Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

THIRTEENTH BOOK.

______

YEAR 1813.

___

FIRST CHAPTER.

CREATION OF NEW REGIMENTS OF THE GUARD.

I.

The campaign of Russia had devoured all military and financial resources.  The Imperial Guard, had no cavalry any more, no infantry, nor artillery; but there remained France, this mother with the strong udders, like the Sybille of old; France with a population of fifty million souls.  Napoleon could therefore still hope!  His first task was to deal with the reorganization of artillery, because all his (artillery) parks had remained under the snow, and from one hundred eighty pieces of cannon which crossed the Niemen, ten had returned from there, served by a hundred artillerists.  Shortly after his arrival in Paris, he held council with the general inspectors of artillery, on the means to provide for this absolute deficit of (artillery) parks, because the artillery of the Guard was to play a great part in the next campaign; more of the infantry of the young Guard would be weak, since it could be made up only of conscripts, so it was most important that the artillery was strong.  The arsenals of Metz, of Strasbourg, of Alexandria, of Antwerp, could still manufacture considerable material; but the artillerists were gone; the artillery is a special corps: one does not make an (artillery) aimer in one day.  Consequently the Emperor resolved to call up for land service the naval artillery that had been sitting idle aboard the squadrons.  Indeed, what was the need for this personnel aboard vessels, which did not leave the ports?  Nothing was more solid than this naval artillery, made up of men of tirelessness and energy; operating pieces with all the more dexterity, because of being accustomed for a long time with the difficult service of the ports; thus the naval cannoneers were formed in regiments: alone they were as valiant as the old artillerists of the Guard.

The cavalry had experienced losses as fatal as the artillery; from the twenty-five thousand horsemen that had entered Russia, grenadiers, chasseurs, dragoons, Polish lancers and light horsemen, not eight hundred mounted men returned from there.  The horses were not wanting; but they had to be broken and trained, provided to the men; a rider takes almost as a long a time to form as an artillerist; one does not put a man on a horse to improvise the grenadier, dragoon or lancer.  Here the activity of Napoleon appeared in all its wonders.  Initially he withdrew the old cavalry regiments from the Army of Spain; and their cadres were used to organize the new squadrons of the Guard: at the same time all the officers and noncommissioned officers of the gendarmes who were of an age and usefully situated were taken; all of those whose horses could still campaign were required and were compensated by a suitable price; thus horses were drawn up for the squadrons; and as these purely military measures were not yet sufficient to reorganize the cavalry of the Guard, the Minister of the Department of the Interior impelled the cities, the corporations, the Senate, the Council of State, the prefects, to offer everywhere mounted horsemen: the cities, the authorities, the bishops even, provided their quotas.  One had thus more than four thousand mounted horsemen, under the orders of officers and non commissioned officers of instruction, drawn from the gendarmerie.

For the infantry, the national resources were greater and easier: the troops of the first band of the National Guard had been called up at once.  A hundred thousand men of these cohorts held garrison in the towns, like a formidable reserve.  They were vigorous men, almost all the age of twenty-two to twenty-seven years, trained for one year under old officers: they operated with a remarkable precision.  A choice could be made from them and many became the cadres of the regiments of fusiliers, tirailleurs, flanqueurs and voltigeurs of the Young Guard.  Arms were not wanting either in the arsenals with the manufacturing of Saint-Etienne.  Further Napoleon improvised a marvelous method to organize and to train the young soldiers on the march: the route was fixed; one started from a point in company, one moved onto exercise and maneuver, one fired; then, these companies, always on the move, grouped in battalions, and successively in regiments, brigades and divisions, always practicing as a group; thus no delay was experienced; an army corps, composed of young soldiers, came together all at once without delay.

 Among the elite men of the infantry of line, Napoleon chose those who were to belong to the Old Guard.  These crack corps were to set the example to the army and to support it in the military crises: the Emperor could only not forget that during the retirement of Moscow, he had had no other regular army but the Old Guard.

The 10th of January 1813, an Imperial Decree, dated at Paris, ordered the formation of a 6th regiment bis (again) of tirailleurs, of a 6th regiment bis of voltigeurs and a battalion bis of fusiliers of the Young Guard.*

*This battalion was not formed.

The same decree said: “The regiment of the horse chasseurs of the Old Guard will be increased to eight complete squadrons, each of two hundred and fifty men.

The second regiment of light horse lancers (Old Guard) will be increased to eight squadrons, each of two hundred and fifty men.

A fifth squadron of horse grenadiers of the Old Guard will be formed, complete with three hundred men.”

