Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

 

Aperçus d’histoire: the 5th French Hussars (1807)

«Il ne meurt que les armes à la main» – Perit sed in armis.

«Puisque vous hussards prennent des places fortes, je n’ ai qu’ à licencier mon Corps de Génie et à faire fondre ma grosse artillerie» – Because your hussars take some fortresses, I have but to dismiss my corps of engineers and have to melt my heavy artillery.

                                                                                                               Napoléon, 1806.

By Roberto A. Scattolin, Italy

The 5e Régiment de Hussards took its origins from the 2e Légion des volontaires étrangers de la marine, also named Légion des volontaires étrangers de Lauzun.

This combat unit had been created on March 5, 1780, for the military campaigns America .

The corps actively served from 1780 to 1783.  It was composed of a mixed force – 1 company of grenadiers; 1 company of chasseurs; 2 squadrons of hussards; 1 company of canonniers.

After coming back to metropolitan France , on September 14, 1783, it was officially constituted at Hennebont (Morbihan), with the cavalry of the Legion, the Régiment des hussards de Lauzon.

The corps was created by the duc de Chartres, at Haguenau; the newly-created cavalry organization was formed by a company of each of the four regiments already existing: Berchény, Chamborant, Esterhazy, Conflans.

In 1791, the regiment  was numbered the 6e Régiment de hussarsThe colonel-propriétairemestre de camp propriétaire – was Armand Louis de Gontaut-Biron (b. Paris, April 13, 1747-d. Paris, December 31, 1793), duc de Lauzun (1766). Its commanding officer was instead the comte Robert Dillon – mestre de camp commandant.  By the Decree of June 4, 1793, the regiment was re-numbered as the 5e Régiment de Hussards.

Its motto was that of the Gontaut-Biron family: «Perit sed in armis»;  «he dies but with the weapons».

In the 1807 campaign, the regiment had one of the most beautiful uniforms in the French army. Its magnificent and elegant attire – uniform – consisted of the following items:

«[...] une pelisse blanche avec galons, ganses, olives et tresse en laine jaune et fourrure noire, dolman et pantalon bleu de ciel garnis de galons, de tresses, et de franges en laine jaune, gilet rouge avec ganse et galons jaunes, ceinture cramoisie à noeud en laine rouge, sabretache fond blanc avec un aigle en cuivre, bordée d’ un large galon, et, au bas, le n° 5; sabre courbé à fourreau en cuivre, deux pistolets et une petite carabine, colback à flamme blanche avec jugulaire en chaînons de cuivre; le petit uniforme à la mamelouk avec tresse en laine.

Même uniforme pour les officiers, seulement la passementerie et les ornements en or et la distinction du grade sur les manches et le pantalon. En grande tenue de gala, pantalon blanc et or, le dolman avec ceinture et bottines de maroquin rouge avec de très petits éperons.Le harnachement du cheval consistait dans une selle à la hussarde, garnie de cuivre à l’extrémité postérieure, schabraque bleu de ciel avec galon jaune, porte-manteau rond en drap bleu de ciel avec galon jaune aux extrémités; poitrail portant un coeur en cuivre, brides ornées de cuivre et mors sans bossette»(1).

Colonel Pierre César baron Dery was the flamboyant commanding officer, and had taken command on  December 30, 1806.

This bright French officer «[...] était un créole de la Martinique, âgé de trente et un ans; destiné au barreau, il avait fait d’assez bonnes études, mais la Révolution lui ouvrant une carrière plus analogue à ses goûts, il s’ engagea dans le 1er régiment de Chasseurs, devint le camarade de lit de Murat et obtint assez rapidement l’ épaulette par plusieurs actions d’ éclat. Sa tournure distinguée, son éducation et sa bravoure déterminèrent Murat à le prendre pou aide de camp à son retour d’ Egypte, avec le grade de chef d’ escadron, et il le fit nommer colonel au 5e Hussards après la bataille d’ Iéna»(2).

In the last campaign, the regiment suffered severe losses and was cited many times for its bravery in action. The clutches of death took a heavy toll of human lives; and over 300 soldiers(3) were put out of action either killed, wounded, or died of wounds.

