21eme Regiment de Ligne
  Manuel d'Infanterie
Manuel d’Infanterie
8th Lesson
Dressing of the Cartridge Box
41. Fabrication of the wax.
Put one pound of white beeswax to melt, to which add a little gum Arabic; pour part of the molten wax onto one ounce of ivory black. When the wax and black are well mixed, return all of the wax to the heat, stirring the mix gently, until near boiling; it is then put through a cloth into a mold.
If white wax is not available, then yellow wax may be used; or a mix of both. In this case two ounces of gum Arabic is used, to reduce the  “greaseyness” and to give a shine; vine black can be substituted for the ivory black.

43. Manner of waxing the cartridge box (see number 98)

If the giberne to be waxed is new, scrape over its entirety to produce a uniform surface, and rubbed with the pumice stone; the former is to remove hardened black (dye) which covers the surface and which prevents the wax from penetrating the leather; without this precaution , it shall afterwards flake (off).  (The French says form scales) The wax is firmly and evenly applied, the wax is then flamed, that is to say, that the giberne is held over a small well dried straw fire, so that it is the wax and not the giberne that is heated, otherwise the leather will blister and burst. This is repeated with each coat, building up an even thickness of wax. The astic (1) is then used to polish the wax all over. Small holes and imperfections which are found in the leather are filled (with wax), polishing, with the astic, until the surface is uniform; a cork (bouchon de Liege) is then used to polish (the wax), and then a pad of linen, or broadcloth is used to wipe the giberne When the (wax is) hot it is not wiped at this time as the shine will fade when the wax is reheated. The giberne being evenly polished and without imperfections, it is then polished (frotte) lightly with the palm of the hand to give , what is called, a mirror finish.



(1)   See plate 3. An astic is a polisher in hard-wood, or better a pebble, or a tooth on a handle.

Those gibernes that have been in service, if they are found to be “greasy” and the wax does not take a brilliant shine, they are scraped with a spoon, after they have been set before the fire; they are flamed, and waxed as for new gibernes, and finished in the same way.

If the corners of the flap have become distorted or bent, they are re-heated, stamped with the astic, and reformed between the hands, retaining there shape as they cool.

If the sides of the box are deformed, the wax is removed with a spoon, the wooden box is removed,  steep the entire box (of the giberne) in water, replace the wooden box, pushing it down into the giberne. The wet giberne is left to dry and pressed so that the two sides press against the wood, when the giberne is dry it should take up the original shape. (1)

In the summer, it is better to wax the giberne in the shade, rather than in the sun, because, the harder the wax is to soften, the brilliant the finish.

The “Reglement de Police” (2)  says the gibernes are to be waxed, as are the sides; to smooth the wax a wooden polisher is used.


(1)   Some units have adopted, the use of wooden “planks” to preserve the shape of the sides of the giberne. In this case, the makers of gibernes, line the bottom or sides of the giberne.

(2)   24th June 1792, title 5, article 17

103. Collier de Tambour Drum Strap
It weighs one kilogramme (2 livres), made up from two pieces joined together, forming a length of one metre 137 millimetres (42 pouces) 88mm (3 pouces 3 lignes) at the top. and 117mm (4 pouces 4 lignes) at the bottom, re-inforced under the join by a piece of buff 217mm (8 pouces) long, stitched to both pieces; the sticks holder is a folded piece, 115mm (4 pouces 3 lignes) (finished width?) 108mm (4 pouces) high; two straps are attached at each end to take the "drum carrier" in brass; these straps are 352mm (13 pouces) long each, by 29mm (13 lignes) wide.

369.Manner of posting sentries.

The commander numbers the guards; this number is a sort of name which serves to “recognize” the men during their guard; in numerous posts, the corporal is to write with a crayon this number under the cartridge box.

The commander of the post commands: l’arme au bras.


