How Captain Parquin received his Legion d'Honour

Denis Charles Parquin with the recommendation of Marshall Marmount was appointed to the 1st Chassuers a Cheval de le Garde in March 1813. As was customary he dropped a rank in order to serve in a Guard regiment.

In his "Souvenirs de Capitaine Parguin" he relates how he received his Legion d'Honour...

...On 6th April 1813 I was in the full dress of my corps at the head of my troop with two squadrons of the regiment at one of the reviews which the Emperor held frequently in the court of the Tulleries, after his return from the campaign in Russia. I wished to speak to His Majesty, but I was afraid because the Emperor did not bother about his Guides and often passed at the gallop without stopping near them; so I dismounted at a moment when our squadrons were at ease, and went and placed myself on the left of a regiment of infantry of the Young Guard which the Emperor was reviewing.

..."Who are you?, asked the Emperor when he arrived at the place where I was standing. "An officer of your Old Guard Sire, Sire, I have dropped a rank to serve Your Majesty." "What do you want?" " A decoration." "What have you done to deserve it?" "I am a Parisian who enrolled as a volunteer at the age of sixteen. I have been through eight campaigns. I won my commission on the battlefield and received ten wounds, though I would not change them for the number I have inflicted on the enemy. I have captured a colour in Portugal, and on this occasion the commander-in-chief recommended me for a decoration; but it is far from Portugal to Moscow and the reply has not yet come." "Very well!" "I will bring it myself! Berthier, write out and award of the cross for this officer and see that his diploma is sent to him tomorrow. I do not wish that I should be in debt to this gallant man any longer." And so I was decorated...

The Chassuers à Cheval de le Garde were considered the most expensive regiment in the Grande Armee, as may be seen by the plate below. They were dressed almost exactly as Hussars.

Chasseur in full dress. the undress uniform would be similar with exception of the fur busby, the dolmen coat and barreled sash. Over the trousers would be coveralls or leather breeches. The shako would always be at a jaunty angle, and the moustaches (obligatory for Hussars, Grenadiers, and Chasseurs) would go almost from ear to ear!

Vive le Roy!

Plate by Rousellot

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