The Drummer Boy - Legion Irlandaise 1813
Height of figure - 89mm from base to tip of plume.
This beautiful statue was designed by Chris Tubb our internationally famous designer of miniatures and carefully researched to be accurate in every detail. This version shows the Irlandaise colours of the Drummer Boy's uniform.
STORY The origins of the Legion and afterwards the regiment Irlandaise can be found amongst those survivors of the unsuccessful 1798 Irish uprising who had found their way to France. The legion was raised in 1803 initially as part of Bonaparte's invasion plans for England, and, at first, consisted largely of officers. The plan was that these officers would form the core of a national Irish army after the French had landed them on the Irish coast, which would form a second front against England while the French invaded the English mainland. For two years the legion, stationed near Brest in Northern France awaited the invasion, but just as Bonaparte's plans were reaching fruition in 1805, the war with Russia and Austria broke out, and the bulk of the French army moved eastwards, where it won the great victory of Austerlitz.
The destruction of the French fleet by The British navy at the Battle of Trafalgar in the same year put paid to any thoughts of invading England and to the chagrin of its men the legion Irlandaise was moved to Germany where it was put to garrison duty.
Its first sight of action did not occur until 1808 when its 2nd battalion was ordered to Spain at the outbreak of the peninsula war; here it was involved in the suppression of the Madrid rising. Later it was ordered to Corunna where the British under Sir John Moore were on the retreat, but again to its disappointment it never engaged with the enemy. After this it went back to garrison life, this time in Burgos in Spain. During the next three years the 2nd battalion continued in Spain and the first was posted to Walcheren Island where it was besieged along with other elements of the French army and eventually taken prisoner by the English.
The regiment was re-organised in 1810 and posted once again to Germany. It was not used in the initial stages of the 1812 invasion of Russia but when the scale of the French defeat became apparent it was moved east to form part of the French army on the Elbe for the campaign of 1813. It took part in the battle of Haynau were it was engaged in vicious hand-to-hand combat with Russian Cossacks. It saw much action against the Prussians and the Russians but as part of Puthod's division it was almost overrun by Russian cavalry at the battle of Lowenburg. Most of its men were killed or surrendered but some escaped capture by swimming across the river Bober to safety on its west bank.
With its numbers greatly reduced the regiment was in no condition to take an active part in the final campaigns of Napoleon, but was put to coastal watch duties. After the final French defeat it was finally disbanded in September 1815.