French Staff Uniform
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The first regulations concerning uniforms of general officers date only from 1744, prior to this date and even after, French generals could dress at according to their own choice.
In the following inventory, which has been made after the death of a lieutenant-general we find interesting information to imagine how a general officer could be dressed at the time of the War of the Spanish Succession.
Lieutenant-general Louis de la Palu, Comte de Bouligneux, former colonel of Limousin Infanterie, was promoted to lieutenant-general in February 1704 and killed by a bullet to the head on 14 December of the same year, during the siege of Verrua.
Since Bouligneux was heavily in debt, his equipment had to be sold at an auction in the market place in Casale.
The provost of the army drew up an inventory in which we are particularly interested by clothing:
- a scarlet suit consisting of a waistcoat and a coat embroidered with golden thread, gilt buttons and plain breeches
- a hazelnut suit made of broadcloth with golden braids and plain breeches
- olive green coat and waistcoat with golden thread buttons
- a dressing gown made of amaranthine and coffee-coloured satin with a green taffeta lining
- a scarlet greatcoat with buttonholes and buttons of golden thread
- olive green breeches made of serge
- a white camisole made of finette
- 2 pairs of stockings (one red, the other grey-white) made of estaminet
- breeches of linen cloth
- 3 pairs of stockings made of linen cloth
- 24 fine plain shirts
- 2 white stitched bonnets
- 13 cravats
- 7 night caps
- a large plain dressing gown
- 15 pairs of slippers
- 14 white handkerchiefs
His furniture, silverware and stable (11 horses and 7 mules) were also sold.
His personnel, (1 first chamberlain, 1 secretary, 1 squire, 1 maître d'hôtel, 1 office chief, 3 footmen, 2 rôtisseurs, 1 sommelier, 1 under-cook, 1 dispatcher, 1 dish-washer, 5 stablemen and 4 muleteers) had to find a new master.
N.B.: In 1707, a decree dated 15 April reduced the luxury of the equipages of each lieutenant-general to two or three carts or wagons with 40 horses both for himself and his retinue and for the carts and wagons.
Carnet de la Sabretache, 1901
Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article