Dressed in distinctive green uniforms and classically inspired copper helmets, the Dragoons of the Imperial Guard were raised in 1806 by the same criteria as other Guard units - by selection of picked, literate veterans from Line regiments who had six to ten years of service, and citations for bravery in at least two campaigns. The following year they were named Dragons de l'Imperatrice in a unique compliment to the Empress Josephine. As a ceremonial regiment it enjoyed many privileges, but it also saw combat on a number of occasions, including the battles of Essling and Wagram (1809), the Russian campaign (1812, when it suffered severe losses), at Bautzen, Wachau and Leipzig (1813), in the 1814 Campaign of France, and at Ligny and Waterloo (1815).
Ronald Pawly was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1956 and still lives and works in that city. He is a respected member of several international societies for Napoleonic studies, and an expert on 19th-century military portraiture. He is the author of the monumental The Red Lancers: Anatomy of a Napoleonic Regiment (Crowood Press, 1998), and of a study of Napoleonic veterans' tombs in Belgium. This is the eighth volume on the cavalry of Napoleon's Imperial Guard written by Ronald Pawly for Osprey.
Introduction /Raising the regiment: the Imperial Decree of 15 April 1806 - recruitment /Naming - the Empress Josephine /Uniforms and equipment /1807: the Eylau and Friedland campaign - enlargement of regiment /1808 and 1810: service in Spain /1809: Essling and Wagram campaign /1812: raising and absorption of Young Guard squadron - service in Russia /1813: German campaign; battles of Bautzen, Wachau and Leipzig - reinforcement by regiment of Eclaireurs /1814: Campaign of France - defence of Champagne - battles of Brienne, Champaubert, Montmirail, Chateau-Thierry, Vauchamps, Montereau, Rheims, Craonne, Arics, St Dizier /Paris - the First Abdication - disbandment and re-raising as Corps Royal de Dragons de France /1815: the Hundred Days - Ligny and Waterloo - final disbandment /Bibliography