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December 1, 2016

15 Stunning Vintage Portraits of Veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, 1858

Napoléon Bonaparte’s final defeat was the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Even after his death in 1821, the surviving soldiers of Grande Armée revered his historic leadership. Each year on May 5, the anniversary of Napoléon’s death, the veterans marched to Paris’ Place Vendôme in full uniform to pay respects to their emperor.

These portraits are believed to be the only surviving images of French veterans who fought in the Napoleonic Wars of 1803–1815 wearing the uniforms they fought in.

The photographs were taken on one of these occasions, possibly in 1858. All the men — at this time in their 70s and 80s — are wearing the Saint Helena medals, issued in August 1857 to all veterans of the wars of the revolution and the empire.

The blurring on some of the pictures shows how hard the ageing subjects found it to stand still for several seconds while the plates were exposed.

Monsieur. Verlinde of the 2nd Lancers.

Monsieur Vitry of the Departmental Guard.

Monsieur Dupont who was fourier for the 1st Hussar.

Quartermaster Fabry of the 1st Hussars.

Monsieur Schmit of the 2nd Mounted Chasseur Regiment.

Grenadier Burg of the 24th Regiment of the Guard of 1815.

Monsieur Maire of the 7th Hussars circa 1809-1815.

Quartermaster Sergeant Delignon in the uniform of a Mounted Chasseur of the Guard.

Sergeant Taria in the uniform of the Grenadiere de la Garde of 1809-1815.

Monsieur Ducel, a Mameluke de la Garde.

Monsieur Loria of the 24th Mounted Chasseur Regiment and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, who appears to have lost his right eye.

Monsieur Mauban of the 8th Dragoon Regiment of 1815.

Monsieur Lefebre, a sergeant in the 2nd Regiment of Engineers in 1815.

Pictured in his grand hussar uniform is Monsieur Moret of the 2nd Regiment, 1814-1815.

Monsiuer Dreuse of the 2nd Light Horse Lancers of the Guard.

(Images: Brown University Library)


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