Now for a very off-the-wall question. . . on French dragoon and cuirassier shabraque the number of the regiment is in the rear corner. My question is. . . how large were these numbers supposed to be according to regulation? Were they embroidered? Woven into the fabric? Painted on?
David, HKW, and Rob: Thanks! That answers my questions.
The 1812 regulations prescribe numbers cut from cloth for the portmanteau of the heavy cavalry. The numbers on the portmanteau of the light cavalry were made from braid, though.
I agree for troopers no embroidering and not painted, cut out from a piece of cloth and stitched onto the green cloth.
Not a definitive answer, but on clothing things like grenades in turn backs etc were cut out from the ‘tailings’ or offcuts, and sewn on in an appliqué style. Embroidered would be the most expensive. I suspect they would be reserved for officers, and even then parade or full dress items. Painted is cheapest, but on broadcloth or ticot I’m not sure how consistent, presentable or durable that would be. These cloths do not provide as good a surface for painting, as, say, silk does. Regulations tended to only give direction rather than describe how. Even if a sealed pattern survives, there is no guarantee that tailors or contractors followed it. Ultimately on the ground it would be subject to whim, expediency or custom and practice. Annoyingly, if it gets mentioned at all, it might say something like “in the usual manner”. I’d beware of museum exhibits though. Organics such as cloth do not always endure and conservators have been known to dress items for display. Not a very definitive reply, but I suspect appliqué.