The Vistula Uhlans
"Picadors of the Hell" - "Los Diablos Polacos"

"Some of the most feared cavalry in Napoleon's armies
were the Polish lancers of the Vistula Uhlans."
- wikipedia.org 2007

1. Introduction
2. Organization
3. Uniforms
4. Campaigns and Battles:
- - - - - - 1790s >
- - - - - - 1800 Campaign >
- - - - - - 1807 Campaign >
- - - - - - 1808 Campaign >
- - - - - - 1809-10 Campaign >
- - - - - - 1811 Campaign >
- - - - - - 1812 Campaign >
- - - - - - 1813 Campaign >
- - - - - - 1814-1815 "No Surrender" >

The Vistula Uhlans were exceptionally well trained with lances
and were all excellent horsemen. "[In 1808] Regiments started
passing through Bayonne. One of the first was Konopka's
regiment of Polish lancers. [Vistula Uhlans] ... all the officers
and men were veterans. ....
One morning before breakfast, the Emperor reviewed it in the park
before the palace and ordered it through its paces. It performed
its drill with such speed and accuracy that all the French officers
declared there was no finer cavalry regiment in the army,
not excluding the Guard [Cavalry]. ..."
(Chlapowski - "Memoirs of a Polish Lancer" p 40,
transl. by Tim Simmons

Picture: Vistula Uhlans

Napoleon and his marshals were so impressed
with their combat performance that he decided
to form his own lancer regiments.
Shortly after Napoleonic Wars the British
16th Light Dragoons was equipped as lancers.
The British tried to emulate the Vistula Uhlans
not only in skill at arms, but also in appearance.

In 1806 the fortress of Stettin surrendered to the French cavalry
and it was something unusual in the annals of military history.
But there was no fighting, the defenders were bullied into surrender.
During the siege of Saragossa the Vistula uhlans actually charged the fortified city.
"... fed up with Spanish sniping, the Lancers of the Vistula
climbed down from their saddles and stormed an entrenched Spanish
camp near Saragossa ... During the first phase of the siege they
charged a fortified city. They penetrated essentially right to
its center. Unsupported and alone the lancers had to charge back out."
- John Elting

In 1815 they were highly praised by Marshal Davout.

The Devil Pole, 
Vistula uhlan in Spain, 
picture by Chelminski "The Decree of 11 Nov 1807 transferred the Legion Polacco-Italienne into the service of Westphalia, but this was reveres by the Decree of 20 March 1808, which brought them back into French service. In a letter to Davout dated 31 March 1808 Napoleon renamed the legion the Vistula Legion ...
He also stated that the infantry regiments were to be treated on a par with French line regiments and cavalry with the French chasseurs-a-cheval regiments.
The Legion and its Lancer Regiment went to Metz and Bayonne, where they and detachments from all other Poles in French service, began organizing the Vistula Legion by the end of May 1808. Later, the Vistula Legion organized its depot in Sedan...
The lancer regiment was organized like a French chasseur-a-cheval regiment." (Nafziger - "Poles and Saxons" pp 77-78)

In September 1808 Napoleon promoted 18 men of the Guard Lighthorse to sous-lieutenants in the Vistula Uhlan Regiement. In 1809 the Guard Lighthorse were about to become Guard Lancers and several Vistula uhlans were sent as lance instructors to the Guard Lighthorse.
(Many of the Vistula Uhlans were pro-Republican and Napoleon was not too happy about it, while many of the guardsmen were "sons of the first families in Poland". The Guard Lancers were favored by Napoleon.)

French lancers 
in 1812 in Russia. 
Picture by Detaille. Emperor Napoleon and his marshals were so impressed with the Vistula Uhlans' performance in Italy, Poland, Spain and elsewhere that they decided to form their own lancer regiments.
The instructors came from the Vistula Uhlan Regiment and from the Guard Lancers. Colonel of the Vistula Uhlans, Jan Konopka, became Chief Inspector of Training for the newly formed French lancer regiments.

In early 1811 the 1st Vistula Uhlan Regiment was, briefly, the 1st Lancer Regiment in the French army, in April of the same year, with the activation of the six French lancer regiments, "they were redesignated the 7th - which after their years of excellent service, was practically an insult." (Elting - "Napoleonic Uniforms" Vol 1)

The 2nd Vistula Uhlan Regiment was raised in 1811 and soon were renamed to 8th Lancers in the French army. Colonel of the 8th Lancers (2nd Vistula Uhlans) was Tomasz Lubienski.

