Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Napoleonic Veterans In Old Age (And Still In Uniform)



Sergeant Taria, Grenadiere de la Garde, 1809-1815

A week or so back I posted about two Union sailors lost on the Monitor, whose faces have been given back to us as computer reconstructions.

A series of black and white images published on Retronaut seem almost as miraculous to me. These grand old men, probably photographed in 1858, likely assembled in Paris for an annual gathering of Napoleon's soldiers. All wear the St. Helene medal, "issued on August 12, 1857 to all veterans of the wars of the Revolution and the Empire".

Some of them still look as trim and dashing as they did in their prime. Some have clearly struggled back into their uniforms. The uniforms themselves look amazing, and it's the first time I've actually seen photographs of actual Napoleonic uniforms.


Grenadier Burg, 24th Regiment of the Guard, 1815

The whole collection may be found here. Quite lovely.

6 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

They really were and are the old guard, excellent pics....

J Goreham-Penney said...

I love the Retronaut blog! It's fantastic!

Conrad Kinch said...

There is a strange crossing oceans of time feeling looking at those pictures.

mad padre said...

The Retronaut blog is indeed cooler than sliced bread.

And yes, brother Kinch, I had that same eerie feeling of temporal dislocation viewing these pictures.

Curt said...

I have a few of these done as framed prints. Beautiful portraits. Amazing power in those old gentlemen! Such character and self-assurance. To see what they have seen would be amazing.

Curt

mad padre said...

Hey Curt:
What a great idea to have some of these as framed prints. I always find pictures of old soldiers to be inspiring, like the old newsreel of the Civil War veterans' encampment in e 1930s that begins the Ken Burns Civil War series. There's something about their present frailty in old age and the memory of their virile ans brave youth, and the courage they still show in old age that I find inspiring. My dad was like that in his old age, still every inch the old soldier.

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.

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