Wednesday, 30 January 2013

General de Brigade Jean-Hyacinthe-Sebastien Chartrand

Last year I painted 2 brigade command sets using figures from the Foundry French Napoleonic range.  Foundry sell various "generals" and "mounted officers" packs, which seem to contain a mix of pre- and post-1812 uniforms.    Initially I didn't know what to do with the pre-1812 figures, but a bit of research suggested that they would be ok for officers of the Imperial Guard, many of whom seem to have continued to wear cut-away coats rather than the Bardin coat.  So I picked out various figures to turn into the two brigade command stands that one requires for the Young Guard units that were present at Waterloo.  This is the first of those.  Now, I have to confess to being rather confused about how the Imperial Guard was organised in practice at Waterloo.  The regiments don't appear to fall easily into a division/brigade organisation like everything else.  Officers who are listed as "brigade" commanders in one orbat appear as a "division" commander in another; and to add to the confusion, because Imperial Guard officers held a higher rank than their equivalents in the regular army, their rank isn't a clear indication of what body of units they commanded.  A further problem with the Young Guard is that sources can't agree on whether the 2 brigades each contained a regiment of tirailleurs and voltiguers or whether all the tirailleurs were in the first brigade and all the voltigeurs in the second.  All very confusing.

In the end, I decided to follow the splitting up of theTirailleurs and the Voltigeurs across the 2 brigades.  So the first brigade, under General Chartrand will have the 1st Tirailleurs and the 1st Voltigeurs, whilst the second brigade will have the 3rd regiments of both.  Chartrand was born on 22 January 1779 and joined the army at the age of 14 (I love his christian name, particularly "Hyacinthe" - to English-speakers, Frenchmen sometimes have rather feminine sounding names...).  He rose swiftly through the ranks and by July 1813 was colonel of 25th Line Regiment.  He was promoted to General-de-Brigade later that year.  He appears to have met an unfortunate end, being executed on 22 May 1816 for rallying to Napoleon's cause in 1815.  The mounted officer here is not dressed as a General de Brigade, rather as a colonel of the Tirailleurs of the Guard (the cuffs are correct for this; if he was a colonel in the Voltigeurs he would have pointed cuffs like the legere infantry).  I have no idea whether Chartrand was actually ever a colonel in the Young Guard, or whether his rank was sufficient to have him assigned to the Young Guard's first brigade.  The foot figure is another Foundry sculpt, and it's not clear to me whether he is wearing the pre-1812 coat or the Bardin jacket but with the buttons undone (there are a couple of figures in the range that clearly have their coats unbuttoned).  I thought I'd portray him as the latter; a rather flustered adjutant of the Voltigeurs (note the correct pointed cuffs) who has lost his horse and has come to tell Chartrand that the situation at Plancenoit isn't going too well.  The uniforms aren't perfect for who these people are supposed to be, but they were the best use I could think of for these particular figures.  And it gives me an excuse to paint some more Young Guard (all I have so far are some Voltigeurs having a rest)!

2 figures. Painted August 2012.


Docsmith said...

What kind of parent would call their little boy 'Hyacinthe'? AND Sebastien! - no wonder he was a fighter! Seriously Giles, another beautiful figure. Hope you get enough time with the arrival of #2 to do more this year (congratulations to both you and the Kiwi by the way).


paulalba said...

Looks good Giles,
Glad to see some more naps on your blog!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Well done on the command stand Giles! Nice to see you blogging more regular again.:-)


Silver Whistle said...

The old Foundry figures are wonderful to paint and you have done a superb job on these two Giles.