|A colonel - dressed as regulations|
The context, all those years ago, was exactly the same as it is now. My long standing fascination with the Battle of Salamanca has been the great underlying theme for the building of my wargames armies. The first useful book I had on the subject, back in the 1970s, was Lawford and Young's Wellington's Masterpiece - much criticised subsequently, but still an excellent read if you can find a copy.
In the Appendix which gives the breakdown of the French army, a number of question marks appear as brigade commanders, since these brigades were commanded on the day by the senior colonel, the general being otherwise occupied - examples are:
(a) the 2nd Brigade of 7th Division - this would normally have been GdB Thomières' brigade, but Thomières was in temporary command of the Division, since GdD Souham was elsewhere. Thomières had an exceptionally trying day at Salamanca, and was mortally wounded. [Under the general heading of "what if?"- if Souham had been present he would have been by far the most senior of Marmont's division commanders, so he would have been the correct 2-i-C to take command when Marmont was wounded, which - of course - wouldn't have happened because Marmont would not have had to get on his horse to ride over to see where the blazes Thomières thought he was marching off to.]
Anyway, the point is that Lawford and Young's question mark in this case should have explained that the commander for the day was Col. d'Herbez-Latour of the 101eme Ligne.
(b) The 1st Brigade of Pierre Boyer's Dragoon Division - the question mark in this case is Colonel Piquet, of the 6eme Dragons - a right old firebrand.
The Appendix in the book should also have had a couple more question marks, to be pedantic about it:
(c) GdB Carrié [de Boissy] of the 2nd Brigade of this same Dragoon Division was not present - he had been seriously wounded four days before Salamanca, and was a prisoner - he spent the rest of the war in Bridgenorth, Shropshire, apparently. On 22nd July the Brigade Carrié was commanded by Col. Boudinhon-Valdec of 15eme Dragons.
(d) GdD Brenier (6th Division) was not present at Salamanca - his place at the head of the Division was taken by GdB Taupin, whose brigade was probably commanded by the colonel of the 65eme Ligne.
And so on - the point (which, predictably, I have made at excessive length) is that this was a commonplace event - regimental officers would regularly be found acting up to replace more senior officers who were absent.
Going back many years, a friend of mine once showed me a picture of a French Napoleonic colonel, who appeared to be wearing some kind of sash - my friend reckoned that if the colonel was required to take charge of a brigade he would be provided with a sash as a badge of office.
Personally, I find that unlikely - officers in the French army gained a general's sash by putting their lives on the line and distinguishing themselves in action for years - such things would not be handed out on loan, surely. What about the brigade staff, though? - if this was a temporary situation, one would expect the brigade staff to be available to support the colonel. Presumably the ADCs would just wear the armbands appropriate to the rank of their usual boss?
Not a matter of any importance, but in the near future I need to paint up a couple of colonels to take charge of brigades (round about the time of the Battle of Salamanca, as it happens). I can just paint up a vanilla colonel, of course, but if there should be some identifying tweak of uniform I'd be pleased to reproduce it.