The Infantry - Uniforms
The Pre 1798 Uniform
The uniform in use at the begining of the French war was like that in use for the previous two decades. Certain features remained constant throughout the period, in the colour of the uniform and the distinctions between German and Hungarian regiments. White remained the traditional colour for the infantry uniform, though for the rank and file it was probably more like an off-white or very pale grey; in fact it was remarked that the pale grey facing colour of some regiments was virtually indistinguishable from the body of the coats of the rank and file.
1.) Fifer, German fusiliers, pre 1798
2.) German Grenadier, pre 1798
3.) German Drummer, pre 1798
(Print after R. von Ottenfeld)
The infantry coat was in 'modern' style, single breasted and closed to the waist, unlike the old lapelled coats of most armies; the Austrian jacket was that copied by the British army at the turn of the century when a more practical design was sought. The Austrian infantry jacket had cuffs, folding collar and large turnbacks in the facing colour; 11 buttons on the breast, and three-pointed horizontal side pockets, each pocket with three buttons. The voluminous turnbacks were fastened back by a button, and the round cuffs of German regiments (i.e. all non-Hungarians) had two buttons at the rear seam and two at the upper edge. For Hungarians the cuffs were pointed, with a single button at the point, from which descended a strip of white lace with a fringed end, the so called Barentatzen or (bear's paw) lace carried on Hungarian cuffs throughout the period. No other lace was borne upon the ordinary uniform, not even by NCO's. The jacket had a single white strap with facing coloured piping set towards the rear of the left shoulder.
German regiments wore white breeches and stockings, the latter covered by long black gaiters extending over the knee, with 14 buttons on the outer seam. Hungarians wore their traditional long pantaloons, tucked into the anklets of the Hungarian boots, which were laced at the front. Though sometimes depicted as a dark shade, the breeches were usually medium to light blue, ornamented with mixed yellow and black braid worn as small knots on the front of the thigh and running down the outer seam.