Recruiting Now. Roles for all the family.
Are you interested in going on the field of battle and want to serve L’Empereur? We can help with the supply of kit and in obtaining a firing or non-firing musket (depending on age and status). Most new recruits join as soldiers and undertake regular drill sessions at events throughout the year. Accreditation takes place each year. There are no requirements to attend a specific number of events each year. A basic understanding of French is helpful, although not essential. Drill sessions and battlefield commands are communicated in French and the basics are reasonably easy to learn. After basic training you might prefer to take on the role of a voltigeur or grenadier.
Musician or Infirmière
Are you interested in going on the field of battle? Perhaps you have an interest in music? Then you too can serve L’Empereur. As a musician you could drum a column of infantry into battle or sound a call to assemble the troops. Perhaps you have an interest in medicine? We are looking to recruit infirmière to support the troops. In their contonments, on the battlefield and upon the capture of enemy towns, the infantry regiments of Napoleon paraded. At their head marched the musicians and it was these that often impressed the crowds. Each regiment was officially allowed eight musicians, although many Colonels went to considerable expense engaging above and beyond that number. Drums, bassoons, clarinets, trombones, oboes, trumpets and other instruments were used.
Cantinière or Vivandière
Cantinières and vivandières were women who served as official auxiliary personnel to the armies combat units. Their official task was to sell food and drink to the soldiers of their regiment to supplement the always inadequate army rations. Cantinières and Vivandières had a close tie to their regiments. Regulations required that each Cantinière and Vivandière be the legitimate wife of a soldier in the regiment she served with. This requirement was enforced at times and ignored at others. Cantinières and Vivandières of this period did not wear regimental uniforms, but rather wore civilian clothing with occasional pieces of military clothing picked up on campaign. The real trademark of the Cantinière was the tonnelet, a small brandy barrel slung by a leather strap across the Cantinière's shoulder. Regulations requiring a metal identification plaque to be worn were introduced in 1756, although many independent-minded Cantinières ignored them, simply using their tonnelets as identification. They painted their brandy barrels in bright, patriotic colours and painted their names and unit names on the end or side of the barrels.
Thanks to DeviousWolf for the photographs on this page.