Armies of the Napoleonic era often had female followers attached to them. Only the French Army ‘institutionalized’ and organized them! The ‘Cantiniere’ was included on the official regimental strength of a particular unit. Usually she would be the wife or widow of an NCO (non commissioned officer) and was recognized and sanctioned to be the official regimental sutler or canteen keeper supplying wines and spirits to the men. Most times these women would also wear some parts of the regiment’s uniform and colours. In battle they would help care for the wounded and even on occasion bear arms.