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'Impératrice 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).
The unparalleled documentary and pictorial sources to which Ronald Pawly has access inform this, the latest volume in his unique English-language coverage of the cavalry of Napoleon's Imperial Guard. It includes a history of the unit's organisation and service, uniforms and equipment, drawn from the original manuscript correspondence of Napoleon and his senior officers, orders and inspection reports, which survive in the Paris archives to this day. Interspersed with material on the records of particular individuals - their promotions, wounds and deaths in action - and illustrated with uniform prints, photographs of portraits and colour plates covering all ranks and orders of dress, this is the definitive history of a legendary Napoleonic regiment.