Historical Periods

History of the 3e Grenadiers a Pied de la Garde Imperiale

4th July 1806

Royal Guard created for Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland (his wife was Hortense de Beauharnais). One of these regiments was of Grenadiers.

31st July 1810

Royal Guard transferred to Paris, arriving on 15th August.

13th September 1810

Imperial decree established the Royal Guard as part of the Imperiale Garde as the 2eme Grenadiers a Pied de la Garde (comprising two battalions).

The regiment had 46 officers, 8 sergeant majors, 23 sergeants, 64 corporals, 16 sapeurs, 16 fifes, 24 drummers, 1,093 grenadiers, 158 velites and 428 followers.

Dressed like the 1st regiment of the Imperiale Garde except that, at the request of the Empress Marie Louis, they retained their white coats with crimson collar, cuffs and revers.


New bearskin of the same pattern as worn by the 1st regiment adopted.

18th May 1812

Napoleon created a new 2eme Grenadiers a Pied de la Garde Imperiale so the ‘Dutch’ 2eme became the 3eme Grenadiers a Pied de la Garde Imperiale.

30th June 1812

The 3eme Grenadiers a Pied de la Garde Imperiale paraded before the Emperor to receive a new eagle.

During the Russian campaign of 1812 saw the regiment lose heavily. Only 24 officers and 17 grenadiers returning to France.

14th November 1812

16,000 men of the Guard, including the 3e Grenadiers, fought against 35,000 Russians and won. Of the 380 remaining members of the regiment only 36 officers and 17 men would survive past this point. The 3e Grenadiers no longer existed.

15th February 1813

The regiment disbanded. The remaining officers and men being transferred into other guard regiments.

8th April 1815

3e Grenadiers a Pied de la Garde Imperiale re-raised by Napoleon for the Waterloo campaign (the 100 days).

During Waterloo the regiment was involved at Ligny and Waterloo itself.

At Waterloo the 3e Grenadiers were grouped with the ‘Middle Guard’.

6in French Howitser

At Waterloo, because of insufficient time, the 3eme were not all dressed in the full Guard uniform. Some had bearskins, but many marched with an assortment of shakos, bicorn hats or bonnet de police. Some used cords instead of musket slings and many muskets were line issue lacking the Guard’s brass fittings.

The Garde Imperiale were involved in the battle at Ligny which was fought between the French and Prussians under Blucher prior to the battle of Waterloo.

1st Battalion 3eme. Was the right flank battalion of the Middle Guard’s assault on Wellington’s line. It was pushed back by the charge of Detmers’s Dutch-Belgian brigade just as it reached the ridge.

2nd Battalion 3eme. Napoleon posted this unit in square on a slight rise in the ground between La Haie Sainte and Hougourmont, where it had difficulties in holding off the Anglo-Allied general advance. The square was reduced to a tattered triangle when they were attacked by British cavalry, infantry from Hougourmont and surrounded and shelled with grapeshot.