One prized possession of Napoleon’s was his military carriage (sometimes called his traveling carriage). He loved it so much that he used it on many of his military campaigns and while exiled on Elba. In fact, when he left Elba the one thing he ordered his troops to take was his military carriage, which was carefully packed and shipped to Cannes.
When Napoleon faced down the British-led Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian army under the command of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstatt at Waterloo, the military carriage was with him. It was also during the Waterloo campaign that Napoleon’s carriage was captured. Continue reading →
There were a variety of vehicles found in France in the 1700 and 1800s. Here is the list A to Z.
Ambulance Volante – This translates to “flying ambulance” and was developed by a French battlefield surgeon named Dominque-Jean Larrey so that the wounded could be quickly transported from the battlefield to field hospitals. They were so named because of their speed (or ability to fly) when they carried the injured off the battlefield and to the rear where surgeons could more effectively deal with their wounds. The ambulance volante was manned with a trained crew and a horse-drawn wagon modeled after the “flying artillery.” Crews assigned to each ambulance included a doctor, quartermaster, non-commissioned officer, a drummer boy (who carried the bandages), and 24 infantrymen functioning as stretcher bearers. There had been a long-held tradition of waiting to collect the injured until after the battle ended, but after 1797, flying ambulances were always present with the army’s advance-guard and cared for the wounded on the battlefield. These ambulance volantes proved so effective and so serviceable to the critically wounded that they served as the forerunner to the modern military ambulance and triage system eventually adapted by armies throughout the world. Continue reading →
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where they originated from, and the differences between the vehicles. Thus, to help people understand titles, origins, and descriptions of vehicles from the 1700 and 1800s, here is a list from D to K. Continue reading →
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where the vehicles originated from, and the meaning of their titles. Thus, to help people understand titles, origins, and descriptions of vehicles from the 1700 and 1800s, here is a list from A to C. Continue reading →
The French diligence coach was a Frenchman’s main public conveyance. Some people thought it equivalent to its English counterpart, the stage coach. One writer claimed that the diligence coach was “a huge, heavy, lofty, lumbering machine, something between an English stage and a broad-wheeled waggon.” English stage-coaches were equipped with two qualities of seating — inside and outside — whereas the French diligence coach in comparison had four sections, with three — the coupe, the interieur, the rotonde — essentially joined together forming the inside and the banquette on top above the coupe. That may have been partly why the French diligence was soon found from Austria to Russia and from Italy to Holland. Because of the French diligence’s prevalence, many nineteenth century travelers rode in them and offered opinions about their experience. Continue reading →
The diligence coach was a Frenchman’s main public conveyance. It was equivalent to its English counterpart, the stage coach. It falls into the category of a traveling coach and was used in the 1700 and 1800s to travel long distances throughout continental Europe. It was a solidly-built coach pulled by four or more horses. One early description of the diligence coach stated that “the body of the carriage rests upon large thongs of leather, fastened to heavy blocks of wood, instead of springs, and the whole is drawn by seven horses.” Eventually, however, diligence coaches traveling between Paris and Lyons were the first to be “fitted with springs.”
The diligence coach also traveled at six or seven miles an hour, and how they traveled that quickly is amazing as the diligence was usually laden down with people and luggage:
Upon the roof, on the outside, is the imperial, which is generally filled with six or seven persons more, and a heap of luggage, which latter also occupies the basket, and generally presents a pile, half as high again as the coach, which is secured by ropes and chains, tightened by a large iron windlass, which also constitutes another appendage of this moving mass.
To drive the moving mass and steer the horses, the coachman’s spot was described as “every where — sometimes on the dickey — then on the top — then on one of the wheel-horses; and, in going up hill, two or three rods behind the diligence.” That was partly because early diligence coaches placed the coachman’s perch well behind the rear axles. Continue reading →