Regimental status: 1807

Colonel: Dery; Major-lieutenant-colonel: Martel; Chef d’ escadron: Perrin; Chef d’ escadron: Hirn; Capitaine-adjudant-major: D’Espinchal; Capitaine, quartier-maître-trésorier: Andrieu.

Capitaines: Barbere, Bry D’Arcy, Chabert, Chardon, Drouard, Kister, Laborderie, Lemire, Mexuer, Moffart, Muller, Nicolle, Schawb, Tirlemont, Vollet, Wagnette.

Lieutenants: Beaumont, Chepy, Dam, Ferquet, Gallois, Jacob, Oierre, Oudinot, Pierre, Richardot, Robert de Conandre, Roechel, Scheglinsky, Sep Dit Roegis.

Sous-lieutenants: Barthelemy, Castelbajac, Cristmance, Desnoyers, De Thermes, Drouard, Dubroca, Duval de Beaulieu, Geoffroy,  Gondoin, Graffant, Guittel, Hartmann, Joyenval, Kauffer, Koeler, Laborie, Muller, Nicolle, Pettin, Rivocet, Terriez,Vicq.

Ranking officers: Chefs de Brigade, and Colonels

1793: colonel marquis Le Lièvre de La Grange; 1793, 28 October: Chef de Brigade Ruin François; 1794, 5 March: Chef de Brigade Engelbert Scholtenius; 1799, 3 September: Chef de Brigade François-Xavier de Schwartz; 1806, 30 December: Colonel Dery Pierre-César Dery; 1809, 21 September: Colonel Claude Meuziau; 1813, 16 May: Colonel Alphonse Fournier; 1814, 8 October: Colonel Jean-Baptiste Liegeard.

Biographies

Pierre César Dery was born on February 2, 1768, at Saint-Pierre; he died during the 1812 Russian Campaign.  He attained the rank of Général of the Empire.

1806, 30 December: colonel in the 5e hussards, and employed in Lasalle’s division
1807, 4 February: he was wounded at Walthersdorf charging the enemy forces at the head of his regiment; 10 June: at Heilsberg, he was again wounded;

1808, 12 October: service in Germany , in Pajol’s brigade;
1809, 20 September: passed in the service of the kingdom of Naples in the capability of général de brigade;
1810, 3 May: baron of the Empire;
1811, 6 August: rejoined the French army;
1812: he served under Sébastiani in the Russian campaign; 26 July: wounded at the combat of Ostrowno; 18 October: died in the combat of Winkowo attacking a troop of Cossacks.

His name is inscribed on the eastern façade of the Arc de Triomphe de l’ Etoile.

Commanding officers wounded in command of the 5th Hussars Regiment

Colonel Dery: above mentioned references; 1812, September 7 (Moskowa), and October 18 (Winkowo): Colonel Meuziau.

Officers killed and wounded while serving with the 5th Hussars Regiment, 1805-1815

Dufay, lieutenant, Austerlitz (2 December 1805); Quarck, capitaine, Tykoczin (25 December 1806); Goubaud, lieutenant, Golymin (26 December 1806; died on 28th); Remy, capitaine, Watherdorf (4 February 1808; the officer died on 2 March); Gondoin, sous-lieutenant, Spain (June 1811); Drouard, chef d’ escadron, Moskowa (7 September 1812); Perrein, sous-lieutenant, Moskowa (7 September 1812); Chardon, capitaine, Mojaïsk (9 September 1812); Richardot, capitaine, Winkowo (18 October 1812); Bourlier, sous-lieutenant, Leipzig (16 October 1813); De Marcieu, lieutenant, Hanau (30 October 1813).

According to Aristide Martinien data, officers wounded in action number.

Vide: TABLEAUX [...], pp. 620-621-622.

