Sardinian Infantry Uniforms, 1843-1860.

(From Dall’Armata Sarda all’Esercito Italiano 1843-1861. By Stefan Ales & M. Fiorentino. Stato Maggiore Esercito, Ufficio Storico. Roma, 1990. Pages 165-198, 245-249.)

II. Uniforms, Equipment, and Weapons.

Introductory note.

Piedmont was the second European state to adopt the tunic for its troops, preceded in this only by Prussia which introduced it on 24 February 1842. The decision was partially motivated by the substitution of the waist belt for cross belts, but above all by medical considerations, in that the soldier habitually unbuttoned a double-breasted tunic during a march, preventing air from blowing directly on his abdomen and thus avoiding the dangerous congestions that were so frequent with the old single-breasted tailcoat.

This principle was, however, ignored in 1849 when the increased number of troops forced the authorities to reduce the tunic to single-breasted in response to requirements of state economy, as the government was always struggling to balance its budget.

The administration also operated under tight financial constraints in regard to making the new 1843-pattern clothing. The body and skirts of the tunic were in fact produced ex novo, but the dark-blue cloth of the old coats’ tails were used to make the lining needed for the front of the chest and to fabricate the small belt-supporting straps, cross-straps on the shoulders, and the rear skirt flaps. The colored cloth used up to then for shoulder straps in fusilier companies was not wasted either, being recycled to make the piping for the chest, belt support strap, rear flaps and cross-straps on the shoulders. The variously colored cloth used for the turnbacks and lining of the tail skirts was sold to the highest bidder and the proceeds turned over to the regiment’s general funds.

Putting the 1849 modifications into effect posed fewer problems than in the past, given that only the collar had to be cut, the tunic’s front opening reduced to a single row of buttons, and a three-pointed flap applied to the cuffs, these all being operations easily performed by unit tailors.

In the 1850s the table of items issued to various units was enlarged with new and different pieces of clothing and small things for everyday use, and it may be useful to list in detail what was issued in the principle branches of the army in the year 1856.

• Table of items for line infantry regiments: tunic with distinctions, greatcoat, kepi, oilcloth cover for kepi, pair of heavy cloth pants, pair of linen pants, fatigue cap, two cotton shirts, two pairs of drawers made of basin, knitted wool sweater, pair of shoes, pair of boots for quartermaster sergeants and senior quartermaster sergeants, pair of leather leggings, pair of coarse cloth leggings, two linen towels, wooden canteen with woolen cord, sheepskin bag containing: spare buttons, pair of small scissors, and spool with three colors of thread and six needles; leather belt with buckle for the pants, wool cravat or scarf, spoon of tinned iron, three handkerchiefs, tin messtin, pair of knitted cotton gloves, pair of white chamois gloves for all non-commissioned officers, paybook, polishing kit, large comb, small comb, shaving razor (for optional use), small tin box of the compound used for treating leather; two spares for the legging straps that passed under the foot, with the appropriate laces; three brushes for clothes, brass, and shoes; mirror in wooden or tin case, haversack of ticking with leather strap, tin cup, leather knapsack; sword knot for senior quartermaster sergeants, quartermaster sergeants, drum majors, and musicians.1

• Table of items for regiments of cavalry and light horse:2 parade tunic, pair of metal shoulder scales, cloth fatigue jacket, fatigue tunic only for non-commissioned officers, overcoat [pastrano], helmet or kepi with plume and cords, oilcloth cover for the kepi, two pairs of cloth pants, one pair of coarse cloth pants, fatigue cap, two linen shirts, two pairs of drawers made of basin, knitted woolen sweater, pair of boots, pair of spurs, leather holder for the spurs, pair of white chamois gloves, leather sword knot for lower ranks and corporals, leather sword sling, cloth valise, leather belt for the cloak, feed sack, wooden canteen with leather strap, pair of clogs to wear while grooming horses, cloth smock for grooming (for optional use); all the rest of the issue items not mentioned were similar to those for the infantry with the exception of the shoes, haversack, leggings, and knapsack.

• Table of items for artillery units: parade tunic, pair of metal shoulder scales, cloth fatigue jacket, fatigue tunic only for non-commissioned officers, cloak with or without a belt and an English-style greatcoat, another special greatcoat, kepi with plume and cords, oilcloth cover for the kepi, two pairs of cloth pants, pair of coarse cloth pants for garrison units, jacket of cross-woven cloth, fatigue cap, pair of pants suspenders for field units, strap for the pants, pair of boots, pair of spurs for mounted personnel, leather case for spurs, valise for field units, leather knapsack for field and garrison units, leather sword knot for lower ranks and corporals of mounted units; all the remaining issue items were similar to those of the cavalry.

Besides these issue items there were other pieces of equipment and objects authorized for special categories of troops, and still more items that were classified as unit issue. These were as follows:

- special items for infantry drum majors and musicians and engineer sappers: bandoliers for the drum majors; kepi cords for drum majors, band leaders, and musicians; galloon sword knots for these same categories; plume with metal holder for band leaders and musicians; drum major’s staff; staff for drummer corporals; case, ropes, and sticks for drums;

- unit-issue items common for all the various corps of the army: double elastic bandages, simple elastic bandages, iron-bound cases for administrative councils, for two or three keys; provost items; field tools; marksmanship target placards with iron frames; oilcloth camping lanterns; copper field kettles with covers; iron field kettles with covers; swimwear; pan of sheet iron; athletic supporters of basin;

- special unit-issue items for infantry and engineer sappers: tin canisters; woolen bugle cords; bugles; field guidons;

- special unit-issue items for cavalry, artillery, and the train; tin canisters, horse brushes; bugle cords; bugles; tools for the care of horses’ feet; sponges, currycombs, feed sacks; dispatch cases;

- special-issue items for bersaglieri: shovels, hammers with ash-wood handles; bullet molds; picks, grapples, pruning knives, chisels, hatchets, and spades.

Beginning in 1852 regulations that grew ever more precise defined the use of the various forms of dress for soldiers and officers. The regulations prescribed full dress [gran tenuta], ordinary dress [tenuta ordinaria], field dress [tentua di marcia or “di via”], and undress [piccola tenuta, small dress”], the use of which was at the discretion of divisional, sub-divisional, and unit commanders. The composition of the forms of dress was as follows:

- Infantry:

• soldiers and non-commissioned officers:

•• Full dress and ordinary dress: the first was worn during important and solemn civil and religious occasions, minor public holidays, and all parades; ordinary dress was reserved for service within military establishments and within quarters with posted armed sentries. For both orders of dress were prescribed the tunic, uncovered kepi, and cloth or linen pants according to the season. Troops were to wear cloth gloves only in winter or whenever under arms, while non-commissioned officers were to have leather gloves on all occasions;

•• Field dress: worn on campaign, during the march, or while on maneuvers; prescribed to be the greatcoat in all seasons, kepi with oilcloth cover, light or heavy cloth pants according to the season, inserted into the leggings, canteen, and haversack;

•• Small dress: worn when off duty within barracks or while on duty but not under arms; prescribed to be either the tunic or the greatcoat, jacket and pants of summer cloth, and fatigue cap.

The greatcoat was also obligatory (besides in field dress) in winter, on days of inclement weather, and for going to bathe. Also, the kepi was to have its oilcloth cover when it was raining, no matter what form of dress was being worn at the moment.

Regarding the bersaglieri, they were to have the plume on the hat in every form of dress, while the tunic with its cords, and gloves, were reserved for parade dress except when ordered otherwise. The troops habitually wore the 1850-pattern fatigue jacket and in winter the cloak.

• Officers:

•• Full dress: worn on the same occasions as stipulated for lower ranks and for presentations and visits to the Minister of War, at councils of war and discipline, on visits to troop units and visits in the line of duty, at balls and all evening parties of an official character; the tunic was prescribed to have its epaulettes, the kepi was to be uncovered, and the silver belt was to be worn.

•• Ordinary dress: worn on the same occasions as stipulated for lower ranks in the capital, in the chief town of a Dipartimento, and in all places where the royal court was assembled or royal personages were on days that were not holidays, from noon to midnight; in the headquarters towns of military divisions and subdivisions this order of dress was to be worn with the cap in place of the kepi except when otherwise ordered by the commandant of the area; the tunic was prescribed to have its epaulettes, the kepi to be covered, and the leather belt to be worn.

•• Small dress: worn during daily duties, in unit schools, while going to the baths, and for all military training, as well as for off duty as an alternative to ordinary dress; the tunic was to be worn without epaulettes, the kepi to be covered, and the cap and leather belt to be worn.

•• Field dress: the tunic was to be worn with its epaulettes, the kepi was to be covered, the leather belt was to be worn, and the overcoat (cloak for bersaglieri) was to be rolled and carried diagonally over the shoulder and across the chest.

- Cavalry, artillery, and the train:3

• Soldiers and non-commissioned officers.

•• Full dress: tunic with epaulettes, uncovered helmet or kepi with plume and cords, cloth pants, and gloves.

•• Festive dress [tenuta festiva]: as full dress but without cords.

•• Ordinary dress: jacket, covered helmet or kepi or fatigue cap, cloth pants; for non-commissioned officers the use of the fatigue tunic without epaulettes was authorized, with belt and bandolier of blackened leather.

•• Field dress: tunic with epaulettes, covered helmet or kepi, cloth pants, rolled cloak worn across the body from right to left.

•• Small dress: fatigue jacket, cap, cloth pants; for non-commissioned officers, as ordinary dress.

The use of the cloak by mounted branches was usually decided by unit commanders. However, in winter or in bad weather it was always to be worn no matter what the order of dress. If swords or lances were being carried, the edges of the cape were to be folded back.

Gloves were to be worn whether on foot or mounted, with whatever form of dress that was being worn, except when on the march.

The Hussars and Guides followed what was prescribed for other cavalry units. The spencer jacket was to be worn only in winter and in full or festive dress. In other seasons it was to be worn slung over the shoulder by the appropriate cords.

• Officers.

•• Full dress: tunic with epaulettes, helmet or kepi with plume and cords, belt, and bandolier with cartridge pouch (the last two items having galloon on them).

•• Festive dress: as for full dress but without the cords or the bandolier with pouch.

•• Ordinary dress: tunic with epaulettes, covered helmet or kepi, leather belt.

•• Small dress: tunic without epaulettes, cap, leather belt.

•• Field dress: tunic without epaulettes, covered helmet or kepi, bandolier with covered pouch, leather belt.

Officers were to wear the cloak when the troops did so and in the same manner. Wearing the 1849-pattern spencer was allowed when off duty and when on duty within quarters. On all other occasions it had to be authorized by the regimental commander.

As with uniforms, the use of horse furniture was minutely regulated for both officers and lower ranks. It was classified as full dress, small dress, and field dress.

• Soldiers and non-commissioned officers:

•• Full dress: complete bridle, shabrack, cloak rolled and buckled to the saddle, valise with boots, sabertache with all its effects. The remaining issue items were carried by the horse only by the orders of a superior.

•• Small dress: complete bridle and saddle.

•• Field dress: as for full dress but if the weather was bad the rear edges of the shabrack were to be hooked up; the halter remained on the horse’s head in such a way that its top part was positioned behind the top parts of the bridle and snaffle.

• Officers:

•• Full dress and field dress: complete full-dress bridle and shabrack; for full dress only, the cloak was to be rolled and attached to the saddle.

•• Small dress: simple English-style bridle, English saddle, and blanket beneath the saddle.

These last combinations also applied to officers of foot units who performed their duties on horseback.

To end these notes on the various forms of dress we should point out other regulations established for officers of all units regarding weaponry, some particular ornamentation, and the use of the sash:

- Officers were always to be armed and provided with a gold sword knot when in full, festive, and ordinary dress. In all other circumstances it was permitted, since 1856, to have a leather sword knot. Officers were to always wear white chamois gloves, or black for bersaglieri. At evening parties and balls they were permitted to make use of white or yellow smooth leather gloves, bersaglieri included.

- Commanders of regiments or corps had to decorate their headdress with a white aigrette whenever they were in full dress with the sash or when at court.

- The sash had to be worn: under arms in the presence of the flag; in parades; when on duty whether under arms or not, and whether in quarters or not; at councils of war or discipline; during duty visits, alone or in a body, to superior officers higher in rank than major, to unit commanders, commanders of districts, or heads of any of the military services; during presentations at court and during visits by, or when reporting to, H.M. the King or the Royal Princes.

In all other situations the use of the sash was absolutely forbidden. To end these notes we should point out other interesting details:

- Beginning with the reign of Victor Emmanuel II the lower part of the ribbon mounted on officers’ headdresses under the button or under the appropriate unit badge was no longer ornamented with the royal monogram surrounded by a wreath, but with a crowned shield of Savoy.

- Even if not mentioned in the various chapters, one must remember that from 1856 (Royal Decree of 6 March) all army officers adopted new pattern epaulettes, belts, and sword knots, and new rank insignia for the kepi and fatigue cap. Regarding these, it must be stressed that the document authorized changing the items “when they need to be replaced” except for the rank galloon which on the contrary had to “be adopted immediately.”

- The pants issued to officers of foot units who performed their duties on horseback were provided with a blackened leather lining, with twin buttons on the inside and a buckle, both in bright iron.

- From 1853 onward, as the changes in uniforms proceeded, all tunic and fatigue jacket collars for lower ranks and officers had the upper edge rounded off and no longer straight up as had been previously.

- Numerous photographs dating from the second half of the 1850s show that officers of all units made use of dark-blue waistcoats, especially in winter. These had small lateral pockets piped in the distinctive color and provided with small buttons similar to those on the tunic.

- Many statements affirm that the infantry units employed in 1860 against the Papal forces in the Marches and Umbria still had the old distinctively colored tabs on their tunics and greatcoats rather than the black with red piping that was established in that year. In this same situation, moreover, the great majority of infantry officers still wore the old burnoose [burnous] instead of the 1860-pattern overcoat [cappotto-soprabito].

