Napoleon Series Archive 2003

Re: French Penal Regiment Organization

Hi,
There was an article "Les Régiments de Réfractaires 1810-1814" by Alain Pigeard in the french journal Tradition Magazine n°167 p14-18.
According to this article the 1er de la Méditerranée was reorganised in 1811 (decree of 11 march) in 4 battalions of 6 companies without grenadiers and voltigeurs. There was also a fifth battalions of depot with 4 companies. It was clearly written in the decree that the 2 regiments de la Méditerranée will not have grenadier or voltigeurs companies until two years of service. At this time, the war minister will decide if they can have one or more. The 1er de la Méditerranée was transformed in the 35th light infantry regiment on september 20, 1812 (I don't know if elite companies were formed at this time).
the 2nd regiment de la Méditerranée was formed in march 11, 1811 (4 bat 6 comp + 1 bat depot 4 comp).It becomes the 133rd infantry regiment on september 20, 1812. He fought at Wolkowisk (16 nov 1812) and after this fight, elite companies were made with the most distinguished men. But apprently these companies were not formed in all the battalions since 1 grenadiers company and 1 voltigeurs company were formed in the 4th battalion the 21 march 1813 after their brilliant valour at the battle of Kalisch (13 feb 1813).
The regiment of Walcheren was created by decree of the 24 january 1811 with the same organization of the 1er de la Méditerranée. It became the 131st infantry regiment the 20 september 1812.
The regiment de Belle-Ile was created on the same date (same organization). It became the 36th light infantry the 20 september 1812.
The regiment de l'ile de Ré was also created on 11 march 1811 with the same organization. It became the 132rd infantry regiemnt the 20 september 1812.
In 1812, the refractaires regiment were in the division Durutte formed into 3 brigades : 1st brig general Devaux (Wurzbourg regiment 2nd, 3rd and 4th bat; regiment de Belle-Ile 2nd, 3rd and 4th bat); 2nd brig general Jalras (Walcheren reg. 2nd, 3rd and 4th bat; 1st de la Méditerranée 1st, 2nd bat); 3rd brig general Jarry (2nd de la Méditerranée the 4 first bat; regiment de l'ile de ré 2nd, 3rd and 4th bat). After the success encountered in the battle of Wolkowisk, Reynier ask the Emperor to autorise the formation of elite companies. We know that some were formed since there were almost 5 companies in the division Durutte after that.

Hope this help

François Lo Presti

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