The visitor to the Army Museum at Les Invalides, Paris, who walks into the room devoted to the 1815 Campaign and the Restoration is confronted by a dramatic relic taken from the battlefield of Waterloo. In a display caninet stands a handsome polished cuirass of brass-plated steel, expressing the martial glamour of Napoleon’s Army — except that a huge hole is punched through both breast and back plates, where a 6-pound cannonball smashed its way through the trooper’s right chest and shoulder.
The sight of this ruined armour, now engraved with the date “18 juin 1815”, is extraordinarily moving, and the visitor cannot help imagining the fate of the 23-year-old Carabinier Antoine FranÃ§ois Faveau, who wore it on that fatal Sunday. He rode with the 2nd Company, 4th Squadron, 2nd Regiment of Carabiniers — one of only two regiments to wear these gleaming brass-faced cuirasses. Brigaded together, these two regiments took part in the last desperate charge sent by Marshall Ney against the stubborn British infantry squares.
Wikipedia on the Carabiniers-Ã -Cheval:
[After 24 December 1809:] the uniform of the carabiniers: white costume, double steel cuirass (breastplate and backplate) covered with brass sheathing (copper for officers), helmet with a peak and which covered the back of the neck, with a golden-yellow copper crest decorated with a chenille made of scarlet bristle. Their armament included a carbine, a sabre (straight-bladed before c. 1811, then “a la Montmorency” – with a very slight curve) and a pair of pistols.
Hat tip to ClassicPics (Twitter) via Karen L. Myers.