- Up to the 1850s the dark-blue color of the tunic, pants, and caps maintained the brilliance that resulted from the use of natural colorings. The introduction of chemical dyes led to an ever increasing darkening until the tone had a decided tendency to black, above all for clothing items for officers.

Chapter VI

Line and Light Infantry.

1. Line Infantry.

First Period (from February 1843 to August 1848).

a) Uniforms of soldiers and non-commissioned officers.

The table of issue items established in June of 1833 remained almost unchanged except for ordinances published between the end of 1842 and the first months of 1843 that abolished the fatigue jacket [giubba di fatica], summer pants [pantaloni] and spats [uose], and sword knots [dragone] for corporals and soldiers.

The tunic [tunica] of dark-blue cloth introduced to replace the tailcoat [abito a falde] was double breasted with nine buttons in each row and was long enough that the lower edge was 11 centimeters from the soldier’s knee. The back skirts were open beneath the buttons sewn at the waist, were adorned with two three-pointed cloth flaps with three buttons, the first of which was the one at the waist. The flaps hid two true pockets that opened into the lining inside the skirts. The collar, sleeves, cuffs, and buttons remained the same as on the tailcoat. Bleached linen was used for the lining with the exception of the pockets which were lined with gray basin [basino].4

The regimental headquarters staff [Stati Maggiori reggimentali] as well as the fusilier companies [compagnie fucilieri] adopted the same shoulder straps [controspalline] and the same wings [spalline all’inglese, “English epaulettes”] that up to then were exclusive to elite companies. The shoulder straps were cut out of dark-blue cloth and piped in the facing color; the wings were also dark blue.

The grenadier and cacciatori (light infantry) companies kept their piping on the shoulder straps and small cross strap and their scarlet and green wings.

On the left side of the tunic at the hip was put a moveable strap intended to support the belt. This strap, in dark-blue cloth and piped in the facing color, was hooked to a button on the waist and a second, smaller button sewn higher up.

The color of the collar, cuffs, and piping on the rear flaps remained in the distinctive color laid down for each brigade, and the tin buttons likewise remained the same. However, the brigades Savoia, Piemonte, Cuneo, La Regina, and Casale received as a special distinction piping in the distinctive color along the line of buttons on the chest, excluding the skirts.

On 26 April 1843 the old greatcoats [cappotti] were replaced by a new model (Circular No. 147) which in general outline reproduced the cut of the tunic but had two rows of seven buttons. The skirts reached to below the knees and were separated so as to overlap in front and in back. The sleeves were opened with three small buttons and the cuffs were turned up and sewn in place. There were rear flaps and a strap for the belt, the same as those on the tunic.

In parade dress [gran tenuta] the greatcoat was enhanced with the shoulder straps and wings used on the tunic. For this purpose a cloth strap was sewn on close to the shoulder.

The greatcoat collar was dark blue for all units and had sewn on it a three-pointed patch in the distinctive color.5 The piping on the chest, straps [from front to rear on the shoulder – M.C.], rear flaps, cuffs, and belt-supporting strap was always dark blue, just as the buttons were always the same as on the tunic.

The color of the cloth used to make the greatcoat was laid down as the “same gray tone of the existing greatcoats.” Pictorial sources as well as a perfectly preserved example show a brownish maroon color in disagreement with the regulation, due to the poor quality of the dye used.

The pattern and color of the pants remained substantially unchanged, as did the piping along the side seams.

The only approved variation was the abolition of suspenders, being replaced by a leather belt inserted through cloth straps appropriately located, and the adoption of a single bone double button to close the flap or brachetta which covered the shirt front.

With the abolition of linen summer pants, soldiers were now obliged to dress in their cloth pants for every occasion, but in summer they were allowed to go about in their drawers as long as they were within the barracks grounds.

In 1846 (Circular No. 64 of 19 June) the pants with the flap were abolished because of “the inconvenience to infantry non-commissioned officers and soldiers when wearing the tunic and the belt over it, since with the present pattern of pants with the brachetta made in the style worn by little German girls, the button which closes the brachetta is at the same height as the belt, so that whenever it has to be unbuttoned the men have to remove the belt.”

In their place were adopted the pants, open in front, which were already in use since 1836 by the bersaglieri, but which were always closed by a single double button sewn to the waist.

The shako [shakot] introduced in December of 1842 was confirmed, including all its metal fittings and the pompon, in February of 1843 (Circular No. 131), remaining the same until 29 April 1846 (Circular No. 241) when the badges were changed for all units but not the headdress’s structural basis, which was to stay “as determined by the Sovereign provisions of 21 February 1843.”

In this regard it must be stressed that of the four examples still existing today, not one has the dimensions of the 1842 model. In fact, all are 17.5 centimeters high in the rear and 14.5 in front, rather than the regulation 20.5 and 21 centimeters.

The noted difference must certainly have derived from an erroneous interpretation of the pattern as made by contractors charged with providing the shako to the units.

New badges established in this year were as follows:

- Regimental headquarters staff and fusilier companies: brass crowned shield with a cross of Savoy in shiny iron, surmounted by a small brass ribbon that came to a point and had garlands in relief; in the center of which was fixed the regimental number in varnished black iron;6

- Grenadier companies: the same shield as for fusiliers, surmounted by a separate grenade with the regimental number cut in the bomb body.

- Cacciatori companies: the same shield as the other companies, surmounted by a ribbon as for fusiliers but without the garlands, these being replaced by a horn with a number cut in the disk.

However, in a painting depicting the Battle of Pastrengo in 1848,7 there is a grenadier paired with a cacciatore with their shakos decorated with badges quite different from those in the regulations. The first has the fusilier ribbon above a grenade in whose body is added a cross; the second has the 1842-model badge with a cross in the horn’s disk.

In 1848 (Royal Decree of 14 June) the old dark-blue cockade which adorned the shako was replaced by a tricolor one.

The fatigue cap [berretto di fatica], cravat, footwear, and leggings of the regulation of June 1833 did not undergo any changes. Circular No. 133 of 27 February 1843 authorized units to make use of the old striped white leggings “when the black winter leggings may be soaked due to bad weather.” The circular also established that when the time came to renew them, they were to be replaced by ones made from white and dark-blue ticking saved from old linings of greatcoats, these having been abolished in the meanwhile.

A second provision a short time later (Circular No. 154 of 17 June) stated that when the supply of ticking ceased, leggings would be made from dark-blue cotton. But this type also came to be abolished (Circular No. 70 of 21 December 1846) and replaced by striped ones “which from tests appear to be more durable, more solid in color [the dark blue faded quickly], and preferable in every mentioned aspect to the dark-blue cloth.”

Quartermaster sergeants and senior quartermaster sergeants [furieri i furieri maggiori] continued to use the ankle boots and, along with sergeants [sergenti], the yellow chamois gloves worn in parades and while serving on duty.

b) Uniform variations for units and specialist ranks.

La brigata Guardie.

Grenadier and cacciatori regiments also adopted the tunic of the line infantry, keeping their distinctive color of scarlet, the lace buttonholes [alamari] on the collar and cuffs, and the buttons with a grenade or horn. The only variation to the pattern was that the rear flaps were cut in the form of an “8” with three buttons and scarlet piping.

The shoulder straps, small straps, and English style wings also remained the same in form and color.

The new greatcoat had, as the only differences from that of the line, the rear flaps the same as on the tunic, distinctive buttons, and embroidered white or silver cotton buttonhole lace on a dark-blue collar. The shako also remained the same but the cacciatori were authorized to decorate their headdress with a short plume of feathers, two-thirds white and the remainder red “on those parade occasions in which this brigade’s grenadiers wear their grenadier headdress [beretto da granatiere].” (Dispatch No. 1552, War Department, 4 March 1843.)

The ordinance of April 1846 already cited directed a change of shako badges for the brigade’s two regiments as well. Namely, the grenadiers and cacciatori removed the royal arms from the grenade and that of Sardinia from the disk of the horn, substituting a polished iron cross.

Still kept were the special galloon of white thread placed along the top edge of the headdress and the brass ribbon soldered to the badge. All the rest of the issue items for the two regiments underwent the same modifications as for the line infantry, always maintaining their own colors and distinctive ornamentation. The two cacciatori regiments habitually stationed on Sardinia continued in summer to wear white striped pants and leggings, the latter until December 1843 when they were abolished for them as well. (Circular No. 9312.)

Musicians and heads of the column.

Regimental bands adopted the same tunic as prescribed for the soldiers of their unit, but keeping the bright dark blue [turchino chiaro] base color and single row of buttons on the chest as well as galloon on the collar, cuffs, rear flaps, and chest. The only innovation in regard to ornamentation on the tunic was the abolishment of the swallows’ nests [tamburine] of fine cloth sewn to the shoulder at that time.

Musicians were also given shoulder straps and wings, the first being bright dark blue with distinctive color piping and the second being dark blue. Galloon remained of white thread for musicians and silver for band masters [capi musica], with the exception of brigata La Regina and brigata Savona which kept their yellow and gold applied to collars and cuffs. Musicians of the Savoia, Piemonte, Cuneo, La Regina, and Casale brigades had piping in their distinctive colors on the breast of the tunic, as was allowed for soldiers and non-commissioned officers.

Circular No. 157 of 15 March 1843 also prescribed for band members a tunic for “small dress” [piccola tenuta] the same as that for parade dress but double breasted with nine buttons in a row, without lace buttonholes, and galloon only on the collar and cuffs. The same document allowed them to use the new greatcoat for the troops but ornamented with a collar and piping in bright dark blue. In parade dress they were to add to the greatcoat the shoulder straps and wings used on similar occasions on the tunic. Their shako remained as determined in December of 1842 insofar as what was not modified in 1846, keeping untouched the badge, pompons, plumes, and galloon.

Drummers and buglers had the tunic prescribed for their companies, ornamented with all the distinctions established in 1833, which were the swallows’ nests, galloon on collar and cuffs, and chevrons on the sleeve. All these remained of white cotton with the sole exception of the galloon on the collar and cuffs in the La Regina and Casale brigades, which was of scarlet wool.

Drum and bugle corporals [caporali tamburni e trombettieri] had the same uniform with the addition of the distinctions for their grade as established for the regimental staff headquarters, and gallon on the rear flaps. In regard to headdress, drum corporals had the same as for musicians with the galloon for their grade and the badge for headquarters staff, while bugle corporals had headdresses as for headquarters staff with the galloon for their grade, a pompon, and a dark-green plume. The latter, as well as being part of the regimental staff headquarters, had on their tunics and greatcoats all the distinctions prescribed for cacciatori.

The so-called soldier drummers and buglers [soldati tamburini e trombettieri], who when needed operated alongside the regular drummers and buglers, wore the uniform of their own company with the addition of white or scarlet wool galloon on the collar and cuffs.

Drum majors [tamburini maggiori] were given parade and fatigue tunics the same as for musicians but of regular “dark” dark blue [turchino scuro] ornamented with all the distinctions previously applied to the tailcoat. The hat, shako for “small dress,” and in general all other issue items remained unchanged.

The shoulder straps and English-style wings were adopted as prescribed for regimental staff headquarters troops, and the drum majors of the La Regina and Savona brigades continued to use gold galloon on the collar, swallows’ nests, and cuffs.8

Musicians and heads of the column in the brigata Guardie adopted what was established for line units but kept all the grenadier and cacciatori distinctions then in use. Musicians in the cacciatori regiments continued to use green plumes on the shako up to 1848 (Circular No. 625 of 23 February) when a change was ordered to use ones identical to the soldiers’.

Pioneers [falegnami].

With the new uniform, the pioneers who were assigned to the regimental headquarters staff kept their own distinctions as grenadiers, the scarlet pompon, and the crossed axes embroidered in white or silver thread on the sleeves of the tunic and greatcoat.

c) Equipment and weapons of troops, non-commissioned officers, musicians, heads of the column, and specialist ranks.

As a consequence of the adoption of the tunic there was a radical change in the infantryman’s individual equipment as well when the sword belt [budriere] and cross belt [bandoliera] for the cartridge pouch were abolished and replaced by a more practical belt of blackened leather, fitted with a large brass buckle and prong [ardiglione] and a stiff pouch sewn to the right side.

On the belt was suspended a new cartridge pouch [giberna] issued only to personal armed with a musket. This was of blackened leather, had the appearance of a bellows box, and was fitted with an iron strap covered in black varnish and soldered to the back.

The purpose of the iron strap was to make the operation of loading the musket easier by enabling the pouch to be moved to the soldier’s right side more rapidly. Inside the pouch were placed cartridges and percussion caps, the latter being kept in a small leather bag sewn under the cover on the back part of the pouch.

The new model pouch, however, was a source of much inconvenience since the cartridges, now loose and no longer kept in a wooden block, broke very easily and became unusable.9

Along with the belt and cartridge pouch, the old knapsack [zaino] with hair on the outside was also replaced, in this case by a rectangular model, 30 centimeters high, 37 wide, and 8 deep. It was made of calfskin tanned with alum, grease, and fish oil, and then varnished black.

The knapsack cover was closed with two straps attaching to two iron buckles sewn under the lower edge. On the top part was fixed a strap and buckle used to hold a mess tin [gavetta]. The knapsack was provided with shoulder straps of blackened leather sewn to the back for at least 12 centimeters and then fastened to two iron buckles attached next to the buckles used to close the cover.10

Circular No. 236 of 6 April 1846 decreed the abolition of the buckle with prong on the belt which after being worn for a while began to tear the leather. It was replaced by a rectangular brass plate on which was to be soldered a polished iron cross. Along the lower outer edge of the frog [borsa] was sewn a small leather tube into which was to be inserted the clasp on the bayonet sheath, which had a hole punched in its end through which a small leather strap could be passed. This small strap, sewn to the bayonet sheath, was tightened and hooked to an iron buckle placed at the opposite end. This system solved the problem of the soldier losing his bayonet.11

In March of 1847 another inconvenience for the soldier was eliminated, this time in regard to the cartridge pouch. The brass pin used to secure the small tab on the cover, and sewn under the pouch, after a time would tear the leather and force units to continuously make costly repairs. The problem was solved by soldering the pin to a small brass plate appropriately inserted inside the pouch.

