Thursday, January 22, 2009

A request

Their Graces ,The Duke of Tradgardland and The Duke of Saschen-Vindow ,have asked me to seek the council of their esteemed members of the greater family of Europa in a matter of some import. They wonder if it is appropriate, if not essential, to field a vivandere (please excuse my ignorance of the French tongue) upon the miniature field of Mars with each unit. They look for guidance as to the historicity of such a custom in the modern age that is 1759 and how to depict such a female upon the aforementioned miniature field of Mars.The practice of diverse nations would be useful to ascertain also. Your aid is much appreciated in advance.
with grateful thanks
A.M Gruber
Secretary to their Graces ( independently of course and unknown to the other...)


abdul666 said...

Vivandiers (normally male) were common among the quasi-official followers of the French army. De Saxe and other proposed to 'officialize' them even more, up to a quasi-military status.
± uniformed vivandieres appeared I think during the revolutionary / napoleonic wars, but actually are more of a 'romantic' vision of the past -and a fashion- under Napoleon III.

Then, unhistorical as they may be, they would add a little kindness / gentleness / poetry to any Lace Wars regiment.

Capt Bill said...

The Reich Duchy of Beerstein actually has such a personage, obtained from Traditions a shop in London...Bill

Fitz-Badger said...

dumb question - what actually are vivandiers/vivandieres? I know they are some sort of army followers, but not sure what they do...
(also see them shown in the unit diagrams in Charge!)

abdul666 said...

Vivandiers (a name with the same root as 'vivres' = rations) were civilians following the army to sell extra food and beverages to the soldiery.
It's probably with the huge draft armies of the Revolution that some resourceful soldier's wives turned vivandieres. Previously, soldiers' wives made a living mainly as lavandieres (washerwomen) and couturieres (needlewomen) washing and repairing the uniforms of their husband's comrades. Of course all moonlighted as unofficial sickbay attendants and nurses.

Soldier's wives (and sons as 'enfants de troupe', sometimes enlisted as extra fifers &c...) had a semi-official existence in the regiment. Pictures of uniformed vivandieres (now more often called cantinieres, while the civilian army followers were still vivandiers) depict them at first in Revolutionary armies, then in Napoleonic ones - but such pictures are mainly from the 'romantic' 2nd half of the 19th C.
Of course some may have worn pieces of uniform -maybe at first a coat given as payment, even if the starving soldier had taken the coat from the body of a dead comrade... By napoleonic times some colonels may have allowed them to wear a variant of the regiment's uniform but 'true'uniformed cantiniereres with their regulation barrel of eau de vie appear, I believe, under Napoleon III.

Then a comely vivandiere is a pleasant addition to any imaginary regiment!

Fitz-Badger said...

Ah, thanks, Jean-Louis! Always a fountain of knowledge! :-)