Buy As Gift. Overview One of the least understood of Napoleon's corps were the four regiments of Gardes d'honneur, raised in during the frantic rebuilding of the French cavalry after the huge losses in Russia. Recruited from the leading social classes, uniformed and equipped at their own expense, and accompanied by servants to take care of such unpleasant chores as stable duty, these men were promised commissions as officers after a year's service in the ranks.
The story of their organisation, uniforms and service is researched from rare archives and memoirs, and illustrated with portraits, surviving uniform items, and meticulous colour plates. About the Author Ronald Pawly, born in Antwerp, Belgium, in and still living and working in that city, is a respected member of several international societies for Napoleonic studies, and an expert on 19th century military portraiture.
Patrice Courcelle was born in northern France in and has been a professional illustrator for some 20 years. Entirely self-taught, he has illustrated many books and magazine articles for Continental publishers, and his work hangs in a number of public and private collections. His dramatic and lucid style has won him plenty of admiration in the field of military illustration.
His other enthusiasms include music, from Clapton and the blues to Mahler, and cooking. Patrice lives a few miles from the battlefield of Waterloo with his wife and son. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. Parents and friends will love teaching babies their first words with this vibrant board book, Parents and friends will love teaching babies their first words with this vibrant board book, all about familiar objects they see on the road and in the air and water!
Babies will have fun learning the names of their favorite vehicles View Product. Bussaco Wellington defeats Napoleon's Marshals. He wears his dolman open over a wide-collared shirt and white kerchief. Note the line 'Garde Imperiale' - the official status of the four regiments vis-a-vis the Imperial Guard is still controversial. For what it is worth, this coloured-in engraved drawing shows Austrian knot thigh decoration, pale brown pelisse trim, and green vandyked edging to the sheepskin shabraque. Here military life became a reality for the tourists.
The day after their arrival Gen. Count de Segur, colonel of the 3rd Regiment, inspected them. The guardsmen from Groningen were kept together in the same squadron. The whole day was taken up with drill, and they only came off duty between 9 and lOpm. At the end of August, Gen. The guardsmen, however, did not share his opinion. On 15 July, guardsmen had left Amsterdam for Metz. Even when the maximum requirement had been reached, the prefect De Celles, a strong supporter of Napoleon's regime, appointed another 35 men - a decision which did nothing for his popularity among the inhabitants of the city.
Germany In war-torn Germany, Hamburg had been evacuated by the French and was unable to organise a detachment for the Guards of Honour. At Bremen, in the department of Bouches du Weser, 78 guardsmen were found and sent off for Lyon. In Lippe no volunteers were found, and 54 men were chosen for the 2nd Regiment. At Osnabruck, in the department of Ems Superieur, a detachment of 30 guardsmen left for Lyon on 25 August. In the Rhin et Moselle department Koblenz the authorities also found the required numbers of men.
At MaiOl, Mont-Tonnerre, only 64 men could be found out of the required maximum of guardsmen. At Trier in the Saar department 39 men were ready to leave on 18 June; a second detachment with 23 men would soon follow. One of the first volunteers was Jean:Jacques-Toussaint Lamby, aged 18, who presented himself to the prefect, Baron de Sainte-Suzanne, declaring his zeal 'to come to the aid of those brave men who were already serving'. From the moment when they received horses they had to parade every day before a certain Desguiots, a former hussar, and in a short time they would be initiated into the military life.
Desguiots, temporarily promoted sergeant, became commander of the detachment; Jean Lamby would act as corporal until they reached Metz. But before leaving Trier the men of the detachment were given an impressive send-off. They entertained many members of the city administration and local society at a farewell ball on the evening of 14 June. On the day of departure the prefect offered the guardsmen breakfast, and again they shouted 11 Vive l'Empereur! Joined by the prefect and the city's military commanders, who accompanied the column as far as the border of the department, the first detachment left Trier - apparently with heavy hearts, despite their champagne breakfast.
Following the road via Grevenmachen, they met up in Luxemburg with the first detachment from the Roer department. Once arrived in Metz, garrison of the 2nd Regiment, they were inspected by Col. His welcome was not quite what the guardsmen had expected their commanding officer openly cursed the prefect of the Saar for having failed to obey the uniform and equipment regulations. All cords and tassels were officially abolished, to curb extravagant excesses in unifonn style. The shako itself became more elegant in shape, moving towards the later shako rouleau. The metal chin scales are a mixture of white metal and brass.
