the flap is decorated at the
top with a band of linen 55mm (2 inches) and at the sides
by a band of linen 25mm (1 inch) wide.
18. The trousers are not lined, there shall be given the
equivalent of underpants in linen of the same length as the
trousers, except that the belt of the underpants, which is
lined, comes to exactly the hips; it is closed at the front
by two buttons (on the belt) and at the rear by means of a
cord, the underpants have open flies which are closed by means
of two buttons.
19. This trouser is made of white linen cloth, it rises to
the same height as the wool trousers, it falls to 110mm
(4 inches approx) from the qround; it is more ample and worn
over the gaiters, it has a pocket as for the wool trousers,
they are charged to the shoe and linen budgets.
20. The braces are made up of two straps of between 35 and
40mm (15 to l8 lines) wide, stitched crosswise 160mm (6 inches)
from the ends which are attached to the rear buttons, these
ends are attached to pieces ef linen 80mm (3 inches) long,
carrying a buttonhole the ends which attach to the buttons
at the front are attached to bands 215mm (8 inches approx)
long; this end passes through an iron buckle with three spikes,
stitched at the end is a flap, lined with cloth, 80mm (3 inches)
long which carries a buttonhole.
21. The greatcoat is of beige (or unbleached) serge woolcloth,
collar and cuffs the same, it crosses over the chest, overlapping
by 11Omm (approx 4 inches), closing by means of five cloth covered
buttons, placed vertically 8Omm (3 inches) apart, the buttons are
stitched 11Omm (4 inches) from the edge of the coat; the coat
comes down to 32Omm (1 foot) from the ground.
The cut, there are only two side seams, (the rear) at the height
of the shoulders, measures 435mm (16 inches approx) wide, at the
small of the back 54Omm (20 inches), and at the bottom 6oOmm
(22 inches approx). The side seams have an opening covered by a
flap 25mm (1 inch) wide and 215mm (8 inches) long stitched 19Omm
(7 inches) under the sleeve hole. The middle back of the coat is
cut open to a height of 19Omm (7 inches). The tail-back has two
flaps, one with a buttonhole, the other with a button: these
flaps are stitched horizontally at the height of the upper button
(of the side seam flaps); theyare 16Omm (6 inches) long and
40mm (18 lignes) wide.
Front of the coat
22. The front of the coat is cut straight, it is 300mm (11 inches
approx) across the chest, 46Omm (17 inches) at the small of the
back, and 600mm (22 inches approx) at the bottom, the coat overlaps
by 8Omm to 11Omm (3 or 4 inches) , the buttons and buttonholes are
backed with a piece of cloth strip (or tape), there is at the
bottom front corner a buttonhole, by means of which the fronts
can be turned back, it attaches to the lower button of the side
23. The collar, is made from and lined with the same material as
that of the coat, is 8Omm (3 inches) high at the rear, and 70mm
(2 inches 7 lignes) at the front, it is cut square at the front
24. There are placed on each shoulder epaulettes of the coating
cloth; 4Omm (18 lignes) wide throughout their length, lined with
the same cloth, stitched into the armhole and closed by means of
a button stitched into the middle of the upper part of the shoulder.
Sleeves and Cuffs
25. The sleeves are 54Omm (20inches) wide at the armhole, 43Omm
(16 inches approx) at the elbow and 38Omm (14 inches) at the cuffs,
the come to 25mm (1 inch) of the wrist; the cuffs are 11Omm (4 inches)
and are closed as "boots".
Lining and Pockets
26. The sleeves are lined, as is the body of the coat upto the
"tail", there is practically horizontally under the left side
front a pocket 19Omm (7 inches approx) in its opening and 215mm
(8 inches) in its depth.
27. The form and dimensions of the shakos shall be ultimately
determined by our Minister of War: the grenadiers and carabiniers,
in place of the bearskin, which they have at present, shall carry
a shako taller by 15mm (6 lignes) than those of the fusiliers;
they are ornamented with a red plume. The shakos of the voltigeurs
is of the same form as that of the fusiliers, but are ornamented
by a yellow plume.
Bonnet de Police
28. The bonnet de police shall be of cloth the same as that of the
habit, and made with the cloth of old uniforms. The edges and
seams of the bonnet are decorated with a piping of the distinctive colour.The bonnet is composed of a cylinder forming a band and
"turnbacks", the escutcheon and a top.
Cylinder or Band
29. The cylinder of the bonnet, which shall be of equal size at the
top and the bottom, shall be 120mm (4.5 inches) high. The band
is prolonged at the rear and at the sides which can be folded to
cover the ears; it shall be 75 to 78mm (2 inches 9 or 10 lignes)
deep at the rear up to the ears; at the ears the band is prolonged
by two flaps designed to button under the top and having a piping
to the end of the flap which terminates squarely, each of these flaps passes through a gap in the seam between the top and the band.
