Napoleonic Wars

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Set Cavalrymen of Life Guards Cossack Regiment, Russia 1812

Don Cossacks

In the four squadrons (3 Don and 1 Black Sea), the regiment participated in the Patriotic War (1st Western Army, 1st Cavalry Corps of Lieutenant-General F.P. Uvarov).
 

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June 12, the regiment participated in the first battle with the French at the crossing on the river. The Niemen. After the crossing of Napoleon through Neman, the Cossack cossacks covered the retreat of our army and from 14 to 23 July fought without interruption with the advancing French avant-garde. July 15 in the battle of Vitebsk, the regiment captured a French battery: "The Cossack leybes first went several times to attack. In one of them the choicest donts flew over the battery near which Napoleon stood, and made such an alarm around him that he stopped for some time his actions. "

Leib-Cossacks fought valiantly in a 2-day battle near Smolensk and at Valutina mountain.

On August 26, the regiment distinguished itself in the battle of Borodino, participating in the swift attack of Platov and Uvarov on the left flank of the French. When the army retreated to Moscow, the Cossacks were in the rearguard of Platov and repeatedly stopped the onslaught of the enemy. On September 2, three regiment squadrons, cut off from the rearguard, joined the detachment of General Vincenterode, who covered the way to Petersburg. The squadron, formerly under Count Orlov-Denisov, remained in the main army and took part in the battles of Tarutin, Maroyaroslavets, Vyazma, Lyakhov and Krasny. At the end of December 1812 the regiment joined together and settled in the vicinity of Vilna.

After the arrival of Emperor Alexander I, the regiment formed an imperial convoy, and accompanied the Emperor in all campaigns and battles of 1813-1814.

May 8, 1813 in battle at Bautzen, one of the exadrons was appointed to the detachment gr. Orlova-Denisova and made several attacks.

October 4, 1813 - the regiment distinguished itself in the Leipzig battle, an attack on the French cuirassier Latour-Mobura, than saved from the capture of Emperor Alexander I and rescued the Russian light Guards cavalry, attacked by the enemy on the march and did not have time to build. He was awarded the St. George standard and silver pipes.

March 13, 1814 - In the battle of Fer-Champenois, a hundred regiments in the Guards light cavalry division broke through to the rear of the advancing troops of Mortier and Marmont near the village of Vorefroi, forcing the enemy to retreat, then participated in a battle with the French cavalry near the village of Lenare and attacked the Mortier quads and Marmont on the heights of Lint. On March 19, 1814, the regiment solemnly entered Paris and settled on the Champs-Elysees. Cossacks regiment accompanied Napoleon to the island of Elba.

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Ober-Officer of Life Guards Cossack Regiment, Russia 1812

Don Cossacks

In the four squadrons (3 Don and 1 Black Sea), the regiment participated in the Patriotic War (1st Western Army, 1st Cavalry Corps of Lieutenant-General F.P. Uvarov).

Set of Cossacks:

June 12, the regiment participated in the first battle with the French at the crossing on the river. The Niemen. After the crossing of Napoleon through Neman, the Cossack cossacks covered the retreat of our army and from 14 to 23 July fought without interruption with the advancing French avant-garde. July 15 in the battle of Vitebsk, the regiment captured a French battery: "The Cossack leybes first went several times to attack. In one of them the choicest donts flew over the battery near which Napoleon stood, and made such an alarm around him that he stopped for some time his actions. "

Leib-Cossacks fought valiantly in a 2-day battle near Smolensk and at Valutina mountain.

On August 26, the regiment distinguished itself in the battle of Borodino, participating in the swift attack of Platov and Uvarov on the left flank of the French. When the army retreated to Moscow, the Cossacks were in the rearguard of Platov and repeatedly stopped the onslaught of the enemy. On September 2, three regiment squadrons, cut off from the rearguard, joined the detachment of General Vincenterode, who covered the way to Petersburg. The squadron, formerly under Count Orlov-Denisov, remained in the main army and took part in the battles of Tarutin, Maroyaroslavets, Vyazma, Lyakhov and Krasny. At the end of December 1812 the regiment joined together and settled in the vicinity of Vilna.

After the arrival of Emperor Alexander I, the regiment formed an imperial convoy, and accompanied the Emperor in all campaigns and battles of 1813-1814.

May 8, 1813 in battle at Bautzen, one of the exadrons was appointed to the detachment gr. Orlova-Denisova and made several attacks.

October 4, 1813 - the regiment distinguished itself in the Leipzig battle, an attack on the French cuirassier Latour-Mobura, than saved from the capture of Emperor Alexander I and rescued the Russian light Guards cavalry, attacked by the enemy on the march and did not have time to build. He was awarded the St. George standard and silver pipes.

March 13, 1814 - In the battle of Fer-Champenois, a hundred regiments in the Guards light cavalry division broke through to the rear of the advancing troops of Mortier and Marmont near the village of Vorefroi, forcing the enemy to retreat, then participated in a battle with the French cavalry near the village of Lenare and attacked the Mortier quads and Marmont on the heights of Lint. On March 19, 1814, the regiment solemnly entered Paris and settled on the Champs-Elysees. Cossacks regiment accompanied Napoleon to the island of Elba.

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Sergeant of Life Guards Cossack Regiment, Russia 1812

Don Cossacks

In the four squadrons (3 Don and 1 Black Sea), the regiment participated in the Patriotic War (1st Western Army, 1st Cavalry Corps of Lieutenant-General F.P. Uvarov).