The 17th, found formed a third, a fourth and a fifth regiment bis (again) of tirailleurs, and a third, fourth and fifth regiment bis (again) of voltigeurs (Young Guard).

The 26th, the battalion of the equipment train was reorganized in its entirety and was supplemented with six companies, without regard to the manpower that this battalion was to have on campaign.

The three companies of workmen of the administration were also reorganized in Paris.

The 29th, the Emperor decided that the cadre of the company of Mameloucks would form as that of a squadron of the same arm, complete with two hundred and fifty men.

Lastly, the 30th, the company of the sappers of the engineers was increased to its grand compliment.

Next on February 10, an Imperial Decree, dated at the Palace of the Tuileries, ordered the formation of a regiment of the artillery train of the Old Guard.

The 15th of the same month, the 3rd Regiment of Grenadiers (Dutch) were removed, and the regiment of the National Guards became the seventh voltigeurs of the Young Guard.

The number of the general-adjutants of the Guard was increased to seven.  The adjutants for rations and those of clothing were removed from the Old Guard, just as the quartermasters of the two regiments of fusiliers of the Young Guard.

The 23rd, the 2nd Regiment of Light Horse Lancers was increased from the eight squadrons of which it was composed, to ten squadrons, and represented then a total of two thousand five hundred men.  The horse Guard, known as of Paris, was incorporated into this regiment.

Next on March 6, the Regiment of the Horse Chasseurs of the Old Guard was increased to nine squadrons: Mameloucks formed the tenth.

The same day the hundred mounted men offered by the first military division for the regiment of horse artillery of the young Guard, were definitively assigned to the recruitment of the second regiment of light horse lancers.

The 8th, the number of the companies of the battalion of equipment was increased, from six that it was previously, to eight.

The cadre of the company of sappers of the engineers was increased by a second lieutenant, two sergeants, six corporals and one hundred twenty-sappers.

An Imperial Decree, dating from Trianon, on March 16, 1813, granted four sappers to each battalion of fusiliers, flanqueurs, tirailleurs and voltigeurs of the Young Guard.

The 22nd, 1st and 3rd regiments of light horse lancers, not mounting more than a single regiment under the denomination of: 1st Regiment of Light Horse Lancers.

The 23rd, created a new regiment of flanqueurs, known as chasseurs, an 8th Regiment of Tirailleurs, and an 8th Regiment of Voltigeurs of the Young Guard.

On April 5, Napoleon being at the Elysιe Palace issued what follows:

“On the report of our Minister of War;
Our Council of State announced,
ART. 1st. The distribution of the guards of honor, which must compose the four regiments created by the Senate Consul, on the date of the day before yesterday (April 3, 1813), will be made, between the Departments of the Empire, in accordance with the table annexed here.
ART. 2. The four regiments will be clothed, equipped and armed as the hussars.
ART. 3. The horses will be harnessed with tackle as the horses of hussars.
ART. 4. The uniform of the four regiments will be the same: green dark pelisse, doublet of white flannel, edges of the borders and collar, portmanteau and surrounding the sleeve in black leather; gloves, olive buttons and braids white.
The base color of the dolman green dark, doublet with fabric on the upper part and of red leather on the lower part, with scarlet collar and facings; braids of the collar, the false pockets and the facings of the same color as that of the pelisse.
The Hungarian trousers will be out of red cloth, with white braids, the buttons will be white.
The belt will have a crimson base with white trimmings.
The shako red.
ART. 5. The salary of this regiment will be paid in accordance with table here attached*.
*See this table, page 458.
ART. 6. The regiment will be allocated the allowances for bakery, hospital, heating fuel, maintenance, fodder and blacksmith, in accordance with the tariff annexed to the present decree.
The allowances for clothing, harnessing and of mounts, will not be allocated for the first year.
Excluded from this last provision: the trumpet major, the corporal trumpeters, the trumpeters, the master workmen, and the sergeant blacksmiths, who not being able to be regarded as guards of honor, will be assimilated, for the allowances, with the men of their rank in the regiment of the horse chasseurs of our Old Guard.
ART. 7. The officers will receive, when they are in garrison, the housing allowance on the same footing as the officers of the line.
ART. 8. The first regiment will meet in Versailles; the second in Metz; the third at Tours; the fourth in Lyon.
ART. 9. Each regiment will be composed of a staff and ten squadrons.
The staff will be composed of in this manner; namely:
   

Men.

Number of

horses per grade.

     

Colonel……………………………………………...

1

10

65 men.

156 horses.

Majors……………………………………………….

2

10

Squadron Heads……………………………………..

10

5

Captain instructor……………………………………

1

3

Quarter master……………………………………….

1

3

Sub adjutant majors………………………………….