The cockade is a painted metal rosette. Collection of Belgian Royal Anny Museum, Brussels empire the enthusiasm for service was not as great as had been expected, forcing some prefects to exercise inventiveness. In some cases proxies were found to serve as replacements at high cost, even though this was against the law. For this reason there could be found in the ranks of the regiments the sons of peasants, labourers, even sailors - much to the disgust of the more refined volunteers.
In the 4th Regiment some complained that they were surrounded by uneducated men. General de Pully complained in a letter to his colleague of the 3rd Regiment that he had had to reject individuals who were not suitable for the corps. Some prefects also failed in their duty in sending the men without proper equipment, and this unbalanced the financial situation of the regiments. In short, a lot of time was wasted discussing and finding remedies for problems whose solutions had been decreed in advance but not obeyed by the departmental authorities.
In some cases horses even arrived without Guards of Honour! At their depots, where the soldiers exercised every day, the quality of some uniforms showed that the owners in fact came from the lowest social classes. Theft was rife among the guardsmen, and having money was - as always - important: it could buy the services of the poorer guardsmen to take over the menial duties for richer men.
As most of the wealthier guardsmen were accustomed to having servants at home, they had even asked the departmental prefects whether they could take them with them. Some simply told their servants to follow the detachment to the depot, and once there - since there were no official quarters for them - some guardsmen rented private rooms where they kept a servant. Front and rear views of the dolman and breeches of F.
Goethals, a Belgian volunteer in the Guards of Honour who had a horse killed under him at Leipzig. The style of hussar uniforms changed dUring the last years of the Empire: dolmans became shorter and trousers more high-waisted. The dark green dolman has red collar and shallow cuff facings, white braid edgings, five rows of white metal half-ball buttons, and white cord frogging - just visible are the upper ends carried up to finish in trefoil knots high on the narrow shoulders. The red breeches are of the tight-fitting Hungarian pattern, with white braid on the outer seams uniting at the back in a circle; this normally curled downwards below the braid, but is occasionally seen placed above it as here.
The vents of the front 'fall' flap of the breeches are surrounded with white braid piques, and the buttons are covered with red cloth. The white braid was replaced on officers' unifonns with silver lace, gold and silver for majors, or gold for commanding officers. Collection of Belgian Royal Anny Museum, Brussels Stable duties were not to the taste of the more privileged young men; and in July Napoleon conceded, at the request of the Guards of honour, that servants should be allowed in the regiments.
A regulation stipulated that a groom nicknamed a 'Tartar' should be responsible for the horses of each two guardsmen. Mounted himself, the groom was to be armed with a hussar sabre and a pistol. His headdress was to be a black shako; the chasseur-style light cavalry jacket and Hungarian breeches were to be in grey cloth, with collar, facings, piping and breeches stripes in green; a white waistcoat and black hussar boots, black leather equipment, and a grey cloak with white buttons completed his outfit. The braid and lace are in white wool for the uniforms and in white cord for the shako.
The shako will be as the model you will receive; but the shako plate, the chin chains and the other metal pieces on it will be silver-plated. This will be red for the 1st, imperial blue for the 2nd, yellow for the 3rd, and white for the 4th regiment. The plume will have a pompon as base. This will be in a different colour for each company. The metal ornaments on the sabre tache will be silver-plated. In practice, every time a new detachment arrived at the depots the officers had reason to complain. Sometimes the men had no shakos and arrived wearing civilian hats; some wore the wrong boots; and others wore mixtures of military and civilian clothing.
The 4th Regiment was the worst of all, according to a report by Gen. Nansouty; some Italians in this regiment had not a single piece of uniform or equipment with them, while 86 of them asked to be sent back home so 13 The dark green pelisse from the uniform on page 13, braided and corded like the dolman but without red facings. At the end of the Empire these too were shorter, and designed so that only the top buttons could be fastened.
Instead of the normal black fur trim this example has dark brown, probably at the personal choice of Guardsman Goethals. The fur has been tom off the collar at some point, exposing the white lining. Collection of Belgian Royal Army Museum, Brussels that they could have their uniforms made - once fitted out, they would of course return to the regiment. One wonders!