Set of Cossacks:

June 12, the regiment participated in the first battle with the French at the crossing on the river. The Niemen. After the crossing of Napoleon through Neman, the Cossack cossacks covered the retreat of our army and from 14 to 23 July fought without interruption with the advancing French avant-garde. July 15 in the battle of Vitebsk, the regiment captured a French battery: "The Cossack leybes first went several times to attack. In one of them the choicest donts flew over the battery near which Napoleon stood, and made such an alarm around him that he stopped for some time his actions. "

Leib-Cossacks fought valiantly in a 2-day battle near Smolensk and at Valutina mountain.

On August 26, the regiment distinguished itself in the battle of Borodino, participating in the swift attack of Platov and Uvarov on the left flank of the French. When the army retreated to Moscow, the Cossacks were in the rearguard of Platov and repeatedly stopped the onslaught of the enemy. On September 2, three regiment squadrons, cut off from the rearguard, joined the detachment of General Vincenterode, who covered the way to Petersburg. The squadron, formerly under Count Orlov-Denisov, remained in the main army and took part in the battles of Tarutin, Maroyaroslavets, Vyazma, Lyakhov and Krasny. At the end of December 1812 the regiment joined together and settled in the vicinity of Vilna.

After the arrival of Emperor Alexander I, the regiment formed an imperial convoy, and accompanied the Emperor in all campaigns and battles of 1813-1814.

May 8, 1813 in battle at Bautzen, one of the exadrons was appointed to the detachment gr. Orlova-Denisova and made several attacks.

October 4, 1813 - the regiment distinguished itself in the Leipzig battle, an attack on the French cuirassier Latour-Mobura, than saved from the capture of Emperor Alexander I and rescued the Russian light Guards cavalry, attacked by the enemy on the march and did not have time to build. He was awarded the St. George standard and silver pipes.

March 13, 1814 - In the battle of Fer-Champenois, a hundred regiments in the Guards light cavalry division broke through to the rear of the advancing troops of Mortier and Marmont near the village of Vorefroi, forcing the enemy to retreat, then participated in a battle with the French cavalry near the village of Lenare and attacked the Mortier quads and Marmont on the heights of Lint. On March 19, 1814, the regiment solemnly entered Paris and settled on the Champs-Elysees. Cossacks regiment accompanied Napoleon to the island of Elba.

$149.99

Cavalryman of Life Guards Cossack Regiment, Russia 1812

Don Cossacks

In the four squadrons (3 Don and 1 Black Sea), the regiment participated in the Patriotic War (1st Western Army, 1st Cavalry Corps of Lieutenant-General F.P. Uvarov).

Set of Cossacks:

June 12, the regiment participated in the first battle with the French at the crossing on the river. The Niemen. After the crossing of Napoleon through Neman, the Cossack cossacks covered the retreat of our army and from 14 to 23 July fought without interruption with the advancing French avant-garde. July 15 in the battle of Vitebsk, the regiment captured a French battery: "The Cossack leybes first went several times to attack. In one of them the choicest donts flew over the battery near which Napoleon stood, and made such an alarm around him that he stopped for some time his actions. "

Leib-Cossacks fought valiantly in a 2-day battle near Smolensk and at Valutina mountain.

On August 26, the regiment distinguished itself in the battle of Borodino, participating in the swift attack of Platov and Uvarov on the left flank of the French. When the army retreated to Moscow, the Cossacks were in the rearguard of Platov and repeatedly stopped the onslaught of the enemy. On September 2, three regiment squadrons, cut off from the rearguard, joined the detachment of General Vincenterode, who covered the way to Petersburg. The squadron, formerly under Count Orlov-Denisov, remained in the main army and took part in the battles of Tarutin, Maroyaroslavets, Vyazma, Lyakhov and Krasny. At the end of December 1812 the regiment joined together and settled in the vicinity of Vilna.

After the arrival of Emperor Alexander I, the regiment formed an imperial convoy, and accompanied the Emperor in all campaigns and battles of 1813-1814.

May 8, 1813 in battle at Bautzen, one of the exadrons was appointed to the detachment gr. Orlova-Denisova and made several attacks.

October 4, 1813 - the regiment distinguished itself in the Leipzig battle, an attack on the French cuirassier Latour-Mobura, than saved from the capture of Emperor Alexander I and rescued the Russian light Guards cavalry, attacked by the enemy on the march and did not have time to build. He was awarded the St. George standard and silver pipes.

March 13, 1814 - In the battle of Fer-Champenois, a hundred regiments in the Guards light cavalry division broke through to the rear of the advancing troops of Mortier and Marmont near the village of Vorefroi, forcing the enemy to retreat, then participated in a battle with the French cavalry near the village of Lenare and attacked the Mortier quads and Marmont on the heights of Lint. On March 19, 1814, the regiment solemnly entered Paris and settled on the Champs-Elysees. Cossacks regiment accompanied Napoleon to the island of Elba.

$149.99

Cavalryman of Life Guards Cossack Regiment in attack, Russia 1812

Don Cossacks

In the four squadrons (3 Don and 1 Black Sea), the regiment participated in the Patriotic War (1st Western Army, 1st Cavalry Corps of Lieutenant-General F.P. Uvarov).

Set of Cossacks:

June 12, the regiment participated in the first battle with the French at the crossing on the river. The Niemen. After the crossing of Napoleon through Neman, the Cossack cossacks covered the retreat of our army and from 14 to 23 July fought without interruption with the advancing French avant-garde. July 15 in the battle of Vitebsk, the regiment captured a French battery: "The Cossack leybes first went several times to attack. In one of them the choicest donts flew over the battery near which Napoleon stood, and made such an alarm around him that he stopped for some time his actions. "

Leib-Cossacks fought valiantly in a 2-day battle near Smolensk and at Valutina mountain.

