Grenadiers á Cheval de la Garde Impériale
The senior cavalry regiment of the Garde Impérial and thus the whole French army, the Mounted Grenadiers were known as ‘the Gods’.
Selectively recruited, superbly uniformed and mounted, they represented the pinnacle of professional pride and excellence in the years before the first abdication of the Emperor. Their uniforms were based closely upon those of the Foot Grenadiers, including the tall bearskin bonnets. Their first great test was at Marengo in 1800 where they acquitted themselves with distinction but they were rarely committed to battle during the Napoleonic Wars and were usually kept in reserve, alongside the Emperor.
When sent into action, such as during the battles of Austerlitz, Eylau and Hanau, as well as during a number of actions of 1814, results were usually impressive.
At Waterloo, as the battle drew to a close, the Grenadiers formed a rearguard behind the Old Guard infantry reserve. As part of the Allied advance the British 12th Light Dragoons made the fatal mistake of charging them and they paid a terrible price for their audacity.
Eventually, still in perfect order the Grenadiers turned their tall black horses and left the field at an unhurried walk.
The regiment was disbanded in 1815, after Napoleon's downfall and the second restoration of the Bourbons.
Limited Edition of 50 by Illustrator, David Higham