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Drapeaux of the French Army  •  1804-15  •  Imperial Guard Infantry
 

Images June 2016

Battalion of Marines of the Guard, 1804-11

2nd & 3rd Regiments of Foot Grenadiers, 1811-12 • 1st Regiment of Foot Chasseurs, 1811-12
 


 

Old Guard  •  Foot Grenadiers & Foot Chasseurs  •  1804-11
 

The reorganization of the French Army in 1803-04 included the transformation of the Guard of the Consuls into the Imperial Guard. Initially the infantry component of the Guard consisted of one regiment of Foot Grenadiers and one of Foot Chasseurs, each with two march battalions and one training battalion. The Foot Grenadiers and Foot Chasseurs constituted what came to be called the Old Guard. They received drapeaux (colors) similar to those of the line and light infantry regiments, but with grenades or hunting horns in the corners and the imperial eagle and crown on the reverse. The basis of issue was one per battalion. As was the case with the line and light infantry regiments, the cloth flag was secondary in importance to the gilded bronze Eagle that topped the color staff. All colors were about 2 1/2 feet square and made of oiled silk.

As the Imperial Guard was expanded, it seems probable that Eagles were only issued to the senior regiments, which eventually became the Old Guard. Other regiments received colors only or, in the case of some Young Guard regiments, fanions only. These fanions de bataillon or battalion flags were the same size as the drapeaux. They should be distinguished from the smaller fanions d'alignement or marker flags used to dress the line, though usually the two were of the same or a similar design. An 1812 instruction from Napoleon stated that all Guard regiments were carry their drapeaux or fanions de bataillons but that there was to be only one eagle for the Grenadier Corps and one for the Chasseur Corps, to be carried by the 1st Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Foot Grenadiers and the 1st Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Foot Chasseurs respectively. During the Hundred Days only the 1st Foot Grenadiers and 1st Foot Chasseurs were granted Eagles, all other regiments of the reconstituted Imperial Guard having fanions only. Those shown below are known to have been carried by some regiments, but probably there were numerous variants.

 

1st Battalion, Foot Grenadiers

 

1st Battalion, Foot Chasseurs

 

Middle Guard  •  Fusiliers Grenadiers & Fusiliers Chasseurs  •  1804-11
 

In 1806, two further Guard infantry regiments were raised: the Fusiliers Grenadiers and the Fusiliers Chasseurs. They received colors of the same pattern as the original two regiments. These new regiments constituted what came to be called the Middle Guard. Their personnel came from the training battalions of the Old Guard Foot Grenadier and Foot Chasseur regiments. The Battalion of Marines was raised in 1803 for the projected invasion of England and was attached to the Imperial Guard in 1804. Four companies strong, it was responsible for manning any boat or barge in which the Emperor might travel. The Marines were armed and equipped as infantry.

 

1st Battalion, Fusiliers Grenadiers

 

1st Battalion, Fusiliers Chasseurs

 

Battalion of Marines of the Guard

 

Old Guard & Middle Guard  •  Foot Grenadiers & Foot Chasseurs  •  1810-12
 

In 1810 the Regiment of Foot Grenadiers of the Dutch Royal Guard was incorporated into the Imperial Guard as the 2nd Regiment of Foot Grenadiers. Then in 1811 two more regiments, one of Foot Grenadiers and one of Foot Chasseurs, were raised. The former Dutch Grenadiers were renumbered as the 3rd Foot Grenadiers, so that the infantry of the Old Guard now consisted of three foot grenadier and two foot chasseur regiments. New colors, with numerals instead of badges in the corners and different inscriptions, were issued to all regiments of the Old Guard in 1810-11. The basis of issue remained one color per battalion. In 1811 the division of Imperial Guard into the Old, Middle and Young Guard was formalized. Only the 1st Regiment of Foot Grenadiers and the 1st Regiment of Foot Chasseurs then constituted the Old Guard.

 

2nd Battalion, 1st Foot Grenadiers

 

1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Grenadiers

 

1st Battalion, 3rd Foot Grenadiers

 

2nd Battalion, 1st Foot Chasseurs

 

2nd Battalion, 2nd Foot Chasseurs

 

Middle Guard  •  Fusiliers Grenadiers & Fusiliers Chasseurs  •  1811-14
 

With the expansion of the Imperial Guard, new regulations were promulgated regarding Eagles and drapeaux. These were reserved for the Old Guard only and the rest of the regiments were to carry fanions de bataillon. The Fusiliers Grenadiers and Fusiliers Chasseurs received blue fanions bordered with white, bearing the Emperor’s monogram within a laurel wreath, over which was placed an eagle and crown. In the corners were flaming grenades for the Fusiliers Grenadiers and hunting horns for the Fusiliers Chasseurs. The basis of issue for these fanions was one per battalion. They were carried on a staff with a spearpoint finial.

 

Fanion, Fusiliers Grenadiers

 

Fanion, Fusiliers Chasseurs

 

Young Guard  •  Tirailleurs Grenadiers & Tirailleurs Chasseurs  •  1809-14
 

The regiments of Tirailleurs Grenadiers and Tirailleurs Chasseurs were raised in 1809-10, constituting the nucleus of what came to be known as the Young Guard. Initially there were two regiments each of Tirailleurs Grenadiers and Tirailleurs Chasseurs, made up of conscripted men who had to be both fit and literate. By 1811 there were four regiments of Tirailleurs Grenadiers but still only two of Tirailleurs Chasseurs. All battalions of these regiments carried fanions only: white for the Tirailleurs Grenadiers and red for the Tirailleurs Chasseurs. By 1814 there were nineteen regiments of Tirailleurs Grenadiers. The two regiments of  Tirailleurs Chasseurs were converted to Voltigeurs in 1810.

 

Fanion, Tirailleurs Grenadiers

 

Fanion, Tirailleurs Chasseurs

 

Young Guard  •  Tirailleurs & Voltigeurs  •  1810-14
 

In 1810 the 1st and 2nd regiments of Tirailleurs Grenadiers became the 1st and 2nd regiments of Tirailleurs and by 1814 there were thirty-one such regiments. The two regiments of Tirailleurs Chasseurs, converted to Voltigeurs in 1810, were joined by seventeen more such regiments by 1814. These regiments carried fanions only.

 

Fanion, Tirailleurs

 

Fanion, Voltigeurs

 

Old Guard  •  Foot Grenadiers & Foot Chasseurs  •  1812-14
 

In 1813 the two senior regiments of the Imperial Guard received new Eagles and colors of the same pattern as those issued to the line and light infantry regiments in 1812. Grenadier regiments had flaming grenades in the wreaths on the white stripe, while chasseur regiments had hunting horns. The basis of issue for the 1813 colors was one per regiment, to be carried by the 1st Battalion; other battalions carried fanions with black grenades or hunting horns in the center and corners. The fanions d'alignement were identical to the fanions de bataillon except for size. The colors  were abolished and destroyed after the abdication of Napoleon in 1814. The fanions, however, remained in used during the regiments' brief period of service under Louis XVIII.

 

1st Regiment of Foot Grenadiers

 

1st Regiment of Foot Chasseurs

 

Fanion, Foot Grenadiers
 

 

Fanion, Foot Chasseurs
 



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