This is a sketch of a French Army Vivandiere from the Napoleonic Wars period, when most of Europe was at war against the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his army. She is in civilian dress appropriate for the period and carrying a wooden tonnelet or barrel to provide refreshment to soldiers of the regiment that she supports. Perhaps Brandy! She is an independent businesslike woman officially recognised by the Regiment that she serves and most likely possesses her own cart and mule to transport her supplies. She would endure every hardship and privation endured by the soldiers and their wives. Soldiers would be able to supplement their own rations by purchasing items from her and she would do her utmost to keep them as well supplied as she could The Regiment would be fiercely protective of her, especially as she would most likely be married to one of the non commissioned officers. They were not unknown to follow their troops onto the battlefield where their refreshments would be given freely to help the men through the long slog that was a Napoleonic battle or campaign. These ladies transformed into the famous uniformed Cantinieres from around the 1830’s onwards! The uniforms of the Cantinieres of that later period are stunning and the ladies almost became regimental mascots. Despite their elegance of dress, it is without a doubt that they were extremely tough, hardy and resourceful! The French army continued to have Cantinieres until the beginning of the First World War.