"

"

First lieutenants……………………………………...

10

3

Surgeon majors………………………………………

2

2

Idem

aide majors……………………..

4

1

Idem

sub aide majors…………………

4

1

Quarter master……………………………………….

1

1

Sub instructor sergeant major ………………………

1

1

Veterinarian artisan………………………………….

2

1

Veterinarian aide ……………………………………

8

1

Trumpet major……………………………………….

1

1

Trumpet corporal…………………………………….

9

1

Master

tailor…………………………...

1

"

Idem

pants maker…………………….

1

"

Idem

boot maker……………………..

1

"

Id

gunsmith……………………….

1

"

Id

saddle maker……………………..

1

1

Id

spur maker………………………..

1

1

Id

Sergeant blacksmith………………

2

1

TOTAL of the staff………………………..…….

 

65 men.

156 horses.

*St. Hilaire’s numbers, excluding the ditto marks this adds to 65 men and 154 horses. (GMG)

Each squadron will be of two companies; and each company will be as follows:
         

Brought forward………

65 men.

156 horses.

           

Men.

Number of horses per grade.

   

Captain……………………………...

1

men.

3

horses.

4

9

"

"

First lieutenant………………………

1

 

2

 

Second  Idem………………………..

2

 

2

 

Master sergeant……………………..

1

 

1

 

118

118

"

"

Sergeants……………………………

4

 

1

 

Corporal quartermaster……………...

1

 

1

 

Corporals……………………………

8

 

1

 

Sergeant blacksmiths………………..

2

 

1

 

Guards of Honor…………………….

100

 

1

 

Trumpeters………………………….

2

 

1

 
   

Strength of a company…………

122

127

   
   

Strength of twenty companies………………………….

2,440 men.

2,540 horses.

   

Strength of the regiment…………………………

2,505 men.

2,696 horses.

ART. 10. The colonels will be selected among the brigade or major generals and the majors among the colonels;
The other officers will have the same grade as the officers of the corresponding rank in the line.
ART. 11. Our Minister of War will present to us, for the first organization of each regiment;
A general of brigade or division, to fill the place of colonel;
A colonel to fill the place of a major;
Two squadron heads;
A captain instructor;
A quarter master taken from among the auditors in our Council of State, who will have been a treasurer of one of the troops;
Two sub-adjutant first lieutenants;
A surgeon major;
A surgeon aide major;
A surgeon sub aide major,
Four captains;
Four first lieutenants;
Eight second lieutenants.

ART. 12. The officers promised to be returned, before May 1, at the place indicated for the gathering of their regiment.
ART. 13. Proceed initially, in each regiment, with the organization of the first two squadrons, and begin the organization of the third squadron only when the first two are complete; and that of the fourth, after the third has been complemented with men and horses; and finally the fifth, when the first four completed.
ART. 14. Allowed to belong to these regiments, provided that they were born French, that they are nineteen years of to thirty years age inclusively, and that they are free of the infirmities which would make them unsuitable to the service:

Members of the Legion of Honor and their sons;
Members of the Imperial Order of the Meeting and their sons;
Knights, barons, counts and dukes of the Empire and their sons;
Members of the Electoral Colleges of Department and District; General Councils of Department and District, and town councils of the good cities, their sons and nephews;
The five highest taxpayers of the departments, and in each department, the one hundred highest taxpayers of the cities, their sons and nephews;
Individuals employed in the various excise offices, and their sons;
The soldiers who were useful to the French Armies, and those who were useful, as officers, in the foreign armies, and their sons.

ART.  15. Immediately after the reception of this decree, the prefect will form a list to which all the inhabitants of department will be correlated, who belong to the one of the categories indicated in article 14 and who are nineteen to thirty years old, are not married and do not have any profession.

ART. 16. The prefect will open at the same time, within the prefecture, within each under prefecture and each town hall of his department, a register where all those who would want to enter the regiments of the Guards of Honor can apply.
ART. 17. The prefect will indicate, from April 20 to May 1, those who have been allowed to form part of the aforesaid regiments.
ART. 18. Former soldiers will be allowed up to the age of forty-five years inclusively.
ART. 19. Once the list of guards of honor of the department has been designated, the prefect will forward it for checking to the Minister of the Interior, to the Minister of War and to the colonel of the regiment.
ART. 20. The guards of honor will get dressed will be equipped and mounted at their expense.
ART. 21. If, among the members of the Legion of Honor or their sons, there are some who do not have the necessary faculties for this; it will be addressed by the prefect to our Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor, to be clothed, equipped and mounted at the expense of the aforesaid the legion.
ART. 22. The guards of honor of the department of the 27th, 28th and 29th military divisions which is in active service to the army, will belong to those which the aforementioned departments must provide according to the state no 1, and will consequently be incorporated there.
ART.  23. Our Minister of War will give orders to start the detachments that each department will have to provide, and direct them on the towns where the regiment will form and for which they are intended.
ART. 24. Our Ministers of War, the Interior and the Imperial Treasurer, are charged, each one to their related duties, with the execution of this decree, which will be inserted into the Bulletin of Laws.”