The 1843-model accouterments were also extended to the brigata Guardie but with the following differences:

- belts were cut from whitened buffalo hide12 and had a plate in place of the simple buckle, of polished iron decorated with a grenade or horn with a grenade, both of brass;

- the cover of the cartridge pouch for cacciatori had as an ornament a brass horn with grenade; grenadiers were authorized to use the rectangular brass plate which up to then had been on the sword belt;

- besides its regulation shoulder straps, the knapsack had two more sewn to its back, whose ends had a buttonhole which fastened to a button sewn to the inside of the belt next to the plate;

- all the knapsacks straps were of whitened buffalo hide.

A Circular of 12 June 1843 (No. 4240-44) replaced the blackened iron strap on the cartridge pouch with a new one in brass, so that the belt would not be spoiled.13

Pioneers had the new model knapsack and belt but kept the apron and pistol belt [budriere porta pistola] that they previously had, both of white buffalo hide. Only in 1845 were their accouterments partially modified consequent to the adoption of a new model weapon. On the belt the buckle was taken away and replaced with a plate with a cross as adopted by the troops only in the following year. To the right side of the belt was also added a leather pocket of blackened leather intended to hold the butt of the carbine [pistolone] that had been adopted in the meantime. Another frog served to lodge the sword [sciabola] and auger [trivella]. The two packets of cartridges issued to each pioneer in wartime were placed in the knapsack and left pocket of the apron.

Drummers, while having the same belt and knapsack as the troops, kept all the other equipment items inherent to their function such as the drum belt [portacassa] with brass drumstick holder [portabacchette] lined with chenille in the company color, and the apron, which remained of whitened buffalo hide. Drummer and bugler corporals continued to use their sticks ornamented with intertwined cords and tassels of white and dark-blue wool.

Drums and bass drums remained of the same pattern, covered with a sheet of brass and with natural color ropes, whitened leather straps, and hoops painted with stripes of dark-blue and the distinctive color.

Drum majors kept both their bandolier of dark-blue velvet and the staff with cords and tassels of mixed silver and dark-blue silk. They adopted the 1843-model belt which was then modified three years later.

Individual weapons also underwent substantial changes. At the end of 1842 it was decided to adopt the percussion system for muskets, beginning with converting flintlock weapons by soldering a nipple [portaluminello] to the right side of the breech, changing the barrel, eliminating other external components of the lock, and plugging existing holes. In addition to converting weapons, there were put into production new muskets with the nipple forged with the barrel, an iron sight soldered on top of the muzzle, and a look-through rear sight [traguardo a piastra]. Both types of muskets, new and converted, were partially modified on 22 March 1843 (Circular No. 793-94) when a simplified lock and a more robust rear sight were adopted.14

These weapons became regulation only on 4 December 1844 and were given the official name fucile da fanteria mod. 1844.

The new musket continued to be produced in a long version intended for grenadiers and fusiliers and a short one for cacciatori. The long version measured 1.51 meters in length with a 1.11-meter barrel of 17.5 millimeter caliber. Without the bayonet it weighed 4.60 kilograms. The short version was 1.42 meters long overall and weighed 4.25 kilograms. Both types of musket had stocks of the best quality walnut, fittings of forged iron, and a sling of blackened leather with a brass buckle and double buttons. Only the two regiments of the brigata Guardie retained white slings.

Another change regarding weaponry was the abolishment of the 1834-model sword. It was replaced by a new pattern called the sciabola mod. 1843 (Circular No. 138 of 3 March) and destined for all personnel in the units, pioneers included.

The sword had a smooth brass hilt, made in one piece, with the upper end like a beak and the cross piece in the shape of an “S”. It had a pointed blade, slightly curved, and came in only one size. The weapon was 60 centimeters long overall and weighed 780 grams without the scabbard which was the same as for the old sword, slightly shortened.

The old chenille hand straps [cravatte di ciniglia] were kept on the 1843-model sword, colored according to the company, but the sword knots [dragone] were eliminated when it was decided they served no purpose. The 1834-model sword remained an issue item to units for a few years, the time necessary to complete the production and distribution of the 1843 model. This situation is confirmed in the Pedrone plates published in 1844 where many figures are shown still armed with the old model.

Circular No. 6994 of 20 September 1843, directed to the brigata Guardie, declared that “the short swords [daghe] now in the Royal Corps of Artillery as well as in the royal armories shall be adapted to match the model sent for this purpose to the general war office and then prescribed to be the sidearm for non-commissioned officers and soldiers in the Guards Brigade, in place of the new model infantry sword…”

Thus, the two units received the 1833-model artillery short sword with the hilt replaced by one made in one piece of bronze, of the same style as that fitted to the 1843 line infantry model. The sword was 62.5 centimeters long and weighed 930 grams without the scabbard. This modification proceeded at the same slow pace as the others since Pedrone’s plates of grenadiers and cacciatori show them armed with a short sword whose hilt is still the old grooved one.

Quartermaster sergeants, senior quartermaster sergeants, band leaders, drum majors, and musicians continued to be armed with the sword specially authorized for them in 1833. Pioneers kept their own standard weapons which consisted of an ax, 1843-model sword, and the old 1814-model cavalry pistol.

In December of 1845 pioneers were prescribed the following pieces of equipment:

- simple pioneers: an ax, a carbine [pistolone], and an auger called a succhio or trivella;

- corporal and sergeant pioneers: a carbine and a saw-toothed sword [sciabola a sega].

The ax was a heavy implement with a handle of ash wood and iron with a steel head protected by a brass blade cover held by a screw. The auger had a steel blade shaped like a truncated cone, with the other end fitted in a wooden handle with a brass ferrule. The auger’s case, apart from the truncated conical shape, was identical to the bayonet sheath, clasp and strap included.

The 1845-model saw-tooth sword was an item that was both tool and weapon. It had a straight blade with one edge sharpened and the other saw-toothed, and was about 70 centimeters long. The point was rounded and had holes such that two hinged wooden handles used to transform the sword into a two-handed saw. The hilt was of blackened wood reinforced with a brass band. The cross piece was also of brass, with two arms ending in acorn shapes. The scabbard was of blackened leather with a brass clasp on the upper piece and at the tip—a brass ferrule with a crest or comb. The interior of the scabbard was reinforced with an iron rib that protected it from the teeth of the saw.

The 1845-model carbine, similar to the weapon issued to the cavalry, had a barrel in line with the stock, the ramrod was lodged in the stock, and there were two rings on the strap. It was 71 centimeters long, the caliber was 16.9 millimeters, and it weighed 2.20 kilograms. All the fittings were in brass.15

d) Officers' uniforms.

After the 1843 reform, an infantry officer's kit consisted of: tunic [tunica], shako [shakot], fatigue cap [berretto di fatica], pants [pantaloni], cravat [cravatta], gloves [guanti], shoes [calzature], cloak [mantella] for captains and subalterns, and overcoat [pastrano] for higher grades.

With the exception of the tunic, all the other clothing items remained the same in cut and color. The tunic, similar in all respects to that for the troops, gave up the strap for a small belt and came to be made of expensive material and have silver-plated metal buttons.

With the abolition of the overcoat [cappotto], small dress consisted of the tunic without epaulettes and the fatigue cap worn “at the same times and in the same situations in which the overcoat and cap had previously been worn.” The text continued on to stipulate that “when wearing the tunic without epaulettes, in order that the hole on the shoulder near the collar and the small leather cross strap remain hidden, being displeasing to the eye...” the first was to be stopped up with a small button like that on the sleeve while the second was to be covered with a small strip of silver bird's-eye16 fabric [un galloncino tessuto in argento ad “occhio di pernice”], 2 centimeters wide.

For officers of the brigata Guardie, the small cross strap was of embroidered silver galloon.

Up to 1848 everything in an officer's kit underwent the same variations and modifications as for the troops.

e) Officers' accouterments and arms; officers' horse furniture.

The belt with sword frog [bandoliera con borsa], worn beneath the uniform, was abolished and replaced by a belt with slings [cinturino a pendagli] of varnished black leather fastening at the waist over the tunic. The slings were fitted with shiny iron clasps that fastened to the sword scabbard. On the outside of the belt, corresponding with the rear sling, was fixed a pinchbeck grotesque mask [mascherone in similoro]. To the side sling was fastened the iron hook on which the sword was suspended. The belt was provided with a rectangular pinchbeck plate decorated with the addition of the royal monogram in silver-plated metal.

Officers in the brigata Guardie had two types of belts—parade and for small dress. The one for parade was of white morocco covered with silver galloon with three dark-blue stripes, the other was of whitened buffalo hide. Both types had slings without clasps, these being replaced by a silver-plated double button “with which the very end of the sling is to be buttoned after having placed it through the hook which has to support the sword.” The belts also had a silver-plated buckle plate decorated with a grenade with the royal monogram or a horn with a grenade, also with the monogram.

In 1846 there were two modifications to the 1843 belt: the rear mask was removed, being judged useless, and a new plate was adopted, of pinchbeck with the cross of Savoy in bright iron.

In parade dress, superior officers were authorized to wear the same silver belt as the guards with the cross on the plate, reserving the black leather belt for all other occasions.

The basic weapon for officers continued to be the 1833-model sword, whose scabbard came to be modified by removing the hook and substituting for it two bands fitted with rings, both of these being of pinchbeck. The leather scabbards were abolished in 1846 and replaced with others of iron painted black, leaving the mountings unaltered.

Superior officers differed in having the scabbard and mountings made of bright iron.

Horse furniture, consisting of a saddlecloth [gualdrappa] and valise [valigia], remained that prescribed by the regulation of 25 June 1833.

Second Period (from August 1848 to November 1850).

a) Uniforms of soldiers and non-commissioned officers.

A Royal Decree of 25 August 1848 radically modified the infantry uniform and introduced items made differently than the ones which had been used in the 1848 campaign.

The new tunic had the same basic color but was cut with only a single row of nine buttons on the chest. The collar was open and the sleeves closed with a square cuff now decorated with a rectangular flap with three points and three buttons. Additionally, all units adopted rear skirt flaps in the shape of an “8” which up to then had been exclusive to the brigata Guardie.

The shoulder straps [controspalline], small cross straps [passante], and English-style wings [spalline all’inglese] were abolished, while the buttons remained the same in size and design.17

All regiments had crimson collars and crimson piping on the chest, front opening of the skirts, cuffs, cuff flaps, and rear skirt flaps. The units of the brigata Guardie were exempted from this regulation and kept the scarlet on the lace buttonholes on the collar, and the units of the brigata Savoia had the collar and cuff flaps in black velvet, with all the piping being scarlet.

Along with the tunic were adopted pants of gray-blue cloth similar to the previous pattern, decorated with crimson piping along the sides. The exact shade was obtained by dying bolts of wool cloth with indigo. The brigata Guardie and brigata Savoia also kept their scarlet piping on their pants.

Along with the tunic a new greatcoat was adopted, similar to that issued to reservists in provisional battalions in the month of April.18 This was of “dark” dark-blue cloth [panno turchino scuro] lined with basin, single-breasted with six buttons, and with a collar decorated with a crimson three-pointed tab.19

However, a succeeding decree (Royal Decree of 13 February 1849) laid down that the greatcoats, while maintaining the existing pattern, would be made of gray-blue “Tournon cloth… of the same quality as for the greatcoats and cloaks used in the Royal Corps of Artillery.”

The 1842/46-model shako [shakot] was replaced by a lower and lighter headdress called a kepi [keppy or kepy].20 The kepi body was covered with crimson cloth and provided with a chinstrap of blackened leather sewn to the interior. A tricolor cockade was fixed to the kepi, firmly bound by a white thread ribbon with a tin button, decorated with a cross, at the bottom. The regimental number was cut out of polished iron.

The old pompons were kept as well as the special decoration and white and red plume for the brigata Guardie.

While on the march or in bad weather the kepi was protected by a black varnished oilcloth cover which left the pompon uncovered, and on which was painted in white oil paint the unit’s number or insignia.

The design of the new headdress was approved on 21 September 1848 (Circular No. 6895) and transmitted to the general war office where a model would be constructed to be sent to the royal stores magazine where items were made available to contractors. The ministry added two variations (Circular No. 7306 of 30 September):

- the thread ribbon was replaced by an identical one but of stamped sheet iron;

- the brigata Savoia was authorized to cover it in scarlet cloth instead of crimson.

The 1833-model cap [berretto] was abolished and replaced by a small cap [berrettino] of dark-blue cloth, but about which we know nothing. All the rest of the soldier’s issue items remained unchanged.

All these measures caused agitated protests both on the part of the units and within the higher commands. The former lamented the suppression of their distinctive colors of which they were justifiably jealous (the adopted crimson was the color of the brigata Cuneo), and pointed out the maintenance of the Guardie and Savoia brigades’ privileges. The higher commands criticized the adoption of a single-breasted tunic which they judged to be less costly than the previous one but which inadequately protected the soldier.21

The problem of the greatcoat remained unresolved. There were never a sufficient quantity to give to all reservists, and this was so in spite of all exertions made.

Many units kept the old 1843-model greatcoats until these were literally falling to pieces.

As for new kepis, 30,000 examples were contracted for in November of 1848, but less than half would actually be delivered in time. This forced the ministry and the units to a notable series of expedients. Old 1842-model shakos came to be used with the black felt removed and replaced by crimson cloth of various hues. In some cases the leather bodies were painted with oil which produced opaque earth colors. In others, there was at last no other recourse but to use the old pattern shako and issue them to units just as they were. Reserve classes were authorized to take the field in fatigue caps. Among the few units to receive the new regulation kepi was the 23rd Infantry, which had them in January of 1849, and the 12th Infantry which, however, received them only in the following July.