War Record

1792: Valmy and Jemmapes (as 6th Regiment of Hussars); 1793: Wattignies; 1794: blockade of Nimegue; 1795: Texel; 1797: Neuwied; 1799: Ostrach and Stokach; 1800: Mosskirch, Biberach, Kirchberg and Hohenlinden; 1805, December 2: Austerlitz: the regiment – 1er division de cavalerie légère, attached to the 1er corps d’ armée, commanded by général de division Kellermann served in the 1er brigade, général de brigade Van Marisy, and it counted 355 men under Colonel François Xavier-Nicolas Schwartz ; 1806, October 2: Crewitz; Stettin; December 26: Golymin; 1807, February 4: Waltersdorf; February 8: Preußisch-Eylau; June 10: Heilsberg: the regiment (3 sq.) served in the division de cavalerie légére Lasalle, brigade Pajol; June 13: Königsberg; 1809: Eckmühl; July 6: Wagram; 1812, September 7: Moskowa; October 18: Winkono; November 28: Beresina; 1813: Bautzen; October 16: Leipzig; October 30: Hanau; 1814: Arcis-sur-Aube; 1815: Ligny, Waterloo; July 1: Versailles.

Vide: Napoleon’ s Hussars, p. 22.

Laurels of glory

Jemmapes (1792); Jena (1806); Eckmuhl (1809); La Moskowa (1812); Hanau (1813).

Bibliography

1. English works:

Bukhari, Emir. Napoleon’ s Hussars. Men at Arms Series 76, Osprey Publishing Ltd. 1978.

2. French works:

Bouquoy, Cdt.. La Cavalerie légère. Jacques Grancher, Éditeur, Paris 1980.

Espinchal, D’, Hippolyte. Souvenirs Militaires. Le Livre chez Vous, Paris 2005.

----- Vide: Espinchal, D’, Hippolyte. Souvenirs Militaires 1792-1814. Publiés par Frédéric Masson et François Boyer. Librairie Paul Ollendorff, 1901.

Martinien, A. TABLEAUX PAR CORPS ET PAR BATAILLES DES OFFICIERS TUÉS ET BLESSÉS PENDANT LES GUERRES DE L’ EMPIRE (1805-1815). Éditions Militaires Européennes, Paris.

Saint-Victor, de, Castillon. Historique du 5e régiment de hussards. Paris, Ed. Lobert &  Pierson, 1889.

Textual references

(1)Souvenirs Militaires, pp. 130-131.

(2)Souvenirs Militaires, p. 131.

(3)Souvenirs Militaires, p. 130.

Roger Forthoffer

Some beautiful plates concerning the uniforms of the 5e Hussards have been drawn by the talented Roger Forthoffer (1920-1982).

From the manuscript of Marckolsheim ( Alsace), the skilful French researcher and uniformologist drew 197 planches en noir, mostly referrring to cavalry trumpets.

Tables codes: Nr. 152: Officier, 5e Hussards, 1809; Nr. 153: Hussard, 5e Hussards, 1813; Nr. 154: Trompette, 5e Hussards, 1808-1809.

However, in his fisches documentaires there are more tables referring to the abovementioned cavalry unit.

Nr. 177, France, Le 5e Hussards, 1793-1815, year 1967; Nr. 178, France, Le 5e Hussards, Compagnie du Centre, D’ élite, year 1967; Nr. 179, France, Le 5e Hussards, Trompettes, 1809-1812, year 1967; Nr. 180, France, Le 5e Hussards, Officiers, 1806-1812, year 1967; Nr. 181, France, Le 5e Hussards, Officiers, source Martinet, year 1966.

Albert Rigondaud

A series of colour planches with uniforms and regimental colours were self-edited by Albert Rigondaud, and he used to sign his works and paintings by the abbrevation of Rigo.

Rigondaud was apparently an official army painter.

The Rigo uniforms plates were called under the distictive reference of Le Plumet.

In his series Consulat-Empire, the following pieces can be found: Nr. 9, Hussards: 5e Régiment, Trompette du Rang en 1809; Nr. 185, Hussards, 5e Régiment, Trompettes 1803-1809; Nr. 245, Hussards, 5e Régiment, le Colonel baron Meuziau en 1810.

Another plate is in the series U: Nr. U13, Hussards, 5e Régiment en 1802, 1808 et 1813.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: April 2007

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