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Örjan Martinsson


A detail of Daniel Stawert's battle painting from 1707 of the Battle of Düna that hangs inside Drottningholm Palace. The uniform information should be taken with a big grain of salt.

The uniforms of the Saxon army were probably very typical of European armies at this time but unfortunately not much is known about it. The facts I have about its cavalry uniforms I have compiled on this page (the infantry and artillery are listed on a separate page). The information comes from two publications that are not entirely consistent: Daniel Schorr's article "Notes on the Saxon Army 1700-1716" which was previously published on his now defunct website Northern Wars, and Lars-Eric Höglund's book "Stora nordiska kriget 1700-1721, III".

  Rank and File Officers
Cuirassiers Dragoons
Hat: Black felt hat with the brim folded up in different ways. . According to Daniel Schorr, the hat lace would correspond to the button colour (brass = yellow, pewter = white), but Höglund also states other colours but it appear as if he has got them confused with the neckcloth colours mention by Schorr. A white cockade was possibly on the left side of the hat. The tricorne hat was probably not introduced until at least 1707 Hat with gold or silver lace.
Neckcloth: White or black.
Coat:
 
Saxon cuirassiers originally wore koller (buff coats). These lacked buttons and were instead fastened with hooks and eyes. At first there were no cuffs in the regimental colour on the koller. But edging or small cuffs (without buttons) in the regimental colour may have been introduced later. Even the coat skirt may have been edged in the regimental colour.

In 1707, the red cloth coat with cuffs in the regimental colour was officially introduced. But this was probably just a confirmation of existing practice. The red coat could be worn without a koller or on top of it. However, the koller would continue to be worn on campaign throughout the reign of Augustus the Strong.

Red coat with horizontal pocket flaps (Oertzen's regiment originally had blue coats). The pocket flaps and cuffs had three buttons each..

The coat may have had a collar in the later period. If so, it was probably the same colour as the vest.

Gold- or silver buttons.
Cuirass: Of polished metal or blackened, with brass fittings and lined in red or the regimental colour.
It is unknown if the privates only wore the front plate or full cuirass. The cuirass, however, was to be worn on top of the koller (buff coat) but under the red coat.
Kamisol (Vest): According to Schorr, it was red if worn with the koller and in the regimental colour if worn with the red coat. Höglund states that they had leather vests. Red or in the regimental colour with small buttons along its entire length.
Breeches: Buff leather.

Cuirassiers: Red or possibly blue.
Dragoons: Leather or red cloth.

Boots: Black leather.
Cloak: Probably red.
Shabraque and pistol covers: Either completely red or edged with the button colour. Generally the edge was white and had an inner stripe of a different colour which varied from regiment to regiment. The inner stripe was usually straight but could also be wavy. Only the Leibregiment's shabraques are known. Usually in the regimental colour, but could be red. Generally the edge was white and had an inner stripe of a different colour which varied from regiment to regiment. The inner stripe was usually straight but could also be wavy. Red with a edge in gold or silver with an inner stripe of gold or silver. After 1707 the colour was changed to blue.
Other equipment: Belt, gauntlets and cartridge box of buff leather. Sword and scabbard of brown leather with fittings of white metal. Officers wore a silver waist sash with red/crimson thread.

There is no information on trumpeter uniforms. The dragoon regiments had drummers whose uniforms and drums were of the same design as the infantry. Each regiment would have a kettle-drummer but no uniform details are known for them apart from an illustration from about 1716 depicting the Brandenburg-Bayreuth regiment. That kettle-drummer has a simple uniform with swallow's nests on his shoulders and a grenadier cap.

Leibgarde/Garde du Corps
(Leib-Trabantengarde, Leib-Garde zu Ross, Garde du Corps, Garde zu Pferd)

The Leibgarde zu Ross (Life Guard on Horse), or Garde du Corps as it was also called, underwent several organisational changes during the war. It was formed on 1 August 1701 through the amalgamation of four different units: the Life Guard, the "Grands Mousquetaires", the Carabiniers and the Horse Grenadiers. The first-mentioned unit had already been given the name Garde du Corps at the beginning of the year. The new merged unit consisted of four companies with 200 dragoons/guardsmen each. But already in November 1702 it was disbanded and the men were used to form four new cuirassier regiments. The Life Guard was resurrected on 30 July 1703 and then consisted of four corps (drabants, carabiniers, horse grenadiers and dragoons). Another reorganisation in the autumn of 1707 resulted in the unit's four corps consisting solely of drabants.