Shakos were made too large and pads had to be ordered to make them fit; trousers were too short, and so on. With guardsmen coming from all corners of Europe the colours of the materials were of differen t shades and the quality varied; on parade, one saw many shades of red and green in a single regiment. Although officers and some rich troopers had finely cut uniforms in the best possible materials, conforming with their means and social status, many of the guardsmen were badly or incompletely dressed, and equipment was lacking.
In general any procurement that had been left to the departmental authorities had been skimped, from carelessness, resentment or 'economy'. Once the first fully equipped squadrons were being sent to join the field army, things got worse. Most of the time the majority of the men in the ranks of the regiments presented a poor appearance.
The normal uniform regulations were as follows: Headgear More voluminous than the regulation model of other corps, the shako was of leather covered with red cloth and decorated with white piping. The band was of black leather; the front peak was edged in silver-plated metal; the cockade was of cloth. The cord festoon was white. In the 3rd Regiment the two plaited cords were worn across the front, covering part of the plate. Racquets 'flounders' were worn on the left, the reverse of the practice in the Line.
The cord was attached with a small pin on the inside of the shako; on some models a large pin was stitched to the white piping; and some had small hooked stars similar to those worn in the Line. The vulture feather plumes were about 56cm 22ins high, dark green, with the distinctive regimental colour at the top - one-fifth of the total height: red, light blue, yellow and white for the Ist-4th Regiments respectively. The plume was attached by a bone stem into a sheath inside or outside the shako. Company pompons were pierced to receive the full dress plume, but the former had no stem and could not be worn alone.
A self-coloured 'ball-and-tuft' pompon in the regimental colour was worn with service dress. On campaign the shako was covered with black waxed cloth. The stable cap was of dragoon style, with a turban and wing in dark green piped in scarlet; white piping was stitched to the top edge of the turban, and the lining was canvas.
Dolman 14 The dolman was in dark green, lined with canvas. The collar and the facings were scarlet. The front bore 18 rows of white cord. The false pockets and collar and cuff edging were in white braid. The buttons, like those of the officers, were plain, in silver-plated metal. The dolman had 91 buttons in all, of which 72 were of medium size for the two rows on either side of the breast, 18 were large for the middle row, and one medium for the left shoulder strap. Pelisse Dolmans were reinforced inside with leather patches; Goethals' has a deep strip of pale red leather around the waist.
Note also the way that the front flap of the breeches covered the central fly opening. Collection of Belgian Royal Army Museum, Brussels The pelisse was in dark green, lined with white flannel, and edged on the collar, the front edges and sleeve cuffs with black fur. Like the dolman it had 18 lines of white cording, but with five rows each of 18 buttons.
Waistcoat The vest was scarlet and sleeveless. The edge of the collar, the waist and the false pockets were piped in white. The breast bore 18 rows of white cord with five rows of medium size buttons. Legwear The breeches were of 'Hungarian' style, scarlet with white braids along the outer seams, and decorated with white pointed piques motifs on the front of the thighs. A hussar-style barrel sash was worn, made of 44 crimson cords with 20 white 'barrels'; 2.
Light cavalry boots in black leather were specified. Some had white braid trim with tassels at the top edge; others had simple black leather tassels stitched to the front; some boots were also worn without any ornament. The heel was reinforced with a 'horseshoe' and a fixed spur. Fatigue and field clothing The stable jacket - including the collar, facings and shoulder straps was made in the same dark green cloth as the rest of the uniform.
The voluminous cavalry greatcoat or sleeved cloak was made from green cloth, with a straight collar fastened with two small tabs. For field dress the red breeches were replaced by green riding overalls, fastening up the outside by means of 18 large buttons stitched into a stripe of scarlet cloth.
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They had a 25mm-wide leather instep strap, and buckskin reinforcement sewn into the crotch and inner legs. Towards the end of the Empire the trousers were made of grey cloth. Equipment The hussar model cartridge pouch was worn, a wooden box covered in black leather; the flap was fastened with a buckle stitched under the box. The pouch belt was in white hide.
The carbine sling was in white hide with a square buckle. The sword belt was of hussar type in white hide, adjustable by means of a buckle on the right side. Attached to rings on the left side, three slings supported the sabretache and two others the sabre scabbard. The belt also had a bayonet frog with leather sheath. The sabretache was in varnished black leather, without embroidery or piping. It bore a crowned eagle in silver-plated copper, surmounting the regimental number.
