The 105e Ligne is probably best known for losing its eagle at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. For those who might be interested, the wounded 1e Porte-Aigle Lt. Jean CHANTELAT, who lost the trophy to Captain Kennedy Clark and Corporal Stiles of the 1st Royal Dragoons, had served his whole career in the regiment dating back to 1794. By the time of our battle in April 1809, Sergent Chantelat already served six years in this grade and fought in the 1805, 1806, and 1807 campaigns with the Grande Arme. Withstanding this tarnish on their honour, the regiment by 1809, was a veteran unit that had fought in the famous battles of Iena (Jena), Eylau, Heilsberg, and Friedland. During the glory years of the 1e Empire the 105e Ligne was led by the gallant Colonel Pierre-Joseph Habert from 1802- February 18, 1808, with Colonel Pierre-Marie-Isidore de Blanmont (39) taking over the regiment on 28 March 1808 and skillfully leading it through the 1809 campaign. For his service and leadership of the 105e Ligne in the battles of 19-22 April, Colonel de Blanmont would be awarded the Commander of the Legion d'honneur on 23 April 1809 and Baron with an annuity of 4,000 francs. When researching our Colonel, one interesting thing that I noticed is that his name is constantly spelled differently, with the two most common spellings as de Blanmont and DeBlanmont. He signed the regimental papers as shown below with The Colonel of the 105e Regiment DeBlanmont.
|The Colonel's signature|
|Statue of General DeBlanmont|
|Legion d'honneur papers dated 23 April 1809|
From the situational report dated 10 April 1809 seen above, we know the regiment had 65 officers and 1,942 men present, two officers and eight men detached, and one officer and 203 men in the hospital with a total effective strength of 2,221. At the time of this report, the 105e Ligne was still not present with Saint-Hilaire's division, but instead at Magdeburg. The regiment would reach the division within the next few days but played a less glorious part in the battle than its sister regiment in the brigade, the 72e Ligne. However, even standing in reserve, the regiment suffered losses from long range cannon fire that killed eight soldiers and carried away the thigh of a sergent-major of the fusiliers. The majority of the regiment's losses came from musketry and amounted to two killed, eight mortally wounded, 78 wounded, and nine scratched off the rolls due to long absense in the hospital on 19 April 1809. These men probably should count as mortally wounded as eight of the nine men were wounded at the battle and never heard from again. There was also one prisoner of war, but there seems to be no mention how he was captured. Taking a look at one of the mortally wounded, Jean Michel Hilgen of the 1e Voltigeurs, died over two years later in Vitoria, Spain, on 10 August 1811, after a surgery was botched to extract a ball from his right arm he received at the battle in April 1809.
|Situatonal Report dated 10 April 1809 III Corps|
The officer casualties for the day were one killed, one mortally wounded, and seven wounded. Even though the lowest from the four other regiments of the division, sadly, the former Colonel of the regiment Pierre-Joseph Habert, lost two of his brothers, Lieut. Honore (killed) and Capit. Jean-Isidore Habert (died of wounds on 25 June 1809). One can
only wonder if Capit. Jean-Isidore Habert rushed to see his dying
brother and received his mortal wound at the same spot. This is not the only tragedy the family faced as less than two years earlier, Jean-Pierre Habert, on 7 June 1807, died from wounds received at the Battle of Eylau. From the regiment's records, there seems to have been five Habert brothers who served at one time in the regiment, with at least two serving at the battle. The names of the brothers were Pierre-Joseph (Colonel), Henry (Chef de batallion), Jean-Isidore (Capitaine), and Lieuts. Jean-Pierre and Honore Habert. Losing three out of the five brothers was a harsh reality that many regiments faced during this era. Looking at the rolls, there is countless Habert's (the Habert brothers were from Avallon in the department of Yonne) that can be found from 1804-1809, with many dying from disease before ever fighting.
|The 105e Ligne Habert brothers|
Two documents that show the rewards and promotions received by the regiment on 23 April 1809, give details into how the regiment performed during the days of 19-22 April. As seen below, Casimir Honoré Louis Lescaudey, a long-serving veteran battalion commander, was promoted to the regimental Major, replacing the former Major Pierre Coste, who had been promoted to Colonel of the 59e Ligne on 7 April 1809. The other two Chefs de batallion Louis René Rateua and Jean Francois Saltet were awarded the Officier de la Legion d'honneur. Unfortunately, Base Leonore only has one file, and the XB files have no papers detailing what feat of arms 1e Porte-Aigle Lt. Claude Théodore Boutellier did that earned him the title of Baron and 4,000 francs. Boutellier would rise to the ranks of Chef de batallion in the 105e Ligne. Unfortunately, I do not have enough information on Boutellier to give a definitive answer if he served in the 105e Ligne at the Battle of Waterloo. However, if he did, in a cruel twist of fate, he would have likely watched as the eagle he so bravely protected years earlier was taken away by the British.