Kliszow 1702, Warsaw 1705, Fraustadt 1706, Kalisz 1706.
 


Drabants 1701

Drabants 1707

Drabants ca 1710

According to Schorr, the Drabants in 1693 had a red coat richly decorated with gold. In 1701, the coat was red with leather-coloured (buff) facings and lining. The shabraque had the same colours. Initially in 1707, the coat was carmoisen-red with leather-coloured cuffs, and a moose-skin koller. In addition, they had a carmoisen-red cloak. The shabraque was blue with aurora-white edge. Later, the cuffs and collar were paille-coloured (straw-coloured) and the leather vest was replaced with a paille-coloured cloth vest. The shabraques became carmoisen-red and the coat was decorated with black velvet mixed with silver and silver-plated buttons and buckles. The trumpeters had yellow coats with bleumourant (light blue) cuffs and lace in bleumourant and silver. In 1715, new uniforms were issued. The coat was then still carmoisen-red but all the silver had been replaced with gold.

Höglund, on the other hand, writes that the drabants had pale yellow coats with silver buttons as well as cuffs, lining, vest, breeches and neckcloth in red. Even the cartridge box belt were red with silver lace. The hats had white lace with a blue-yellow feather bush. Could Höglund's uniform be a buff coat (koller) that could be worn instead of the cloth coat?


Carabiniers

Horse Grenadiers 1703

Dragoons 1703

Schorr states that there is no information about the carabiniers' uniform, but he guesses that it was the same as that of the drabants. Höglund, on the other hand, states that it is the dragoons' uniform that is unknown, while his description of the carabiniers' uniform is similar to Schorr's description of the dragoons. It appears that someone has got the corps  mixed up. Höglund mentions that the carabiniers had a hat with gold lace, a crimson coat with brass buttons, pale blue lining and cuffs, a pale yellow vest with pale blue lace, and pale yellow breeches. The shabraque was pale blue with one wide and one narrow edge, monogram and crown in gold.

According to Schorr, the dragoons in 1703 had a red coat with cuffs, lining and collar in bleumourant. The buttons were yellow (brass or gold), the vest red and the breeches made of leather. The hat was a tricorne with white and silver lace and a white cockade. The shabraque and pistol covers were medium blue with white and silver trim.

According to Schorr, the horse grenadiers had red coats with dark green facings, lining and collar, as well as a red vest, leather breeches and a white neckcloth. The grenadier cap was stiff and red with dark green trim and fitted with a brass plate (which, according to Höglund, contained the coat of arms of Saxony and the text "GUARDE"). The shabraques were dark green with a white trim.. According to Höglund, the white trim of the shabraque and the pistol covers had a wavy line. He also deviates from Schorr by stating that the breeches were red.


Cuirassiers

Cuirassiers wore both cloth coats and buff coats (koller) throughout the Great Northern War. In the battles, they probably wore buff coats and not cloth coats, although Swedish battle paintings only depict Saxons with cloth coats (the Swedes left their buff coats at home when the war broke out in 1700).

Details of the individual regiments' buff coats are unknown except for the Leibregiment. Therefore, see the general description above for how the buff coats may have looked like in the various regiments.

Fraustadt 1706, Kalisz 1706.


Chevaliergarde

This unit, which was formed on 30 July 1703, was inspired by Charles XII's Drabant Corps. It consisted of 180 men, all officers.

Daniel Schorr describes the uniform as follows (without specifying the year):

The coat was red with blue lining and gold buttons and edged with gold lace. The pocket flaps were horizontal with three buttons and they too were edged with gold. The cuffs were red over blue and edged with gold lace.

Red vest, leather breeches and white neckcloth, The carbine belt was made of buff leather but covered with blue cloth and edged with gold lace. Tricorne hat with gold lace and white feathers and a white cockade on the left side. The sword scabbard was black with gold fittings.

The shabraque was red trimmed with gold-blue-gold and the king's crowned monogram in gold in the outer corners. The pistol covers were red with the same trim as the shabraque and a white Maltese cross.

