In anticipation of the Emperor Napoleons arrival in Poznan,on the 6th of November 1806 General Dąbrowski met with civil dignitaries and agreed to form an Honour Guard of 100 riders from the youth of the city who were to greet the Emperor on his arrival into the city. Command of this unit was given to Umiński an old friend of Dąbrowski who knew him from their time served in the Insurrection of Kościuszko. Umiński at the age of 15 had served in this campaign as adjutant to General Madaliński, Umiński’s adjutant and squadron instructor was ChŁapowski who had served for four years in a Prussian dragoon regiment and was skilled in cavalry drill and tactics.
“Before the entry of the Emperor… writes Chłapowski… the Honour Guard mustered daily in the fields along the Bug river behind the windmills, training in platoon and squadron manoeuvres. Foot drill went very well with such eagerness which was prevalent in the Honour Guard, but mounted drill was very difficult as everyone had horses that were too spirited and lively for troopers use and alignment could not be kept. In this Guard served Suchorzewski, Morawski, Tomicki and Ziemiecki later to become generals. ”
Upon receiving notification that the Emperor was approaching Poznan, the Honour Guard marched immediately to beyond Miedzyrzecz where it was to await him and welcome him onto Polish soil, however at Bytyniem where the Honour Guard bivouacked at night the Emperor arrived unexpectedly and immediately ordered the Honour Guard to escort his carriage by a mounted guard in front and behind it The Chasseurs a cheval of the Guard whose picket of an officer and 25 men had escorted the Emperor up to this point were ordered to march behind the Poles .While in Poznan the Honour Guard were on duty around the Emperor.
Upon his departure from Poznan the Honour Guard escorted him for 3 miles from the city. There he said farewell to the Poznan Honour Guard and officially promoted Uminski as colonel, Suchozewski as major and Gornicki and Chłapowski as Lieutenants.
As the Emperor approached Warsaw Prince Poniatowski presented the Emperor with the Warsaw Honour Guard under the command of Tadeusz Tyszkiewicz. This Honour Guard was made up of…” the most notable young men of the Polish nation dressed in beautiful uniforms of the national cavalry ”
The Emperor was very impressed with the bearing of this unit and assured Prince Poniatowski that he would take it into his service.
The Emperor saw that in creating the Chevau-legers Polonais he would have poles who were natural horsemen, eager to fight for him and who could mount and equip themselves at their own expense.
The poles were eager to fight for the Emperor as they saw in him a saviour to restore their homeland as an independent kingdom after it had been partitioned between Austria, Prussia and Russia at the end of the eighteenth century.
Tyszkewicz understood that he would be taken onto the Emperors staff and would serve at the Emperors side. However on the 23rd of March command of the regiment passed to Count. Wincenty Kraśinski. Being attached to the Guard the Honour Guard served with the Emperor during the winter campaign and most notably at the battles of Pultusk and Eylau
By the Imperial Decree of 6th April 1807, signed by the Emperor at the palace of Finckenstein the Honour Guard was incorporated into the newly formed Polish Light horse regiment of the Guard under Col..Wincenty Kraśinski . Tyszkiewicz was transferred with the rank of colonel to the army of the Duchy of Warsaw on 11th of May 1807.
The details contained in the 10 articles of the decree set the criteria for entry into the regiment.
For entry into the newly created regiment recruits had to be landowners or the sons of landowners, between the ages of 18 and 40 willing to uniform and equip themselves in full at their own expense. They would later be reimbursed by the treasury. For those suitable candidates without adequate funds a deduction of 15 sous from their daily pay was calculated.
Rates of pay and tariffs were to be as for the Chasseurs a cheval of the Guard and the rest of the Guard cavalry.(art.6)
Administration of the regiment would also be as for other Guard cavalry units (Art.8)
The above decree was ratified and signed by the Ruling Commission on the 19th of February 1807.
Almost immediately the news of the regiments formation was transmitted in the Warsaw Gazette…
The war office on high recommendation (…) the Director of War has announced to all those who (…) have been accepted to the polish regiment of light- horse of the Guard in order that they be called (…) should present themselves without delay (…) ‘’14th April 1807.
‘All those wishing the honour to enter the Guard of the glorious emperor of the French, who may still not have been accepted into the unit (…) should register at once to be accepted (…) 17th April 1807.
Organized exactly as the Chasseurs a cheval of the Guard it comprised of a commanding officer and a regimental staff of fourteen officers, twenty one NCO’s and four squadrons of two companies each. The companies in turn consisted of five officers, twenty NCO’s, three trumpeters and ninety privates .In it’s entirety the regiment was made up of fifty five officers and nine hundred and eighty one NCO’s and privates. The two ‘Gross Majors’ were Frenchmen assigned from the Imperial Guard as were two senior aides and a captain instructor. Some of the trumpeters were also Frenchmen and came from the Guard cavalry trumpeters school.
Contrary to French tradition, where the colour bearer was an officer the Poles created a special rank of ‘Cadet standard bearer’.
The regiment took up residence at the Mirłowski barracks near Ul.Chłodnej. Candidates for the regiment after first being interviewed at the Polish Ministry of War were examined by the Medical Commission at the Małachowski Palace which was in turn followed by a more rigorous selection at the barracks. Here it was decided if the candidate would be accepted into the regiment or sent home. The youth of Poland flocked to the regiment but not all could aspire to the high ideals aspired for from the Guard. Those who passed were accepted and listed in the regimental manifest and equipped with basic kit. This was then followed by the issue of the uniform which was fitted in the presence of the Company Commandant and any necessary alterations were made by the master tailor at this time.
The following day there commenced a long and strenuous training programme for the new recruits. This was supervised by section commanders, NCO’s and older cavalrymen of which there were many. This training did not suit all recruits and several of those who commenced training ,finding the discipline hard to come to terms with resigned their service and took a quick dismissal. Others accepted the hard discipline and training, finding solace in their thoughts of the peace and order of garrison life, parades, reviews and service in distant lands.