Three brass rings received the slings to the sword belt. This full equipment was rarely seen, however. Sabretache in black leather, with silver-plated crowned eagle and regimental number; and detail of Imperial eagle badge. Horse equipment The portmanteau was in green cloth with white braid stitched in a circle to the ends, surrounding the regimental number cut from white cloth. The shabraque was in white sheepskin, of hussar style. The saddlery and harness were also of hussar type, in black leather. Trumpeters All regiments wore the 'Imperial livery' like the light horse regiments of the Line.
The dark green dolman and pelisse bore seven chevrons on each arm in the Imperial braid. This was yellow with scarlet edges, divided into rectangles by transverse black lines, alternate rectangles bearing a green eagle and a green cypher 'N'. A variation showed narrower scarlet edges and the 'N' in yellow on a green ground; the eagle remained green on yellow. Later the four regiments would adopt distinctive uniforms in the style of the Imperial Guard trumpeters, who wore light blue.
Pawly | Napoleon's Guards of Honour | 1. Auflage | | –14
The dolman became light blue, perhaps worn in combination with a scarlet pelisse; a white busby with a red bag might also replace the shako. Officers 16 Similar uniform to troopers but of finer cloth, with silver piping and braid replacing white, and with individual variations in detail.
Colonels wore white plumes, and two silver bands round the upper Officer's black leather sabretache with silver lace border and silver-plated eagle, shield and crown badge. NCO's dolman cording, upper outside comer showing trefoil tennination. Silvered shako plate from the 2nd Regiment of Guards of Honour. Some officers wore a fur colpack busby with a scarlet bag piped and tasselled silver. All leather equipment was red with silver braiding and ornaments.
Hussar-style boots were worn in black or red leather with silver trim and tassels; some officers even wore light green boots, with gloves in the same colour. Horse harness was as luxurious as for hussar officers. Shabraques were in dark green cloth piped in red and braided silver; senior officers sometimes displayed gold braid.
This was worn with green breeches with white braid motifs, and a scarlet waistcoat with white braids. The hat cockade was attached by a white wool loop held by a silver-plated button. It was on 19 June , only two months after the decree, that the first detachment of the 1st Squadron of the 1st Regiment, led by the squadron commander Etienne de Pully son of the regimental colonel, Gen. It was Napoleon's intention to have the four first squadrons of each ten-squadron regiment assembled at Mainz as soon as possible.
Later, as and when other squadrons were brought to a state of readiness at the depots, they could join their regiments there. By 31 July the four first squadrons of the 1st Regiment were at Mainz or on their way. Colone1-M;:yor de Castellane a future marshal under Napoleon Ill was surprised by the lack of military knowledge displayed by officers and men alike, and astonished that they had been 17 1 18 sent forward to the army in this state: the men of the 4th Squadron were not even capable of leading a horse.
The year-old officer complained mainly about the short time he was given to teach his soldiers horsemanship; in his opinion even men who had been forced into the army could become good soldiers, as long as a realistic period of time was devoted to training them. From Tours the 1st Squadron of the 3rd Regiment, led by Maj. Darbaud-Misson, left for Mainz, where they awaited the arrival of the 2nd Squadron before proceeding together to Gotha, where they were expected on 8 September The first squadron of the 4th Regiment soon followed from Lyon, after taking two days to prepare for departure.
At 6am on a fine morning the troopers were lined up on the barrack square of the Caserne de la Charite, watched from every vantage point by a crowd of citizens. The general did not make a speech, but when he gave the command to march the trumpets sounded and everyone, soldiers and citizens together, cried 'Vive l'Empereur! One by one, the regiments sent their squadrons to Mainz and from there to join the army.
They marched as Provisional Regiments, resuming their proper titles when they reached Gotha. Arriving at Mainz, where he hoped for some rest, Cramer wrote to his family: 'We have just received our orders. We are being sent to Gotha in all haste and without a single day of rest - we have just two hours before leaving.
The roads are packed with cavalry; the quartermasters are marching - as always - 24 hours in advance [of their units] but several together. I have seen a squadron of the Metz regiment [2nd], together with a regiment of Line cavalry, crossing the Rhine. It is a good moment when one sets foot across the border of France. The Emperor said that he will have an army of , men on his birthday. He could not understand why they were refused decent cadres seconded from the Line. In the middle we see an officer in full dress inspecting the horses being led through a water bath.