Below are the names officers and soldiers of the 105e Ligne who were casualties at the Battle of Thann 19 April 1809.
105e Regiment d'infanterie Ligne
Officers: 1 KIA, 1 MW, 7 WIA
NCOs & Soldiers: 10 KIA, 8 MW, 79 WIA, 1 POW, 9 Scratched off rolls due to long absence in the hospital on 19 April 1809 (8 were wounded and never heard from)
NCOs & Soldiers
72e Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne 1809
The 72e Ligne has an interesting story in the early months of 1809. In theory, regiments with three war battalions have 1 Colonel and 3 Chef de Batallions, not including the depot battalion's officers. In the case of the 72e Ligne, ten days before the Battle of Thann, the regiment only had two Chef de Batallions present with the war battalions. The Chef de Batallion in charge of the regiment was Francois Marboeuf, a battalion commander with the regiment since 15 August 1806. Below can be seen a copy of a report that he signed as the Chef de Batallion Commanding the Regiment in Bamberg on 17 April 1809.
So, where is the Colonel? The former Colonel Florentin Ficatier was promoted on 22 October 1808 to General de Brigade. The newly-promoted Colonel Meunier St.Clair never reached the regiment but instead was given command of the 31e Legere in Spain. From the documents I have, Chef de Batallion Francois Marboeuf was the regiment's acting commander from at least January 1809 to 23 April 1809. The newly promoted and wounded (at the Battle of Eckmühl-shot in the thigh) Chef de Batallion Michel Pascal Lafitte from the 10e Legere would take command of the regiment on 23 April 1809. Chef de Batallion Marboeuf would be awarded the Officier de la Legion d'honneur on 23 April 1809, but his active service with the regiment would end soon. He retired on 1 October 1809 due to having his right thigh carried away by a cannonball on 6 July at the Battle of Wagram.
At the Battle of Thann on 19 April 1809, the regiment was commanded by Chef de Batallion Marboeuf (43), who also likely oversaw the first battalion. The second battalion was under Chef de Batallion Gilbert Barras, who only had joined the regiment in early January 1809. The third was commanded by Jean-Pierre Bial (36), newly promoted from the 22e Ligne, and only arrived nine days before the battle. Having just reached near Ratisbonne the day before, Bial had very little time to get to know his men as he states," I took command of my battalion and on April 10 hostilities began at Hambach."(Bial)
Some sense of the serious officer shortage for the regiment can be seen from the III Corps situational report on 10 April. The regiment only had 55 officers when a full complement of officers should be 69, including the six officers from the two elite companies of the 4th Battalion. The regiment should also have extra officers detached from the 4th Battalion fusilier companies as Officiers de La Suite. However, from the reports I have seen, very few were sent to the war battalions. This could be due to the regiment having four companies from the 4th Battalion detached to fight in Spain in late 1808 and the need to create four new 4th Battalion companies in the late months of 1808.
The 72e Ligne in early April 1809 should have 1 Colonel, 3 Chef de Batallions, 1 Officier Payeur, 1 Porte-Aigle, 3 Adjutant-Majors, 20 Capits. 20 Lieuts. and 20 Sous-Lieuts with the war battalions, including the elite company officers from the 4th Battalion. We can see from below that the regiment had the least number of officers present but the second-largest total soldiers present in the brigade. The regiment played an important role in stopping the Austrian counter-attack at the Battle of Thann. It is only a testament to the toughness and esprit de corps of the officers and men who performed bravely and suffered high casualties even with shortages of command and control. The author Terry Crowdy has a great article talking about these types of issues dealing with the 9e Legere 4th Battalion in the 1809 campaign HERE
The regiment tried to fill the vacancies with four brand new officers from the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. According to the document below, the decree of 24 March 1809, sent Sous-Lieuts. Charriere, Majou, Magnier, and Girard de Chateauvieux to the war battalions. If these men arrived prior to the start of the 1809 campaign is unlikely and not noted. However, Sous-Lieut. Magnier would fight with the war battalions in late May, while Sous-Lieut. Charriere, Majou, and Girard de Chateauvieux are noted on the 1 October 1809 report as Officiers in Recruitment.