Lars-Eric Höglund specifies the blue colour of the lining to be dark blue (Schorr has depicted it as light blue) and the monogram to the letters AR under a crown. He deviates from Schorr by stating that the vest was made of leather and decorated with gold and violet lace. However, Schorr contradicts himself by depicting the Chevalier Guard with a leather vest (with the same type of lace as the shabraque).


1701


Leibregiment zu Pferde

1707


1707

Both Höglund and Schorr state that they had white facings. But the former mentions pewter buttons while Schorr (referring to the year 1707 for his information) writes that they were to have brass buttons. Schorr also mentions that this regiment traditionally had buff coats with red facings, although in his colour plates it is only the buff coat from 1707 that have red edges while the one from 1701 has none. The shabraque was red with a white edge and inside that edge there were a blue stripe. No one mentions the colour of the neckcloth, but Schorr has depicted them with a black neckcloth together with the buff coats and a white neckcloth with the cloth coat.

Düna 1701, Kliszow 1702, In Austrian service November 1702 to May 1704, Posen 1704, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, Tönningen 1713, Stralsund 1715.


1707

Before 1700 it was called "La Forêt" (La Forest). It changed its name to "Crown Prince's Regiment" in 1713 according to Höglund. According to Schorr, it changed its name to "Königl. Prinz" in 1717

Kurprinz

Schorr states that they had yellow facings, pewter buttons and black neckcloths in 1707. Höglund also mentions that they had black lace on their hats (probably a confusion with the neckcloth which he does not mention). .

Düna 1701, Kliszow 1702, In Austrian service November 1702 to May 1704, Posen 1704, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713, Stralsund 1715.


1707

Königin
(Queen's Regiment)

Straw yellow facings and pewter buttons. Schorr mentions that the neckcloth was red in 1707 and Höglund mentions that the hats had red lace (probably a confusion with the neckcloth which Höglund does not mention).

Düna 1701, Kliszow 1702, Pultusk 1703, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713, Sandomir 1715.


Disbanded 1704

Kliszow 1702, In Austrian service November 1702 to May 1704.

Banér
Jordan

1699
1701

Uniform unknown. The colours and their standards do not give any clues to what their uniforms might have looked like since they in 1704 were issued three older standards with different colours (yellow, red and green)


1707

Kliszow 1702, Pultusk 1703 (?), Warsaw 1705, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713, Sandomir 1715.

Steinau
Damitz
Johnston
Zühlen
Criegern

1699
1706
1713
1715
1717

Bleumerount (pale blue) facings and pewter buttons. Schorr mentions that the neckcloth was black in 1707 and Höglund mentions that the hats had black lace (probably a confusion with the neckcloth which Höglund does not mention).


1707

Kliszow 1702, In Austrian service November 1702 to May 1704, Posen 1704, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, Tönningen 1713, Stralsund 1715.

Reichenau
Eichstädt
Wolffersdorf

1700
1702
1716

Höglund writes that the facings were coffee brown, the buttons were of pewter and the hats hade white lace. Schorr also mentions that they had coffee brown facings in 1707 and that the neckcloth was white.

Höglund states that the standards were cinnamon brown and that they received eight new grey standards in 1709. The latter could be a sign of a change of the uniform colour.


1707

Pultusk 1703, Punitz 1704, Fraustadt 1706, Kalisz 1706, Sandomir 1715.

Beust
von Reitzenstein
Moritz von Sachsen

1702
1706
1712

Black facings. Höglund mentions that they had pewter buttons and white lace on the hats. Schorr mentions that they had white neckcloths in 1707.


1707

Pultusk 1703, Posen 1704, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, In the Maritime Powers' service 1707-1713, Sandomir 1715.

Tiesenhausen
Gersdorff
Winckel
Althahn
Kyau
Arnstädt

1702
1704
1706
1713
1714
1715

Höglund states that they had cinnamon brown facings. Schorr notes that they in 1707 grey facings but with cinnamon in parenthesis. Schorr also mentions that they had pewter buttons.


1707

Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713, Sandomir 1715.

Flemming
Prinz Alexander

1703
1706

Green facings. Höglund says that they had pewter buttons and white lace on the hats. Schorr says they had brass buttons and white neckcloths in 1707.