This uncertain situation is well documented in a painting at the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna, titled “Sardinian Prisoners after the Battle of Novarra, 1849.” An examination of the work shows the following details:

- many men still have the 1842-model shako with the old badges;

- the tunics are of the new pattern but have the old distinctive colors;

- the 1843-model greatcoat is still in use complete with shoulder straps and English-style wings;

- none of the depicted subjects wear the new pattern pants, but rather have dark-blue pants piped in the distinctive color;

- the fatigue caps shown are all of the 1833 pattern.

A Royal Decree of 15 May intervened to put a modicum of order in this situation by affirming, among other things, that: “Considerations of service and discipline, maxims of wartime, have shown us how appropriate it would be to return the various Corps’ distinctive devices and not use the present system whereby all infantry regiments are the same, especially when reflecting that the larger part of the Corps even now have kept their old distinctions…”

Consequently, while the tunic pattern remained fixed as single-breasted, the use of the old distinctive colors was reintroduced according to the following table:



Collar piping

Tunic piping


Cuff piping

Cuff flap

Cuff-flap piping

Piping on rear opening of tunic skirts

Piping on rear flaps






Dark blue


Dark blue






Black velvet



Dark blue


Black velvet









Dark blue


Dark blue









Dark blue


Dark blue









Dark blue


Dark blue





La regina




Dark blue


Dark blue









Dark blue


Dark blue






Black velvet



Dark blue


Dark blue









Dark blue


Dark blue









Dark blue


Dark blue





23º reggimento di fanteria




Dark blue


Dark blue





The cited decree also established yet another new pattern greatcoat, double-breasted with seven buttons in each row, made from gray-blue Tournon cloth and with a collar decorated only with distinctive color tabs or the lace buttonholes of the brigata Guardie. The relative particulars for issuing the greatcoat were only published on 25 January 1850. (Circular No. 1263, 2º serie).22

The pants remained the same except that piping in the distinctive color was added. The 1848-model kepi was fully distributed, and the use of the old fatigue caps was confirmed. In regard to these caps, the manufacturing accounts, drawn from Tariffe per l’anno 1849 published in December perfectly repeat those established in 1833 with the only difference being a crimson cloth band.

In 1850 modifications were made to the fatigue cap, the kepi, and its pompons.

The new fatigue cap (Circular No. 158 of 21 May), while keeping the basic color, the dish-like visor, and the leather chinstrap with two small regimental buttons, had an upper diameter of 15.7 centimeters, a front height of 7.5, and a rear height of 10.5. The cloth band was abolished and replaced with distinctive colored piping placed along the lower [sic, should be upper – M.C.] edge. Three more similar lines of vertical piping covered the side and rear seams.

The badges then in use were abolished and replaced by a simple regimental number embroidered in white wool on dark-blue cloth for soldiers and in silver for non-commissioned officers. Only the units of the brigata Guardie kept their old metallic badges.

The pompon on the kepi, while maintaining the shape and size of its predecessor, was completely changed in regard to the color scheme, as shown in the following tables (CircularsNo. 4308-09 of 12 June and No. 169 of 31 July):

1º reggimento granatieri guardie




Number or letter

Headquarters staff

Top half scarlet,

bottom half dark blue



Elite [scelte] companies


Dark blue

Scarlet letter “S”

Ordinary [ordinarie] companies


Dark blue

Scarlet number

Depot [deposito] companies


Dark blue

Scarlet letter “D”

2º reggimento granatieri guardie




Number or letter

Headquarters staff

Top half scarlet,

bottom half white



Elite companies



Scarlet letter “S”

Ordinary companies



Scarlet number

Depot companies



Scarlet letter “D”

Reggimento cacciatori di Sardegna




Number or letter

Headquarters staff




Elite companies



Green letter “S”

Ordinary companies



Green number

Depot companies



Green letter “D”

1st regiment of each brigade




Number or letter

Headquarters staff

Dark blue



Elite companies



White letter “S”

Ordinary companies

Dark blue


Dark-blue number

Depot companies

Dark blue


Dark-blue letter “D”

2nd regiment of each brigade




Number or letter

Headquarters staff




Elite companies



Green letter “S”

Ordinary companies


Dark blue

White number

Depot companies


Dark blue

White letter “D”

As for the kepi, it was more of a modification than a new pattern, as the leather bodies of the existing ones were covered with dark-blue cloth reused from the greatcoats that had been prescribed for the reserve classes two years before, 23 and the edge of the top piece was stitched over the body so as to form a 17-millimeter high border. Thin twisted wool cord in the distinctive color was applied to the side and rear seams of the cloth covering (Royal Decree of 26 November 1850). The ribbon, cockade, chinstrap, and the regimental number remained unchanged, and the brigata Guardie kept both their special badges and their white and red plumes.

The oilcloth covers were to have painted on them only the unit number, and this applied to the guard grenadiers, too. Only the cacciatori kept their own distinctive emblem.

The innovations of issue items for the infantry was completed by the adoption of a pair of pants of white herringbone cloth which the soldiers and non-commissioned officers were to wear only when performing gymnastic exercises or performing duties inside or outside the barracks “with the goal of keeping the [dark-blue] cloth pants in good condition” (Circular No. 159 of 26 May 1850).

The sword knots of the quartermaster sergeants and senior quartermaster sergeants in the brigata Guardie remained entirely scarlet or green, with the tassel ornamented with two rings of gold thread. Sword knots in the infantry still kept the loop of whitened buffalo hide, but now had a green (elite companies) or dark-blue tassel (headquarters staff and ordinary companies), always with two rings of gold thread.

b) Uniform variations for units and specialist ranks.

Based on the dictates of the decree of 25 August 1848, musicians were supposed to adopt the uniform of the soldiers of their own units. Delays, erroneous interpretations, failures of items to arrive, and by simply turning a deaf ear resulted in musicians continuing to dress as in 1843, at most just changing the distinctive color. On the kepi the galloon was removed but pompons and plumes were retained, as well as the cithara made of white metal. Citharas were painted on the oilcloth covers, which compelled the ministry to specifically state that even in the case of musicians the unit number was to be applied.

In May of 1849 the ministry confirmed the use of the new pattern tunic but in bright dark-blue cloth, decorated only with the new distinctive color or with lace buttonholes in the case of the Guards, who continued to use galloon and lace buttonholes on the chest. The fatigue tunic was reduced to being single breasted and kept the various strips of galloon.24

Drummers and buglers adopted the new uniforms at the end of the 1849 campaign, keeping all their galloon with the exception of the chevrons on the sleeve which were abolished. On 15 May 1849 (Royal Decree), a new type of galloon was adopted, woven in white thread with lozenges embroidered on it in dark-blue.

Drummer and bugler corporals continued to use all the distinctions established up to 1833, including pompons and plumes. In June and July of 1850, drummer corporals took over the distinctions prescribed for the elite companies. What was discussed for the others was also valid for drum majors: they adopted the new uniform and transferred all their characteristic distinctions including lace buttonholes on the chest, which had already been confirmed in 1848 by Circular No. 10397 of 18 December.

c) Pioneers.

Pioneers kept the emblems of their position on the new uniform as well, which is to say the crossed axes embroidered on the tunic and greatcoat, the scarlet pompon and the classic stiff white gauntlets. From the summer of 1850, they adopted the pompon prescribed for the headquarters staff of the regiment to which they belonged.

d) Equipment and weapons of troops, non-commissioned officers, musicians, heads of the column, and specialist ranks.

There were few innovations in regard to equipment. Whitening the leather accouterments was reintroduced, and the bellows-style cartridge pouch was replaced by another pattern provided with an internal tin box. “Bivouac bags” [sacco da vivacco] and “bread pockets” [tasche a pane, tascapane] were adopted.

The 1849-model cartridge pouch kept the strap that attached to the belt, made of blackened iron for the line and in brass for the guards. Grenadiers kept their brass plate fixed to the outside of the pouch cover.

The bags adopted by Circular No. 6722 of 17 September 1848 were modeled after the French Tentes-Abris and were to be used by the soldier “to make a tent while encamping or a sheet to lie down upon over straw while in barracks.”

The “bread pockets” were haversacks made of white and dark blue striped ticking lined with strong cloth and provided with a leather strap and metal buckle. It was to be used only on campaign or on long route marches “to store the bread, hard tack, rice, and other comestibles that would be issued almost daily.”

Individual weapons also remained the same. The only change was abolishing the sword for soldiers in fusilier and cacciatori companies because “besides being a hindrance for them, it was an excess weight.” Afterwards the weapon continued to be issued to grenadier companies, all non-commissioned officers (these swords being “distinguished by their quality”), and drummers, buglers, and pioneers.

In place of the sword every company received 16 small axes called piccozzini, provided with a whitened leather guard for the blade. The ax was attached to the straps of the knapsack. Every squad had four, carried by the soldiers in turn.

Senior quartermaster sergeants as well as quartermaster sergeants, and musicians and drum majors, plus grenadiers and cacciatori in the guards, all continued to use the special pattern sword.

In 1850 the chenille under the plate of the drummer’s drumstick holder became dark blue for ordinary companies and depot companies and green for elite companies. At the same time the hoops of drums, including bass drums, began to be painted dark blue, and the cords on the drum major’s staff and those on the staves of drummer and bugler corporals were replaced with new ones of silver and red silk or of white and red wool.

e) Officers' uniforms.

Officers' uniforms followed all the changes of the troops' of their respective branches. Epaulettes were kept, though early on it appeared that they would be abolished. Still, the galloon on the kepi for distinguishing rank was discontinued, and a new pompon was made regulation, spherical and of silver thread.

Stripes on the pants were replaced by a simple piping in the distinctive color. In place of the existing cloaks and overcoats [mantelle e pastrani], there was introduced a special overcoat called a cappa or burnous, inspired by the cape successfully utilized by the French in Algeria.

This burnoose was of dark-blue cloth cut very amply, with wide sleeves and a large hood decorated with a silk tassel. It was closed by three tongues or straps on each side with buttonholes and buttons covered in dark-blue cloth.

There were two pockets, one on each side, vertical, opening lengthwise and on the side. The back skirt had a vertical slit starting at the lower edge. Both the pockets and the sleeves were decorated with thin silk cord interwoven to form rosettes and eyelets. This cord and the tassel on the hood were both dark blue, and the internal lining was of light crimson material.

In the field the burnoose was tightly rolled with the lining facing out. The two ends were closed with leather straps and in this manner it was worn over the shoulder. Officers who served on horseback were given a much more ample burnoose.25

A Royal Decree of 13 February 1849 modified some details of burnoose construction, directing that they be made from the same gray-blue cloth as the troops' greatcoats and that the tongues and buttons be removed and replaced by a double row of five frogs with olives in gray-blue silk, similar to those on the spencer jacket of light-cavalry officers. The gray-blue color was likewise adopted for the lining and the sleeve, pocket, and hood decoration.

The kepi and fatigue cap for officers were the same as for the troops except for the following details:

- the kepi had the cockade in tricolor silk: red, silver, and green; the thin cords were silver, as were the galloon rank distinctions;

- the cap was decorated with an embroidered silver number or insignia on dark-blue cloth;

- the oilcloth cover had the distinction painted in white lead paint.

A short time later the pompon made of thread was removed from the kepi, being costly and subject to deterioration, and replaced by another type made from silver-plated metal worked to look like thread.

f) Officers' accouterments and arms; officers' horse furniture.

The only change for officers' waist belts was in regard to the color of the leather, becoming white from 25 August 1848. The belts for guards officers underwent no changes.

Circular No. 164 of 21 June 1850 authorized the parade belt of silver galloon for junior officers, too, it being until that time the prerogative of only superior officers.

There were no changes to weapons or horse furniture. The galloon in distinctive colors which decorated the saddle cloth was supposed to be replaced by crimson for all, but given the short time between when this was supposed to be adopted and the changes of May 1849, we doubt that this actually happened.

The only change applied to the saddle cloth was the substitution of Albert's monogram with that of the new sovereign, Victor Emmanuel.

Third Period (from November 1850 to May 1861).

a) Uniforms of soldiers and non-commissioned officers.

The Model 1848 tunic underwent a structural change in October of 1853 when it was decreed that the top edge of the collar would be rounded and the strap supporting the waist belt abolished. To better support the waist belt it was recommended that units sew the two waist buttons on strongly, as the belt was going to be resting on these. Distinctive colors did not undergo any change, nor did the lace buttonhole loops of the grenadier and light infantry (cacciatori) regiments. Regiments with piping down the front of the tunic were to add similar piping down the vertical opening at the back of the skirts.26

The notable increase in regiments after the 1859 campaign obligated the ministry to take all possible measures for economy including in regard to clothing. Notice No. 76 of 13 October left distinctive colors only on the tunic collar, abolishing the colored piping down the chest, on the cuffs, on the cuff-flaps, and all decoration at the back, and substituting scarlet for all units. The distinctive colors for the new brigades were as follows:

- crimson: brigata Brescia, 19º reggimento and 20º reggimento;

- bright green [verde vivo]: brigata Cremona, 21º reggimento and 22º reggimento; brigata Pavia, 23º reggimento and 24º reggimento;

- bright dark blue [turchino chiaro]: brigata Bergamo, 25º reggimento and 26º reggimento; brigata Como, 27º reggimento and 28º reggimento;27

The brigata Granatieri de Sardegna and the brigata Granatieri di Lombardia kept their distinctions, but added the regimental number to the buttons on the tunic and greatcoat.

In November, the brigata delle Alpi adopted bright green as its distinctive color and buttons with a hunting horn and number. On 21 February 1860 it was given the privilege of decorating the collar with a horn embroidered with scarlet thread.