On 13th December 1813 Napoleon merged the 7th and 8th Lancer Regiment (1st and 2nd Vistula Uhlans) into a new 8th Lancer Regiment. The officers of the 7th vigorously protested and sent a memorandum of protest to Napoleon. So the Emperor again changed his mind and ordered to rebuild the 7th with three squadrons.

In 1814, after Napoleon's abdication the 7th and 8th Lancers were disbanded.

In May 1815 (Waterloo Campaign) the 7th Lancers was formed again. However they had only 13 horses for 350 men. In July they fought on foot near Paris, and were highly praised by Marshal Davout. When the war was over, the 7th Lancers was one of few Polish units wt refused to serve under the Tsar of Russia and was disbanded in France.

Until 1811 the Vistula uhlans were one of the finest cavalry regiments in the World.
Then two things happened that weakened the regiment:

  • Napoleon took majority of the Polish troops from Spain on his war against Russia (called the Second Polish War) while the Vistula Uhlans stayed in Spain. Actually Napoleon ordered all the uhlans go to Russia, but French marshal refused to follow this order and kept them as personal escorts. Spain was a dangerous place. The uhlans were very unhappy with it. It had a negative impact on their morale and discipline. Instead of fighting the primary enemy of Poland in that time, Russia, they were skirmishing with the British cavalry, escorting French marshals and chasing the elusive guerillas in remote Spain.
  • The esprit de corps decreased after large number of veterans were selected to the Guard Lancers of the Old Guard and then left the regiment. These veterans were replaced with young recruits. The Vistula Uhlans were still a superb unit but not as good as before.

    The official names of the Regiment of Vistula Lancers were:
    - - - - March 1808 - Régiment de Lanciers de la Légion de la Vistule
    - - - - June 1808 - Régiment de Lanciers de la Vistule
    - - - - February 1811 - 1 er Régiment de Lanciers de la Vistule
    - - - - June 1811 - 7eme Régiment de Chevau-légers Lanciers
    - - - - April-Dec 1815 - 7eme Régiment de Lanciers

    British lancers 
during the famous charge
at Balaklava. Shortly after Napoleonic Wars the British 16th Light Dragoon Regiment was equipped as lancers. According to a British website "During the Peninsula wars the British army suffered terrible casualties from the Polish Vistula lancers, so the 16th Light Dragoons, now as lancers tried to emulate them not only in skill at arms, but also in appearance."
    The Polish connection is not hard to miss, the uniforms, lances and pennants can all be traced in style to the Polish regiments that inspired them...the 17th Lancers were involved and which is still celebrated every year "The Charge of the Light Brigade".
    The Charge Of The Light Brigade - by Lord Tennyson (ext.link)
    Charge of the Light Brigae - pictures (ext.link)

  • ~

    "The lancer regiment was organized
    like a French chasseur-a-cheval regiment."
    (Nafziger - "Poles and Saxons" pp 77-78)

    Officer 1810-11, 
by Steven Palatka Commanders of the Vistula Regiment:
    - - - - - - - July 1st 1807 - Colonel Jan Konopka
    - - - - - - - May 1809: (temp. commander) Chef-de-Escadron Andrzej Ruttie
    - - - - - - - July 1809: (temp. commander) Chef-de-Escadron Telesfor Kostaniecki
    - - - - - - - August 1809: (temp. commander) Chef-de-Escadron Adam Huppé
    - - - - - - - September 1809: (temp. commander) Chef-de-Escadron Telesfor Kostaniecki
    - - - - - - - August 1810: Colonel Jan Konopka
    - - - - - - - August 1811: (temp. commander) Mjr. Dembinski - not officially
    - - - - - - - October 1811 (took command in Jan 1813): Colonel Ignacy Stokowski
    - - - - - - - Sept 1811 - Feb 1812: Mjr. Andrzej Ruttie
    - - - - - - - Feb 1812 - Jan 1813: (temp. commander) Mjr. Feliks Debinski
    - - - - - - - Aug 1813: Colonel Kazimierz Tanski
    - - - - - - - December 1813: Mjr. Adam Huppé
    - - - - - - - April 1814 - Dec 1815: Colonel Adam Huppé

    Reenactors, author unknown. The 1st Regiment of the Vistula Uhlans consisted of four squadrons of 2 companies each. Each company had: 4 officers, 13 NCOs, 2 trumpeters, 108 troopers and 1 blacksmith. (In 1807 the Elite Company received black horses.)