Next on April 6, five new regiments of tirailleurs and five regiments of voltigeurs were created; they took the nos 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of each arm.

On the call up of eighty thousand men of the first ban,* twenty-four thousand were to be assigned to the recruitment of these regiments.

*(literally beat of drum-here meaning draft GMG)

In this way the infantry of the Guard was made up of thirty-four regiments.

The 9th, the pieces of ordnance of artillery of the Guard (Young and Old) were increased from one hundred twenty, to a hundred and ninety, and formed twenty-six batteries.  The personnel was also increased, and numbers in its companies of the battalion of the equipment was increaseed from eight to ten.

The 24th, these companies were changed to twelve.

Next on June 19, one granted to each regiment of cavalry of the Guard (Young and Old) a blacksmith forge by company.

The 25th, the seventh squadron in the first regiment of light horse lancers was formed; that changed the manpower of this regiment to a thousand seven hundred and fifty men.

Next on September 14, the eight battalions of Old Guard were each supplemented with eight hundred men; that changed the company to two hundred men.

On December 9, the Emperor, by a decree dated with the palace of the Tuileries, created in the Guard three regiments of horse scouts.  Each one of these regiments was of four squadrons, and each squadron of two hundred and fifty men.

The 1st regiment was attached to the horse grenadiers, 2nd to the dragoons and 3rd to the Polish lancers*. The first two regiments were formed with conscripts and men drawn from the cavalry of line; the third, of Poles, from the division then stationed at Sedan.

*Even from the previous year and at the beginning of the campaign of Russia, while Napoleon was still in Wilna (in July 1812), a squadron made up of Lithuanian Tartars had been attached to the Polish lancers of the Old Guard, in the capacity of scouts.
The uniform of this squadron had a curly black lambskin cap, without visor, green (busby bag) and white wreath; round crimson cloth vest, tightened and fastened on the chest; dolman of yellow color (these two parts of the uniform were decorated with braids of black wool); very wide trousers of sky blue; black boots (yellow for the officers); crimson davit, iron gray mantel; shabraque out of sky blue cloth, the cartridge box in black sheepskin.
The ornaments and the braids for the officers were silver.
As for the harnessing of the horse, the saddle, the bridle, as well as the stirrups, were in the Turkish style, the whole furnished out of brass.
Each rider of this squadron was armed with a lance with pennant of white and crimson, with a saber and a pair of guns (pistolets).

The following year,  as we said above, the major part of the men, composing the squadron of Lithuanian Tartars, was incorporated in to the 3rd Regiment of Scouts specially attached to the Polish lancers.

Lastly, on December 26, 1813, the regiments of fusiliers and flanqueurs of the Young Guard were each increased to six companies per battalion.

II.

UNIFORMS AND ARMAMENT.

Flanqueurs-Chasseurs.

The jacket and the uniform very similar to that of the flanqueurs grenadiers.  Only hunting horns instead of eagles on the turnbacks of the jacket.

The shako similar to that of the voltigeurs, with a pompom half pear yellow on top, half green on bottom.

The same armament that that of the flanqueurs grenadiers.

Scouts.

Full dress vest, in green cloth, closed in the front by nine large buttons; collar and facing (coming to points) out of crimson cloth; green edging, narrow Basque like the uniform of the horse chasseurs, doublet of crimson cloth; turnbacks without trimmings joined by a button; epaulette straps of green cloth, crimson edging; round copper buttons like the hussars.

Green waistcoat, hidden by the jacket. Green trousers furnished with crimson cloth bands, going down to the boots.

Shako like the hussar, very tall and decreasing in width towards the top, crimson cloth, with black leather visor; the shako furnished with a rosette placed on the front and attached by a button to the center with a yellow double cord also fixed by a button; green pompom like the hussar, chin-straps of yellow copper chains on leather.

Cartridge pouch furnished with an eagle.

Half of the scouts were armed with lances, with flags crimson and white; the other half with carbines; all had two pistols and a curved saber, with iron sheeth.

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2006

 

Organization Index | More on St. Hilaire's "History of the Imperial Guard ]



Search the Series

© Copyright 1995-2012, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.

Top | Home ]