The regiments coming from the League’s army entered the Sardinian army already dressed in tunics with the new system of distinctive colors, as follows:

- strong pink [rosa intenso]: brigata Pisa and brigata Siena;

- apricot [albiococca, also called ceciaccio]: brigata Livorno and brigata Pistoia;

- garance, or madder red [garanza]: brigata Ravenna;

- orange: brigata Bologna and brigata Modena;

- canary yellow: brigata Forli and brigata Regio;

- hazelnut brown: brigata Ferrara and brigata Parma.

A new modification of the distinctive colors was laid down on 22 March 1860, when in honor of the disbanded brigata Savoia the ministry decided to assign all infantry units the distinctive color of black with scarlet piping, and to adopt scarlet woolen fringed epaulettes of obviously transalpine derivation.

The 1860 pattern epaulette, which was internally reinforced with cardboard and had blue cloth lining, was attached to the tunic by a small button that screwed into a hole made next to the collar and a thin iron hook that was inserted into a strap sewn over the shoulder. To set the epaulette a tab of dark-blue cloth was sewn under the end which, when inserted into the strap hooked onto the shank of the button. All non-commissioned officers were distinguished by the twisted cord on the epaulette being made from silver thread.

The grenadier brigades kept their scarlet collars with lace loops, their dark-blue patches, and all scarlet piping. Their epaulettes, while similar to those of the line, were larger in size.

In 1854 a new pattern greatcoat [cappotto] was adopted, reaching to the knees (Notice No. 93 of 20 July) and made of gray-blue Tournon cloth. It had a turned-down collar with rounded corners, fastened by an iron hook sewn to its base. The collar could be turned up, and in that case it would be held up by a cloth tongue with a buttonhole, sewn to two small buttons, that hooked to another button fixed to the opposite end. Down its front the greatcoat had six buttons like those on the tunic. The sleeves did not have any turned-back cuffs. Inside the greatcoat lining was a sheath in the back through which a string was passed that was used to tighten the waist. There was no martingale at the back, only two small buttons firmly sewn on so as to support the belt. Inside the lining were two open pockets 20 centimeters deep, located to correspond with the buttons at the waist. Along the front opening of the collar there was to be a cloth three-pointed patch in the distinctive color. The grenadiers kept their thread buttonholes, and the Savoy and Pinerolo brigades their dark-blue collar patches piped in scarlet.

In regard to the collar patches, Note No. 101 of 22 November 1859 said that “the infantry regiments prescribed a stripe [pistagna] on the tunic collar are to have such a stripe on the collar patches of the greatcoat collar.” A short time afterwards this pattern of collar patch was abolished and replaced by one in black velvet with scarlet piping.

On 15 June 1860 (Notice No. 105), some modifications to the 1854 model greatcoat were decreed:

- the internal sheath with cord was discontinued and replaced with a martingale with a pair of buttonholes and two rectangular patches sewn on vertically outside on the back;

- so-called cuffs alla francese were adopted, made by slitting the sleeve along the seam for a length of 13 centimeters and adding a cloth patch 7 centimeters long; the cuffs were closed by two buttons.

The 1850-model full-dress kepi [keppy] was unchanged during these years except that the two Sardinian Grenadier regiments adopted a new badge consisting of a flaming grenade with the number cut in the bomb body. In 1852 pompons remained in use only by headquarters staff, ordinary companies, and depot companies.

In October of 1859, the changes in the tunic resulted in the substitution of the small colored cords [cordoncini] with new ones uniformly scarlet for all regiments, and the adoption of new pompons colored according to the following system:

- scarlet: 1º Granatieri di Sardegna; 1º, 3º, 7º, 9º, 11º, 21º, 23º, 29º, 33º, 37º, 39º, 43º, 47º reggimento fanteria;

- dark blue: 2º Granatieri di Sardegna; 2º, 4º, 8º, 10º, 12º, 22º, 24º, 30º, 34º, 38º, 40º, 44º, 48º reggimento fanteria;

- green: 3º Granatieri di Lombardia; 5º, 13º, 15º, 17º, 19º, 25º, 27º, 31º, 35º, 41º, 45º, 49º reggimento fanteria;

- yellow: 4º Granatieri di Lombardia; 6º, 14º, 16º, 18º, 20º, 26º, 28º, 32º, 36º, 42º, 46º, 50º reggimento fanteria.

The regimental headquarters staff [Stato Maggiore reggimentale] had spherical pompons entirely in one color while companies had a white disk with their number or the letter “D” embroidered in scarlet thread.

A royal decree of 22 March 1860 restored the use of spherical pompons of one color for all units and prescribed that they be scarlet for the staff headquarters and scarlet with a dark-blue disk and a scarlet company number. The depots kept the embroidered letter “D” in a disk but now preceded by a number 1 or 2 (Note 108 of 22 June 1860).

The oilcloth [incerata] for the kepi remained the same except for the Sardinian Grenadiers who in 1852 were authorized to paint a grenade with the regimental number inside the body.

On 6 February 1855 new pants [pantaloni] were introduced of the same color as the greatcoat, with the leg entirely closed along the outside seam. These had an internal sheath into which the leather belt was inserted, and just one pocket 14 centimeters long in the vertical and open along the outside right seam, positioned 4 centimeters from the belt. On the shirt front were now five bone buttons sewn to the right side with an equal number of corresponding buttonholes on the left.

For the lining gray basin cloth [basino, also called bombazine or dimity] was used while black was needed for the bottom of the leg. The lateral piping remained the same until 1856 when dark blue was substituted for all, “in order to facilitate the provisioning of the items of the military ensemble that the government requires be administered by the various corps of troops.”

A notice specified that the modification was to happen “only when the change of such piping was itself necessary.” (Notice No. 1 of 1 January.)

In October of 1859 all units received the order to substitute the dark-blue piping with scarlet.

The model-1850 forage cap [berretto] changed its piping in October of 1859 to scarlet for all units. Also, the existing numbers were replaced with ones cut from scarlet felt cloth or embroidered in wool. As part of the partial renovation of infantry uniforms, on 15 June 1860 the old caps were decreed to be discontinued and replaced by different ones in the “a busta”(“envelope”) style copied from those used in the French army.

The cap was of dark-blue cloth decorated with the small cords of galloon called in French frisè, with a hanging tassel and a number or grenade, all colored scarlet. It was habitually worn with the tassel hanging in front but could also be worn crossways with the two moveable flaps used as a visor and a cover for the nape of the neck.

Between the spring of 1851 and the summer of 1853 modifications were also made to the cravat, spats, and shoes.

The new cravat had a body made of wild boar’s hide covered with black Wharlasting, an elastic cloth more economical and practical than the wool galloon previously used. On one of the two ends was sewn a tongue of hide that attached to a buckle at the other end. The new model cravat did not have the white border sewn along the upper edge, and in its place was a removable strip called a listino which wrapped around the cravat body. The brigata Savoia kept its own red cravat.

In 1857 there was authorized the issue to the troops of a cravat-scarf [cravatte a sciarpa] of dark-blue or scarlet cotton, 1.45 meters in length and 36 centimeters wide. It was wrapped around the neck, and this type of cravat was to be distributed to the troops in case supply magazines unexpectedly ran out of the regulation black ones.

Also, in 1859 it was announced that usage “until worn out” would not be tolerated. (Notice No. 83 of 25 October).

Finally, in 1860 all units were to have scarlet cravats with the exception of the grenadier regiments which kept their black ones.

The new pattern spats and shoes were codified in a series of circulars published between April and June of 1853 (No. 1504 of 21 April, No. 1809 of 12 May, and N. 2177 of 3 June). To “replace the spats made of white or dark-blue tricot, cloth, or ticking currently in use,” new ones were to be cut “out of just one piece of leather from prime quality cowhide made from the well tanned skin of a heifer or large calf.” They were to have ten holes on each side, reinforced with brass eyelets into which was inserted a shoelace of natural leather. The strap under the foot [sottopiede] was fastened to the spats by a second lace passed through seven holes. The side lacing was reinforced by a band of leather sewn on inside, parallel to the holes.

The spats were not to be polished but only periodically softened with grease of with water mixed with oil, so as to avoid cracking of the leather.

The 1853-model shoes, made in different left and right forms, consisted of five distinct parts:

- sole: cut in one piece of very strong leather, with a square toe;

- heel: made of several layers of strong leather, all sewn except the last one; to have the outside edges beveled “so that the spats’ strap under the foot is not damaged;”

- insole: cut in one piece out of strong leather;

- shank: cut from strong leather and sewn between the outsole and insole;

- vamp: cut in just one piece out of cowhide and sewn to the insole; the upper part was open for 4 centimeters over the top of the foot and provided with three holes on each part, with leather laces;

- upper quarters: cut from cowhide, in two pieces joined together with three double seems, one along the heel and the others over the vamp, so as to go around the foot.

The sole had 40 or 45 nails in it, called bussette or punte di Parigi, riveted along the outer edge. The heel had 30 headless iron tacks driven into it, 20 along the outside edge and 10 on the inside towards the heel.

The shoes were produced in three different sizes, each of which was subdivided in three lengths measured on the inside:28

- the first or large size had lengths of 30, 31, and 32 centimeters;

- the second or medium size had lengths of 27, 28, or 29 centimeters;

- the third or small size had lengths of 24, 25, or 26 centimeters.29

Quartermaster sergeants and senior quartermaster sergeants [furieri e furieri maggiori] continued to wear their boots, whose use was conceded on 1 April 1853 to other non-commissioned officers as well. The measure was taken to reduce “the large quantity of boots in the supply magazines,” and was to “only last until the extraordinary stocks are exhausted.”

In 1852 the table of items for soldiers and non-commissioned officers was enriched by the addition of a new item, the knitted jersey or sweater [farsetto a maglia] (Circular No. 3716 of 21 September), of natural wool, single-breasted with six white bone buttons, and with long sleeves ending in knitted wool cuffs. The sweater had no collar but rather a round opening trimmed with a white linen ribbon. The same kind of ribbon bordered the line of buttons and the openings practically under the armpits.

In this same year (Notice No. 53 of 27 March) soldiers as well as non-commissioned officers were authorized a jacket of coarse linen for use during gymnastic exercises and barracks duties. This garment, similar in pattern to the cavalry fatigue jacket, was single-breasted with nine white bone buttons, had sleeves without cuffs, and did not have any shoulder straps.

The quartermaster sergeants and senior quartermaster sergeants of all units, including the grenadiers, received sword knots [dragone] made from a whitened leather strap with a dark-blue tassel of twisted wool, over which was superimposed two turns of gold yarn for senior quartermaster sergeants and only one for quartermaster sergeants.

The yellow chamois gloves for non-commissioned officers were abolished on 11 February 1856 and replaced by identical ones but colored white. At the same time corporals and soldiers were given a pair of white cotton gloves for use in parades.

b) Uniform variations for specialist ranks.

Modifications of the uniform for regimental bands [musiche reggimentali] and the head of the column [testa di colonna, c.f. French tête de colonne], discussed at the end of 1848, were subsequently implemented by Circular No. 31 of 9 December 1851. On this occasion, among other things, the use of the tunic for undress [tunica de piccola tenuta] was discontinued, and the uniform ensemble [monture] was differentiated by the use or absence of various particular objects.

Musicians had a tunic like that of other soldiers in their units, with the following distinctions:

- galloon applied along the front opening and below the collar, on the cuffs and flaps, within the piping. The galloon, 17 millimeters wide, was woven in silver with three lines of scarlet silk, each line being 1 millimeter wide, in a zigzag pattern;

- a cithara embroidered in silver on scarlet cloth, sewn in the angle formed by the galloon on the collar;

- two epaulettes ending in a (playing-card) club-shaped knot towards the shoulder, made of double cord of one-third silver thread and the rest being scarlet wool;

- a hanging double cord of scarlet wool intertwined with nine silver threads, provided with a slide, three tassels of scarlet wool with two turns of silver thread superimposed, and two flat tassels called placche [plaques] made of thin intertwined scarlet and silver cord.

The cord was fastened to the fourth or fifth button of the tunic, passed under the right arm, went around the neck, where it could be tightened by means of the moveable slide, and from there it was hung onto a button of the left epaulette so that the tassels dangled over the chest.30

The kepi, similar to the one for other troops, had the following ornamentation:

- a silver metal cithara in place of a number;

- galloon, similar to that on the collar, sewn along the upper edge;

- thin cords of scarlet wool intertwined with silver thread;

- the pompon of regimental staff headquarters, surmounted by a socket of silver metal worked in relief in the form of leaves;

- the plume of short feathers the same color as the pompon, straight and 21 centimeters high, inserted into the socket.

Musicians of the grenadiers and cacciatori ket their lace buttonholes which were placed over the galloon and decorated with the cithara. The grenadiers had scarlet pompons and plumes while the cacciatori kept, until they were disbanded, their green pompon and white and red plume.

In 1859 all musicians replaced their plumes and pompons with the various colored ones used by the soldiers. In the following year pompons and plumes became scarlet for all units and the shoulder knots were taken away to be replaced by fringed epaulettes like the other troops.

Drum majors received the same uniform described for musicians with all the distinctions of their grade except for the cithara on the collar and kepi, keeping afterwards both their bandoliers of dark-blue velvet and their staffs. The latter was of natural cornel wood, 1.36 meters long overall, and had a large knob of silver metal on the end finely incised and decorated in a floral motif. Around the staff was wrapped a double cord of scarlet silk with eight silver threads, ending in two tassels of the same color and material with a turn of silver cord over them.

Drummers and buglers also received this style of uniform but with white and red woolen galloon and shoulder knots and without any hanging cords. The kepi had the regimental number and the company pompon, with galloon and thin cords of white and red wool.

As for drummer and bugler corporals [caporali tamburini e trombettieri], these had no further distinctions other than that of their grade and the regimental staff headquarters. Their staff was similar to that of drum majors but made more simply and only 1.27 meters long.31

In “small dress” [piccola tenuta], the shoulder knots, plumes, and cords were removed. Musicians used sword knots only in full dress [gran tenuta]. This had a strap of galloon made from white thread, with scarlet and silver zigzag lines and a tassel of twisted scarlet silk, with two turns of silver thread.