    Every squadron had its flankers armed with carbines. These flankers were the best horsemen in the regiment.

    In May 1808:
    (Source: S.H.A. cote XL-6):

    Colonel Jan Konopka
    Major Klicki
    Chef-de-Escadron Ruttie
    Chef-de-Escadron Kostanecki
    Paymaster Belleville




    In December 1812:
    (Source: S.H.A. cote XC-184):

    Colonel Stokowski (with Grande Armee)
    Major Huppe
    Paymaster Belleville
    SQUADRON - de Mories (with Grande Armee)

    SQUADRON - Lenkiewicz (in Bayonne)

    SQUADRON - Dembinski (in Spain)



    Uniforms of the 
1st Vistula Uhlans. The uhlans' headwear was the Polish traditional tall square topped czapka. (Czapka means headwear.) The czapka was black over dark blue, with dark blue top pipped white, in front was Maltese Cross and a French cocade (the sunburst plaque was introduced in 1811), The plume was white till 1811, then replaced by a carrot-shaped pompon.
    In 1807 the uhlans of the Elite Company received fur caps. For how long these headwears lasted I don't know.

    Pompons on headwear:
    I SQUADRON - red
    II SQUADRON - sky blue
    III SQUADRON - orange
    IV SQUADRON - violet

    The short-tailed dark blue coat was called kurtka and it had yellow lapels and yellow shoulder straps. The Bardin regulations in 1812 introduced dark blue shoulder straps with yellow pipping.

    The tight breeches were dark blue with 2 yellow stripes down the outer seam separated by dark blue. The overalls were dark blue with a single yellow stripe and a black leather inserts on the inside.

    The men of Elite Company wore white (not red) epaulete on the right and white aiguillette on the left shoulder.

    Regiment Coat Breeches Collar
    Turnbacks Pipping
    1st Uhlans
    (7th Lancers)
    yellow yellow yellow dark
    2nd Uhlans
    (8th Lancers)
    yellow yellow


    Campaigns and Battles.
    From the warm Italy and Spain
    to the snows of Russia.

    Uhlans in 1790s in Italy.

    In 1798, near Garigliano River roamed stallions of the Neapolitan King's horse guard. Eliasz Tremo suggested to generals Kniaziewicz and Dabrowski to organize a cavalry regiment. This idea was approved by French General Jean-Étienne Championnet. Soon 120 men mounted their stallions.

    The first action of the uhlans ended up in tragedy. On the night of 9th January 1798 Chef Tremo and few dozens of troopers were attacked by guerillas at Sessa and slaughtered. (Source: "Pismo pulkownika Wojciecha Dobieckiego do sp. jenerala Tanskiego", "Czas" dodatek miesieczny 1859, t.15, s. 205-206)

    1800 Hohenlinden.
    The Uhlans Captured Prince Lichtenstein
    and 800 Austrians As Prisoners.

    Battle of Hohenlinden The Battle of Hohenlinden near Munich in Bavaria was fought in December 1800, during the French Revolutionary Wars. French army under Moreau fought against the Austrians and Bavarians under Archduke John. In terms of the number of troops involved it was the largest in the French Revolutionary Wars and quite possibly European history until the Battle of Wagram in 1809.

    In Hohenlinden, NCO of the Vistula Uhlans Jan Pawlikowski and a French chasseur attacked 59 Austrian infantrymen. Two officers were "neutralized" and the remaining surrendered. General Decean met Pawlikowski with his captives and wanted to promote him. Pawlikowski replied: "Nie umiec czytac, nie umiec pisac, nie moze byc oficer". (I can't read, can't write, can't be an officer.)