On the left, soldiers in stable dress groom the mounts. In this picture we cannot distinguish the 'Tartars' who were admitted into the regiments to groom the horses of two guardsmen each. Published in , the memoir was illustrated by the famous Dutch artist Hoynck van Papendrecht; coming from a military family himself, the artist could represent military life and uniforms with precision.
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This drawing shows a moment on 29 september after Cramer's squadron of the 4th Regiment had paraded in front of Marshal Kellermann. They did not make much of a showing, and this - coming on top of an incident some days earlier which could have been interpreted as mutinous - had not endeared them to their colonel.
Represented here in undress uniform, he told them that every tenth man would have been shot if he had reported the incident to the emperor. Pacing along the ranks, he counted aloud, and each time he came to 'Tenl' he grabbed the man by his uniform and shouted, 'Sir, you would have been shotl' The guardsmen were suitably terrified; and the colonel dismissed them with the words, 'Let this be a lesson, gentlemenl I will forget what has happened.
It is your tum now to make sure that I can forget it - so follow your instructions meticulously'. Author's collection of the human material at his disposal, since most of the Guards of Honour were better educated and learned faster than other soldiers; but they had far too few instructors, and not enough time for instruction. Meanwhile Gen. Many of them were not suited for military life, and ended up in hospital after a period of training.
As a consequence the other men at the depot each had to take care of two horses, which took up even more of the already inadequate time available for training them. On 12 August one of the few Dutch volunteers, the year-old Jacobus Salverda of the 4th Regiment, wrote to his parents that his unit were quartered in the ruins of the Marmouillet monastery.
They slept four to a room, on straw mattresses covered by old blankets with holes he could stick two fingers through, some of them patched with old socks instead of blanket cloth. At 5am they had to get up and groom and feed the horses; then they were drilled. At lOam they had breakfast - a piece of boiled meat and half a bottle of wine; dinner was at 4pm, consisting of soup and meat.
This all sounds perfectly normal for a Napoleonic soldier, but apparently came as something of a shock to young Salverda; he complained that he was leading a dog's life - but could still find pleasure in it. At the barracks of the 1st Regiment in Versailles, new detachments arrived from Rome, Amsterdam, Piedmont and the centre of France.
Within 24 hours of their arrival at the depot they were organised into companies and squadrons, and from the moment that they could mount a horse and knew the basics they were sent to Mainz. A detachment of some hundred horses was sometimes commanded by an officer who had never before served in the cavalry, and the NCOs were appointed from among the recruits more or less by pointing at likely looking men and saying, 'You, you're the sergeant-major; you're a sergeant, and you're a corporal'.
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Occasionally things went better than this, however. They were better disciplined and trained that most of the squadrons, thanks to the hard work of Adjutant-Major Semin, who had come from the 13e Chasseurs a cheval - proof that good, experienced NCOs could do wonders. On 15 September they reachedJoinville, and Metz on the 21st. General Dejean, field commander of the Guards of Honour Division, left Leipzig on 20 August with the first six squadrons, arriving at Dresden three days later. With him he had Col. Each of the six squadrons was led by its squadron commander except the 2nd of the 2nd Regiment, whose commander had been replaced and now served as a supernumerary.
But with all these senior officers, Gen. Dejean still lacked lower-ranking officers and NCOs. Little by little, the Guards of Honour were gathered around the emperor; but meanwhile, a confrontation was brewing back in France.
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They were duly noticed; but at Tours, where Gen. Large parts of the regiment came from the Vendee region in the west of France, which had been a royalist heartland during the Revolution. The people of this area had taken up arms and resisted the Parisian government for several years; and this counter-revolution - which was finally crushed with great brutality - had been led by famous local families with names such as d'Elbee, de Charette, la Rochejaquelein and de Netumieres. As long as Napoleon held a winning hand and France was still powerful and victorious the province remained quiet - the Revolution had killed all the leaders of the Vendee.
But now their sons and nephews were called to serve in the Guards of Honour. Royalist in heart and blood, they would only serve the emperor more or less grudgingly, and strictly in order to save France from defeat or invasion. While this potentially disaffected group were quartered in Tours, most of them in private apartments in the town and thus unsupervised during their free hours, an unknown man said to have been a horse dealer contacted some of them. During the last two weeks of August , the guardsmen gathered daily at an inn called the Cafe Leblanc-the name of the proprietor-which was also known as the Cafe Militaire; it was in this building that the young de Netumieres had quarters.
