Peninsular War Painting Guide: Spanish Infantry

The Spanish Infantry uniforms basically went through four styles, with a constant ragged Campaign option. It is possible that all uniform styles were worn in the same army at the same time.

Name Description Line Infantry Example
1802 Regulation In use post 1808 by some Provincial units and some volunteer units. Long tailed white coat with lapels squared adn closed to the waist, plus bicorn.
1806 Regulation In use by the regulars in 1808 but quickly supplemented by adhoc uniforms, and largely superseded by British uniform from 1812. Short tailed white coat with bicorn.
1808 Ad hoc The new units raised during the war adopted a vast array of unique uniforms. Some were based on stocks of regulation uniforms – both infantry and cavalry – some were rather more fanciful. Even when the British uniform began to dominate some units continued with other styles.
1810 British Style From 1810 the British began to supply the Spanish armies with a new style of uniform. By 1812 these uniforms dominated, but had not eliminated other styles. Shako with blue uniform
Campaign All armies fighting in the peninsular suffered shortages and troops had to adopt whatever uniforms they could. This included using enemy gear, using civilian clothes (invariably brown), or patching their own uniforms with whatever was available. Brown or white checked trousers

1802 Regulation Uniform

1802 Light Infantry

In 1802 the Light Infantry adopted a Hussar style uniform (Haythornthwaite, 1995). It continued in use long after its official replacement in 1806.

The uniform included a dolman with shoulder-straps (Haythornthwaite, 1995). Other ranks wore a ’round hat’ resembling a British Tarleton dragoon helmet. It was black with a fur crest, black leather brim/peak edged brass, brass band around the bottom, small oval brass plate on the front of the fur crest, red cockade and a green plume. Officers wore the bicorn.

1806 Regulation Uniform

Basically the 1806 Regulations gave the Guards, Line, Foreign, Swiss and Provincial Militia regiments the same uniform (Funcken, 1973; Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991). The key differences were:

Type of Regiment Coat Turnbacks Waistcoat Breeches * Piping Gaiters Plume
Guards Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue ?? White ??
Line White White White White Regimental Black Red
Foreign Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Yellow Black ??
Swiss Red Red White *** White *** White Black ??
Provincial Militia White White White White White Black Red
Light Dk. Blue ** Regimental Dk. Blue White Regimental Black Green

* Breeches were often replaced by long brown or checked trousers.

** The light infantry often wore their brown greatcoat in the field (Sapherson, 1991). Similarly they often only buttoned up the front of the bicorn and left the back to drop down over their neck.

*** Preux had dark blue waistcoat and breeches ( Haythornthwaite, 1995).

Some items were consistent across the types of regiments, but differed depending on the company.

Item Fusiliers Grenadiers Officers
Headgear Black bicorn with large red cockade Tall black bearskin cap with long heavily embroidered triangular bag in regimental facing colour with tassel. Black bicorn with large red cockade

Jacket Shoulders

Strap in coat colour edged in lapel colour. (Swiss had dk. blue strap edged white) Either shoulder straps like fusiliers or red epaulettes depending on regiment Epaulettes of the button colour
Sash N/A N/A Scarlet
Cartridge box Black
Shoes Black
Webbing/Straps White
Bayonet or Sword Scabbard Black tipped brass
Greatcoat Brown
Gun barrel Bright Steel

Musicians could wear anything at all is possible; their uniforms did not bear any relationship with that of the regiment.

Guards

# Guard Regiment Collar Cuffs & Cuff flaps Lapels Piping Buttons
Spanish Guard Red Red Red ?? Gold
Walloon Guard Red Red Red ?? Silver

Line Infantry

Facing colours were dependent on the regiment (Funcken, 1973; Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991):

# Line Regiment Collar Cuffs & Cuff flaps Lapels Piping Buttons Remarks
1 Rey Violet Violet Violet Violet Gold
2 Reina Violet Violet Violet Violet Silver
3 Principe White Violet Violet Violet Gold
4 Saboya Black Black Black Black Gold
5 Corona Black Black Black Black Silver
6 Africa White Black Black Black Gold
7 Zamora White Black Black Black Silver Some pictures show a brown collar (Haythornthwaite, 1995).
8 Soria White Violet Violet Violet Silver
9 Cordoba Red Red Red Red Gold
10 Guardalajara Red Red Red Red Silver
11 Sevilla Black Black White Black Silver
12 Granada Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Gold
13 Valencia Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Silver
14 Zaragoza Green Green Green Green Gold
15 España Green Green Green Green Silver
16 Toledo White Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Gold
17 Mallorca White Red Red Red Gold
18 Burgos White Green Green Green Gold
19 Murcia White Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Lt. Blue Silver
20 Leon White Red Red Red Gold
21 Cantabria Lt. Blue Lt. Blue White Lt. Blue Silver
22 Asturias White Green Green Green Silver
23 Fijo de Ceuta Green Green White Green Silver
24 Navarra Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Gold
25 Aragon Red Red White Red Silver
26 America Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Silver
27 Princesa Violet Violet White Violet Silver Haythornthwaite (1995) and Funcken (1973) says white lapel, but Sapherson (1991) says Violet
28 Estremadura Crimson Crimson Crimson Crimson Gold
29 Malaga White Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Gold
30 Jaen White Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Silver
31 Ordines Militares Dk. Blue Dk. Blue White Dk. Blue Silver
32 Voluntarios de Castilla Crimson Crimson Crimson Crimson Silver
33 Voluntarios de la Estado White Crimson Crimson Crimson Gold
34 Voluntarios de la Coruna White Crimson Crimson Crimson Silver
35 Borbon Crimson Crimson White Crimson Silver
All Provincial Militia regiments Red Red Red