On August 26, the regiment distinguished itself in the battle of Borodino, participating in the swift attack of Platov and Uvarov on the left flank of the French. When the army retreated to Moscow, the Cossacks were in the rearguard of Platov and repeatedly stopped the onslaught of the enemy. On September 2, three regiment squadrons, cut off from the rearguard, joined the detachment of General Vincenterode, who covered the way to Petersburg. The squadron, formerly under Count Orlov-Denisov, remained in the main army and took part in the battles of Tarutin, Maroyaroslavets, Vyazma, Lyakhov and Krasny. At the end of December 1812 the regiment joined together and settled in the vicinity of Vilna.

After the arrival of Emperor Alexander I, the regiment formed an imperial convoy, and accompanied the Emperor in all campaigns and battles of 1813-1814.

May 8, 1813 in battle at Bautzen, one of the exadrons was appointed to the detachment gr. Orlova-Denisova and made several attacks.

October 4, 1813 - the regiment distinguished itself in the Leipzig battle, an attack on the French cuirassier Latour-Mobura, than saved from the capture of Emperor Alexander I and rescued the Russian light Guards cavalry, attacked by the enemy on the march and did not have time to build. He was awarded the St. George standard and silver pipes.

March 13, 1814 - In the battle of Fer-Champenois, a hundred regiments in the Guards light cavalry division broke through to the rear of the advancing troops of Mortier and Marmont near the village of Vorefroi, forcing the enemy to retreat, then participated in a battle with the French cavalry near the village of Lenare and attacked the Mortier quads and Marmont on the heights of Lint. On March 19, 1814, the regiment solemnly entered Paris and settled on the Champs-Elysees. Cossacks regiment accompanied Napoleon to the island of Elba.

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Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in uniform of Colonel Grenadiers

His Imperial and Royal Majesty

Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

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Louis-Nicolas Davout, French Marshal of the Empire

The Iron Marshal

Louis-Nicolas d'Avout (10 May 1770 – 1 June 1823), better known as Davout, 1st Duke of Auerstaedt, 1st Prince of Eckmühl, was a French general who was Marshal of the Empire during the Napoleonic era. His talent for war along with his reputation as a stern d isciplinarian earned him the title "The Iron Marshal". He is ranked along with Masséna and Lannes as one of Napoleon's finest commanders. His loyalty and obedience to Napoleon were absolute. During his lifetime, Davout's name was commonly spelled Davoust, which is how it appears on the Arc de Triomphe and in much of the correspondence between Napoleon and his generals.

 


Louis-Nicolas Davout, Marshal of the Empire

 

Davout was born at Annoux (Yonne), the son of Jean-François d'Avout (1739–1779) and his wife (married in 1768) Françoise-Adélaïde Minard de Velars (1741–1810) He was educated at a military academy in Auxerre, before transferring to the École Militaire in Paris on 29 September 1785. He graduated on 19 February 1788 and was appointed a sous-lieutenant in the Royal-Champagne Cavalry Regiment in garrison at Hesdin.On the outbreak of the French Revolution, he embraced its principles. He was chef de bataillon in a volunteer corps in the campaign of 1792, and distinguished himself at the Battle of Neerwinden the following spring. He had just been promoted to general of brigade when he was removed from the active list because of his noble birth. He nevertheless served in the campaigns of 1794-1797 on the Rhine, and accompanied Desaix in the Egyptian Expedition of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Although on his return he did not take part in the Battle of Marengo, where his friend Desaix was killed while making a decisive contribution to the victory Napoleon, who had great confidence in his abilities finally promoted him to general de division and arranged his marriage to his sister Pauline's sister-in-law Aimée Leclerc, thus making him part of Napoleon's extended family, and gave him a command in the consular guard. At the accession of Napoleon as emperor, Davout was one of the generals who were created marshals of France. Davout was the youngest and least experienced of the generals promoted to Marshal, which earned him the hostility of other generals throughout his career. As commander of the III Corps of the Grande Armée, Davout rendered his greatest services. At the Battle of Austerlitz, after a forced march of forty-eight hours, the III Corps bore the brunt of the allies' attack. In the subsequent War of the Fourth Coalition, Davout with a single corps fought and won the Battle of Auerstädt against the main Prussian army, which had more than twice as many soldiers at its disposal (more than 63,000, to Davout's 28,000). Historian François-Guy Hourtoulle writes: "At Jena, Napoleon won a battle he could not lose. At Auerstädt, Davout won a battle he could not win".
s a reward, Napoleon let Davout and his men enter first in Berlin on 25 October 1806.

Davout added to his renown in the campaign of Eylau and Friedland. Napoleon left him as governor-general of the newly created Duchy of Warsaw following the Treaty of Tilsit of 1807, and the next year created him Duke of Auerstädt. In the war of 1809, Davout took part in the actions which culminated in the Battle of Eckmühl, and also distinguished himself in the Battle of Wagram, where he commanded the right wing. He was created Prince of Eckmühl following this campaign. He was entrusted by Napoleon with the task of organizing the "corps of observation of the Elbe", which would become the gigantic army with which Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. In this, Davout commanded the I Corps, numbering over 70,000, and defeated the Russians at Mohilev before he joined the main army, with which he continued throughout the campaign and the retreat from Moscow. During the retreat he conducted the rear guard, which was deemed too slow by the Emperor, and was replaced by Ney. His inability to hold out at Berezina until the arrival of Ney and his corps, led him into disgrace and he would not meet with the Emperor again until his return from Elba.

In 1813 he commanded the Hamburg military district, and defended Hamburg, a poorly fortified and provisioned city, through a long siege, only surrendering on the direct order of the new King Louis XVIII, who had come to the throne after the fall of Napoleon in April 1814. During the siege, he expelled up to 25,000 of Hamburg’s poorest and weakest citizens out of the city into the cold winter, many of whom perished of cold and starvation. Between 1806 and 1814, when the French occupation came to an end by the surrender of Davout, the population decreased by nearly one-half, namely to 55,000.

