107 Grenadiers à Pied, 1st Empire
Under the monarchies of France there was a long tradition of Royal Bodyguards, and Napoleon followed this by creating his Imperial Guard within the French Army. The 1st Grenadiers applied with the other regiments of the Imperial Guard took their formal titles in 1804 when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor. Recruits were drawn from veterans of the revolution and following campaigns, who had a proven record of bravery, patriotism, and the highest discipline. The Grenadiers were distinguished by their old style long tailed coat, with waistcoat revealed, and by the wearing of the powdered queue and fold ear-rings.
The regimental standard of the 1st Grenadiers a pied displays many battle honours from Marengo through to Moscow, yet on many occasions they were in fact held back close to the Emperor as a final reserve. At the Battle of Waterloo they were again held in reserve, but when all else had failed, were committed to no avail as ‘like standing corn blown in the wind, their ranks were swept by musket and artillery fire’.