Monday, May 30, 2011

De Bussy's Volunteers

In addition to the regular and Company troops there were also  a number of volunteer units in French Service.

De Bussy's army in the Deccan comprised such volunteers. Initially there were three companies recruited, mostly Germans, but soon there was a fourth company composed of Swiss and British deserters.

Crusader officer, Front Rank Foot

There are no identified contemporary illustrations of the uniforms. A contemporary account refers to blue &white striped gaiters.Lucien Rousselot (1900-1992)  reconstructed the uniform with button up frock coat and either fur grenadier hats or stocking caps.

A picture of an unidentified soldier, identified in the sources as from either 1760 or 1866, may be one of de Bussy's Volunteers. He wears a red cutaway coat with aiguilettes, more modern in style. He also wears a cap with a white fur crest and  a feather hackle on the left.  I went with something close to Rousselot's description as no figure came close to the other description!

The 1760/1866 sketch

To complicate the matter, the Volunteer Companies underwent two, if not three uniform changes between April 1751 and June 1753!! I went with the latest description I could find, with green cuffs (even though they appear blue in these photos!) 

Rousselot's reconstruction
The real issue with this unit was working out the flag.The flag is conjectural. As I wanted something to stand out on the table and to be different from the Company flag I had de Bussy's coat of arms placed on it. Since then I have, I think, found a reference to the correct flag. I intend to post that up soon.



  1. Very nice-looking fellows, anyway!
    Do you intend to do some Topas?

  2. Hi Abdul,

    There are 2 at the left of the line, but they don't stand out well in the photo. More are planned :)

  3. Spotted indeed!
    Nice skin tone.

  4. Beautiful painting, is the flag real or made up, I've never seen it before?

  5. Ray - "conjectural" is best said! It is, however, de Bussy's coat of arms.In all likelyhood, the real flaw was a variant of the French East Indies flag.