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Uniforms of the Mexican Adventure: Belgians

Mexican Adventure: Uniforms: Belgians

Thanks to Yvan Stefano for many Belgian pics!

Belgians in Mexico
Belgian Legion in Mexico
The plate above appears to be plate 235 from
The Company of Military Historians.

Belgians in Mexico
Belgian bugler in Mexico
from Funcken's 'Armies of the 19th Century'

Uniform coat and hat

The Empress' Bodyguard, 1864

1. Palatine Guardsman, 1865-67
2. Jäger, Austrian Legion, 1865
3. Private, Belgian Legion, 1865

Belgians in Mexico
Above is a group photo of Belgian uniforms worn in Mexico:

Below is a colour interpretation of the same figures
Belgians in Mexico

LAHALLE, The Belgian volunteers in Mexico
the Empress Charlotte regiment marching

Photo from Musee royal de l'armée et d'histoire militaire, Bruxelles , Belgium
Catherine Opdemessing
Belgian Legion, Voltigeurs Battalion , 1865.

Belgian Expeditionary Corps
Rifle Battalion, Cantinière, 1864



Col. Van Der Smissen

Docteur Lejeune

Lt Carlot

Capt Auguste Gauchin

Capt De Schrynmaekers

Major Tydgagt

Lt Palmaert
Lieutenant, Belgian Legion

Drummer - Voltigeur with Fanion - Grenadier - Voltigeur

Grenadier - Voltigeur - Staff Musician - Voltigeur Bugler

Officer in civilian jacket - Mounted trooper of 'Roi des Belges' battalion

Captain, Full Dress - Colonel, Full Dress - Lieutenant, Full Dress
Captain, Service dress, Austrian kepi
Captain,Campaign dress, French kep

Soldier 1865
NCO Undress uniform

Mounted Grenadier
Cantiniere - Voltigeur

click for larger image

Belgian Legion
Voltigeur - Mounted Company - Grenadier Drummer

1. Grenadier in full dress.
2. Voltigeur in attack order. Battle of Tacambaro, 11 April 1865.
3. Drummer, 1865 - 1866.

4. Grenadier, Mounted Company
5. Grenadier. By 1866 the Belgian troops would have resembled the majority of European troops. This shows the extent that supply shortcomings were made up from French stores.
6. Cantinère.

Officers, Oudenaarde 1864

Infantry, Oudenaarde 1864

Musicians, Oudenaarde 1864

Mounted Troops, Monterey 1866

Officers, Tacambro 1865

Infantry, Tacambro 1865

San Luis Posati 1866

Venado 1866

Troops 1864-1865 he

1. Grenadier on duty at the barracks of Maegdendaele in Oudenaarde. Wearing a greatcoat, he is armed with a gun provided by the Ministry of War, pending the arrival of the Enfield rifle.

2. His hat covered in white canvas, it was in this uniform that the Volunteers left Oudenaarde in the rain, with the first contingent, Friday, October 14, 1864.

3. Grenadier in regulation uniform (center). The felt hat was similar to that worn by the carabinieri of the Belgian army. The volunteer tunic was cut in a royal blue cloth. Frogging and trim differed for different branches: red for grenadiers, green for voltigeurs, white for musicians and canteen. Gray blue pants were piped in distinctive color. Yellow leather leggings, canvas spats. The volunteer is armed with the Enfield rifle cal.13 mm, a quality weapon for the time.

4. Voltigeurs on the road from Vera Cruz to Mexico (bottom left). The hat was deemed cumbersome on the march, he was required to wear the police cap and a handkerchief as a neck guard. Soon the volunteers adopted the kepi, made mainly from the fabric of worn-out coats.

5. It was in this uniform that the Voltigeurs controlled the Tijdgadt fight April 11, 1865 at Tacambaro. The Belgians had adopted the musette used by the French, and which proved very convenient, especially limiting the wearing of bulky knapsack on expeditions.

Troops 1865-1867

1. Grenadier - Morelia 1865. He wears a local sombrero. The leggings have been abandoned by this point.

2. Sergeant of the soldiers - Morelia 1865 (top right). The French shops were enlisted to provide for the replacement of several worn effects. The volunteers would be provided with gray linen pants cut "en Zouave".

3. By 1866, the look of the Belgian volunteer would be similar to that of all European infantry units engaged in Mexico except the Zouaves. This uniformity revealed the considerable effort that the French stores had provided to equip the other bodies whose supplies had proved insufficient (center).

3. Cantinier (bottom left).

4. Sergeant mounted troops. Following the battle of Marin, the Belgians could be mounted two companies. The riders were equipped by the French. Because of the shortage of swords, volunteers used their rifle and bayonet as a lance. He is armed with a rifle of Minie type and a French saber-bayonet "yatagan" . He wears the medal of the French medal for the Mexican campaign..

1. Cantinière, Full Dress 1864 - 1865. His tunic is adorned with seven frogs.

2. Bugler wearing a police cap 1864 - 1865 (Top right).

3. Bandmaster. He had the rank of warrant officer. His belt plate was a lyre (Centre).

4. Cantinière 1865 - 1866. She wears a painted wooden keg with Mexican colors (Bottom left).

5. Drummer in 1865 - 1866. The neck guard rolled turban was common. The cases were identical to the model used in the Belgian army. The circles were painted in the Mexican colors, arranged in wolf teeth.


1. Adjutant Major (Chazal). Unlike the other officers he wore sleeves of braided silver and not gold.

2. Colonel in full uniform (Van der Smissen).

3. Major in full dress and hood. Frogging, lace and gold buttons.

4. Lieutenant in street clothes or campaign (Van der Straten). The frogs were black silk. Black olives replace gold buttons.

5. Battalion doctor.

Officers on campaign.

1. Colonel (Van der Smissen). His boots are equipped with Mexican spurs. He is armed with a Le Mat revolver. Le Mat in French manufacturing percussion (1861-1863). The Belgian army had no revolver before 1878. The swords were two models of 1850 - 53.

2. Captain of mounted troops.

3. Captain. He wears an Austrian-style cap.

4. Major. He wears a naval-styled jacket and the Bonnet de Police. He is armed with a Lafauche 1858 revolver, made in Liège. In Mexico, the officers were unable to replace worn-out uniforms. Several wore civilian jackets with added sleeve braid.

5. Captain. He is armed with a Colt Dragoon. On campaign, the officers wore the wide red woolen scarf or flannel, that protected the lower abdomen against dysentery, and hip belt fatigue.

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Occasionally Updated by Tim Peterson