These gatherings usually involved about 20 Guards of Honour together with some civilians. The evenings fell into a pattern: the talented Guardsman de Barrau sang to entertain the company, wine was drunk, the young men laughed, talked - and made plans. As the weeks passed the talk became bolder.
Some spoke of taking prisoner their colonel and the local colonel of the Gendarmerie, seizing the regimental and town money chests, and marching back to the Vendee to organise an insurrection. This idea was abandoned as their ranks were thinned by the departure of some of the squadrons to join the army. Among the wilder suggestions were a plan to march with some guardsmen to Saint-Cloud and capture the empress; and another, to ride to Valen Guard of Honour at the charge, by Bastin. The red tip of his plume indicates the 1st Regiment. The white sheepskin shabraque, shown here with green edging, was in use by the rankers but not the officers of all four regiments.
The flounders and tassels on his right shoulder may be a fantasy of the artist, as they were officially forbidden at this date, but such orders were sometimes disobeyed. Since 25 August was the day of St Louis, a famous medieval Crusader king of France, that was the day to celebrate everything these royalists stood for. Some 16 guardsmen gathered at the Cafe Militaire, among them Lt.
They had a large meal, and wine flowed generously; toasts were drunk to a squadron of the regiment whose good behaviour in the presence of the enemy had just been reported, and the newly promoted Sgt. As the drink went to their heads glasses were raised to Louis XVIII; there was excited talk about going over to the enemy the moment they crossed the Rhine on their way to join the army - even of assassinating Napoleon. It was agreed that they needed the support of influential members of the regiment including de Charette, de Marigny, de Boissimon and Delaunay.
The next morning's hangovers cooled the young men's mood considerably; but on 15 October the Cafe Militaire was closed down for a month by order of the police. Unknown to all from the colonel down, the Minister of Police had placed a man from the Vendee in the ranks of the 3rd Regiment as a spy. The minister informed Gen. Most of the arrests went unnoticed, but Frottier de Lacoste was taken away after an inspection, and his close friend de Netumieres saw him go. When he tried to intervene he was sent away by the colonel. Later de Netumieres' friends and family would claim that he was mentally unstable; he was certainly deeply upset, and made plans to liberate his friend.
General de Segur, feeling insecure, had some gendarmes installed in and around his house. Nevertheless, when darkness fell a party of conI. Suddenly, Gen. He demanded that the colonel release de Lacoste; de Segur refused, and ordered them to leave; and de Netumieres fired, slightly wounding the colonel. In the commotion, de Segur drew his sword to defend himself; Bargain and de Netumieres tried twice more to shoot the colonel, but each time their pistols misfired.
In moments the room filled with gendarmes, and de Netumieres and his accomplices were dragged away. All were imprisoned; and their lives were only saved by the fall of Napoleon in spring It was only a few months later that this same regiment, commanded by its colonel General de ;".
Segur, would fight so bravely at Rheims. Officer of the Gardes d'honneur, , in tenue de route, by L. This officer wears the very popular shako rouleau of tall cylindrical shape, in the corps' distinctive scarlet with silver decorations. A crimson leather cover protects his expensive pouch belt; his green overalls have silver side-stripes. The officer's green shabraque has the lower comers hooked up to protect the silver embroidered crowned eagle emblems from wear and dirt and perhaps also to hide this symbol of the Imperial Guard from the eyes of the enemy?
In that brief period he had restored order in the capital, regathered his energies, raised a new army, and marched back across the Rhine. Between 2 and 21 May he had inflicted a series of lightning defeats on the Russo-Prussian armies at Liitzen, Bautzen and Wiirtschen. On 8 May Napoleon had been at Dresden; on the 29th of that same month Marshal ey's vanguard entered Breslau, while Davout recaptured Hamburg.
The Allies agreed to an armistice, which was signed at Pleiswitz. Napoleon hoped that this respite would enable him to regroup his armies and strengthen his cavalry. In the end it would prove a mistake; if he had wanted, he could have negotiated a lasting peace instead of a temporary ceasefire. In the event, all the French roads leading towards the Rhine were soon thronged with new troops heading towards Saxony to join the rest of the army. Spring had been successful for the French, and it looked as if this would continue as long their southern German allies supported this effort.