    The uhlans also have captured Prince Lichtenstein. Officer Wojciech Dobiecki wrote that Lichtenstein was captured by private Trandowski of 6th Company. Trandowski was promissed a bottle of good wine if he brings a prisoner. So he set at the gallop and "snatched" the Prince who stood in front of the Austrian troops. After battle Liechtenstain was exchanged for Fiszer who was captured by the Austrians near Offenburg. This is estimated the uhlans and French chasseurs captured total of 800 prisoners. (Source: "Pismo pulkownika Wojciecha Dobieckiego do sp. jenerala Kazimierza Tanskiego", "Czas" dodatek miesieczny 1859, t.15.)

    1807 in Prussia.
    At Struga 240 Uhlans Defeated 1.400 Prussians
    Captured 4 Guns and 830 Prisoners.

    The King of Naples, Joseph Bonaparte, wanted to have the Polish-Italian Uhlan Regiment (there were no Italians in this regiment) as his personal escort. The Poles however, after 8 years of campaigning in Italy were homesick and protested. The French let them go. On January 30, 1807 the regiment joyfully began their march home. After 114 days they arrived in the city of Legnica, in Silesia.

    Meanwhile in Silesia, Napoleon's brother, Jerome Bonaparte, sent General Lefebvre-Desnouettes with battalion of Saxon infantry, and Bavarian troops (7 infantry companies, 1 squadron of chevauxlegers and 2 guns) against small Prussian corps under Major von Losthin.
    Major Losthin's forces consisted of 8 infantry companies (1,100-1,200 bayonets), squadron of hussars (80 sabers), squadron of dragoons (80 sabers), squadron of Bosniaks (80), and 4 guns.

    The Bavarians and Saxons met Losthin's force at Katy Wroclawskie (Kunt). The Saxons had no heart for fighting and after short combat threw their muskets down. The Prussians captured 2 Bavarian guns.

    Lefebvre-Desnouettes then unexpectedly met several uhlans on their way to Poland. He had learned that the uhlans just arrived from sunny Italy and were unaware of situation in Silesia. He sent Captain Fijalkowski to Legnica with orders to the regiment to mount up and come. Already at midnight the trumpeters sounded "on horse!" At first the half-asleep officers thought that there was a fire in the town.
    The regiment was ready in 7 minutes, making an excellent impression on Lefebvre Desnouettes. Unfortunately only 240-250 uhlans had horses and only these men were taken by the Frenchman. They rode toward the village of Jawor (Jauer), then rested a little bit and continued with the night march. In the morning the uhlans have encountered Losthin's force.

    Levebvre-Desnouettes had 400-600 men: Major Swiderski with 240-300 uhlans, and Bavarians (two infantry companies, tiny troop of chevaulegeres, and 3 guns). The Bavarian infantry was formed in skirmish chain and exchanged only few shots with the Prussian skirmishers when the Vistula Uhlans charged. Lefebvre-Desnouettes ordered the I and III Squadron to attack, while the II Squadron was to cut off the enemy.

    Losthin deployed 6 guns under Captain Hahn on his right, on a hill, while the infantry was in closed column on the road. (This is not clear to me if the infantry was formed in line, or column, or in "several small squares".) Losthin's cavalry moved forward, with the brown-clad hussars leading the attack. Behind were dragoons and in the tail rode the Bosniaks.

    Battle of Strigau Lefebvre-Desnouettes personally led the Poles. Behind him rode officers Swiderski, Fijalkowski, Stokowski and Schultz. The uhlans, all veterans, at once crushed the Prussian cavalry.

    Losthin's infantry surrendered but when the the uhlans left them in pursuit of the cavalry some of the Prussians began firing at the backs of the Poles. The uhlans returned and finished their business. The infantrymen again surrendered and did it quite convincingly. The Prussian commander thanked his fast horse that his was able to escape. The Poles also freed 2 Saxon battalions who before had surrendered to the Prussians. The uhlans had only several men wounded and killed. They brought captured Prussian infantry (30 officers and 800 privates), 4 guns and 4 ammunition wagons, in a triumphant entrance to the city. To the disgust of Lefebvre-Desnouettes, the Saxons and Bavarians
    joined the Poles in the parade march.

