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More Soldier Questions
What were the Karrer drummers’ uniforms and drum calls? Is there research forthcoming?
According to René Chartrand, the Karrer drummers wore their colonel’s livery, which consisted of a blue coat lined yellow with yellow cuffs ornamented with livery lace and pewter buttons. A yellow collar may have been added in the 1730’s. The yellow waistcoat was plain in 1725 but was ornamented with white lace in 1750. Pierre Jullien in Neptunia, 1976, adds a description that the waistcoat had double buttons (was double breasted) with white button holes. The breeches were also yellow. The hat was lined with false silver. The livery lace is described as “yellow, blue, crimson-red, white and black” in 1750. The drums were painted the colour of the drummers’ coat. The changes probably were made when command of the regiment passed from Karrer père to Karrer fils in 1736.
Margaret Fortier in her 1977 report on drumming relates: “A 1683 French ordinance required that guards mounted in places with both French and foreign troops or companies were to beat, “à la françoise” even if a foreign officer was in command of the guard. In 1748 d’Hericourt stated that in a mixed guard with a foreign officer, the French had precedence but the officer could decide what the drummer would beat. When all of the drummers marched as a body the foreign drummers were to form separately behind the French. In 1732 at Louisbourg Cailly, the senior Swiss officer, told St. Ovide that Swiss drummers should be able to beat “à la Suisse” when a Karrer officer mounted the guard. St. Ovide cited the 1683 ordinance and excused Swiss officers from the guard until their disagreement could be resolved. Maurepas and Karrer seem to have worked this out such that the Karrer had the right to order the Swiss style of drumming when a Karrer officer commanded the guard with a Karrer drummer on duty. Fortier does not have any information on what the difference of the Swiss style would be beyond that the Swiss march had three quarter notes, a quarter rest, another quarter note, and three more quarter rests as opposed to the French march of five quarter notes followed by three quarter rests. This difference she does not judge to be significant enough to explain the dispute, and concludes there must be more of a difference.”