Perhaps Napoleon's father-in-law, the Emperor of Austria, would join his side? Napoleon's intention was to separate the Russians and the Prussians from the English-organised coalition, and to impose his conditions on each of them. Although he was pre-occupied by these strategic political questions, the rudimentary training received by the Guards of Honour had not escaped the emperor's attention.
But he needed soldiers in Germany, and COs were more necessary in the field army than back home at the depots. His intention was to give them officers from within their own corps. The emperor was convinced that the Guards of Honour, kept under his own eye and close to his Imperial Guard, would learn their trade without delay. Until they could be promoted as officers for Line units, Napoleon would use them to manoeuvre in front of the enemy, practising their craft and making a useful show of force without being engaged in battle.
The deeper the first squadrons moved into Germany the closer they got to the emperor, and a first encounter could not be avoided for long. Informed that Napoleon was going to inspect his Guards of Honour, Gen. Dejean gave them time to adjust their uniforms and equipment and had them lined up in battle order. Napoleon arrived shortly afterwards; the soldiers dismounted and the emperor walked along their ranks, addressing himself to several of them.
When he had done so, they remounted - and the emperor announced that he wished to see them manoeuvre. General Dejean gave his orders; but if the presence of the emperor troubled the new recruits, it troubled their commanding officers even more - they knew that their troops were not well enough trained to execute their orders without difficulties. They had had to learn too much in too short a time.
Even an order to execute a 'column by four to the right' or a 'turn back by four to the left' was enough to get them into a tangle. The marshals and generals of the staff who accompanied Napoleon, wishing to spare the emperor this unmilitary spectacle, came forward to guide the troops through the manoeuvres. They ended up as they had started, lined up in battle order. Seeing that they were unequal to even the simplest of manoeuvres en masse, a senior officer thought that perhaps they might do better in grand manoeuvres by platoon, and the commander asked whether the emperor wished to see this.
The Guards of Honour and their squadron officers knew better - they had never practised such movements. A foreign-born officer, new to the Guards of Honour as were most of their officers ordered them in to motion. In spite of the shouted orders of the officers and the generals they ended up in total confusion. The emperor, with a glacial face, summoned the regimental officers and upbraided them for the lack of training; no one dared to point out to him that their soldiers had only been in the army for three mon ths.
To complete this new unit, each of the 30 dragoon regiments of the line provided 12 men, each of whom had done 10 years of service, and the brigadier, chasseur, and dragoon line regiments provided the sous-officiers. In the Russian campaign of , the French Army had suffered badly from attacks by the Russian Cossack cavalry. About to fight on French soil for the first time since the French Revolutionary Wars , Napoleon decided to reorganize the Imperial Guard.
They joined the army on January 1, , just in time to participate in the Six Days Campaign , and were disbanded after Napoleon's first abdication. Incorporated into the regiment was a squadron of Lithuanian Tatars as the Escadron de Lithuanian Tartares. The squadron was never increased to a regiment in strength. Over the years their casualties were replaced from French cavalry regiments, or from any vaguely Middle Eastern related nationalities.
Although technically classed as cavalry of the Guard, Legion de Gendarmerie d'Elite troops invariably served in detachments with the General Staff of the Guard, Napoleon's personal headquarters, and the Guard field camps. The Legion included mounted and dismounted troops, the mounted component being two squadrons. The regiments were dressed in the fashion of the hussars. They served alongside the other Guard cavalry, but were not technically part of the Old, Middle or Young Guard. In this was increased to two companies, and later one battalion of four companies totaling sappers.
The 1st and 2nd companies were classed as Old Guard, while the 3rd and 4th companies as the Young Guard. Raised from sailors of the French navy who had distinguished themselves, the battalion of Marins wore a distinctive, elaborate uniform resembling that of the hussars.
Their officers bore titles of rank derived from their seagoing compatriots, and the overall commander of the marines bore the rank of Capitaine de Vaisseau. Their duties including manning boats and other watercaft used by the Emperor.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the group of soldiers who acted as Napoleon Bonaparte's personal guard. For other uses, see Imperial Guard. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Further information: Voltigeurs.
Main article: Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard. Main article: Sailors of the Imperial Guard. Parry c. Napoleon's Guard Infantry.
Related Napoleons Guards of Honour: 1813-14
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