    The French counted the battles at Katy [Kunt] and at Struga [Strigau] as one and issued one report. The Prussians published an article about the two battles in Vertraute Briefen written by Werner (it was published in Wroclaw). Werner wrote that the moral strength of the uhlans - all 6-8-year service veterans, patriotic, were invincible for troops not equal to them.
    In the French Archives, Jerome Bonaparte's papers (French Archives C³ 1), is an official report written by Jerome about the engagement at Struga. He wrote that 250 Polish uhlans commanded by Major Piotr Swiderski fought at Struga. They suffered 7 killed and 15 wounded (incl. Ltn. Schultz and Ltn. Fijalkowski). He also mentioned that although the regiment had 400 men, only 280 had horses and were able to participate in the combat.
    In the papers of officer Jan Swiderski is a letter from Levebvre Desnouettes written on 15th May in Szczawno (on the day of battle) describing the battle at Struga (War Archives in Vincennes, Serie C³ 1. Correspondance du Roi Jérôme 1806-1813).

    Several weeks after the battle at Struga the Vistula Uhlans were inspected. The oldest soldiers and those unfit were relieved, except Private Rosnowski who refused to leave. (He was the oldest member of this regiment and one of the first who entered the ranks). The remaining 300-400 first class veterans were joined by 800 recruits and the regiment moved toward Klodzko. The I and II Squadron were mostly veterans, the III and IV were full of recruits.

    Near the fortress walls of Klodzko a troop of uhlans led by Stokowski routed Prussian hussars. Another troop escorted artillery and convoys. In June the fortress surrenders to the French and their allies. Jerome Bonaparte inspects the regiment. The elite company was formed, and its members received fur caps and black horses. Few days later the uhlans escorted Napoleon from Ruda Sl. to Wroclaw (Breslau) where they met Prince Poniatowski.

    Other Combats in 1806-07:
    1806 - Naples and Gaete
    1807 - Strigau
    1807 - Dantzig
    1807 - Saltzbrun

    1808 in Spain.
    After Mallen the Spaniards nicknamed them
    "Los Diablos Polacos" (The Devils Poles)

    The uhlans participated in the siege of Saragossa, at the battles at Osera (July 28th) and Tudela (November 23rd). At Saragossa, fed up with Spanish sniping, they "climbed down from their saddles and stormed an entrenched Spanish camp near Saragossa ... During the first phase of the siege they charged a fortified city. They penetrated essentially right to its center. Unsupported and alone the lancers had to charge back out." ( - John Elting)

    In June at Mallen, General Lefebvre-Desnouettes ordered Poles to outflank the Spanish guerillas. The enemy fled across Ebro River with the uhlans hot on their heels. French writers (Thiers, Grasset) described how big impression made the lance-armed uhlans on the Spaniards. The Spaniards nicknamed them "Los Diablos Polacos" (The Devils Poles). On the way back one officer and several uhlans drowned in the river. (Kirkor - "Legia Nadwislanska 1808-1814" p 46)

    Other Combats in 1808:
    8 June 1808 - Tudela
    13 June 1808 - Mallen
    14 June 1808 - Alagon
    16 June - 14 Aug 1808 Saragossa
    28 July 1808 - Osera
    28 July 1808 - Arrabal
    20 Aug 1808 - Tudela
    25-27 Aug 1808 - Levin Lodosa
    24 Sept 1808 - Calatayud
    23 Nov 1808 - Tudela
    23rd Nov 1808 - Tudela
    15 Dec 1808 - Puente de Almaraz
    29 Dec 1808 - Trujillo

    At Yébenes the Uhlans lost a wagon
    with their Colors to the Spaniards
    and then at Talavera routed the British Cavalry.

    Terrain near Yebenes, 
in Spain. In 1809 at Yébenes the Spaniards attacked uhlans and captured all their Colors. It was a night attack (or rather very early morning) and was a surprise for the uhlans. The Poles were outnumbered, surrounded and forced to make their way through enemy's lines.

    The fighting withdrawal was successful although costly. The serpentine road led uphill and the Spanish cavalry (incl. Carabineros Reales Royal Carabiniers) pressed hard. In the chaos several wagons were left on the side of the road. In one of them were neatly packed colors of the regiment. Nobody fought for the colors as the uhlans assumed they were left in the depot. (Before leaving for campaign one of the senior officers secretly decided to take all Colors. They were detached from wooden poles, rolled and packed into the wagon).

