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15 Photos Of Soldiers With Embarrassingly Prominent Camel Toes

Meet the men who fought with Napoleon Bonaparte.

1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Dreuse of 2nd Light Horse Lancers of the Guard, c. 1813-14

First of all, let me say this.

  1. I’m not making fun of these brave men. When I looked at these photos, my eyes widened.
  2. I remembered that they didn’t have good underwear in 1858.
  3. I can’t control what makes my eyes wide.

All of that said, these photos by an unknown photographer are part of the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection at Brown University Library, are epic historical photos and treasures, and I’m so grateful someone was able to capture them.

These 15 studio portraits shown here are all 12″x10″ inches and mounted on cards. They are the only known surviving photos of veterans of Napoleon’s Grande Armée and Guard, and are shown dressed in their uniforms and regalia.

Let me repeat: these men fought with Napoleon. Just. Wow. 

What we know is that the photos were taken after 1857 because each man is shown wearing the Saint Helene medal, which was issued on August 12th, 1857 to French Revolution and the Empire War veterans.

The collection even goes as far as to say that the photos were likely taken on Wednesday May 5th, 1858 because Napoleon Bonaparte died on May 5th, 1821. Every year on the anniversary of his death, veterans would gather in uniform (when possible) and parade through Paris to Napopolean’s tomb.

Monsieur Loria, 24th Mounted Chasseur, Regiment Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Monsieur Loria has lost his right eye.

The Times of London described the event in 1855:

“The base and railings of the column of the Place Vendôme appear this day decked out with the annual offerings to the memory of the man whose statue adorns the summit. The display of garlands of immortelles, and other tributes of the kind, is greater than usual…the old soldiers of the Empire performed their usual homage yesterday at the same place.”

1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Schmit, 2nd Mounted Chasseur Regiment, 1813-14


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Dupont, Fourier for the 1st Hussar


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Quartermaster Sergeant Delignon, in the uniform of a Mounted Chasseur of the Guard, 1809-1815


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Lefebre, Sergeant 2nd Regiment of Engineers, 1815


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Maire, 7th Hussars, c. 1809-15


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Mauban, 8th Dragoon Regiment, 1815

The veterans were in their seventies and eighties in 1858 and many of the portraits suggest that the men had their uniforms re-tailored to accommodate their changing body shapes. Don’t we all have to do that? Ha.

1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Ducel Mameluke de la Garde, 1813-1815


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Sergeant Taria, Grenadiere de la Garde, 1809-1815


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Moret, 2nd Regiment, 1814-15


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Grenadier Burg, 24th Regiment of the Guard, 1815

1858 napoleonic war veterans photos

Quartermaster Fabry, 1st Hussars 

1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Vitry, Departmental Guard


1858 napoleonic war veterans photos
Monsieur Verlinde –2nd Guard Lancers 1815 or Trooper/ Lancer 2nd Chevau-legers-Lanciers de la Garde Imperiale

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Written by Tiffany Willis Clark

Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan, a proponent of voluntary simplicity, a single mom, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she has spent most of her career actively working with “the least of these" -- disadvantaged and oppressed populations, the elderly, people living in poverty, at-risk youth, and unemployed people. She is a Certified Workforce Expert with the National Workforce Institute, a NAWDP Certified Workforce Development Professional, and a certified instructor for Franklin Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. She also has a grossly neglected personal blog, a  Time Travel blog, a site dedicated to encouraging people to  read classic literature 15 minutes a day, and a literary quotes blog that is a labor of love. Find her somewhere and join the discussion.

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