Pioneers [falegnami] and their non-commissioned officers kept their uniform, reverting to a scarlet pompon in June of 1860.

c) Equipment and weapons of troops, non-commissioned officers, musicians, heads of the column, and specialist ranks.

There was little of note introduced in regard to individual equipment. The new canteen [borraccia] adopted on 3 June 1853 was intended to replace the two patterns in use after the brigata Piemonte carried out a test of two different models, one of glass enclosed in wicker and the other a leather type used at the time by the Spanish army.32

The 1853-model canteen was in the shape of a small barrel with a flattened back. It had a capacity of 7.0 liters with an actual tolerance of 7.4. Its top and bottom ends were of birch, willow, or cherry. The top had a funnel and cup made on a lathe, with a screw hole in which was inserted a pipe with a wooden stopper secured by a small iron chain. The cask was made of eight willow staves, one of which was larger than the others and formed the back part. The staves were held together by two hoops of walnut and ten smaller reed hoops. On the sides near the top were screwed two iron rings through which passed a plaited green cord, 1.50 meters long, which was needed in order to carry the canteen slung over the shoulder and body. In 1857 the cord was replaced by the same blackened leather strap used with cavalry canteens.

The 1843-model knapsack remained unchanged except for the shoulder straps which on 9 January 1852 reverted to being blackened. Only the grenadiers kept these in white leather.

Notice No. 11 of 22 November 1859, issued subsequent to “accurate studies by special commissions,” ordered the adoption of a new model knapsack, the first examples of which were to be issued to the two Grenadier brigades and the Savoy, Piedmont, and Aosta brigades.

All other units continued to use the 1843 model as long as these in their own stores were not used up and until those in the general military administration’s warehouses were exhausted.

The 1859-model knapsack was made of natural calfskin tanned with alum. It was rectangular, 40 centimeters wide, 32.5 centimeters tall, and 10.5 centimeters deep. The lining was coarse canvas, the straps were white leather, and the inside buckles were iron while the outside ones were brass.

The arrangement of issued items inside was as follows:

- four cartridge packets laid in appropriate tin boxes placed in the bottom;

- shoes placed one on each side, with the toe pointing down and the sole against the side; in one was placed a leather bag, a tin can, and a brush for brass; in the other shoe were other brushes;

- between the shoes were rolled the linen jacket and pants, underwear, and the sweater; in the free space was placed a box of polish and a spoon. If the soldier was wearing his linen suit, then in its place was to be rolled the cloth pants;

- in the lining of the cover were two shirts, two towels, a handkerchief, gloves, and a paybook;

- the greatcoat or the tunic, tightly rolled, was put into a canvas sack and tightly fastened with the strap on top of the knapsack;

- the mess tin, mess kettle, and a small hatchet were secured to the straps on the cover.33

In 1853 precise rules were laid down for using the canvas sack and the method of placing it over the knapsack. The sack was to be folded into a rectangle and then put over the knapsack cover so as to protect it from rain.

The camp blanket then in use, made from squares of coarsely woven black wool, was replaced in 1859 by one of English manufacture, of cinnamon color with yellow borders. It was 1.50 meters long and 1.47 meters wide, and each of these blankets weighed 1.40 kilograms. Issue to units began in March of 1860.

The 1843-model belt underwent a significant change as a result of Notice No. 19 of 27 January 1855 when it was established that the pouch be moveable instead of fixed and that the belt be made in three sizes: the first 1.40 meters long, the second 1.35, and the third 1.30.

The Sardinia Grenadier Brigade inherited a rectangular brass plate that was fastened to the cover of the cartridge pouch, but substituted the old legend with that of “GRANATIERI DI SARDEGNA… REGIMENTO—. The use of this distinction was later also extended to the other grenadier regiments but with their own name and respective number.

All other military issue accouterments—the aprons and carrying cases for drummers, aprons and carbine holsters for pioneers, and musical instruments—all remained substantially the same. From 1852 there began the custom of painting, above and below the coat-of-arms on bass drums, a white cartouche with the number and name of the brigade in black block letters.34

Two years later there was a modification to the belt by which drummers carried the drum over shoulder. The belt, of whitened buffalo hide, was 1 meter long and 6.5 centimeters wide and had four buttonholes and four brass buttons (Notice No. 3 of 6 May 1854).

Notice No. 8 of 9 February 1860 decreed the adoption of new items of individual equipment for soldiers in units, namely:

- a tent pole that could be unscrewed into two parts and an iron tent stake; both were placed vertically in the left side of the knapsack;

- an elliptical tin cup stowed in the haversack;

- a mess kettle of double tin of 5-liter capacity [bidone, bandone] that was attached to the knapsack cover in a horizontal position; the kettle had a removable lid and iron handle; a brass plate was soldered on, having incised on it the regimental and company numbers;

- a lantern of canvas oilcloth, formed like bellows.

Individual weapons also remained the same as prescribed in the 1850s. The 1833/43-model dagger issued to grenadiers acquired the name of daga di granatieri in 1852.35

On 7 February 1857 the War Ministry announced trials for the procurement of a new infantry musket to replace the now obsolete 1844 model. Only in 1859 were the names published of those inventors who were to be admitted to the firing trials, but none of the finalist weapons turned out to be able to meet requirements.

In October of that same year a special commission was formed which was charged with evaluating the best muskets in use by the principle armies of Europe. These were the Austiran Lorenz, British Enfield, Swiss Prèlat-Burnand, and an unspecified French fusil that was no doubt the 1857 model.

The commission selected the last of these, limiting itself to the internal characteristics of the barrel and the type of projectile, as it was on these that the tested effectiveness would depend.

The new 1860-model musket had all the characteristics of the short 1844 musket, with four clockwise grooves in the barrel, each 7 millimeters wide and 0.25 millimeters deep. Windage was 2 millimeters. The weapon used a self-expanding bullet of 17.2 millimeters with a triangular cavity.

The original model had a sight, but the authorities decided to put these only on weapons made ex novo and not those that were modified. The sight was marked for up to 600 meters. Of the 1860-model muskets issued to units 10% had the sight, being destined for each company’s best marksmen.

d) Officers' uniforms.

There were two significant changes to officers' clothing. In 1856 new epaulettes were adopted, along with new sword knots and a new system of galloon and twisted cord on the kepi and fatigue cap to distinguish rank, and in 1860 the burnoose was abolished and the so-called cappotto-soprabito [“overcoat-outer garment”] adopted36.

This overcoat, made from gray-blue cloth, was cut straight and ample, reaching to the bottom of the knees and closed with two rows of five buttons. The large collar, of dark-blue velvet piped red, was usually turned down but could be raised and closed under the chin with a cloth tongue provided with a buttonhole at each end. A little above the seam of the collar were affixed two small black bone buttons to which could be fastened, besides the cloth tongue, a hood of black rubber for use during bad weather. The cuffs were of black velvet piped red, 84 millimeters deep. On each side there opened a vertical pocket 22 centimeters long; the one on the left was cut to accommodate the saber. The rear of the overcoat had an opening for 35 centimeters from the bottom edge that was closed using five small uniform buttons. For superior officers the opening measured 50 centimeters.

When on duty officers were to put epaulettes on the overcoat. For this purpose, two cross straps were sewn to the shoulders, similar to those on the tunic. The overcoat used the same buttons as the tunic and was lined with scarlet flannel. Grenadier officers had silver lace buttonholes on their collars.

e) Officers' accouterments and arms; officers' horse furniture.

The decree of 6 March 1856 partially modified the pattern for waist belts used by officers. In the middle of the shorter sling a buttonhole was opened into which a hook for the saber was inserted and held by means of a double button decorated with a crowned cross of Savoy.

To the lower end of this same sling was added a piece of black varnished leather intended to protect the pants from rubbing against the saber.

For undress a second belt was adopted that was identical to the other but of black varnished leather. Grenadier officers had a buckle plate decorated with a grenade whose body was intertwined with the royal monogram.

The 1833/43 model sword was abolished in 1855 and replaced by a saber (Circular No. 95 of 27 July) with a slightly curved blade with a single cutting edge. The blade had a fuller on the first two-thirds of its length. The hilt was of black ebony milled to produce six sections of deep grooves. The iron guard was integral with the hilt.

The saber had a scabbard of plate steel with two bands, their respective rings, and a drag, all of the same material.

The old horse furniture, by now in use for more than twenty years, was replaced by another pattern in October of 1859. At this time officers of the newly formed units were in fact supposed to provided themselves with uniforms in accordance with the regulations in force and so obtain the model 1833/43 horse furniture, but the ministry intervened, stating that “as the saddle cloth is to be replaced, the gentlemen superior officers are to delay providing themselves with these until the new pattern is determined.”

The new pattern saddle cloth became regulation on 22 December 1859 (Notice No. 112) along with a new cover for pistol holders made of black varnished leather on which was to be the regimental number surmounted by a crown and superimposed with a scepter, all in silver metal. Superior officers of the grenadiers substituted a grenade for the number.

The saddle cloth's rear corners were pointed and it was made of dark-blue cloth. Along the edge was sewn galloon woven from black wool, and in the rear angles was a crowned royal monogram of embroidered silver on dark-blue cloth.


a) Uniforms of the troops and non-commissioned officers.

The bersaglieri [perhaps best translated as “sharpshooters” - M.C.] were one of the rare army units to preserve their uniform almost unaltered, without being subjected to the radical changes in other corps between 1843 and 1848. The prime reason for this was that the clothing was practical and modern compared to others, and therefore not susceptible to substantial modifications.

The two campaigns of 1848 and 1849 were fought by the bersaglieri in the overcoat [cappotto], hat [cappello], coat-jacket [abito-giubba], and cloak [mantellina] that had been codified twelve years before. The sole innovation was the assignment of a small plume of black horsehair to the newly formed companies of 28 March 1848 “given the present lack of cock feathers.”

And early and important change was established on 3 March 1849 when the hat badge, a trumpet superimposed over two crossed carbines, was replaced with the insignia still in use, a horn and grenade superimposed over two carbines. Within the grenade the company number was cut out while that of the battalion was to be on the buttons of the overcoat and jacket.

The 3rd of May 1850 represents a key date for the bersaglieri uniform. The old overcoat was transformed into a true and proper tunic by shorting the skirt and making it more ample, and adding two flaps [mostre] at the back, of dark-blue cloth with a rounded end and two buttons on each.

The flaps were not sewn onto the tunic but remained separate and held only by a cloth suspender inserted between the lining and cloth of the skirt37.

A second change was the abolishment of the English-style green woolen wings and their replacement by smaller ones of dark-blue cloth piped crimson, and also the discontinuation of the coat-jacket [abito-giubba] as it was replaced by the new 1850 model fatigue jacket [giubba di fatica mod. 1850]. This was of dark-blue cloth with short skirts and was closed in the front with just one row of nine buttons identical to those on the tunic. It had a small turned-down collar with crimson patches [mostrini] and pointed cuffs, likewise dark blue, with piping the same color as the patches and closed with three buttons.

The jacket did not have shoulder straps but only the English-style wings similar to those on the tunic. All the buttons were small38.

Starting in this year this new clothing item would be used as the equivalent to the line infantry's greatcoat.

The parade tunic remained an issue item but would be used less and less frequently and only on particularly solemn occasions. Only senior quartermaster sergeants, quartermaster sergeants, and sergeants continued to wear it in ordinary orders of dress, being further distinguished by the galloon indicating their rank and by narrow gold galloon sewn inside the shoulder straps' crimson piping.

Also in 1850 the bersaglieri were issued a new cravat whose pattern even today remains unknown, the same white canvas [tela] pants prescribed for infantry units for gymnastic exercises, and a black oilcloth cover for the hat, on which was painted in yellow the badge with the company number. However, a short time later this last item was withdrawn because as the sun beat down on it, causing overheating and an inconvenient annoyance to the soldier, and it was replaced by another cover with white canvas on the inside called a pascalina39.

Another provision from this year was in regard to the replacement of black cloth spats by others of dark blue with a vertical double row of six black bone buttons, enabling them to be expanded and the ends of strong cloth pants inserted during a march or when on campaign. Three years later the bersaglieri, like the infantry, received the new knitted jersey, shoes, leather leggings, and canteen with a green woolen cord.

Finally, in 1857 (17 June) a small cap [berrettino] of mixed gray and red became a definite part of the issue kit, but in spite of all the research specifically on this item, its appearance remains still unknown.

b) Accouterments and weapons of the troops and non-commissioned officers.

Not only did the basic equipment of the corps—the belt and special model 1836 backpack—remain unchanged, but the bersaglieri continued to be the only army units not to have a cartridge pouch and continue to use packs of cartridges in the compartment fitted at the bottom of backpack for that purpose. In regards to weapons the La Marmora carbine was retained, modified and officially adopted only in 1844 (Dispatches Nos. 3555/56) in two versions, long for bersaglieri and corporals but shortened for sergeants and trumpeters.

The weapon had a new type of range sight, a more compact appearance, and the ability to use either a strip of ammunition for repeated trigger firing or the ordinary percussion capsules, all thanks to special replacement parts stored in a space provided under the butt for that very purpose40.

The long version measured 1.18 meters overall and weighed 4.2 kilograms. It had a barrel cut with eight lines 75 centimeters long and a caliber of 16.9 millimeters. The second version was only 97.5 centimeters long and weighed 3.75 kilograms.

Both versions continued to use 16-millimeter cylindrical bullets until 1848 when Dispatch No. 435 of 8 February replaced them with cylindrical-ogival ones averaging 35.5 grams in weight and 16 millimeters in caliber.