Sachsen-Meiningen
(in Saxon service 1711- 1717)

Schorr has no information about this regiment but Höglund have them with red coats and probably green lining and cuffs.

Sandomir 1715.

Wiedemann
(existed 1704)

This regiments was issued four old standards in 1704 but is not mentioned by Schorr. Its uniform is unknown and Höglund thinks it was a temporary unit consisting of recruits. Three of the standards were blue and the fourth was green.


Dragoons
 

Leibregiment Dragoner

White facings. Schorr mentions that they had brass buttons and depicts them with red shabraque and pistol covers edged with white.

Düna 1701, Kliszow 1702, Pultusk 1703 (?), Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, In the Maritime Powers' service 1707-1713, Stralsund 1715.

Disbanded 1717, the men transferred to  DR 4.


1701

Kurprinz

Lemon yellow facings.  Kliszow 1702.

Disbanded 1702, the men transferred to Garde du Corps.


1700

Wolffenbüttel
Milchau

1700
1701

Höglund notes that the facings were black and that they had pewter buttons and hats with white lace. Schorr also mentions that they had pewter buttons and that the facing colour was black in 1700. But according to him the facing colour was changed to yellow in 1701. For the latter uniform, Schorr has depicted the shabraque and pistol covers yellow with a white edge.

Düna 1701, Kliszow 1702, Pultusk 1703, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, In the Maritime Powers' service 1707-1713, Sockel 1716.


1701


?

Goltz
Flemming
Bielke

1699
1712
1715

According to Höglund, the regiment had parrot green facings, white neckcloths and white hat lace. According to Schorr, they had in 1707 black facings, brass buttons and white neckcloths.

It is curious that Höglund and Schorr have such conflicting information about this regiment. But if the regimental colour was changed at some point then both could be correct. The question is then which point in time Höglund's undated information refer to. Was it before or after 1707?

Düna 1701, Kliszow 1702, Pultusk 1703, Warsaw 1705, Fraustadt 1706, Kalisz 1706, Prosna 1716.


1707

Stammer
(raised and disbanded in 1701, the men were transferred to Garde du Corps)

Unknown uniform.


1707

Brause

According to Höglund, the regiment had yellow facings and vest, pewter buttons, white neckcloth and white hat lace. Schorr specifies the colour to lemon yellow and he too mention that the neckcloth was white. Shabraque and pistol covers are depicted by Schorr as yellow with white edge.

Thorn 1703, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713, Sockel 1716.


1707
Disbanded 1717, the men transferred to DR 3.

Pultusk 1703, Warsaw 1705, Kalisz 1706, Tönningen 1713, Sockel 1716.

Schulenburg
Saint-Paul
1702
1710

Schorr writes that the facings were straw yellow in 1707 and that the neckcloth was black. Höglund tells that the facings and vest were pale yellow, the buttons were of pewter and that both neckcloth and hat lace were black.


1707
Disbanded1717, the men transferred to DR 9.

Posen 1704, Punitz 1704, Fraustadt 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713.

Brandenburg-Bayreuth

Schorr mentions that the facings were bleumerount in 1707 and that they had pewter buttons and white or black neckcloths. Höglund describes the facing colour as light blue and notes that the vest was also of that colour. Apart from pewter buttons he also mentions that the hat had black and white lace (yet again the same colours as Schorr's neckcloths so likely a mix-up with these).

Schorr has depicted the regiment's saddle cloth and pistol covers in blue with a white edge containing an inner red stripe.


1704

Oertzen
Dünewald
Weissenfels
1703
1705
1712

Höglund states that the regiment had blue facings in 1703 but Schorr writes that it was first in 1704 that they received red coats with blue facings. The year before, the coat was blue with an unknown colour on the facings. Also of interest is information from Rehnsköld in 1704 that Augustus the Strong had uniforms made "in the Swedish manner " whereby Saxons are said to have appeared with blue coats with small cuffs and white lace on their hats (Bellander p. 224). This could be referring to Oertzen.

Both Höglund and Schorr agree that the regiment had pewter buttons, white neckcloths and that the facings colour was changed to green in 1707. Höglund specifies the colour to light green and notes that the vest was also of that colour and that the hat lace was black.