Davout's military character has been interpreted as cruel, and he had to defend himself against many attacks upon his conduct at Hamburg. He was a stern disciplinarian, who exacted rigid and precise obedience from his troops, and consequently his corps was more trustworthy and exact in the performance of its duty than any other. For example, Davout forbade his troops from plundering enemy villages, a policy he would enforce by the use of the death penalty. Thus, in the early days of the Grande Armée, the III corps tended to be entrusted with the most difficult work. He was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the ablest of Napoleon's marshals. On the first restoration he retired into private life, openly displaying his hostility to the Bourbons, and when Napoleon returned from Elba, Davout rejoined him.

Appointed Minister of War, he reorganized the French army insofar as time permitted, and he was so indispensable to the war department that Napoleon kept him in Paris during the Waterloo campaign. To what degree his skill and bravery would have altered the fortunes of the campaign of 1815 can only be surmised, but Napoleon has been criticized for his failure to avail himself in the field of the services of the best general he then possessed.

Davout directed the gallant, but hopeless, defence of Paris after Waterloo. He received the command of the army assembled under the walls of Paris, and would have fought, had he not received the order of the provisional government to treat with the enemy. On 24 June 1815 Davout was sent by Joseph Fouché, the president of the provisional government, to the dethroned Emperor at the Élysée Palace with a request to quit Paris, where his continued presence could lead to trouble and public danger. Napoleon received him coldly but left Paris the next day and resided at Malmaison until 29 June when he departed for Rochfort. In later years, Napoleon said of Davout bitterly that ”he betrayed me too. He has a wife and children; he thought that all was lost; he wanted to keep what he had got,” while on another occasion he remarked that “I thought that Davout loved me, but he loved only France.” Followingly, he retired with the army beyond the Loire and made his submission to the Bourbon government on 14 July, and within a few days gave up the command to Marshal Macdonald.

He was deprived of his marshalate and his titles at the second restoration. When some of his subordinate generals were proscribed, he demanded to be held responsible for their acts, as executed under his orders, and he endeavoured to prevent the condemnation of Michel Ney. After a time the hostility of the Bourbons towards Davout faded, and he became reconciled to the monarchy. In 1817 his rank and titles were restored, and in 1819 he became a member of the Chamber of Peers.

In 1822, Davout was elected mayor of Savigny-sur-Orge, a position he held for a year. His son Louis-Napoléon was also mayor of the city from 1843 to 1846. A main square bears their name in the city, as does a boulevard in Paris.

 

 

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Officer of Horse Carabiniers, France 1812

Heavy Cavalry

The Carabiniers-à-Cheval (Horse Carabiniers) were mounted troops in the service of France.

Their origins date back to the mid-16th century, when they were created as elite elements of the French light cavalry, armed with c arbines but then gradually evolved towards semi-independent status during the 18th century. They only became independent units as late as 1788, when a two-regiment heavy cavalry corps was created. From the French Revolutionary Wars onwards, they were the senior heavy cavalry regiments in the French army, rose to prominence during the Napoleonic Wars and were disbanded in 1871, after the fall of the Second French Empire.

 


Carabiniers during the Russian Campaign, by Édouard Detaille.

 

The French carabiniers are first mentioned at the battle of Neerwinden in 1693 commanded by Prince de Conti. Although their original role was that of a mounted police similar to the Gendarmes, as combat troops they were first took the form of separate companies within each cavalry regiments on 29 October 1691 under Louis XIV. Only later was an independent regiment or cavalerie de reserve established in 1693 under the command of Duc du Maine. However at that time all French cavalry other than the gendarmes were called light cavalry, and their first name was Corps royal des carabiniers, organised by brigading of four squadrons commanded by a lieutenant-colonel.

The Corps was enlarged to ten squadrons by the start of the Seven Years' War. Their depot was in Strasbourg, where it remained for a century. On 13 May 1758 the Corps was renamed Royal carabiniers de monsieur le Comte de Provence.[6] By 1762 the Corps was enlarged to five brigades of thirty squadrons, but was reduced to two regiments in 1788.
The 1st and 2nd Carabiniers-à-Cheval were created in 1787, as regiments of heavy cavalry. They participated with distinction to the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. Their uniform was described by the Etat militaire de l'an X (1802): "National blue costume and scarlet lapels, blue collar, bearskin hat, yellow bandolier and belt, with white plait on the edges. Horse equipage: saddle à la française, blue cover with white plait on the edges, a grenade in the corners, the ornaments of the bridle stamped with a grenade." Before 1810 the Carabiniers-à-Cheval did not wear a cuirass.

he decree of 24 December 1809 altered the uniform of the carabiniers: white costume, double steel cuirass (breastplate and backplate) covered with brass sheathing (copper for officers), helmet with a peak and which covered the back of the neck, with a golden-yellow copper crest decorated with a chenille made of scarlet bristle. Their armament included a carbine, a sabre (straight-bladed before c. 1811, then "a la Montmorency" - with a very slight curve) and a pair of pistols.

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Standard Bearer of Horse Carabiniers, France 1812

Heavy Cavalry

The Carabiniers-à-Cheval (Horse Carabiniers) were mounted troops in the service of France.

Their origins date back to the mid-16th century, when they were created as elite elements of the French light cavalry, armed with c arbines but then gradually evolved towards semi-independent status during the 18th century. They only became independent units as late as 1788, when a two-regiment heavy cavalry corps was created. From the French Revolutionary Wars onwards, they were the senior heavy cavalry regiments in the French army, rose to prominence during the Napoleonic Wars and were disbanded in 1871, after the fall of the Second French Empire.

