Category: french army











American uniforms from the Civil War era are just reskins of French uniforms, change my mind.

Is this a controversial take?

No, just wrong.

You ever heard of the Zouaves?

Since when are exceptions the rule?

Where do you think the kepi came from?


nO, jUsT WrOng

Yeah but all military uniforms (from a certain period) kinda look alike

That’s not entirely true. There’s a reason why Ivan was focusing on zouaves and kepis, and it’s because although most European powers had superficially similar uniforms, there are a few telltale elements that will tell you their country of origin without a doubt.
Likewise after the Franco-Prussian war the US army had dress uniforms looking suspiciously German in their features.

Single breasted jackets with a higher hemline, silly helmets ? Hmmmm…

We (Americans) copied French swords, too. Here are a few examples…

French Mle. 1822 Cavalry Sword:


US M1860 Cavalry Sword:


French Mle. 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword:


US M1850 Foot Officer’s Sword:


French Mle. 1829 Light Artillery Sword:


US M1840 Light Artillery Sword:


French Mle. 1833 Naval Cutlass:


US M1860 Naval Cutlass:


French Mle. 1837 Infantry Officer’s Epee:


US M1860 Staff and Field Officer’s Sword:


(most images from and

1814-15 French General Staff Officers Spadro…

1814-15 French General Staff Officers Spadroon


The french description for this sword is “Epee à pommeau à méplat recevant l’arc de jointure termine par un feuille d’acanthe”, or a sword with a flat-faced pommel with the joining arc terminated by an acanthus leaf.

It was very likely for an Officier Superieur, most likely a *Major* or a *Colonel de L’état-major de la Grande Armée* – a colonel of the Army General Staff, who served under the direction of *L’état-major général de la Grande Armée, et Maréchal  d’Empire*, Louis-Alexandre Berthier (Chief of staff of the Grand Army of France, and Marshal of France). In 1813 Marshal Berthier rejoined Napoleon as chief of staff (having served as chief of staff to Marshal Murat during the 1812 campaigning season) and served in this capacity throughout the campaign in Germany.

This particular wing of the army was responsible for Movements, Secretariat, Accounting and Intelligence of the French Grande Armée.


This design was used from 1814-1815 in this particular form. The hilt is gilt bronze, with mother of pearl handle scales with only two small chips.

The blade is also of an unusual form, for a French sword. It is a Spadroon, rather than a smallsword.

Most French officers swords with a hilt like this feature a hollow ground triangular section blade, like an earlier smallsword or courtsword.

This has a narrow, single edged, fullered blade known as a spadroon blade. In 1796, the British Army standardised on the 1796 pattern infantry officers sword, a spadroon with a very similar blade to this one (however slightly different). This was widely regarded as a poor design, known as “the perfect encumbrance”

The spadroon blade on this particular example is also unique in that is transitions to a “lozenge” () cross section for the distal half of the blade. It is fairly flexible, and also possesses almost no cutting capacity.


This sword has a few unique elements that allow it to be very accurately dated.

The pommel is in the form of a flattened acanthus, a symbol of enduring life and persistence. Also, on the guard there are two small flowers, situated near the top of the guard continuing this floral motif.

The knucklebow features a lion face. Though Napoleon settled on the Eagle for his official crest, the lion remained a popular symbol of strength in France even during the First Empire.  The quillion is also in the form of a lions head.

The guard allows for the most accurate dating, and is highly specific in its imagery.

The use of a *Winged Victory* as the salient image is typical of late Napoleonic symbolism, though the Winged Victory is originally an ancient Greek design, classicism was very popular at the time and many archaic symbols found themselves being reused.

In the hand of the Winged Victory is a *laurel wreath*, a symbol of victory and honour, also of ancient Greek origins.

The Winged Victory stands before a background of flagpoles, one of which flies a battle standard (on the lefthand side, with the fringed border).

The use of the *fasces* or a bound bundle of birch rods is also typical of the First Empire, though the symbol itself dates back to Etruscan and then later Roman times and was merely revived by the classicist Imperials.

There is some deposition of white oxides on the bronze, and some photos are before cleaning, others after. This is due to exposure to chlorides (salt) at some point.

96cm overall, 82cm blade, 416 grams.

The Logistics of the Crimean War Darrell Ri…

The Logistics of the Crimean War

Darrell Rivers & Brett Gibbons discuss the logistics of the Crimean War including the differences in British & French supply, transport, rationing, and ordnance, the Board of Ordnance, the issuing of green coffee, successes, failures, and the transition towards professional systems in the British and French armies in the 19th century.

victoriansword: Assorted British, German, and …


Assorted British, German, and French bayonets from’s archives.

Antique French ‘Fantasie’ Swords

Antique French ‘Fantasie’ Swords

The French model 1822 light cavalry sabre – …

The French model 1822 light cavalry sabre – an overview.

French Sapeurs’ Swords, 19th Century

French Sapeurs’ Swords, 19th Century

From top to bottom:

  1. European Sapeur’s Sword, Line Infantry
  2. Composite Sapeur’s Sabre, blade marked 8t Hussars, c.1810-15
  3. Sapeur’s Sword, Infantry of the Line, c.1808
  4. Composite Sapeur’s Sabre, c.1810-1815
  5. Sapeur’s Sabre, Infantry of the Line, Second Empire (with sawback blade)
  6. Massive Sapeur’s Sabre, Infantry of the Line, c.1810-1815 (with sawback blade)
  7. Sapeur’s Sabre, Infantry of the Line, date 1840

Swords from The Charles Bremner Hogg Jackson Collection sale at Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco, 1996.

victoriansword: French Model 1822 Light Cav…


French Model 1822 Light Cavalry Sabre

Blade spine marked “Coulaux Ainé et Cie. Klingenthal”, dating it to 1838-40. Poincons on blade and scabbard.

Deluxe Cavalry Officer’s Sabre of the Imperial…


Deluxe Cavalry Officer’s Sabre of the Imperial Guard, French, 19th Century

victoriansword: French Mle. 1866 Chassepot Bay…


French Mle. 1866 Chassepot Bayonet

Sword bayonets were generally issued to elite/specialist troops (e.g. riflemen, pioneers, etc.). This changed when the French introduced the M1866 Chassepot bayonet as it was issued to all infantry and not just elite units. Many European nations soon followed suit. Today it is one of the most common 19th century bayonets on the market. Some collectors have challenged themselves to collect examples made by each manufactory, as well as those issued to colonial troops (indicated by an anchor stamp on the guard). The above Mle. 1866 Chassepot bayonet was made at St. Etienne in 1873 (St. Etienne-made bayonets are the most common for this model). Brass grip, iron guard, steel yataghan style blade.