Schorr has depicted the shabraque and pistol covers as green with a white edge in 1707. This could then have been changed in 1712 so that an inner red stripe was added to the white edge.

Posen 1704, Punitz 1704, Fraustadt 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713, Sockel 1716.


1712


1707

Wrangel
Baudissin
1704
1710

Schorr mentions that the facings were coffee brown in 1707 and that the neckcloth was black. Höglund adds that the uniform in 1707 had pewter buttons, coffee brown vest and black hat lace (the hat lace colour is probably a mix-up with the neckcloth mentioned by Schorr).

Fraustadt 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Tönningen 1713.

Flemming
(existed 1704-1707)

Unknown uniform and standard.

Warsaw 1705, Fraustadt 1706.


Fürstenberg
(existed 1704-1707)

Unknown uniform and standard.

Fraustadt 1706.

Jordan
(existed 1704-1707)

Unknown uniform and standard.

Fraustadt 1706.


Disbanded 1706

Fraustadt 1706.

Winckel

This was a temporary unit created in 1705 by recruits intended for the main army's regiments. It participated in the Battle of Fraustadt 1706 and was disbanded afterwards.

According to Höglund it had probably not been issued regular uniforms and was instead likely dressed in grey fatigues.


1717

Tönningen 1713, Stralsund 1715, Stresow 1715, Prosna 1716.

Ansbach-Feilitzen
Ansbach-Flemming
Baudissin's Carabiniers

1709
1717
1718

This was a regiment hired from Ansbach in 1709. According to Höglund, it had blue coats with red facings and pewter buttons. Schorr also mentions pewter buttons but he describes a red coat with blue facings for Flemming's Regiment (maybe a later uniform?) Schorr has also depicted this uniform with red shabraque and pistol covers.

Ansbach-Schmettau
(Regiment from Ansbach in Saxon service 1713- 1717)

According to Höglund, its uniform was a blue coat with pewter buttons and carmine red cuffs, lining and vest as well as leather breeches and a carmine red shabraque with white edge. This uniform appears to be identical with the one Höglund described for the preceding Ansbach regiment.

Schorr deviates by writing that the coat was light grey and that the shabraque was crimson or possibly blue. He also adds that the neckcloth was black and the hat lace was white. The NCOs were to have silver lace on their cuffs and the drummers crimson coats with light grey cuffs and lining with crimson breeches. The officers also had grey coats with crimson cuffs and lining. But buttons, buttonholes and seams were decorated with gold. Furthermore they had a black sash mixed with silver threads. The neckcloth was white.

Stralsund 1715, Prosna 1716.

Battle Paintings


A detail of Daniel Stawert's battle painting from 1707 of the Battle of Düna that hangs inside Drottningholm Palace.

Daniel Schorr also mentions a battle painting from 1707 depicting the Battle of Düna which he believes depicts the Queen's cuirassier regiment (Königin) in red coats with turnbacks and the regimental colour on the cuffs and lining. However, it is not entirely clear which battle painting he is referring to as it was Daniel Stawert who in 1707 painted the most famous battle painting of this battle, but the uniforms in this do not match Schorr's description. I can only find one Saxon cavalryman with turnbacks, and he is wearing a grey coat, and no one match the Queen's colour combination. In addition, the cuirassiers have cuirasses over the coat which they would not have according to Schorr.


Detail from Henrik Schildt's painting of the Battle of Düna.

The second battle painting was made by Henrik Schildt (1678-1732) but the year when it was made is as far as I know unknown. There we do have Saxon cavalrymen with the Queen's colour combination and what appears to be cuirasses under the cloaks as well as turnbacks. But it also shows tricornes, which probably means that the whole painting can be considered anachronistic.

It is not known which sources Henrik Schildt used, but we know that Daniel Stawert used Johan Lithén's drawings. Lithén did take part in the Battle of Düna, but his drawings were black and white and the details are very small. Better information about Saxon uniforms than the excerpt below cannot be obtained from Lithén's drawing. Therefore, the battle paintings cannot be used as proof that Saxon cuirassiers had red cloth coats instead of buff coats during the Battle of Düna.


Detail from Johan Lithén's drawing of the Battle of Düna.

Read also: Campaigns of the Saxon Army, Saxon army organisation, Infantry uniforms, Artillery uniforms.