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The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

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The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby sirwho » February 14th, 2013, 6:07 pm

I'm wondering, throughout all of the armies who participated in the napoleonic wars, which regiment had the most international makeup. I've heard that the "Black Brunswickers" had a very mixed group of men by the end of the wars but I wonder if anyone can suggest some other regiments which may have rivaled or beaten them on this subject. I'm aware that by their very nature, the US and Canada had some pretty mixed nationalities in their armies but I'm more interested in the European side of the subject.
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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby Mark » February 14th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Warm welcome to the forum and a very interesting question! I don't know the answer but quite a few regiments/units must have had quite a multi-national mix. I wonder if any of Napoleon's regiments were so diverse too?

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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby Waggoner » February 15th, 2013, 12:55 am

Too bad you are not interested in regiments on this side of the Atlantic:-) Else, I would offer the 104th. It had British North Anericans (British, Quebecois, Acadians and some Blacks), English, Scots, Irish, the occasional American and some Foreigners (Continental Europeans). Quite the mixed bag!

All the best,

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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » February 15th, 2013, 8:35 am

Welcome to the forum!

Marshal Beresford was given the task of training Portuguese soldiers, who served in separate regiments - and proved excellent allies.

Wellington's army at Waterloo had an international mix. Would a regiment's composition reflect where the men were recruited? Or were the available men put where they were most useful?

Mark wrote: I wonder if any of Napoleon's regiments were so diverse too? Mark

Napoleon kept the Portuguese soldiers in a separate unit that he marched back to France and on to the eastern front.

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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby unclearthur » February 15th, 2013, 4:39 pm

The Chasseurs Britanniques were a pretty mixed bunch that even included French royalist ex-pats.
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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby Maximrac » February 17th, 2013, 10:37 am

Due to the conscription which was in effect in the French empire most of the regiments had a plethora of nationalities. For example from the memoirs of Joseph Abbeel I know that the 1st Carabiniers, which was an elite unit, was made up from Dutch, Belgians, Germans, Spanish, Italians, Poles, Swiss and of course French. This was true for most of Napoleons regiments.

I find the Mameluk corps formed by Napoleon also very interesting in terms of inernationality. The Mameluks were a sort of warrior slave society which effectively governed Egypt at the time of Napoleons invasion. Napoleon decided to form a corps made up of deserted Mameluks and other freed slaves he picked up along the way. These slaves heritages are so complex it's hard to create a list describing them al. it included for example: Turks, Georgians, Albanians, Abyssinians, Isrealites, Egyptians, Syrians, Nubians, Algerians, Libyans, Moroccans and whatever else roamed around these parts of the world. This unit was eventually incorporated in the Imperial guard under the Chasseurs a Cheval. After the battle of Austerlitz they received their own standard.
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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby jasonubych » November 3rd, 2013, 11:34 am

Most regiments had a small mix of nationalities, but the 60th Rifles seemed to have larger groups of men from all round. The usual mix of Irish, English, Scots and Welsh small number of Canadians and Americans. From the continent pockets of men from all over including Germany, Poland, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Prussia, Italy, Hungary, Holland and Austria.
Not sure if they are the most Internationised but they must come close.
I wonder if this affected thier performance and moral?
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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby Josh&Historyland » November 3rd, 2013, 1:24 pm

The KGL have got to be in there. But I've got a feeling the French army might have the record as between 1807 and 1812 they could draw on recruits from all of Europe.

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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby 5/60th Rifles » July 16th, 2014, 1:35 pm

5/60th Royal American (Rifles) would fit the job.

Raised from 400 Germans & Swiss, and 500 Dutch in 1797, by the end of the Peninsular Wars they had in their rank one British Enlisted man, numerous British Officers, Mainly German & Dutch men comprising the normal ranks and also French royalists.

At one point in the war, early on, Major Davy made a mistake in enlisting captured Frenchmen who had only been captured a few months prior.
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Re: The most internationalized regiment of the wars?

Postby Waterloo50 » July 29th, 2016, 9:32 am

I was contacted by a friend of mine who is Cherokee , here is part of the message she sent me.

How did a unit of Cherokees come to be fighting for Napoleon? Found out my great-great-aunts told an ethnologist their father's brothers died fighting with Napoleon's armies in a war in France . I'm telling you, the Cherokees are worse than the Sioux - they get everywhere!

She also mentioned '
1809/1815. Great-great-grandpa was Huron and Cherokee and had come out to California with a unit from Quebec to protect the Hudson Bay Company. He was the youngest of about 14 kids.


Can anyone help me, I have spent countless hours looking for some evidence of the Cherokee fighting along side Napoleon's forces. Has anyone ever heard of this? I would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts on this.
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