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The numbers of the soldier.

In 1808, in Paris the 2nd edition of the "Manuel d'Infanterie ou Résumé de tous les Règlemens, Décrets, Usages, Renseignemens, propres à cette Arme. Ouvrage renfermant tout ce que doivent savoir les sous-officiers." (Manual of infantry or summary of all regulations, decrees, usages and hints useful for this arm. A work which contains everything that the NCOs must know.) was published.

Author of this work was the then major Etienne-Alexandre Bardin (1774-1841). On page 380 f., he writes:

The different numbers of the soldier

320. The fourrier must fix and know what are the different particular numbers of the single soldier, as there are:

1. The number of inscription into the regimental register [numéro d'inscription matriculaire] (règlement de revues of 25th Germinal an 13, art. 7, par. 8), which is invariable and successive within the whole regiment.

2. The number of the annual register [numéro de contrôle annuel] (règlement de revues of 25th Germinal an 13, art. 7, par. 8), which will change every year and which is only successive within the company.

3. The number of clothing and equipment [numéro d'habillement et équipement], which must be identical to the number of the weaponry [numéro d'armement] given to the soldier. – In order to avoid that this number will be confused with the number of another company, it will always be joined with a particular letter indicating the company (règlement de comptabilité of 8th Floréal an 8, tit. 4, art. 29 and 47).

When a soldier is transfered from his company to another company, he will receive a new number.

This number will be for all tambours and fifres the number of their instrument; for the sapeurs the number of their axe; for the musiciens it will be a particular mark [marque].

4. The number of the order of height [numéro de rang de taille], which will be successive indifferently for all caporaux and soldats of the company.

5. The number of the squad [numéro d'escouade] (see the tables at the end of the règlement de police of 24th June 1792), which fixes his rank within the squad, will ease the nightly roll-calls and is written on the label at his bed (règlement de police vom 24. Juni 1792, Tit. 2, Art. 8).

6. The number of the bed in which he sleeps.

[Note:] Of all these numbers, only the number in the regimental register and the one of the weaponry are invariable, all others may be changed. In addition, there are numbers given on certain occasions [éventuels], as the number in the ranks for exercise [numéro d'exercice] (see Règlement d'exercice of 1st August 1791, beginning of the school of the platoon), and the numbers given to the guards [numéro des factionnaires].

Concerning the numbers of the weapons, on page 328 an additional information is found:

267. [...] The fourteen first muskets belong invariably to the NCOs: the six first to the sergens [including the sergent-major] and fourriers, and the other eight to the caporaux.

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