Goddard and Booth - Offizier des Linien-Infanterie-Regiments 'Irlanda'.jpg (119333 bytes)

Officer from Irlanda

1806 Foreign Regiments

All of the Foreign regiments had yellow piping, and the Swiss and Provincial regiment white piping, but otherwise the regimental differences were (Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991):

# Foreign Regiment Collar Cuffs & Cuff flaps Lapels Buttons
36 Irlanda Yellow Yellow Yellow Gold
37 Hibernia Lt. Blue Yellow Yellow Silver
38 Ultonia Yellow Yellow Lt. Blue edged yellow Gold
39 Napoles Yellow Yellow Yellow Silver

1806 Swiss

The Swiss variation on the infantry uniform had a red coat, white waistcoat, breeches, buttons and piping, and black gaiters (Funcken, 1973; Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991). Preux had dark blue waistcoat and breeches. Reding Senior was known as ‘Suizos Azulos’ so Sapherson speculates that the facings for this unit were blue, however, this is unconfirmed.

# Swiss Regiment Coat, Turnbacks Collar Cuffs & Cuff flaps Lapels Waistcoat, Breeches Remarks
1 Wimpfen Red Red Dk. Blue Red White
2 Reding Senior (‘Suizos Azulos’) Red Blue? Blue? Blue? White
3 Reding Junior Red Red Dk. Blue Red White
4 Beschard Red Red Dk. Blue Red White
5 Traxler Red Red Dk. Blue Red White
6 Preux Red Dk. Blue Dk. Blue Red Dk. Blue

1806 Provincial Militia

The Provincial Militia wore a standard line infantry uniform with red facings (Sapherson, 1991).

1806 Light Infantry

(Funcken, 1973; Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991). The key differences were:

Type of Regiment Coat Turnbacks Waistcoat Breeches * Piping Gaiters Plume
Light Dk. Blue ** Regimental Dk. Blue White Regimental Black Green

* Breeches were often replaced by long brown or checked trousers.

The Light Infantry regiments also had regimental colours for Turnbacks and Piping (Funcken, 1973; Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991). The light infantry often wore their brown greatcoat in the field. Similarly they often only buttoned up the front of the bicorn and left the back to drop down over their neck. Note: Sapherson uses the term “Carmine” where Haythornthwaite and Fucken use “Crimson” instead.

# Light Infantry Regiment Collar Turnbacks, Cuffs & Cuff flaps Lapels Buttons Piping Remarks
1 Aragon Red Red Red Silver Red Haythornthwaite (1995) says red piping but Funcken (1973) says white.
2 Aragon Dk. Blue Red Red Silver Dk. Blue Haythornthwaite (1995) says silver/white buttons, but Sapherson (1991) says gold/yellow.
1 Cataluña Yellow Yellow Yellow Gold Yellow
2 Catalua Dk. Blue Yellow Yellow Gold Yellow
1 Barcelona Yellow Yellow Dk. Blue Silver Yellow
2 Barcelona Dk. Blue Yellow Yellow Silver Yellow
Taragonna Yellow Yellow Dk. Blue Gold Yellow
Gerona Yellow Yellow Yellow Silver Yellow
Vol. de Navarra Crimson Crimson Dk. Blue Silver Dk. Blue Haythornthwaite (1995) says Dk. Blue collar, but Sapherson (1991) says Carmine/Crimson.
Vol. de Valencia Crimson Crimson Crimson Silver Dk. Blue
Campo Mayor Dk. Blue Crimson Crimson Silver Dk. Blue
Barbastro Red Red Dk. Blue Silver Dk. Blue

1808 Ad hoc Uniforms

The volunteer units raised in 1808 and later during the war wore an assortment of uniforms (Haythornthwaite, 1995). Most common would have been jacket and breeches in a local brown combined with sandals. The regular units also varied from the regulations as needed to keep the men clothed and as fashioned changed. By 1812 most of those units that did not adopt the 1810 British Style uniform had adopted bell topped shakos similar to French shakos, including white weather proof covers.

