As the surviving regular readers of this blog might remember, it’s almost a year since I started my ‘Frogruary Challenge’ to complete the core of my new French army for the Seven Years War during the month of February 2021. That was followed in March by some German and Swiss infantry and in April by the cavalry. However, I still had one cavalry regiment outstanding, namely the ‘Royal-Nassau’ Hussar Regiment.
This regiment was initially raised at the start of the Seven Years War in 1756 as a German ‘Free Corps’ of only 300 men in two squadrons. Titled the ‘Volontaires de Nassau-Saarbruck’, the regiment was rated by the Prince de Soubise as ‘poor’. However, it survived the catastrophe of Rossbach and in April 1758 was re-titled as the ‘Volontaires Royaux de Nassau-Saarbruck’.
This new title only lasted two months however, as in June 1758 the regiment was brought into the regular German cavalry of the French Army and was expanded to 600 men in four squadrons, with the new title of ‘Royal-Nassau’. Unlike many better-rated regiments, the ‘Royal-Nassau’ Hussars never suffered a major catastrophe and by the end of the war had repeatedly proved themselves in the petit-guerre of scouting, raiding, pursuing a defeated enemy and screening a retreat.
The regiment was dressed in the typical Hungarian Hussar style; the dolman jacket was royal blue, with standing collar and pointed cuffs faced in ventre de biche (pale yellow-buff), white braid (silver for officers) and white metal buttons. The pelisse was red with black fur edging, white braid and white metal buttons. Officers has white fur and silver braid. The barrel-sash was coloured white and aurore. Breeches were yellow deerskin and were usually worn with chashkiry (leggings) in royal blue edged with white lace and boots cut in Hungarian style, edged with white lace and tassels. Cross-belts were white, with a black leather cartridge-box.
The sabretache was red, displaying the arms of Nassau (a gold lion rampant on a gold-edged blue oval scattered with gold ‘billets’) and edged in aurore and white lace. The scabbard was black leather with iron fittings and the sabre had a steel hilt. The sabretache and scabbard were hung from red leather belts, but I mistakenly painted them white, like the cross-belts.
The mirliton caps were black, probably with a black flamme and mixed white/aurore cords and lace edging to the flamme. Like a lot of military lace patterns, at a distance this probably just looked white, which is how it looks in prints and is how I’ve painted it. However, one source (Blandford’s ‘Uniforms of the Seven Years War’) shows the body of the flamme being coloured aurore instead of black, another source shows alternating squares of aurore and white on the lace strips, while most sources show a white plume.
Shabraques were red, edged in aurore and white lace and decorated with a white fleur-de-lys at the front and rear corners.
French Hussar trumpeters of the period, instead of Hungarian dress, still wore French-style uniforms in the livery of their colonel-in-chief (in this instance, the Prince of Nassau). Consequently, the trumpeter here wears a yellow coat with ‘false sleeves’ and red facings with white buttonhole lace, topped off with a tricorn hat decorated with white lace and ostrich feather edging. The shabraque is red with a white edge and the front and rear corners are decorated with three fleur-de-lys, with a crown above.
That’s it for now! I’ll leave you with a sneaky peek at what I’ve been painting this week…