Bonnet a Poil

Guard Artillery Headdress 

The most distinctive part of the uniform of the Imperial Guard Foot Artillery was its bearskin cap.

 When originally formed they wore a Shako like their Line Artillery counterparts, but for the Marriage of Napoleon to Marie-Louise in March 1810, Drouot re-dressed his gunners with the covetted Bonnet a Poil of the Old Guard.

After much discussion, the first two companies were equipped with the bearskin by March 1810 with the remaining four companies being so equipped by September 1810.

 They were supplied by Madame Aubineau of Paris.

In full dress a scarlet feather plume was worn along with scarlet chords.

The bearskin was initially equipped with a black leather visor and copper chin scales, but these appear to have been discontinued in the late Empire.


 Bonnet a Poil

 A rare surviving Bonnet a Poil of Artillerie a Pied held in a private collection in France. In full dress a scarlet plume was worn. Of interest is the lack of visor and chin scales. 

Circular of the 4 Brumaire Year X, (October 25, 1801).

Bonnet of the Grenadiers. Height 352mm, (1 foot 1 inch); carcass in cow, furnished in its interior circumference, of a sheepskin of 95mm, (3 inches ½), broad; cap unbleached linen with slide; buckle with sheepskin jaretton; height of the skin of bear 379mm, (1 foot 2 inches), on the front, 230mm, (8 inches ½), on behind; red and blue mosaic cloth cap, crossed of a galon of white wire of the width of 23mm, (10 lines), in the diameter of 162mm, (6 inches); scarlet wool cord, natté in the length of 163mm, (6 inches), not natté in that of 920mm, (2 feet 10 inches); at the end of the cord, an oval plait of 115mm, (4 inches 3 lines), on 75mm, (2 inches 9 lines), with sliding ring, and two tassles, one in top, the other in bottom, the length of 88mm, (3 inches 3 lines); fringe covered out of twisted wool, and the wool punt inside; with the front of the bonnet, a stamped plate of a grenade and its flame, the aforementioned plate cut in cone, cord around, clamette in top; height of the plate 138mm, (5 inches 1 line), width 203mm, (7 inches ½), of bottom and 135mm, (5 inches), in the average part; (20 Francs).


Bonnet de Police

The Bonnet de Police (forrage cap) was dark blue, decroated with scarlet lace and had an aurore (orange) grenade device on the front. According to regulations, they were made from cloth recovered from worn out  Uniform Coats.

The Bonnet de Police was of the pattern a la dragonne and was made out of blue uniform cloth with scarletlacing.  The regulations of April 1791 stipulated that the flamme was to measure 568 mm long, to be piped red and terminate in a scarlet tassel. This was regulated to be 50 mm long. The turban was to be measure 122 mm  front and back and 108 mm in the middle. For soldats and coporals the lacing was to be 14 mm deep, for NCO’s and officiers to be gold and  23 mm deep.  On the  front of the bonnet an aurore grenade horn device was worn for caporals and soldats, gold for NCO’s and officier. The bonnet cost 8,49 francs.