Another document that shows officers' shortage can be seen from a report on March 1809 and 1 May 1809. The second document dated 1 May 1809, shows that due to battlefield casualties from the battles in April and the already shortage of officers before the campaign started, the 72e Ligne needed four Capits., four Lieuts., and ten Sous-Lieuts, which was one more than the previous month. Thankfully, the regiment made good its vacancies in the Etat-major in April with the promotion of Colonel Lafitte and Chef de Batallions Bial and Keck (Keck previously served with the 16e Legere). The total of 18 officers is just two short of the officers required to command a full strength-battalion!
|Report on the effective staff for 1 March and 1 April on the left. Take into consideration this is for all four battalions, including the depot. The fifth battalion was not formed yet. The document on the right shows the vacancies in officers and from what battalion/company they served.|
|The most telling document demonstrating the officers' shortage is a report from the month of April 1809, showing the officers gained and lost. As you can see on the right, by the end of April, the regiment has gained a Colonel, three Chef de Batallions, 4 Capits. 12 Lieuts. and 11 Sous-Lieuts.|
|Report dated 1 May 1809 for officer vacancies. |
19 April Battle of Thann Officier Casualties
After the Battle of Thann, the regiment was even more under strength due to one officer being killed outright, and one mortally wounded who died almost a month later. Of the eleven wounded officers below, at least two did not fight with the regiment in the next coming days due to wounds. However, most of these officers would be wounded again either at the Battle of Eckmühl April 21-22, Battle of Essling May 21-22, or Battle of Wagram July 5-6.
1e Bat./ 3e Co. S.Lieut. Louis Ambroise: Died of wounds on 10 May 1809
Wounded in Action:
1e Grenadiers Capit. Michel Marie Lefizelier: Shot in the left leg
1e Bat./ 1e Co. Lieut. Jacques Louis Moulin: Shot in the left hip
1e Bat./ 1e Co. S.Lieut. Richard Adrien Devienne: Shot in the right forearm
2e Bat./ 4e Co. S.Lieut. Francois Philippe Chambelland: Shot in the left thigh
3e Bat./ 1e Co. S.Lieut. Jean Francois Royer: Shot in the left leg
3e Bat./ 3e Co. Capit. Germain Bardoux: Shot in the left arm
3e Bat./ 4e Co. Capit. Jean Baptiste Gaillard: Shot in the right leg
1e Voltigeurs Capit. Louis Mathurin Constant Metton: Shot in the right breast (nipple)
3e Voltigeurs S.Lieut. Jean Jacques Marce: Shot in the right leg
4e Voltigeurs Capit. Francois Poirier: Shot in the right thigh
4e Voltigeurs Lieut. Francois Augustin Bertrand Marigny: Shot in the right foot
When it comes to uniform details for the 72e Ligne, I know of none sadly. Maybe someone else who is more qualified than myself can let me know, but at the moment, I only have what the shako plate might have looked like. Below is a picture, according to this website Bertrand of an 1806 style lozenge shako plate of the 72e Ligne. Another taken from the SEHRI website, the shako plate looks similar to the 1812 model but has unique larger lion heads on the corners of the shako plate.
The 10e Legere is the last regiment in the 1st Brigade of Saint Hilaire's 4th Division in 1809. Before 1809, the veteran regiment fought in the battles of Austerlitz, Iena (Jena), Eylau, Heilsberg, and countless other small engagements. At the Battle of Thann, the regiment played a secondary yet still very important role in the eventual French victory. The gallant and well thought of Colonel Pierre Berthezene was the commanding officer since February 1807, taking over for Colonel Pouzet (later his head was taken off by a cannonbal as a General de Brigade in front of his friend Marshal Lannes at the end of the Battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809). The regiment fought the majority of the battle on the far right of the French position located near Roith. Throughout the battle, their opponents were the Peterwardeiner Grenz Infantry Regiment No. 9 (1 battalion) and the Erzherzog Karl Legion (1 battalion). We know about the regiment's actions in the battle mainly from the after action reports of Marshal Davout, L. Boudin de Roville (1st Aide de Camp to General Saint-Hilaire) (1) and Colonel Berthezene's memoirs (2). Before the battle on 10 April 1809, the situational report shows 71 officers and 2,501 men with the regiment. There were also two men detached and 204 in the hospital with a total effective strength of 2,778 officers and soldiers. The regiment had 3 Batallions du Guerre and the elite companies from the 4e Batallion.