 


Carabiniers during the Russian Campaign, by Édouard Detaille.

 

The French carabiniers are first mentioned at the battle of Neerwinden in 1693 commanded by Prince de Conti. Although their original role was that of a mounted police similar to the Gendarmes, as combat troops they were first took the form of separate companies within each cavalry regiments on 29 October 1691 under Louis XIV. Only later was an independent regiment or cavalerie de reserve established in 1693 under the command of Duc du Maine. However at that time all French cavalry other than the gendarmes were called light cavalry, and their first name was Corps royal des carabiniers, organised by brigading of four squadrons commanded by a lieutenant-colonel.

The Corps was enlarged to ten squadrons by the start of the Seven Years' War. Their depot was in Strasbourg, where it remained for a century. On 13 May 1758 the Corps was renamed Royal carabiniers de monsieur le Comte de Provence.[6] By 1762 the Corps was enlarged to five brigades of thirty squadrons, but was reduced to two regiments in 1788.
The 1st and 2nd Carabiniers-à-Cheval were created in 1787, as regiments of heavy cavalry. They participated with distinction to the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. Their uniform was described by the Etat militaire de l'an X (1802): "National blue costume and scarlet lapels, blue collar, bearskin hat, yellow bandolier and belt, with white plait on the edges. Horse equipage: saddle à la française, blue cover with white plait on the edges, a grenade in the corners, the ornaments of the bridle stamped with a grenade." Before 1810 the Carabiniers-à-Cheval did not wear a cuirass.

he decree of 24 December 1809 altered the uniform of the carabiniers: white costume, double steel cuirass (breastplate and backplate) covered with brass sheathing (copper for officers), helmet with a peak and which covered the back of the neck, with a golden-yellow copper crest decorated with a chenille made of scarlet bristle. Their armament included a carbine, a sabre (straight-bladed before c. 1811, then "a la Montmorency" - with a very slight curve) and a pair of pistols.

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Cavalryman of Horse Carabiniers, France 1812

Heavy Cavalry

The Carabiniers-à-Cheval (Horse Carabiniers) were mounted troops in the service of France.

Their origins date back to the mid-16th century, when they were created as elite elements of the French light cavalry, armed with c arbines but then gradually evolved towards semi-independent status during the 18th century. They only became independent units as late as 1788, when a two-regiment heavy cavalry corps was created. From the French Revolutionary Wars onwards, they were the senior heavy cavalry regiments in the French army, rose to prominence during the Napoleonic Wars and were disbanded in 1871, after the fall of the Second French Empire.

 


Carabiniers during the Russian Campaign, by Édouard Detaille.

 

The French carabiniers are first mentioned at the battle of Neerwinden in 1693 commanded by Prince de Conti. Although their original role was that of a mounted police similar to the Gendarmes, as combat troops they were first took the form of separate companies within each cavalry regiments on 29 October 1691 under Louis XIV. Only later was an independent regiment or cavalerie de reserve established in 1693 under the command of Duc du Maine. However at that time all French cavalry other than the gendarmes were called light cavalry, and their first name was Corps royal des carabiniers, organised by brigading of four squadrons commanded by a lieutenant-colonel.

The Corps was enlarged to ten squadrons by the start of the Seven Years' War. Their depot was in Strasbourg, where it remained for a century. On 13 May 1758 the Corps was renamed Royal carabiniers de monsieur le Comte de Provence.[6] By 1762 the Corps was enlarged to five brigades of thirty squadrons, but was reduced to two regiments in 1788.
The 1st and 2nd Carabiniers-à-Cheval were created in 1787, as regiments of heavy cavalry. They participated with distinction to the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. Their uniform was described by the Etat militaire de l'an X (1802): "National blue costume and scarlet lapels, blue collar, bearskin hat, yellow bandolier and belt, with white plait on the edges. Horse equipage: saddle à la française, blue cover with white plait on the edges, a grenade in the corners, the ornaments of the bridle stamped with a grenade." Before 1810 the Carabiniers-à-Cheval did not wear a cuirass.

he decree of 24 December 1809 altered the uniform of the carabiniers: white costume, double steel cuirass (breastplate and backplate) covered with brass sheathing (copper for officers), helmet with a peak and which covered the back of the neck, with a golden-yellow copper crest decorated with a chenille made of scarlet bristle. Their armament included a carbine, a sabre (straight-bladed before c. 1811, then "a la Montmorency" - with a very slight curve) and a pair of pistols.

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Ober-Officer of 1st Polish Light Cavalry Regiment of the Imperial Guard, France 1812

Polish Lancers

The 1st Polish Light Cavalry Regiment of the Imperial Guard (1 Pułk Lekkokonny [Polski] Gwardii Cesarskiej; French: 1er Régiment des chevaux-légers [polonais] de la Garde Impériale) was a formation of Polish light cavalry that served Emperor Napoleon during the Napol eonic Wars.

    There was an Old Guard Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval from 1804; the Company (later Squadron) of Mamelukes first raised in Egypt in 1799, also attached to the Old Guard, similar to the First (1807) and Second (1810) Régiments de Chevaux-lanciers, known respectively as the Polish Blue and Dutch Red Lancers of the Guard; and three regiments of Eclaireurs raised in 1814, four more Gardes d'Honneur (from 1813) and the Légion de Gendarmerie d'Elite, going back to 1804.

The Regiment, as part of Napoleon's Imperial Guard, fought in many battles, distinguishing itself at Wagram, Beresina, Hanau and especially Somosierra. On at least three occasions, light-horsemen of the Regiment saved Napoleon's life.