They are 80mm (3 inches) wide at the top and 40mm (18 lignes)
at the bottom. The right sided flap carries a button, the left a
buttonhole; which also allows the flaps to be buttoned under the
chin, when the flaps are folded down. The vertical front of the band
joins the edge of the escutcheon and is attached by means of a cloth button placed 70mm (2.5 inches approximately) from the bottom of
30. The escutcheon shall be 190 to 210mm (7 to 8 inches
approximately) wide at the base. It rises perpendicularly on
each side to a height of 65mm (2 inches 5 lignes) and is
terminated with a "rounding" l5mm (6 lignes) above the seam
joining the band to the top. This escutcheon is 130mm
(4 inches 9 lignes) high in the middle; it has the number of the
regiment, in numerals cut from wool-cloth in the distinctive
colour. These numerals are 35mm high (15 lignes).
31. The top of the bonnets are made up of a piece of wool-cloth
cut round and 325mm (1 foot) in diameter; they are gathered
and stitched, to form a circle of 250mm (9 inches 4 lignes);
there is placed on the seam of the top a piping similar to that
of the edges which goes under the gathering forming the top.
The top is lined with linen; the interior of the bonnet has a
"lining" which opens and closes by means of a drawstring.
32. The uniform of the voltigeurs only differs from the infantry
in that the collars and epaulettes are in "chamois", with a
piping of blue, the turnbacks have a hunting horn in chamois
the shako are as above but less high.
Distinctive marks: Habits
33. The habit of the drummers is made in green wool-cloth,
the top of the collar, the cuffs, the pockets, and the edges of
the turnbacks are decorated with a dark-green lace, which
carries an eagle and a crowned N in green; on a yellow
escutcheon conforming to the model. The parts laces
horizontally carry Type 1 lace, those vertically Type 2. The habit
has no fronts; it closes across the chest by means of 9 large
buttons, placed upon 4 double ranks of the lace of Type 1
these double ranks form the buttonholes and terminate
with a point; their length measured from the edge of the
habit to the point shall be 130mm (4 inches 9 lignes) the ranks
are equally spaced; those at the top join the seam of the collar
and that of the bottom lies along the bottom edge of the front of
34. The sleeves are covered with 7 bars of lace stitched in the
form of rounded chevrons at equal distances, the top chevron
of the sleeve follows the curve of the armhole, shall be 60mm
(2 inches 3 lignes) from the seam; the lowest lace comes to
20mm (9 lignes ) from the edge of the cuff, measured from the
35. The buttons are stitched onto the lace, each button of the
pockets is on a buttonhole formed by a double lace which ends
in a point 70mm (2.5 inches) long. The buttons of the tail are
surrounded by an escutcheon, square in form, round the button
in a double square; the inferior part of the lace enters into the
seams; each of the three sides is 80mm (3 inches) long; the
base of the seam in the middle of the tail is decorated with the
point of the lace conforming to the type, with a height of 50mm
(22 lignes). The three points which form the escutcheon of the
buttons and those of the middle of the tail rest on the seams of
the tail, that of the middle comes up Smm (2 lignes) more than
those of the sides.
36. Our Minister of War, and of the administration of war, are
charged, each as far as they are concerned, with the execution
of the present decree.
Hassock Lane North
Derbyshire DE75 7JB
7 Lowcroft Crescent
Oldham OL9 9UU
1790 Regiment Guyenne at Lyon
1792: Journal militaire:1st battalion arrived Besancon
1793 Landau, siege until 28th December.
1794 At Nice, General Kellerman formed a Polish battalion with men found in the 21eme demi-brigade, 9 companies of 3 officers and 70 men.
1796 Evening, Massena's division (21e) along left bank of the Ellero, from Mondovi to the Tanaro.
1798 Into garrison at Amiens, 2nd battalion at Nantes (formed March 1797), 3rd at Dunkirk
1799 Magnano, towards Brescia.
1800 Pas de Suse, and town of Suse.
1801 Battalion expeditionnaire formed on the Ile de Re, with 140 of the 21eme, 106 56th Line, 59 5th Light, 58 Colonial depot Ile de re, 28 legion Loire, 119 cannoniers 5th Foot artillery, on the frigate l'Africaine.
1803 Bruges Camp/Ostend, 3/4 battalions Flessigne until July 1804.
1804 3rd and 4th battalions to Cologne.
1805 Crossed the Danube at Pressberg, one battalion at Bruick, other in villages of Regelbrun, Arbestal, Collesbrunn, Willfersnauer, and Schadendorf, until 5th January 1806.
1806 Division Kreus Munster
1807 Division at the Hohenstein camp until 5th June.
1809 Division left Ebersdorf for Vienna
1810 Brunswick, until October.
1812 Division Thorn
1813 Order to form 1st Corps, 1st division, 33rd Provisional demi-brigade (2/12, 2/21) forming near Erfurth, united into corps at Wittenberg.
1814 Bergen op Zoom
1815 Between Quatre-Bras and Waterloo.
Boulogne 1991 on the Video page.