I was never much of a fan of revolution until I saw the uniforms. Particularly the ones they gave to the girls. Eugene Delacroix was on the spot to capture the new fashion and I am grateful.
I even approve of the musket, though my experience of the 1777 Charleville .69 calibre arm was mixed. It had a good barrel, and a convenient set of barrel bands to allow for cleaning, but the stock was woefully short coupled – the French must all have had short arms and tiny physiques. The British Brown Bess was a much more comfortable firearm to use. About the only really clever thing the French did was put a locking ring on the tree-cornered bayonet so that you could withdraw it without having it fall off the barrel.*
The heading image is only part of Delacroix’s painting; ” Liberty Leading The People “- if you google it you’ll get to see the chaps on the lady’s right and the kid with the pistol. The one with the top hat seems to be hefting a blunderbus…which leads one to question who exactly he is, with the fancy clothes and the civilian man-killer. Stagecoach guard? Gamekeeper?
Further to her right is a pirate with a cutlass. He’s also got a pistol aimed at his own goolies.
The kid with the pistol is actually toting two of them, plus an improbably large bag of accessories. It may contain his play lunch.
And they are all climbing over a pile of broken furniture and rubbish. Delacroix has used the caption to suggest a noble purpose for it all, but after looking at this lot, I have come to the conclusion that Liberty is not really leading the people. She’s had a good look at them and is doing her best to get away from them.
I should too. Armed amateurs with no sense of firearms responsibility. Any SSAA range officer would throw ’em out in a minute.
* When the US Army redesigned the basic musket in 1842 they added more stock and wrist to it and it became a really good battlefield shotgun. But by then the rifled musket was the queen of battle so it was a second-line item.