Buenos Aires Regiment (“Los Colorados” = ‘Russites’) 1808

These chaps were issued with standard British uniforms when released from captivity in the UK (they were captured during the British expedition to South America).

Muerte (“Death”) Regiment 1808

In 1808 the Muerte regiment featured a green jacket, mid blue trousers and facings (collar, cuff, turnbacks), black shako with a skull and crossbones badge, red cockade and green plume (reminiscent of a stovepipe shako in shape), and black equipment ( Haythornthwaite, 1995).

2nd Majorca Regiment 1812

I’m not sure if this is the regular line infantry unit or a volunteer unit. If the regular unit the “2nd” bit might refer to the battalion within the regiment rather than the regiment itself. Haythornthwaite (1995) mention that the 2nd Majorca Regt were with Whittingham’s Spanish Division when it joined the Eastern Army in 1812, whereas Gates (1986) only mentions the Mallorca Regt in Murray’s Tarragona Campaign, June 1813. They wore blue jackets face red, blue pantaloons and leather equipment; bell topped shako with a large cockade

Majorca Grenadiers 1812

Presumably part of the 2nd Majorca Regiment mentioned above. Haythornthwaite (1995) mention these guys were with Whittingham’s Spanish Division when it joined the Eastern Army in 1812. They wore blue jackets faced sky-blue; buff ‘cape’ (collar), cap, and leather equipment; red plume; blue pantaloons; bell topped shako with a large cockade

Majorca Cazadores 1812

Presumably part of the 2nd Majorca Regiment mentioned above. Haythornthwaite (1995) mention these guys were with Whittingham’s Spanish Division when it joined the Eastern Army in 1812. Uniformed like the British 95th.

Murcia Grenadiers 1812

I assume this is the regular regiment. Haythornthwaite (1995) mention these guys were with Whittingham’s Spanish Division when it joined the Eastern Army in 1812. They wore blue jackets faced yellow; sky-blue breeches; black leather equipment; bell topped shako with a large cockade

(Grenadiers) Guadalajara Regiment 1812

I assume this is the regular regiment. Haythornthwaite (1995) mention the Grenadier companies were with Whittingham’s Spanish Division when it joined the Eastern Army in 1812. The Grenadiers wore blue jackets faced buff, buff leather equipment and pantaloons; bell topped shako with a large cockade.

Cordoba Regiment 1812

This might be the regular regiment or the Provincial Militia unit. Haythornthwaite (1995) mention two companies were with Whittingham’s Spanish Division when it joined the Eastern Army in 1812. They wore blue jackets with crimson facings (i.e lapels), buff collar, cuffs and pantaloons; bell topped shako with a large cockade.

Medina Sidonia Regiment 1813

In 1813 the Medina Sidonia Regiment features a brown jacked with sky blue facings (collar, cuffs, lapels), sky blue should straps with white frills, black bell top shako with white bands, a sky blue pompom, and a badge labelled FVII, white trousers, white webbing, and black shoes and gaiters.

Toledo Regiment 1813

In 1813 the regular line regiment Toledo wore a brown infantry uniform with yellow collar, cuffs, lapels and tufted shoulder straps, white metal buttons, long white pantaloons, black angle gaiters and leather equipment ( Haythornthwaite, 1995).

Walloon Guards 1813

In 1813 the Walloon Guards had pretty much the same uniform as at the start of the war but had substituted a bell top shako with a green pompom for the bicorn (Haythornthwaite, 1995).

Loyal Distinguished Cadiz Volunteers 1813

In 1813 an officer from this unit wore a ’round hat’ with white metal plate and white plum on the left, a brown uniform with russet facings, silver lace and an epaulettte on the right shoulder, white waistcoat, yellow breeches, silver laced black ‘Hessian’ boots, and an oval silver badge on the right forearm (Haythornthwaite, 1995).

1810 British Style Uniform

In 1810 the British began supplying the Spanish armies with a new uniform (Funcken, 1973; Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991). By 1812 this was the dominant, but not the only, uniform style. For example, the Morillo Division in the the Vittoria and Pyrenees campaigns wore this uniform.

The line infantry wore a black stove pipe shako, dark blue single-breasted coat, light blue or more commonly grey overalls (or brown) (Funcken, 1973; Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991). The black gaiters were worn underneath the overalls. Equipment was often British, for example, white webbing. Officers wore black sword belts. Some officers retained the bicorn. The light infantry wore the similar uniform but with a light blue coat.