On 27 March 1848 (Dispatch No. 1283) is was decided to adopt a new carbine that again had long and short versions, and although it preserved the general appearance of its predecessors it no longer had the compartment under the butt, but above all it had the normal percussion ignition of the model 1844 infantry musket. The long version now measured 1.17 meters and weighed 3.9 kilograms, while the short one was 0.99 meters and 3.45 kilograms41.

Eight years later the model 1848 carbine was in turn replaced with another called the model 1856, produced in just one version for all members of the bersaglieri corps. This weapon was 1.26 meters long and weighed 4. 15 kilograms, and had a barrel with four grooves and a caliber of 17.5. The range sight [alzo] was now a graduated pointer and the aiming sight [mirino] was fixed. The bracket for attaching the sword bayonet [sciabola baionetta] was soldered to the right side of the barrel, and no longer under it as in the 1844 and 1848 models.

The 1856-model carbine used cylindrical-ogival Peeters bullets that were hollow and self-expanding, each requiring a charge of 4.25 grams of gunpowder.

The new personal weapon entailed discontinuing the powder flask and adopting a cartridge pouch just like that in the infantry and in which would be placed—besides packs of cartridges—the so-called assortimenti for the carbine such as a tin ampule of oil, tin case for bristles, nipple remover [caccialuminello], nut remover [caccianoci], worm for extracting bullets [cavastracci], screwdriver with wooden handle, nipple cover of black leather, grease tin, brush for steel igniter [setolino per acciarini], spring compressor [tiramolle], wooden stopper covered in crimson wool, and iron pin with brass chain42.

In 1857 (Notice No. 130 of 19 September) the cartridge pouch issued the previous year was subjected to some modifications and acquired the official designation of giberna da bersaglieri mod. 1857. The iron loop or bracket was removed and replaced by a similar one of blackened leather fixed to an iron sheet reinforcement riveted to the inside of the casing's top, while the iron button used to attach the tongue on the lid was replaced by one in brass43.

While the model 1836 sword bayonet remained unchanged even after the adoption of the new carbine, in 1850 non-commissioned officers and some specialist ranks received a special pattern sword called a “sword for bersaglieri non-commissioned officers” [sciabola da bersaglieri da sottufficiali]. While it was similar in appearance to that of the troops it had a length of 68 centimeters and a weight of 0.75 kilograms. It had a brass hilt grooved in spiral fashion and surmounted by a pommel, and a crossbar guard with the ends terminated with an acorn. This weapon was authorized for senior quartermaster sergeants, quartermaster sergeants, administrative sergeants, senior corporals, senior administrative corporals, and all foremen [capi operai].

c) Uniforms, accouterments, and weapons of specialist ranks.

Following tradition the bersaglieri continued not to have true trumpeters as an organic part of the unit, but only soldiers instructed in trumpet signals, uniformed, equipped, and armed as the others except for the short carbine that remained in use until 1856.

Beginning in 1859 almost all battalions started to combine their best instrumentalists into small fanfares composed of not more than eight or ten men placed under the orders of a sergeant trumpeter[sergente trombettiere]. They were dressed as simple bersaglieri but did not have a carbine or cartridge pouch and were armed with only the 1850-model sword for non-commissioned officers.

The sergeant trumpeters wore the tunic of a non-commissioned officer.

d) Officers' uniforms, accouterments, and weapons; officers' horse furniture.

Officers also continued to use the 1836-model overcoat [cappotto] which was modified like those of the troops until by 1850 it had little by little become its own particular pattern of tunic, with the skirts provided with pleats that began at the last button at the bottom of the chest and reached the lower edge.

The tunic also had a collar and pointed cuffs of crimson cloth, and gilt buttons. It had cross straps [passante] on the shoulders, of leather covered with gold galloon, and a lining of silk or other expensive material, colored black. There were four internal pockets in all, one vertical in each front skirt and one under each of the rear flaps.

Regarding the cloak [mantellina], hat, pants, fatigue cap, cravat, gloves, and footwear—these remained the same as prescribed in 1836. In 1849 the hat badge was modified, and in the following year a new fatigue cap was adopted, decorated with crimson piping and with the same badge as on the hat but embroidered in gold on dark-blue cloth.

On 15 September 1851 the corps commandant was authorized to wear a pointed hat [cappello a punte] in full dress, decorated with gold tassels and loop and a green plume. Five years later bersaglieri officers adopted, just as their colleagues in other units, both the new epaulettes as well as the new rank distinctions and gold sword knot.

In 1860 the cloak [mantellina] was replaced by a “overcoat-over garment” [cappotto-soprabito] cut like those for infantry officers in dark-blue cloth with unit buttons and gold galloon rank distinctions44.

Insofar as accouterments are concerned, these were still limited to just the waist belt, in harmony with the severe dress of the corps. It was of black varnished leather lined with crimson cloth, and had a brass clasp and buttons. The buckle plate was of bright iron decorated with the old hat badge in gilt metal.

It was only in 1850 that bersaglieri officers replaced the 1833-model sword with a special pattern saber much more adapted to a light corps. This had a slightly curved single-edged blade about 90 centimeters long. In cross section it was triangular, with the sides recessed and the top flat.

The mountings, made from gilded brass, consisted of a five-piece guard, a chased grip of milled ebony, and a one-piece cap terminating at the top with a lion's head, all in gilded brass. Lastly, the scabbard was of bright iron for all, with two rings and a shoe at the end with two asymmetrical crests.

Lastly, a little information regarding horse furniture: this continued to always be based on that prescribed for infantry officers with all metal parts gilded and the dark-blue saddle cloth distinguished by crimson cloth galloon and a royal monogram embroidered in gold.

In 1859 the horse furniture prescribed for all mounted officers of the various infantry corps was adopted with metal parts gilded, the monogram embroidered in gold, and the corps badge placed on the black varnished leather pistol holders.

* * *

Chapter IX

Uniforms in the Eastern War (1855-1856)

At the beginning of 1855 the ministry adopted particular measures regarding the dress and equipment of the units assigned to the Sardinian expeditionary corps destined to join the Anglo-French contingent allied to Turkey in the conflict with Russia. Relevant circulars regulated what items the troops were to carry with them and the various forms of dress to wear according to circumstances.

These prescriptions were as follows:

- Infantry of the line (Dispatch No. 2077 of 25 March 1855):

• Issue items are to consist of a knapsack, kepi with cover45, greatcoat, camp blanket [coperta da campo], tent bag [sacco a tenda], two cotton shirts, washcloth, cravat, pair of drawers, two pairs of shoes, pair of leather leggings, heavy cloth pants, linen pants, linen jacket, knitted sweater, knitted cap,46 haversack, canteen, and all the other items of everyday use.

• The prescribed forms of dress were the following:

•• Parade dress [di parata]: greatcoat, heavy cloth pants, uncovered kepi, blanket folded under the knapsack, tent bag spread over the cover of the knapsack and held in straps; everything else put inside the knapsack.

•• Ordinary campaign dress [ordinaria di marcia]: greatcoat, linen pants, heavy cloth pants folded under the knapsack, kepi with oilcloth cover, rolled blanket around the knapsack so as to be on all sides except the bottom, tent bag and everything else put inside the knapsack.

•• For “extreme heat” [i grandi caldi]: linen jacket and pants, everything else as for ordinary campaign dress.

- Bersaglieri (Dispatch No. 2096 of 26 March 1855):

• Issue items to consist of a knapsack, hat with plume and oilcloth cover, tent bag, parade tunic, three cotton shirts, two washcloths, one cravat, two pairs of drawers, two pairs of shoes, wool cords with pompoms and tassels, knee guards [ginocchiere], cloth leggings made from ticking (to be used until worn out and then replaced with leather ones), cloth pants and linen pants, dark-blue wool gloves, linen jacket, knitted sweater, knitted cap, haversack, canteen, and all other issue items except for the cloth fatigue jacket, cape, powder flask, and leather bag, which were to be left in the home country.

• The forms of dress were the same as prescribed for the infantry, namely:

•• Parade dress: tunic, cloth pants, covered hat with plume, cords, tent bag folded under the knapsack cover. Everything else put inside the knapsack apart from the blanket which was to be folded and placed around the sides of the knapsack except as noted below.

•• Ordinary campaign dress: tunic, linen pants, cloth pants folded away under the knapsack cover; everything else and for parade dress.

•• For “extreme heat”: linen jacket and pants; tunic and tent bag folded under the knapsack cover.

The document prescribed among other things some small modifications to certain items such as the knapsack, cartridge pouch, and linen and cloth pants, the costs of which were to charged to a unit's general expenditures:

•• Three blackened leather suspension straps with iron buckles were to be sewn onto the knapsack, one of them in the middle of the top and the others outside on the sides towards to bottom, so the camp blanket could be easily fastened on.

•• The iron clasp soldered to the back of the box part of the cartridge pouch, by which means it hung from the belt, was to be removed and replaced with two blackened leather straps that buckled at the soldier’s back in such a way that the pouch would be over the abdomen “like an apron” [“a foggia di casalina”].

•• Pockets in the pants were to be made of fustian or some other equally strong material so that the soldier could put small items in them without there being any danger the pockets tearing through.

- Cavalry (Dispatch No. 2506 of 25 March 1855): this document described neither the issue items nor the composition of the various forms of dress, limiting itself to the following details:

• The parade tunic with its epaulettes and the plume and cords of the kepi were to be left at home. The soldiers were to carry with them the cloth fatigue jacket, as a special issue on this occasion another such jacket in linen similar to that issued to infantry, and the cloth fatigue cap.

• The camp blanket was to be rolled and placed on the saddle like the cloak, which it turn was to be likewise rolled and always carried over the shoulder and across the chest.

• Of the two jackets, the one not being worn was to be rolled and fastened to the camp blanket.

• The net bag [reticella] for forage was to be laid on the saddle flap while the issue bag [sacco a distribuzione], used also as a haversack, was also fastened to the saddle flap.

• Each platoon should be issued one small ax instead of the two established by the regulations.

- Army train (Dispatch No. 2248 of 29 March 1855): in this case, too, the ministry limited itself to stating some modifications to issue items, namely:

• The fatigue jacket was to be substituted for the parade tunic with epaulettes.

• Two pairs of cloth pants were to be issued while the pants made of ticking or “striped” material [“rigadino”] were to be returned.

• The infantry’s linen fatigue jacket was to be issued, and kepi covers were to be kept, whatever type they may have been.

• The cloth fatigue cap was to be kept.

• All firearms were to be turned in, leaving only the infantry sword [daga da fanteria].

- Artillery (Dispatch No. 2301 of 30 March 1855): all assigned batteries were to keep their usual issue items but with some variations:

• Field gunners [cannonieri da battaglia] were to have the parade tunic without epaulettes, and the fatigue jacket put in the valise.

• Non-commissioned officers of garrison and field artillery companies [compagnie da piazza ed operai] were to have two tunics with them.

• All gunners possessing knapsacks and only the buglers in field and garrison companies were not to have the tunic, this being replaced by a cloth fatigue jacket and one in linen as for the infantry.

• All personnel were to leave behind plumes and kepi cords.

• Buglers of garrison companies were to replace the saber [sciabola] with the gunner’s short sword [daga da cannoniere].

- Engineer sappers (Dispatch No. 2404 of 2 April 1855): Sappers had the same issue items as for infantry units but kept the cloth fatigue cap and leggings of cloth and of linen, the latter to be used until worn out and then replaced by leather ones.

In contrast, officers of all units were authorized to bring with them all regulation items. Company-grade officers [ufficiali inferiori] of provisional infantry regiments also received the soldier’s 1854-pattern greatcoat along with a piece of gray-blue cloth on the sleeves onto which rank insignia could be sewn in the form of two thin galloon stripes for captains and one for subalterns. This item was allowed “in order to make captains’ and subalterns’ clothing more comfortable and economical… and to make more uniform the dress of all personnel lined up in the ranks.” The document also authorized officers coming from grenadier regiments to put their silver lace buttonholes onto the greatcoat collar. Lastly, it was warned that the greatcoat did not replace the burnoose [burnous] which was to be used as the troops used their camp blankets, but rather it took the place of the fatigue tunic.47

On 11 April the ministry authorized officers to attach a shoulder strap of the same material as the greatcoat to the right shoulder (Dispatch No. 2744). This was to have the same thin galloon as prescribed for the sleeves and served to hold the sash securely.

During the month of April other announcements were made regarding the uniforms of the mobilized troops:

- All units were issued with tin canisters [bidoni di latta] for holding supplementary wine rations (Dispatch No. 2493 of 4 April).

- Non-commissioned officers [graduati i sottufficiali] provided with linen jackets were authorized to sew on the same distinctive galloon as on the tunic, while all who belonged to a unit’s headquarters were to turn in their firearms and keep only the short sword. Every battalion of the infantry regiments was issued with three camp guidons [guidoni marcacampo] of the regulation pattern and color, bearing the inscription …REGGIMENTO PROVVISORIO DI FANTERIA. (Dispatch of 5 April, unnumbered.)

- All units were given the order to sharpen their swords and sabers, but only for one centimeter at the tips of bayonets. All personnel on foot were given leather leggings and the corresponding spare straps and laces. (Dispatch No. 2559 of 6 April.)

- Two wooden stakes were introduced, being capable of being disassembled into three equal parts that were joined together by means of small tin tubes. These were for setting up a tent, a function which up to now had been done with muskets. These props were to be attached to the knapsack’s straps. (Dispatch No. 2737 of 10 April.)

- All officers were issued a leather bag shaped like a haversack, called a musetta, to be used to carry rosters, maps, papers, binoculars, and other useful items (Circular No. 40 of 5 April).

At the beginning of September the troops made their acquaintance with the Russian winter, which although not comparable to that inland in the center of the empire was still very severe, especially at night. The administrative machinery went into action, issuing to officers in return for payment socks, sweaters, gloves, woolen underwear, and flannel belts, while the troops received for free the following “extra items”: wool socks, camp hoods [cappucci da campo], camp blankets, greatcoat-blankets [coperte-cappotti], white covers for the kepi, cotton cravats, sleeveless flannel sweaters, woolen gloves, Canton flannel [mollettone] jackets, high felt Alpine climbing socks [peduli], high oversized boots, high cloth leggings, and clogs (Royal Decree of 10 October).