According to intentional Ordre de Bataille Wincenty Krasiński (father of Polish poet Zygmunt Krasiński), was nominated as the commanding officer of the Regiment. COs of four squadrons were appointed: Tomasz Łubieński, Ferdynand Stokowski, Jan Kozietulski and Henryk Kamieński. Each squadron was composed of two companies (demisquadrons) of 125 chevaulegers each. Each company consisted of 5 troops.

Among troop commanders were: Antoni Potocki, Paweł Jerzmanowski, Łukasz Wybicki (son of Józef Wybicki), Józef Szymanowski, Józef Jankowski, Seweryn Fredro. Positions of Lieutenant-Colonels (grossmajors) and instructors were taken by Frenchmen: Charles Delaitre of the Mamelukes of the Guard, and Pierre "Papa" Dautancourt of Choice Gendarmerie. The regiment consisted of 60 officers and about 1000 men.In 1812 a fifth squadron under Paweł Jerzmanowski was formed. In the beginning of 1813 remnants of 3rd Lithuanian Light Cavalry, detachment of Lithuanian gendarmes, and a company of Lithuanian Tartars were included, so the number of companies rose to 13. During May and June of the same year the number of companies rose to 15 (117 officers and 1,775 men), but in December the original organization was restored – 4 squadrons and 8 companies. 3rd Scout Regiment of the Guard under Jan Kozietulski was formed from the remaining officers and men. Polish chevaux-legers were treated as French soldiers and were on the French payroll. In 1809 (after the battle of Somosierra) the Regiment was incorporated to the Old Guard.
Jan Kozietulski in light horse uniform

According to the Old Guard seniority they were located after Chasseurs à Cheval, but before Mamelukes. After Napoleon's abdication (6 April 1814) chevaulegers and scouts were united (minus Paweł Jerzmanowski's squadron, which accompanied the former emperor to Elba).1 May 1814 the Regiment was transferred from the French Army to the newly created Army of Congress Poland, and on 7 June all squadrons were presented in Saint-Denis before their new Commander, Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia and then moved to Poland.

Uniforms of chevaulegers were modelled upon Cavalry National uniforms from the last decade of the 18th century. Dark blue kurtka had crimson stand-up collar, wristbands and facings. The snug dark blue pantaloons (breeches) were lined with leather, and ornamented with a single crimson stripe. Collar and facings of the Grand Uniform were ornamented also with silver wavy line, and pantaloons with double crimson stripes (officer's Gala Full Dress was white and crimson). High (22 cm) czapkas had their forehead metals made of brass (officer's of silver) with a rising sun and the letter "N". For the parade czapka was crowned with 47 cm long plume of heron's or ostrich white feathers, and a cockade with a blue center, broad crimson middle band and a narrow white outer edging, with the blue practically hidden under the silver Maltese cross. Officers had blue, while regular soldiers had off-white overcoats, known as manteau-capotes.

Chevaulegers were armed with sabres, initially Prussian of bad quality, and as of March 1809 French sabres. Also, Prussian pistols were replaced gradually with French mousquetonnes. Lances, 2.75 meters long with crimson-and-white pennons, were obtained not earlier than after the battle of Wagram, where they acquired lances of Austrian uhlans, and fought victoriously with these. At that time the name of the Regiment was changed to (fr. 1er Régiment de chevau-légers lanciers Polonais de la Garde Impériale)

Tradition:

In the times of the Second Polish Republic the traditions of the 1st Regiment were maintained by 1. Pułk Szwoleżerów Józefa Piłsudskiego, an exclusive regiment of cavalry, the 2nd squadron of which was traditionally the Service Squadron for the president of Poland.

Each year, since the mid-1990s, in the middle of August in Ciechanów and Opinogóra the "Return of the Chevaulegers" festival is organized by the city of Ciechanów, Museum of Romanticism in Opinogóra, Faculty of Arts of the Aleksander Giejsztor College, and many other institutions and organizations. During the spectacle many re-enactment groups from countries such as Poland, Great Britain, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia present themselves in historical uniforms.

 

 

 

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Officer of Squadron of Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard, France 1812

Imperial Guard

The Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard was a cavalry squadron of Napoleon I's Imperial Guard.

 

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Napoleon formed his own Mamluk corps, the last known Mamluk force, in the early years of the 19th century, and used Mamluks in a number of his campaigns. Napoleon's famous bodyguard Roustam Raza was also a Mamluk who had been sold in Egypt.

Throughout the Napoleonic era there was a special Mamluk corps in the French army. In his history of the 13th Chasseurs, Colonel Descaves recounts how Napoleon used the Mamluks during the French campaign in Egypt and Syria. In the so-called "Instructions" that Bonaparte gave to Jean Baptiste Kléber after departure, Napoleon wrote that he had already bought from Syrian merchants about 2,000 Mamluks with whom he intended to form a special detachment.

On 14 September 1799 Kléber established a mounted company of Mamluk auxiliaries and Syrian Janissaries from Turkish troops captured at the siege of Acre. Menou reorganized the company on 7 July 1800, forming 3 companies of 100 men each and renaming it the "Mamluks de la République".

In 1801 General Jean Rapp was sent to Marseille to organize a squadron of 250 Mamluks. On 7 January 1802 the previous order was canceled and the squadron reduced to 150 men. The list of effectives on 21 April 1802 reveals 3 officers and 155 other ranks. By decree of 25 December 1803 the Mamluks were organized into a company attached to the Chasseurs-à-Cheval of the Imperial Guard. The officers were Frenchmen, the privates were Greeks, Egyptians, Georgians and Turks. Every Mameluk was armed with two brace of pistols, a very curved saber, dagger, mace and eventually a battle-ax.

