CREATION OF NEW REGIMENTS OF THE GUARD.
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:
*St. Hilaires numbers, excluding the ditto marks this adds to 65 men and 154 horses. (GMG)
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.
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.
UNIFORMS AND ARMAMENT.
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.
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
© Copyright 1995-2012, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.