Summer Reading - Pure
The Departmental Legions - Les Légions départementales

The Effacement of La Grande Armée

Tracing your French ancestor who served in the military during the nineteenth century can be a series of blunders of bafflement and confusion. This may be because the French army was rearranged a few times, with regiments being renamed again and again. We have written before of the regimental name changes from those of the Ancien Régime to those after the Revolution. There were more.
Not long after the Revolution, Napoleon came to power. Napoleon loved his army and often said he loved his soldiers. He planted trees for them. He gave them really dandy uniforms. He rode into battle with them and, on one infamous occasion, rode out again on his own and left them to die. Those who hated Napoleon also hated what he had done to the French Army.
After Napoleon's abdication on the twenty-second of June, 1815, one of the first tasks for the returning Bourbons was to eradicate every trace of the Corsican from the military; the Imperial Army was to become the Royal Army once again.  All of the regiments were dissolved, relocated and had that logical system of numbering removed. We give here the changes from the  Grande Armée names of regiments to the Restoration names:
  • 1st Cuirassiers became Cuirassiers de la Reine 
  • 2nd Cuirassiers became Cuirassiers du Dauphin
  • 3rd Cuirassiers became Cuirassiers d'Angoulême
  • 4th Cuirassiers became Cuirassiers de Berry
  • 5th Cuirassiers became Cuirassiers d'Orléans
  • 6th Cuirassiers became Cuirassiers de Condé


  • 1st Dragons became  Dragons du Calvados
  • 2nd Dragons became Dragons du Doubs
  • 3rd Dragons became Dragons de la Garonne
  • 4th Dragons became Dragons de la Gironde
  • 5th Dragons became Dragons de l'Hérault
  • 6th Dragons became Dragons de la Loire
  • 7th Dragons became Dragons de la Manche
  • 8th Dragons became Dragons du Rhône
  • 9th Dragons became Dragons de la Saône
  • 10th Dragons became Dragons de la Seine


  • 1st Chasseurs à cheval became Chasseurs de'lAllier
  • 2nd Chasseurs became Chasseurs des Alpes
  • 3rd Chasseurs became Chasseurs des Ardennes
  • 4th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de l'Ariège
  • 5th Chasseurs became Chasseurs du Cantal
  • 6th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de la Charente
  • 7th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de Corrèze
  • 8th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de la Côte d'Or
  • 9th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de Dordogne
  • 10th Chasseurs became Chasseurs du Gard
  • 11th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de l'Isère
  • 12th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de la Marne
  • 13th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de la Garde Royale
  • 14th Chasseurs became Chasseurs du Morbihan
  • 15th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de l'Oise
  • 16th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de l'Orne
  • 17th Chasseurs became Chasseurs des Pyrénées
  • 18th Chasseurs became Chasseurs de la Sarthe
  • 21st Chasseurs became Chasseurs du Vaucluse

The nineteenth and twentieth regiments of the Chasseurs à cheval were not replaced. The fourteen regiments of the hussards were disbanded and only six recreated:

  • 1st Hussards became  Hussards du Jura
  • 2nd Hussards became Hussards de la Meurthe
  • 3rd Hussards became Hussards de la Moselle
  • 4th Hussards became Hussards du Nord
  • 5th Hussards became Hussards du Bas-Rhin
  • 6th Hussards became Hussards du Haut-Rhin

A new Corps Royal de l'Artillerie was created, with eight regiments called the Régiments d'Artillerie à Pied, or RAP:

  • 1st Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied de la Fère
  • 2nd Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied de Metz
  • 3rd Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied de Valence
  • 4th Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied d'Auxone
  • 5th Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied de Strasbourg
  • 6th Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied de Douai
  • 7th Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied de Toulouse
  • 8th Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied de Rennes

 Additionally, there were the:

  • Régiment d'Artillerie à Cheval de Metz
  • Régiment d'Artillerie à Cheval de Rennes
  • Régiment d'Artillerie à Cheval de Strasbourg
  • Régiment d'Artillerie à Cheval de Toulouse


What happened to the infantry was unique and will be described in the next post.


©2012 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy