Napoleon & Empire

Grand Officers

The Grand Officers of the Empire included Marshals, Inspectors General and Colonels General. They had the right to be referred to as "Your Excellence".

Marshals

The title of Marshal was a civilian honour, not a military one. Marshals occupied the fifth position in the imperial hierarchy behind the Emperor and the Empress, the imperial family, Grand Dignitaries and ministers.

Theoretically, the number of Marshals should not exceed sixteen at any one time. The rule was systematically enforced. Lannes died in 1809. Berthier, Murat and Jourdan abandoned their title in the same year and were followed one year later by Bernadotte. Bessières and Poniatowski disappeared in 1813.

Portraits of Napoleon's marshals  View the slideshow of portraits of Napoleon's marshals.

Inspectors General

There were seven Inspectors General: three generals plus two (it later became four) admirals.

First Inspector General of the Artillery

  • January 4, 1800 - September 16, 1802: François-Marie d'Aboville
  • September 16, 1802 - January 30, 1804: Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont
  • January 30, 1804 - December 27, 1810: Nicolas Marie Songis des Courbons
  • January 29, 1811 - December 21, 1812: Jean Ambroise Baston de Lariboisière
  • January 3rd, 1813: Jean-Baptiste Eblé (appointed three days after his death, whose news had not yet been received by the Emperor)
  • March 29, 1813 - June 22, 1815: Jean Barthélémot de Sorbier

First Inspector General of the Engineers

First Inspector General of Police

Inspector General of the Ocean Coast

  • July 6, 1804 - March 18, 1805: Étienne Eustache Bruix
  • April 18, 1808 - June 22, 1815: Honoré Joseph Antoine Ganteaume

Inspector General of the Mediterranean Coast

  • July 6, 1804 - August 19, 1804: Louis-René-Madeleine de Latouche-Tréville
  • February 1st, 1805 - April 1st, 1814 : Denis Decrés

Inspector General of the Coast of the Ligurian Sea

  • April 7, 1813 - April 1st, 1814: Maxime Julien Émeriau de Beauverger

Inspector General of the North Coast

Colonels General

There were nine Colonels General.

The Colonel General of the Swiss had no official function as this corps disappeared with the monarchy. The four Colonels General of the Imperial Guard, in contrast, had important duties. They were charged with the organization and administration of the Guard. In principle, the position changed hands every three months, but Bessières was most often in the role.

Colonel General of the Swiss

  • September 13, 1807 - May 31, 1809: Jean Lannes
  • May 31, 1809 - 1814: Alexandre Berthier

Colonel General of the Light Cavalry

  • February 1st, 1805 - July 31, 1809: Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont
  • July 31, 1809 - April 22, 1814: Emmanuel de Grouchy

Colonel General of the Dragoons

  • June 6, 1804 - January 6, 1813: Louis Baraguey d'Hilliers
  • January 14, 1813 - July 29, 1813: Étienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty

Colonel General of the Hussars

Colonel General of Cuirassiers

  • July 6, 1804 - December 5, 1812: Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr
  • December 5, 1812 - 1814: Augustin Belliard

Colonel General of the Cavalry of the Guard

  • July 20, 1804 - May 1st, 1813: Jean Baptiste Bessières
  • September 18, 1813 - April 22, 1814: Louis-Gabriel Suchet

Colonel General of the Foot Grenadiers of the Guard

  • May 19, 1804 - April 22, 1814: Louis-Nicolas Davout

Colonel General of the Light Infantry of the Guard

  • May 19, 1804 - April 22, 1814: Jean-de-Dieu Soult

Colonel General of the Artillery and the Marines of the Guard

  • February 2nd, 1804 - April 22, 1814: Adolphe Édouard Casimir Joseph Mortier
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