Royal Saxon Army Light cavalry – 1809 Part 1 – ChevaulégersRagnar
In the year of 1809, the Royal Saxon Army had five regiments of light cavalry. One was the hussar
regiment and the other four were so called Chévaulegers regiments. This article is all about the
Chévaulegers. There will be a separate article about the hussars.
Regiments were not numbered but named after their owner. They all rode so called Polish mounts.
Around the turn of the century, the Saxon army still followed Prussian military fashion, and so it’s
just natural that the organisation, uniforms and overall looks were quite similar with just a few
minor changes here and there.
In 1809, the Chevaulégers were still wearing the big hat. The front of the hat was decorated with a
large rosette shaped cockade held with a central brass button and a white feather plume was worn.
Pompons were worn on the ends of the bicorne, mostly depicted as white with the centre in
regimental facing colour.
The Chévaulegers wore a red coloured uniform coat. The collar, lapels and Swedish cuffs and turn
backs were all of the regimental facing colour.
Shoulder straps in red ran over the left and right shoulders to fasten the cartridge pouch belt and the
The lapels had seven brass buttons and the cuffs were of pen cuff style with a row of three buttons.
The short square-cut tails of the coat were worn with turn backs, fastened with a single button.
The lapels of the Chevaulégers tunic could be crossed over when in need due to weather conditions
or on campaign. The neck stock was of red leather with a white edging.
Regimental colours were the following:
- Prinz Clemens Chevaulégers Regiment – Popinjay Green
- Prinz Albrecht Chevaulégers Regiment – Dark Green
- Prinz Johann Chevaulégers Regiment – Black with buff turn backs
- Von Polenz Chevaulégers Regiment – Deep Blue (sometimes mentioned as deep sky blue); please note that this colour was much lighter than the name suggests.
Breeches and boots were initially as for the heavy cavalry: white leather breeches with high cuff
heavy cavalry boots. Both were still in use although the leather breeches may have been replaced
with white wool for summer wear by 1806 or because of leather shortages as in the Prussian army.
Some pictures depict overall trousers in either white or grey with a row of large buttons on the outer
White leather gauntlets were worn by all ranks. Before the campaigns of 1806 and 1809, the saxon
light cavalry consisted of Dragoons and Chevaulégers. Therefore, they had some kind of amorphous
function as light and heavy cavalry. Their equipment reflected this: First armed with infantry
muskets, all regiments received carbines before 1806.
First, a heavy bladed, slightly curved Pallasch in a brown leather scabbard with brass fittings was
issued. Another type of Pallasch was later introduced with a more straight blade, but it seems that
the Saxon light cavalry suffered heavy casualties and equipment loss in the 1806 campaign. Sabre
straps were black for all regiments.
Around 1809, the Chévaulegers used shabraques more associated with light cavalry, with pointed
corners, vandyking/ wolvesteeth in regimental colour piped yellow.
There existed only two ranks of NCOs in the Saxon army of 1809: The Wachtmeister and the
The NCOs wore the same headwear as the other ranks, however, the bicorne was trimmed with a
narrow lace edging of gold for the Wachtmeister and a yellow lace for the Korporal. The pompons
were probably of white wool with a black centre like the Prussian NCOs. White feather plume with a
The NCOs wore no special distinction on the uniform until 1809, and the coat, and breeches being
as for the other ranks. All NCOs carried the traditional cane of hazelwood with a gilt or silver cap. It
was carried either under the belt at the right side or strapped to the sabre scabbard.
It’s quite difficult to give an exact look of the trumpeters for the saxon army of 1809 as source
material is scarce. We can only try to recreate the uniforms from depiction of the turn of the century
or from the campaign of 1806.
The musicians probably held the rank of Korporal but had a gold trim along their hat and the
pompons had a regimental colour centre. The white feather plumes either had a black tip or
sometimes depicted as a regimental coloured tip. It’s possible as well that they had a red tip or
completely red plume.
The coats were as of the other ranks but in reverse colours. With the coat in facing colour and the
cuffs, turnbacks, collar and lapels in red. The only exception was the Prinz Johann Chevaulégers
regiment (see plate).
The collar, cuffs and lapels were all trimmed with a wide gold lace and so called „Schleifen“were
decorated on the rear of the coat. They were a kind of tube of cloth stitched to the rear of the
shoulder and the coat waist to hang loosely in loops of braid worn on the sleeves and sometimes
described as „false sleeves “.
The Schleifen were of coat colour with horizontal stripes of gold lace. Trumpeters did not carry a
carbine and therefore did not need the pouch belt. Trumpets were brass with cords and tassels of
mixed facing colours and madder red.
Officers wore the big black felt hat with scalloped gold lace at the edges, a white silk bow that was
held in place by a gold lace cockade-strap. Gold hat cords were worn that ended in white pompons
with crimson centre at the tips.
The big white feather plume was white with a black base.
Basically, the officers were wearing the same coat as the other ranks, but of much finer quality. It’s
more than certain that the officers coat’s colour were of better quality and therefore looked brighter
and more vibrant.
The coat had long coat tails compared to the short ones of the men. The tails were decorated with
doubled pockets, each with three gilded buttons.
Officers also wore gold epaulettes according to their rank and had black velvet stockings. Officers
seemed to have similar shabraques in cut like the other ranks, but with either vandyking in gold or,
instead, gold and regimental coloured laces along the edge.
The intention by creating those plates was to provide a basic guide for painting the miniatures of
Perry Miniatures. Discussing all the details of Saxon Light cavalry uniforms, organization, arms and
tactics is beyond the scope of this presentation.
Sources: Hess 1806/ 1809, Reilly 1797, Hessen 1797, Stammliste 1809, Knötel
My biggest thanks goes to Hans-Karl Weiss for the always good cooperation, never getting tired
when I had a question and for the unbelievable, never-ending knowledge and willingness to help.
Stephan Huber, August 2022