benbenberi (benbenberi) wrote in little_details,
benbenberi
benbenberi
little_details

17c military life

I'm writing in a slightly alternate 17th century setting and find I need details about life in an army (French by preference) in the period 1650-1670. I've done quite a lot of research already, but unfortunately there's a scarcity of good available secondary material that actually looks at the details of daily life (though there's tons that talk about the administration, the political context, the strategy, principles of siege warfare, and flags/insignia/weaponry/tactics - the latter primarily from a war-gamer, model-painter or re-enactor perspective). The best data points I've found are stray references embedded in other discussion, which only takes me so far. Can anyone help me with either info or references/pointers?
 
Some of the areas I particularly am looking for details about include:
  1. How many servants & other civilian staff, and of what sort, would a top-ranking general of high noble status have with him while on campaign? (I'm thinking someone like Turenne, Condé or Luxembourg). I know that Condé for one never seems to have gone anywhere with less than two secretaries, and in the 1690s the teenage Duc de St. Simon, as a volunteer & very junior officer, had at least 5 grooms & 2 "gentleman servants" in attendance. 
  2. Where would these servants & civilian staff be housed, while the army is encamped? I assume that given the opportunity the general would have commandeered the biggest house in the vicinity for his headquarters, but that doesn't work so well while you're on the march or laying siege to some town. Most of the descriptions of camp life I've seen date from the 18c, by which time there were a lot fewer servants traveling with the army, and a lot more separation in ordinary life between masters & servants, so I don't really want to extrapolate too much from them.
  3. What were officers' tents like? Would all officers be expected to camp in the same place as their men, or did they congregate separately? How big would a general's tent be? How many tents might he have, & how arranged? (George Washington had 3 - one for sleeping, one for dining, and one for his baggage. But again, it's hard to extrapolate from Washington to a Condé or Turenne.)
  4. Who was the general supposed to feed every night? i.e. Besides himself & his servants & staff, who would be expected to dine at his table on a routine basis? When officers were not invited to dinner with their commander, what were their normal meal arrangements?
  5. What did the commanders eat? What did their senior/junior officers eat? Was their bread issued every 4 days like the troopers' ration, or did they get their bread fresh?
  6. Were the horses that hauled the artillery & the baggage kept in the same place as the cavalry mounts, or separately?    How far from the troops would they typically have been? How about the grooms, the smiths, etc. who tended the horses? Were any of these ever mingled with the teams & personnel of the (civilian contractor) supply convoys?
As I said, any information or pointers toward information (either online, or primary/secondary offline sources) would be welcome! 
Tags: 1600-1699, europe: history, france: history, history (misc), netherlands: history, ~military (misc), ~nobility (misc)
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