In 1804 the company of Mamelukes had: 9 officers (6 of whom are Arabs), 10 NCO (6 of whom are Arabs), 10 brigadiers (8 of whom are Arabs), 2 trumpeters and 92 privates.

Mamluks fought well at the Battle of Austerlitz on 2 December 1805, and the regiment was granted a standard and its roster increased to accommodate a standard-bearer and a trumpet. A decree of 15 April 1806 defined the strength of the squadron as 13 officers and 147 privates. A famous painting by Francisco Goya shows a charge of Mamluks against the Madrilene on 2 May 1808 (Dos de Mayo Uprising).

In 1813 the Mameluks were reinforced with Frenchmen who were designated as '2nd Mameluks'. There were 2 companies of Mameluks, the 1st was ranked as Old Guard and the 2nd as Young Guard. The Squadron of Mameluks was attached to the Regiment of Guard Chasseurs.

Despite the decree of 21 March 1815 that stated that no foreigner could be admitted into the Imperial Guard, Napoleon's decree of 24 April prescribed amongst other things that the Chasseurs-à-Cheval of the Imperial Guard included a squadron of two companies of Mamluks for the Belgian Campaign. With the First Restoration, the company of the Mamluks of the Old Guard was incorporated in the Corps Royal des Chasseurs de France. The Mamluks of the Young Guard were incorporated into the 7th Chasseurs-à-Cheval.

Following the Second Bourbon Restoration of 1815 there were widespread reprisals against individuals or groups identified with the defeated Napoleonic regime. These included the small number of Mamluks still in service, eighteen of whom were massacred in Marseilles while awaiting transportation back to Egypt.

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Cavalryman of Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard, France 1812

Les chevaux noirs de Bessières (Bessières' d...

The Grenadiers à Cheval de la Garde Impériale ( Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard) constituted a heavy cavalry regiment in the Consular, then Imperial Guard during the French Consulate and First French Empire respectively. They were the senior "Old Guard&qu ot; cavalry regiment of the Imperial Guard and from 1806 were brigaded together with the Dragons de la Garde Impériale.

A part of the Republican Consular Guard, the Grenadiers became the senior "Old Guard" heavy cavalry regiment when the Imperial Guard was founded, in 1804. Their maximum official complement was just over 1100 officers and troopers, commanded by a general of division or a seasoned general of brigade, with some of the most famous cavalrymen of the time as commander.

Rarely committed to battle during the Napoleonic Wars, they were usually kept in reserve, alongside the Emperor, during the most significant battles of 1804-1815. When sent into action, such as during the battles of Marengo, Austerlitz, Eylau, Hanau or Waterloo, as well as during a number of actions of 1814, results were usually impressive.


"Heads up, gentlemen, these are bullets, not turds". Colonel Louis Lepic harangues the Grenadiers à Cheval as they are forming for a charge under intense fire at the Battle of Eylau in 1807. Painting by Édouard Detaille at the Chantilly Museum.

 

The origins of the Guard Horse Grenadiers dated back to the Constitution of the Year III, which provided for the organisation of a guard for the French Directory. Within this guard, a cavalry regiment was formed and most cavalrymen were drawn from the 9th dragoons. However, the horse guards would only take service in 1796 and a 1797 regulation stated that the guards were to be called 'grenadiers'. The next major reorganisation came with the French Consulate, just days after the 18 Brumaire 1799 coup d'Etat. This reorganisation reshuffled the general staff of the regiment and gave its command to chef de brigade (colonel) Michel Ordener, assisted by three chefs d'escadron (squadron commanders). Further reorganisations in 1801 and 1802 were conducted under the supervision of General Jean-Baptiste Bessières, bringing the regiment to four squadrons of two companies each and integrating it in the newly created Consular Guard, with the general staff of the regiment also expanded.

On May 18, 1804, with the creation of the Imperial Guard, the horse grenadier regiment was integrated in this newly created unit. A decree from July of that year stated that the general staff of the regiment was to be extended to 32 men and that the regiment would be organised in four squadrons of two companies each, with 123 men in each company, for a total of 1016 officers and men. The next year, two squadrons of vélites, totaling 800 men were added, as well as a major en second (deputy commander). The two vélite squadrons would only be disbanded in August 1811, with the men being reshuffled in a 5-squadron regiment, totaling 1250 men. A further reorganisation was operated just before the Russian campaign, bringing the number of squadrons back down to four. In January 1813, after the Russian disaster, the regiment was once again reorganised, with the addition of a fifth and then a sixth squadron of 2 companies each. These two squadrons were both considered Young Guard and were also known as the 2nd Grenadiers à Cheval regiment. Throughout the War of the Sixth Coalition the regiment would fight in this format, with each of the four Old Guard squadrons being formed of 2 companies, 124 officers and men each.

Following the abdication of the Emperor Napoleon I in 1814, the restored Bourbons planned to erase the identity of this regiment by asking Marshal Michel Ney to disband and then reorganise the men into a new regiment called cuirassiers de France (cuirassiers of France), which included 4 squadrons. The men that had formed the original 6th Young Guard squadron were apparently all transferred to the Carabiniers-à-Cheval. With the comeback of Napoleon during the Hundred Days, the regiment was once again transformed into the Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard and after the fall of Napoleon, the regiment was permanently disbanded on November 25, 1815

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Staff Officer of Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard, France 1812

Les chevaux noirs de Bessières (Bessières' d...

The Grenadiers à Cheval de la Garde Impériale ( Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard) constituted a heavy cavalry regiment in the Consular, then Imperial Guard during the French Consulate and First French Empire respectively. They were the senior "Old Guard&qu ot; cavalry regiment of the Imperial Guard and from 1806 were brigaded together with the Dragons de la Garde Impériale.