Then the corporal in charge shall go with the first duty men to command the first guard posts; he shall form up, and present to the commander of the guard post. After the commander has inspected, the corporal shall form two or three ranks, depending on their number; he shall take position at their head, carrying his musket on the right arm, and commands them to march. He conducts them at “porte-armes” in camp march at  arm au bras [(1)  Reglement de service 1st March 1768, tit 11 art 48. In camp they march at l’arme au bras. Reglement de champagne 5 April 1792 tit 16 art 16] in order and in silence, accompanied by the descending corporal; he relieves first the sentry “in front of the arms” [(2) In camp start with the sentry furthest away. Reglement de campagne  tit 17 art 7.], coming to within 4 to 6 paces of the man, he shall stop his “post”, and followed only by the soldier who has been designated to occupy the post, he shall approach the “old” sentry, place the “new” to the left of him, commands to the two to face and present arms [(3) Reglement de service, tit 11, art 50 et 51, Reglement de campagne, tit 16 art 9.]; then the “old” sentry shall give the password to the new; the corporals approach to listen, to ensure that the password has been given and received correctly; but if it has been partially forgotten or if some part has been altered, the descending corporal shall correct the omissions or errors of the sentries. When the password is given, the corporal examines the sentry-box and its environs that the preceding sentries have not brought stones (4)[ Reglement de service, tit 11 art 42] in to sit upon, that they have not blocked up the windows of the sentry-box, that they have not ripped, damaged, or lost the “Capote” or the “consigne” (items given to the guard), that they shall not “partake” or permit the degradation, or to leave refuse in the area around the post [See number 373 paragraph 3].


The corporal shall visit the palisades, platforms, batteries etc. He shall afterwards see that the sentries “carry arms”, commanding them to the right and left to relieve the post; the relieved sentry shall follow after the other (new) sentries [(1) Reglement de service 1st March 1768, tit 11, art 49., not allowing any soldier to break-away under pretext of being in distress, or to take a shorter route, either in going or relieving. He shall join the relieved soldiers to his  section, and shall go to each sentry in the same manner. He place each soldier in his designated position.[(2) / Reglement de service 1st March 1768, tit 11, art  20]


In general, whether in garrison, or in camp, the “caporal de pose” presents, before dismissing, the sentries to the commander of the post, who shall form them up, inspect their arms and “platines”, and regulate the rooms of the guard-post.[(3) Reglement de campagne 5th April 1792tit 16, art 4,5 and 6. Reglement de service, tit 11 art 17]


The corporal commanding a small post shall be assisted in placing the sentries by the most senior soldier [(4) Reglement de service, tit 11, art  17]


When the positioning shall be completed, the corporal shall return to his post, giving an account to his commander of all that he has observed [(5) Reglement de service, tit 11, art 52]  and, excepting the first post he shall always present the old sentries, whether in garrison or camp.

He shall finally make an about-turn [(6) Reglement de service, tit 11, art 28], present arms, raise arms and break ranks.


370. Departure of the old guard: The sentries of the old guard being re-assembled, and the commander having re-assembled al the small posts he has them “porte-armes” and puts them on the march; the drummer beats “la marche” (the same as for the new guard [(1) Reglement de service 1st March 1768, tit 11 art 24 and 25,]. At 50 paces from the post, the commander of the descending guard shall return bayonets, take “l’arme au bras”, and order the most senior nco (or corporal) to conduct the guard to their quarters; when the officer ceases conducting the descending guard, the drummer stops beating. If it is a nco (or corporal) who commands the post, he returns with the guard.


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Commanding Officer
Chris Perko
Algrave Hall
Hassock Lane North
Derbyshire DE75 7JB
The Adjutant
Chris Durkin
7 Lowcroft Crescent
Oldham OL9 9UU
Position of the Regiment
25th May
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.
1808 Juliers
1809 Division left Ebersdorf for Vienna
1810 Brunswick, until October.
1811 Stade
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 Lille

1815 Between Quatre-Bras and Waterloo.
Waterloo 1985
Boulogne 1991 on the Video page.
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