An issue order from Balaklava dated 21 November and—even more so—a “tariff” of 6 March 1856 yield interesting information: wooden clogs with leather uppers were issued to all infantry lower ranks in the force; hoods made of “coarse Entraques cloth” and lined with gray basin were given to only three-quarters of the infantry soldiers, while leggings—also cut from the same material as the hoods and provided with buttons, buckles, and straps to go under the foot—were given to two-thirds of lower ranks on foot.

In cavalry regiments, four-fifths of non-commissioned officers and soldiers were issued boots that reached to the knee and were very large so as to spare pants from the mud. Also issued to all units were a white woolen belt 1.10 meters longs to be wrapped around the body, a blanket of Entraques cloth with a thin white cord, a jacket of green Canton flannel48 lined with gray basin, a pair of felt gloves, a sleeveless waistcoat of white sackcloth [pirlata], two pairs of high felt socks [peduli] called chausson,49 and lastly a pair of woolen half-socks.

Officers received oilcloth covers for their caps, boots of Russian leather and calfskin, and a pair of long leggings made from gray cloth and lined with similarly colored basin, closed on the sides by double silver buttons and provided with black leather straps under the feet, these straps ending in blackened metal buckles.

All this is what was gathered from official documents, but other interesting details emerge from the examination of contemporary iconography, which is also scarce and almost exclusively depicts the bersaglieri. These plumed soldiers received a greatcoat for which there is no mention in any documents but which is shown by Induno in his 1856 painting Episodio della guerra di Crimea and in I bersaglieri in Crimea, painted in 1858. In each of these the 1854-pattern greatcoat appears to have crimson patches on the collar, cloth shoulder straps in the base color, and dark-blue rolls [rolli] piped crimson, taken from the fatigue jacket, and green woolen cords. Another noteworthy detail are the pointed rank insignia of yellow wool sewn onto the greatcoat sleeves.

In these two works other small details may be seen that are applicable to other infantry units as well, such as the wool cap worn under the regulation headdress, the leggings up to the knees made from old camp blankets colored white with big black squares, the same blankets worn like capes, and above all the small black oilcloth cloaks which undoubtedly ensured optimal protection from inclement weather.

The expedition to the east gave the ministry the opportunity to also conduct field experiments with new stem-fire weapons, these tests being initiated in 1854 by a comparison of the above-mentioned system invented by Thouvenin using the Tamisier bullet with the Miniè system that in contrast used the Belgian Peeters bullet that expanded at the moment of firing so that an iron heel or stem was replaced by an appropriately sized rear cavity.

The commission charged with conducting the tests gave a favorable opinion regarding the Miniè system, but the ministry decided to adopt the other system, beginning by modifying short 1844-model muskets and manufacturing new examples.

It was decided to distribute the new stem-fire weapons to infantry units on the basis of 30 muskets per company, these being destined for corporals (excluding quartermasters) and the more capable marksmen, who in general were soldiers from elite companies.

The firearm in question had a barrel with four grooves and a plug with a stem, a longer rod than those of ordinary muskets, and lastly a sight graduated in centimeters and millimeters. The bullets were cylindrical-ogival, weighed 50 grams, and used a cardboard cartridge with a trapezium-shaped piece of paper to wrap it in. The powder charge was equal to 4-1/2 grams.

In regard to other corps, only the artillery was armed with the modified 1844-model musket, which retained its general characteristics and assumed the particulars of the new system in a similar way to the infantry weapon. The existence of some long 1848-model bersaglieri carbines modified to stem-firing, for which there is no trace of its adoption in any official documents, leads one to think that a small number of examples were produced but never issued to light units operating in the Crimea.

Given the unsatisfactory results obtained with the new weapons the ministry decreed the abolishment of the stem system in all firearms (Note No. 164 of 23 August 1856), but only in March of 1858 did it initiate the removal of the plugs from existing muskets, which from that moment assumed the names of “short infantry musket with rifled barrel” and “artillery musket with rifled barrel” and adopted the same Belgian Peeters bullet of the new 1856-model bersaglieri carbine. All these Sardinian firearms were later removed from the armories in 1860 and issued to new units raised in that year that originated in the armies of central Italy and Tuscany, where they were anticipated to be later replaced by 1860-model muskets.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Translated by Mark Conrad, 2007.

1Engineer troops had the same items as the infantry but with the kepi replaced by a hat and the cover for the cartridge pouch being of sheepskin. In regard to the cover for the kepi, Notice No. 130 of 15 June 1855 authorized a substitution with one made of rubber, because the original ones “became hard and broke as they dried out, and became sticky.”

2The list of issue items for the army train [Corpo del treno d’Armata] was similar to that for light horse with the exception of linen pants being replaced by others in striped white and dark-blue ticking.

3The train was not prescribed festive dress.

4Basino [basin, also called bombazine or dimity – M.C.] was a material similar to fustian but lighter and finer.

5The collar patch on the greatcoats in the Savoia and Pinerolo brigades was of dark-blue cloth piped scarlet.

6There were two types of this badge, one representing the old shield on which was superimposed a cross cut out of tin, and another produced ex novo which had the cross fused to the shield and a simpler edging than the first.

7This painting is the work of Cerruti Bauduc and is displayed at the Museo di Risorgimento in Turin.

8The swallows’ nests used during this period were different from those fixed by the 1833 regulation. In Pedrone’s work these are always of cloth but have galloon only along the bottom edge. (Pedrone, Uniformi militari dellarmata di S.M. Sarda, Turin, 1844.)

9The white cloth cover for the pouch [coprigiberna] then in use was abolished on 28 April 1843.

10The new knapsack was also given to musicians. Players of both the bass drum and trombone instead kept the blackened leather sack with strap, carried slung over the shoulder.

11In fact, until 1846 the clasp on the bayonet sheath was hung on the sword frog without any precautions. This caused the loss of many bayonets, above all while on the march.

12Domesticated water buffaloes were introduced into Italy hundreds of year ago – M.C.

13The brigade also kept its belt plate after 1846.

14On 1 April 1843 there were published the technical specifications for a contract to convert 12,000 flintlock muskets to the new system.

15In order to attach the carbine strap when pioneers were in “small dress” and thus without shoulder straps, the ministry authorized units to make a double tongue of dark-blue cloth with small buttons that could only be put on the tunic’s right shoulder and passed through the existing strap there.

16A fabric woven so as to appear with many small dots on the surface – M.C.

17In a drawing in Nuova divisa dell’Armata Sarda 1848 (A.S. Torina, Sez. 1a, carte militaria), the new pattern tunic still has the small cross straps, dark blue with crimson piping.

18Decree of 10 April 1848 and Circular No. 832 , 2nd Series, of 21 April 1848.

19The brigata Savoia and brigata Pinerolo kept their dark-blue tabs piped with scarlet, and the brigata Guardie their characteristic lace buttonholes.

20The term derived from the French quepic.

21In this regard it is instructive to note the opinion of H.R.H. Prince Ferdinand of Savoy, brother of the king. In a letter dated September 1848 he wrote: “The officers of Piedmont have given me a letter asking that we keep the uniform which has been worn with honor in war and to which both officers and soldiers are immensely attached. I feel Savoy is in agreement with this.” In a second missive a short time later, the prince added: “I believe that giving everyone the color of Cuneo is something which many good gentlemen have found distasteful because the various Corps, not being distinct except for their numbers, find the names of the brigades to now be of little value… and then this measure is not extended to everyone… and one views with displeasure the distinctions accorded the to Savoy and the Guards. I consider the single-breasted tunic to be a bad thing, and this is because—whether it be single or double-breasted—when it gets hot on the march it is contrary to nature to keep it buttoned. But two rows keep our soldier’s sweaty and dirty shirt hidden, while only one row allows the chest to be seen and that would be much more unattractive. Moreover, a single-breasted tunic that is not tugged over the stomach will always come open, and when—and this is inevitable—after a month on the march the pants are just rags halfway up the legs, the soldiers will be positively indecent.”

22Notice No. 529 of 1 March 1850 drew attention to the bad habit in regiments “of making the troops continuously wear the greatcoat even when the temperature is very mild…”

23The modification was completed only in February of 1851.

24Circular No. 7924 of 21 July 1849 read: “Until such time as other distinctions may be adopted by the band and band leaders of the various infantry Corps (as has already been proposed), musicians shall continue to make use of that which has traditionally been prescribed, and this applies to the distinctions of the Brigata La Regina and Brigata Savona which have the tunic collar decorated with yellow galloon as was established for them when they were wearing white as their distinctive color.” The same document decreed, among other things, that the galloon on the tunic skirts’ rear flaps was discontinued.

25The description of the burnous was made possible thanks to a drawing reproduced in the Gazetta Piemontese showing an officer of the Turin National Guard wearing this item. Anarchy reigned regarding the material for over-garments; Circular No. 574 of 29 October 1850 called all persons to observe a strict observance of regulations, noting that “in the recent days of heavy rain, officers of every corps were using cloaks, overcoats, burnooses, and greatcoats of various patterns and of different materials and colors [mantelli, pastrani, cappe (burnous) e cappotti di varia foggia, e di differenti stoffe e colori].”

26The buttons of the tunic and greatcoat of the Sardinian Grenadier regiments [reggimenti Granatieri di Sardegna] continued to have a grenade without any number on the bomb body. (Circular No. 1958 of 27 April 1852.)

27The ordinance established that green and bright dark-blue collars would be decorated with scarlet piping.

28The shoes were to be periodically greased with a composition with a base of linseed oil (60%), tallow (25%), virgin wax (10%), and rosin (5%), and then exposed to the sun or a fire.

29The 24-centimeter sized shoe corresponds to approximately today’s size 41. For every 100 produced, 50 were of the second size, 25 of the first, and 25 of the third.

30The total length of the cord was 1.90 meter; of the three tassels, the middle one was 8 centimeters long and the side ones 6.5 centimeters. The flat tassels were made of eight groups of three cords each, two scarlet and one silver.

31In 1853 drum majors received permission to use the musicians’ cithara on the tunic collar. The cord on their staves, 3.40 meters long, was 9 millimeters in diameter. The tassels were 12.5 centimeters long. The cord for drummer and bugler corporals was of white and red wool, 6 millimeters in diameter, and 2.90 meters in overall length. (Information taken from Tariffe del vestiario per il 1860).

32Of the two models in use up to 1853 we only know that one was of tin and the other of wood covered with leather, both with a green woolen cord.

33The unit price of a knapsack was 16 lire and 15 centesimi; Notice No. 11 of 15 January 1860 informed the units that “due to the widespread issue,” the 1843-model knapsack was no longer available and therefore, if requested, the consignment of the 1859 model could begin.

34The brass drumstick holder continued to be lined with chenille the same color as the pompon on the kepi. Trumpet cords, of white and red wool, were 4.5 millimeters in diameter and had two tassels 15 centimeters long. The overall length of the cord was 17 meters. (Information taken from Tariffe del vestiario per l’anno 1860.)

35On 24 February 1855 it was established that every corporal would have a hachet in a case.

36Infantry officers kept the distinctively colored piping on their pants even when the troops adopted dark blue. Officers of the brigata Cacciatori delle Alpi had an embroidered silver horn on the collar and cap.

37That this made the skirts significantly more substantial is shown by the quantity of material used for a bersaglieri tunic (1.87m by 20m) compared to that needed for an infantry tunic at the same period (1.59m by 20m).

38Apparently the green woolen cords continued to be worn on both the tunic and the jacket, even after the discontinuation of the powder flask on the hip.

39From a clothing list of 1860 comes a detailed description of the hat: “this is made from English camel hair, colored black; round in shape, with a brim all around, rubberized with tar. In front the brim is 7 cm wide, in back 8 or 9 cm, and on the sides 6 cm; the same goes for the oilcloth cover, but a little bigger. The hat consists of: frame and chinstrap, oilcloth, edge of shiny leather, morocco interior, iron fittings, wool cockade. The plume is made of 92 cock feathers in their natural black color and of various sizes: 32 of 13 cm and 60 of 27 cm; provided with a button covered in black cloth, with an iron stem.

40This involved a nipple for the ordinary capsule and a piece that permitted the lock to be adapted for free trigger action; on the right side of the lock there was a small key which when turned allowed the removal of the rear part and configured the left side to the ammunition strip, and enabled the substitution of one mode for the other.

41The volunteers that flooded the depots in 1848 were initially armed with short model 1844 infantry muskets due to a shortage of carbines.

42For corporals and bersaglieri privates neither the nut remover nor the spring compressor was prescribed.

43The model 1836 backpack remained in use by the bersaglieri until 1860.

44Bersaglieri officers continued to wear smooth black leather gloves in all orders of dress except for evening galas or balls, when they were allowed to use either plain black or white leather.

45Dispatch No. 2257 of 30 March established that the kepi pompons of each provisional infantry regiment would be red for the 1st Battalion, dark blue for the 2nd, green for the 3rd, and yellow for the 4th.

46This was already authorized for all units as a substitute for cloth caps, through Notice No. 32 of 16 February. Dispatch No. 2054 of 25 March affirmed what was already issued, specifying the material (knitted cotton) and the color (gray or red). We know of a very similar gray-blue one decorated with a cord and tassel of white, red, and dark-blue wool.

47All army officers possessed a second tunic of lesser quality which was habitually used on duty, reserving a better one for special occasions.

48Canton flannel [mollettone] is a double-weft fabric, soft and with a long nap. [Also known in English as cotton flannel, swanskin calico, and swan’s-down calico – M.C.]

49This term indicates the part of the sock corresponding to the sole and heel of the foot; in this specific case the reference is to a removable felt inner sole.