A part of the Republican Consular Guard, the Grenadiers became the senior "Old Guard" heavy cavalry regiment when the Imperial Guard was founded, in 1804. Their maximum official complement was just over 1100 officers and troopers, commanded by a general of division or a seasoned general of brigade, with some of the most famous cavalrymen of the time as commander.

Rarely committed to battle during the Napoleonic Wars, they were usually kept in reserve, alongside the Emperor, during the most significant battles of 1804-1815. When sent into action, such as during the battles of Marengo, Austerlitz, Eylau, Hanau or Waterloo, as well as during a number of actions of 1814, results were usually impressive.


"Heads up, gentlemen, these are bullets, not turds". Colonel Louis Lepic harangues the Grenadiers à Cheval as they are forming for a charge under intense fire at the Battle of Eylau in 1807. Painting by Édouard Detaille at the Chantilly Museum.

 

The origins of the Guard Horse Grenadiers dated back to the Constitution of the Year III, which provided for the organisation of a guard for the French Directory. Within this guard, a cavalry regiment was formed and most cavalrymen were drawn from the 9th dragoons. However, the horse guards would only take service in 1796 and a 1797 regulation stated that the guards were to be called 'grenadiers'. The next major reorganisation came with the French Consulate, just days after the 18 Brumaire 1799 coup d'Etat. This reorganisation reshuffled the general staff of the regiment and gave its command to chef de brigade (colonel) Michel Ordener, assisted by three chefs d'escadron (squadron commanders). Further reorganisations in 1801 and 1802 were conducted under the supervision of General Jean-Baptiste Bessières, bringing the regiment to four squadrons of two companies each and integrating it in the newly created Consular Guard, with the general staff of the regiment also expanded.

On May 18, 1804, with the creation of the Imperial Guard, the horse grenadier regiment was integrated in this newly created unit. A decree from July of that year stated that the general staff of the regiment was to be extended to 32 men and that the regiment would be organised in four squadrons of two companies each, with 123 men in each company, for a total of 1016 officers and men. The next year, two squadrons of vélites, totaling 800 men were added, as well as a major en second (deputy commander). The two vélite squadrons would only be disbanded in August 1811, with the men being reshuffled in a 5-squadron regiment, totaling 1250 men. A further reorganisation was operated just before the Russian campaign, bringing the number of squadrons back down to four. In January 1813, after the Russian disaster, the regiment was once again reorganised, with the addition of a fifth and then a sixth squadron of 2 companies each. These two squadrons were both considered Young Guard and were also known as the 2nd Grenadiers à Cheval regiment. Throughout the War of the Sixth Coalition the regiment would fight in this format, with each of the four Old Guard squadrons being formed of 2 companies, 124 officers and men each.

Following the abdication of the Emperor Napoleon I in 1814, the restored Bourbons planned to erase the identity of this regiment by asking Marshal Michel Ney to disband and then reorganise the men into a new regiment called cuirassiers de France (cuirassiers of France), which included 4 squadrons. The men that had formed the original 6th Young Guard squadron were apparently all transferred to the Carabiniers-à-Cheval. With the comeback of Napoleon during the Hundred Days, the regiment was once again transformed into the Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard and after the fall of Napoleon, the regiment was permanently disbanded on November 25, 1815

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Officer of 2nd Regiment of Light Cavalry Lancers of the Imperial Guard, France 1812

Red Lancers

The 2e régiment de chevau-légers lanciers de la Garde Impériale ( 2nd Regiment of Light Cavalry Lancers of the Imperial Guard) was a light cavalry regiment in Napoleon I's Imperial Guard. They were formed in 1810, after the Kingdom of Holland was annexed by Franc e, but their original purpose was to serve as hussars of the Dutch Royal Guard. The units, who were of an elite order, were known for their loyalty and military might, as well as their professionalism in and out of battle.

When Napoleon annexed the Kingdom of Holland, ruled until then by his brother Louis Bonaparte, the Dutch Royal Guard merged with the Imperial Guard. The Hussars of the Dutch Royal Guard were converted into the new unit of horse-mounted Lancers, they were given a new scarlet-coloured uniform (copied, except the colour, from Polish lancers uniform) from that was responsible for their name, as well as a new set of weapons. They also received a new leader - Col. Baron Pierre David de Colbert-Chabanais - under whom they were known properly as the 2nd Light Horse Lancers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard (2e régiment de chevaux-légers des Lanciers de la Garde Impériale).

 


Col. Baron Pierre David de Colbert-Chabanais leading the Red Lancers at Waterloo.

However, despite their previous posts in the Netherlands as the Royal Guards, they suffered enormous losses in the first invasion they participated in, which was that of Russia in 1812. While the devastation for the regiment at that particular conflict almost caused the entire dissolution of the newly formed unit, they would continue to serve in the military, but without many of the original Dutchmen, who were thought of as the pride of the regiment and who would be replaced by French soldiers.

The following year, in 1813, the Red Lancers were a distinguished regiment in a battle in Germany, and once again, in 1814, where they fought in the areas then known as the Low Countries.

The next year after that, in 1815, Napoleon returned from his exile.The same year, the Red Lancers fought at Waterloo. Even though Dutch-Belgian cavalry commander Jean Baptiste van Merlen, one of the most highly ranked and celebrated army officers of the regiment, lost his life at Waterloo, some of the original Dutchmen still existed in the ranks, and would serve as Red Lancers long after the French defeat there.

The Chevau-Léger Lanciers wore a red coat with blue lapels, cuffs and turnbacks. They wore a red piped yellow Polish shako. They had yellow aiguillettes and epaulettes. The trumpeters wore a white coat with red lapels, cuffs and turnbacks. They wore a white Polish shako and rode grey horses.

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