Unfortantutly, I was unable to view the Controles de Troupes for the regiment, and there is no precise information on casualties other than the officers. In Binder's work (1906), he claims the 10e Legere had five officers and 431 out of action. (3) According to Binder, he used the 3rd Corps 20 April 1809 situational report to come to this number, but Martinien cites nine officers wounded (4), and in my research, I was able to find one additional officer injured and two officers captured. It seems that Martinien listed Lieut. Salomon as wounded on the 19 and 21 April 1809, but his service record only list the 21st. He could of have possibily mixed up the name with Sous-Lieut. Louis Auguste Bonenfant who was seriously wounded by a cannonball and missing from Martinien's list. His service record states that he was wounded by a cannonball that carried away his left arm and retired due to the amputation of that same arm in 1810. Below can be seen his record from Base Leonore (here).
|Lieut. Bonenfant service record. Even after losing his left arm he came out of retirement and joined the 69e Cohort in 1812.|
His wound most likely occurred when the large Austrian battery stationed in front of Hausen targeted the 10e Legere as it left the cover of the woods north of Hausen. Colonel Berthezen says, "The 10th light moved, by the right of this regiment (57e Ligne), to the left flank
of the enemy, and attacked it so vigorously that it did not allow it a
long resistance; the artillery, compromised, hastened his retreat,
leaving one of his pieces in our hands, and the infantry was led, bayonet
clear in their loins, to the heights of Hausen; but then the 10th light
and the 3rd of the line (1e Batallion under orders of Chef de batallion Laffithe), which had been sent to his right to support
his operation, found exposed discovered under fire from 40,000 men and 60
pieces of guns. After having suffered an artillery discharge and some
battalion fires, they had to reenter the wood" (Berthezene, 1855, p. 194).
|Capit. Jean Richard born on 24 April 1767, was wounded and captured just five days short of his 42nd birthday.|
Below I will post the three uniform plates for the Carabiniers, Chasseurs, and Voltigeurs of the 10e Legere. The 10e Legere uniforms in 1809 are not exactly known, and there are many different variations of the uniform worn. I have tried my best to show each of the variations, but I have decided to go with what I believe the uniform looked like at the time. On Frederic Berjaud's website, you can find his description of the most likely uniform for the regiment here (2). I will also add some of the paintings and petit soldats showing the regiment in its many different uniform variations below.
|Carabinier Sergent Major and Sapeur from E.Fort|| |
|Carabinier in 1809 uniform from Bucquoy plates.|
|Sapeur in 1809 uniform from Bucquoy plates.|
|Chasseur from E.Fort|
|Chasseur Flutist and Voltigeur from E.Fort|
|Voltigeur, Carabinier, Chasseur, and Chasseur Drummer from the Carl Collection|| |
For those who can read French, an article by the late Didier Davin describing the regiment's uniforms in the Napoleonic period. Didier Davin was also the writer of the history of the 10e Legere on Frederic Berjaud's website.
1.) Campagne de 1809 en Allemagne et en Autriche – Charles Gaspard Louis Saski https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=xkxBAAAAIAAJ&pg=GBS.PA257
2.) Souvenirs militaires de la République et de l'Empire – Pierre Berthezène, Résidence jésuite https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=XWYqtYt4EQcC&pg=GBS.PA192
3.) Der Krieg Napoleons gegen Oesterreich 1809 – Freiherr Karl Binder von Krieglstein https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=H8lCAAAAYAAJ&pg=GBS.PA207
4.) Le 10ème Régiment d'Infanterie Légère 1796-1815 http://frederic.berjaud.free.fr/Articles_de_Didier_Davin/10eLeger/10e%20Leger.htm
Base Leonore: Louis Auguste Bonenfant http://www2.culture.gouv.fr/public/mistral/leonore_fr?ACTION=RETROUVER&FIELD_1=Cnoms&VALUE_1=bonenfant&FIELD_2=PRENOMS&VALUE_2=&FIELD_3=DATE%2dNSS&VALUE_3=&FIELD_4=LIEU%2dNSS&VALUE_4=&FIELD_5=Nom%20de%20jeune%20fille&VALUE_5=&FIELD_6=SEXE&VALUE_6=%20&FIELD_7=COTE&VALUE_7=&NUMBER=2&GRP=0&REQ=%28%28bonenfant%29%20%3aNOM%2cNOM2%2cNOM%2dJF%2cNOM%2dMARI%2cSURNOM%2cNOTES%20%29&USRNAME=nobody&USRPWD=4%24%2534P&SPEC=9&SYN=1&IMLY=&MAX1=1&MAX2=1&MAX3=100&DOM=All