Somewhere in the dim and distant past, I can recall reading (not sure if it was in the original German or in an English translation) a list of the colours of the horses ridden by all the senior officers - general staff, brigade commanders and individual unit COs - in the Schwarze Schar during the 100 Days. It was probably in the last 2-3 years, but sadly that now qualifies as "dim and distant past". Unfortunately, a computer meltdown has lost this resource - amongst others - and I am hoping to reclaim it via these pages. Any help (preferably the list itself!) greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Stephen - two very interesting quotes there.
The first one, from Maj. Gen. Torrens, perhaps reflects some confusion over what is occurring in Brunswick, since the "new" hussar regiment clearly had more than one squadron at the time of his writing, although it does make clear that the "old" regiment was still in the Mediterranean.
Ms Eaton's comment is more pertinent, being an eye-witness account. It does seem unlikely, bearing in mind Markus's quote from the regimental history, that ALL of the hussars were mounted on black horses. However, it is not impossible that perhaps one smaller group was, possibly because it was acting as a bodyguard for the Duke (although at Quatre Bras, he seems to have spent most of his time with the Uhlan squadron). That said, it was unusual for light cavalry to ride black horses, due to the prevailing thought at the time that the darker a horse's coat, the stronger the animal was likely to be - hence the darkest-coloured mounts generally went to the heavy cavalry.
As I said in my reply to Markus's original post, whilst the actual procurers may not have had instructions to buy horses of specific colours, I think it highly likely - these are German troops, remember, noted for efficiency and professionalism - that once they had possession of them, the officers and NCOs would have arranged some kind of "sorting process" so that mounts of similar colour were grouped together within a troop, if not necessarily an entire squadron.
Once again, many thanks for bringing those excerpts to my attention.
I'm reading Waterloo Witnesses: Military and Civilian Accounts of the 1815 Campaign by Kristine Hughes and it includes a couple of things that may be of interest to you. The first is a letter from Major General Sir Henry Torrens to the Duke of Wellington dated Horse Guards, 9 June 1815. It reads:
I forgot to mention in my last private letter the circumstances which had induced the order for the squadron of Brunswick Hussars to join your army. They are reported to be a very good detachment, well-mounted and equipped, and the Commander in Chief thought they might be attached to one of the hussar regiments of the Legion until the remainder of the Brunswick Regiment shall arrive from the Mediterranean.
The second item is a quote from Charlotte Eaton's Narrative of a residence in Belgium during the campaign of 1815; and of a visit to the field of Waterloo: by an Englishwoman, which reads:
Near Brussels we passed a body of Brunswick troops. They were dressed in black, and mounted upon black horses, and their helmets were surmounted with tall nodding plumes of black horsehair, which gave them a most sombre and funeral appearance.
It is not exactly definitive but it does suggest that the Brunswick hussars may have been mounted upon black horses.
The book itself itself makes for quite an interesting read and the hardback is currently available from the Naval & Military press for £4.99 plus postage.
OK, may give that one a miss.....
Ah, I understand - the cited "old" regiment operating in the Mediterranean is quoted as a unit in British service, so not originally Brunswick, whereas the "new" hussar regiment is stated as a Brunswick unit.
No, this regimental history is very rare and therefore I bought a reprint version (still rather expensive as I paid 130€ for the 2 volumes).
Thank you for confirming that. Those troop strengths are very large, the equivalent of squadrons in other armies, which I suspect is what confuses folk such as myself!
The reason that I referred to the "2nd Hussars" was because the original hussar regiment (which had passed into British service from 1809-10) was still operating in the Mediterranean until July 1815. Thus there would, albeit very briefly, have been two regiments of hussars in existence - that said, only one purely in Brunswick service.
Once again, many thanks for your help on this. Is the book on the hussar regiment accessible on-line?
there hadn't been a second hussar regiment. The regimental history counts for the Brunswick field corps marching into the 1815 campaign:
Hussar-Regiment with 6 companies (3 squadrons)
Ulan-Squadron with 2 companies
Detachment of "Police hussars"
Each company of the hussars counted 5 officers and 116 men; the regiment with staff in total 37 officers and about 700 men. The Ulan squadron counted 15 officers and 234 men. The hussar regiment had two 4-horse-wagons and the Ulan squadron one 2-horse-wagon.
I hope, that clarifies the question about the strength of the Brunswick cavalry in the 1815 campaign.
Greetings from Berlin
Thank you, Markus; that is very helpful. Given that the two cavalry regiments, plus the train and regimental baggage wagons would have needed around 1,000 horses, I can understand that that level of uniformity was a priority. That said, regimental commanders and senior NCOs being what they were (and most likely still are), I cannot help but think that once they amassed all that horseflesh in one place, some sorting out may well have occurred anyway!
Whilst you are here, could you answer two more questions for me, please?
First, I have seen in different places that the 100 Days Hussar Regiment (let's call it the 2nd Hussars for the sake of argument), comprised either six squadrons, or six troops in three squadrons. The total manpower (690) and the number of officers (3 Majors, 4 Captains, 15 Lieutenants, 10 Cornets and 2 Lieutenant Adjutants) suggests the former, but it did occur to me that it could simply be a matter of nomenclature, with different authors describing the same thing in different ways?
Second, von Herzburg's account states that the Uhlans comprised two squadrons, whereas other accounts suggest one squadron of two troops; again, manpower and officer numbers/ranks make it difficult to determine. Do you know which it is?
Thank you in advance.
I checked the regimental history "Hundert Jahre Braunschweigische Husaren - Geschichte des Braunschweigischen Husaren-Regiments Nr. 17", published 1909, volume 1.
There it is mentioned that most of the horses, needed for the new formation of the regiment at the end of 1813 (plus the Ulan squadron), were bought in Poland, and some were bought in the duchy of Brunswick and neighbor states. No directives regarding the colors are given.
No more information about the colors are given for the 1815 campaign of the Brunswick cavalry.
I think, due to the large amount of horses needed and bought in several countries, it was not possible to order different colors by squadron.
Greetings from Berlin
Further to the above, does anyone have any indications that the hussar and uhlan squadrons, or troops within those squadrons, had horses of distinctive colours? My contact in the Brunswick re-enactor community says they have not found anything, and that the hurried nature of the raising of the 1815 corps may well have precluded such selectivity, but I think that the Duke's military experience would have caused him to at least attempt some sort of equine uniformity - plus, some of the units had been in existence for a year or so by the time of the 100 Days, so there was time for animals to be transferred, IMO. He and I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has found something.
That would certainly be an interesting book - not least to modellers and wargamers. I have often wondered if Murat changed his horse as often as he changed his uniform!
You beat me to it. I was just about to dig out my copy. Funnily enough, ever since reading Gareth Glover's book I have meant to start making up a list of all the known names and colours of horses ridden by officers during the Napoleonic wars. Maybe I should finally make a start on it.
Ah, found it!!! Vol 5 of Gareth Glover's "Waterloo Archive" at p.147.
As you were, everyone.....