Light Infantry Regiment Collar & Cuffs Turnbacks and Piping Shako Cords and Plumes Shoulders Buttons Remarks
Line Grenadiers Red Red Red Dk. Blue wings fringed Red Gold
Line Fusiliers Red Red White Dk. Blue straps piped Red Gold
Line Cazadores Red Red Green Dk. Blue wings fringed Green Gold
Light Carabiniers Lt. Blue White Red Red Silver
Light Cazadores Lt. Blue White White Silver
Light Tiradores Lt. Blue White Green Green Silver

Examples of Units over Time

Particular units adopted different uniforms over time.

Walloon Guards

In 1808 the Walloon Guards wore guards variation of the standard infantry uniform, i.e. with black bicorn, a dark blue coat, turnbacks, waistcoat, breeches, white gaiters, and a black shoes (Haythornthwaite, 1995).

In 1813 the style of the uniform was fairly unchanged, although they had substituted a bell top shako with a green pompom for the bicorn, and the long gaiters had changed from white to black.

Provincial Grenadiers of Andalucia

At Bailen (18-22 Jul 1808) half of the men were in full dress including bearskin caps, but the rest were in fatigue jackets with forage caps (Chartrand, 1998).

1st Volunteers of Aragon

Peter Bunde’s (2005) article in Wargames: Soldiers and Strategy describes the 1st Volunteers of Aragon.

From Explanation Distinctive Features
1805/06. A new regulation uniform was introduced in 1805/6. The unit wore this from the start of the Peninsular War, May 1808, until captured at the fall of Saragoza in 1809. Black Bicorn; Blue coatee with red turnbacks.
1809 The second incarnation of the unit, and uniform, lasted from spring 1809 to the fall of Tortosa (1811). Black Top Hat, simpler jacket without tails and piping
1811 The unit was raised yet again with a new uniform. Forage cap combined with 1805/6 coatee (less the sardinetas)
1813 Re-equipped with a new uniform which was used until the end of the war. French Style Shako

The specifics are:

Item 1805/6 1809 1811 1813
Headgear Black Bicorn Black Top Hat Black French Style Shako
Decoration Green Plume
Red Cockade
White Loop
Red Cockade Green Pompom
Red Cockade
White-metal badge
Fatigue Cap Blue ditto ditto ??
Decoration Red facing/inner
Blue tassel
Red Piping
ditto ditto ??
Jacket Blue Coatee Blue shell jacket Blue Coatee Medium/light Blue Coatee
Lapels Red Red Red Blue piped Straw
Collar Red Red Red Straw
Cuff Red Red Red Red piped straw
Turnbacks Red None Red Red
Pipings White White Straw
Fusilier Shoulders Red Straps Red Straps Red Straps Piped White
Sergeants Shoulders Red Epaulettes ?? ?? ??
Officer Shoulders Silver Epaulettes ?? ?? ??
Cuffs Flaps ( Sardinetas) Red piped white
Buttons White White White Yellow
Waistcoat White ?? ?? Blue
Turnbacks Red ?? ?? ??
Collar Red ?? ?? ??
Sash Red ?? ?? ??
Trousers White ditto ditto ditto
Boots (if worn, e.g. Officers) Black ditto ditto ditto
Footwear (if worn) Black shoes
Black Gaiters
ditto Black shoes/boots
Sandals (Alpargatus) (if worn) White with blue or green straps ditto ditto
Strap White ditto ditto ditto
Cartridge box and belt Light brown ditto ditto ditto
Pack or pouch (White?) Cloth pack
Leather strap
White cloth shoulder bag Pack
Greatcoat bag above pack Grey
Overcoat / Poncho Brown
Gun barrel Bright metal
Drummers Red Jackets
Blue turnbacks
White and red piping
Yellow drum
with blue bands
and white cords

Artillery

Same as line infantry but with a dark blue coat, red collar, cuffs and lapels, dark blue piping; yellow buttons.

References

Bunde, P. (2005). 1st Volunteers of Aragon. Wargames: Soldiers & Strategy, 9, 24-26. Revistas Professionales: Madrid, Spain.

Chartrand, R. (1998). Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars (1) 1793-1808. Men-at-Arms 321. Osprey.

Funcken, L. and F. (1973). The Napoleonic Wars (Part II). London: Ward Lock.

Haythornthwaite, P. (1995). Uniforms of the Peninsular Wars 1807 – 1814. London: Arms and Armour Press.

Kannik, P. (1968). Military Uniforms in Colour. London: Blandford.

New York Public Library (NYPL): The Vinkhuijzen collection of military uniforms

Rafferty, J. (1992). Painting Guide to Napoleonics: Spain. Active Service Press.

Sapherson, C. A. (1991). Peninsular Armies 1808 – 1814. Leeds, UK: Raider Books.

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