Napoleon Series Archive 2009

Re: Lithuanian Regiments-1812
In Response To: Lithuanian Regiments-1812 ()

Dan,

On July 1, 1812, Napoleon established the Great Lithuanian Principality and ordered the creation of a national guard and gendarmerie. There were four departments: Vilnius, Grodno, Minsk, and Bielostok. Aleksandr Sapiega was appointed “chief of the military commission”. On July 5, Napoleon ordered a Lithuanian army to be raised, provided French financing and placed it under his direct command. The 18th to 22nd infantry regiments, the 17th to 20th uhlan regiments, and the 3ème Régiment de chevau-légers lanciers de la Garde were authorized to be raised in Lithuania. The regimental commanders selected were from the most influential and wealthy families of Lithuania and were expected to help fund the organization of their respective regiments. The majors were Polish officers. The decrees of July 25 and August 1 called on the departments to provide the following troops:

• Vilnius was to provide 3,000 infantrymen and 1,327 cavalrymen
• Grodno was to provide 2,500 infantrymen and 996 cavalrymen
• Minsk was to provide 3,000 infantrymen and 1,307 cavalrymen
• Bialostok was to provide 1,500 infantrymen and 370 cavalrymen

Length of service was set at six years. The last day for recruitment was September 25. Numbering was to follow that of the Duchy of Warsaw, but the units would be independent of the Duchy.

The infantry regiments were to be formed as the French with three battalions, each with six companies, for a total of 2,005 enlisted men. The uhlan regiments were to be formed with four squadrons, each of two companies, tor a total of 940 enlisted men. The 3ème Régiment de Chevau-légers Lanciers de la Garde was to be organized with five squadrons, each of two companies, for a total of 62 officers and 1,218 enlisted men (1,280 total). Conscription was decreed for the infantry regiments on August 5, and the cavalry draft followed on August 15. An additional 1000 men were recruited into the 129ème Régiment d’infanterie de ligne and the 2nd Provisional Croatian Regiment (500 each).

On August 2, the Litowski Kurrier published a call to Lithuanian tartars to form a volunteer regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Mirza Achmatowicz from the army of the Duchy of Warsaw was appointed to command. Only one squadron formed and it was attached to the 3ème Régiment de Chevau-légers Lanciers de la Garde.

On August 12, the government was ordered to raise six light-infantry battalions. Each battalion had six companies and each company had nine officers and 130 enlisted men. They were to be organized with at least 2/3 volunteer foresters and hunters with weapons experience and financed by the proprietors of the forests they were recruited from. Their duty was to patrol, resist cossack forays, round up tramps, and serve as a police force. In September these six battalions were incorporated into the Army of Lithuania as two regiments, each of three battalions. Only one regiment with two battalions was actually formed.

On August 24, Hogendorp was named as the “President of the Commission of the Lithuanian Government” and given the task of completing the Army of Lithuania by the beginning of January. Also appointed to high command were Général de division prince Romuald Giedrojc (general inspector), Général de brigade Ksavery Niesiolowski (infantry inspector), and Général de brigade Józef Wawrzecki (cavalry inspector). There were 40,000 French muskets provided to the army.

By the end of September the units were formed. About 15,000 Lithuanians were raised by the French and 6,000 men and 2,000 horses withdrew into Germany with the Grand Army.

Sources:
Kudriashov, Ilya. Lithuanian Military Under Napoleon in 1812, The Napoleon Series Readers Articles (napoleon-series.simplenet.com), 1998.
Nafziger, Poles and Saxons.

I have additional details, but nothing on flags or uniforms.

Best Regards, Jerry

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