    British light dragoons, 
picture by de Beaufort According to wikipedia.org (2006) "The Battle of Talavera was a bloody yet inconclusive battle 70 miles Southwest of Madrid. Although the French army withdrew from the field, the British soon withdrew from Spain, leaving their wounded to the Spanish, who left them to the French, reducing trust between British and Spanish forces for the rest of the Peninsular War. ..."

    At Talavera the Vistula Uhlans were part of Merlin's division. In the last stages of the battle Wellington unleashed part of his cavalry. When British 23rd Light Dragoons (450 men) broke through the French 10th and 26th Chasseurs-a-Cheval, Merlin ordered Vistula Uhlans (390 men) to attack them. Behind the Poles rode the Westphalian lighthorseen (144 men).

    The Poles hit the enemy frontally and crushed them. The French chasseurs joined the Poles and attacked the enemy from the flank. The British 23rd Light Dragoons lost 207 killed, wounded and missing, and 105 were captured (according to Oman, Vol II, p 545-549).
    It gives horrendous 70 % casualties. It was one of the greatest British cavalry fiascos of the war.

    On Nov 19th the uhlans fought at Ocaña and it was one of their best combat performances. Many officers, NCOs and privates were awarded with Legion d'Honneur. In the Peninsular War, the Battle of Ocana resulted in a victory of the French under Marshal Soult against the Spanish under General Don Juan de Arizagua. It was the Spanish army's greatest single defeat during the entire conflict.
    On the flanks took place cavalry charges. William Napier writes: "The Spaniards came on at a trot, and Sebastiani directed Paris, with a regiment of light cavalry and the Polish lancers, to turn and fall upon the right flank of the approaching squadrons, which being executed with great vigor, especially by the Poles, caused considerable confusion, with the Spanish general endeavored to remedy by closing to the assailed flank. Many were slain, several hundred wounded, and 80 troopers and above 500 horses were taken. The loss of the French bore no proportion in men, but General Paris was killed, and several superior officers were wounded." (Napier - "History of the War in the Peninsula 1807-1814" Vol II, p 247)

    Other Combats in 1809-1810:
    18 Feb 1809 - Mora
    23-24 March 1809 - Jévenes [Yébenes]
    27 March 1809 - Ciudad-Real
    28 March 1809 - Santa-Cruz
    22 May 1809 - Alenbillas
    15 June 1809 - Maria
    18 June 1809 - Belchite
    28 July 1809 - Talavera-de-la-Reyna
    11 Aug 1809 - Almonacid
    18 Nov 1809 - Ocaña
    15-20 Jan 1810 - Villamanrique, Sanestervan del Puerto, Arquillas
    28 Jan 1810 - Villarquemado
    05 Feb 1810 - Malaga
    16 Feb 1810 - Villastar, and Villelu Guadalaviar
    04 July 1810 - Orgas
    06 July 1810 - Tortoza
    11 July 1810 - Mora
    30 Aug 1810 - Lorca, Lebrilla and Cartagena
    ?? Sept 1810 - Montalvan, Teruel, Daroca
    30 Oct 1810 - Teruel
    31 Oct 1810 - Alventoza
    04 Nov 1810 - Baza, Cullar (Rio-Almanzor)
    12 Nov 1810 - Fuente Santa
    19 Dec 1810 - Ojoz-Negros

    At Albuera the Uhlans slaughtered British infantry
    defeated their Cavalry, captured 5 Colors
    and dispersed Spanish cavalry.

    Vistula Uhlans with captured British Colors. In May 1811 at Aluera [Albuhera] the uhlans covered themselves in glory. They slaughtered British brigade, defeated dragoon regiment and captured 5 British Colors. No other Napoleonic troop, infantry or cavalry, ever captured so many British colors. Albuera had little effect on the course of the war in Spain but the performance of Polish Lancers at it did cause the British Army to convert some cavalry regiments to lancers. The tremendous impetus of Poles broke through and scattered the British redcoats like chaff before the wind. To read more about this battle click here.

    Other Combats in 1811:
    31 Jan 1811 - Checa
    3-5 May 1811 - Ciudad Rodrigo, Almeida, Fuentes de Oñoro
    16 May 1811 - Albuera
    21 May 1811 - Alcover
    22 June 1811 - Elvas
    10 Aug 1811 - Baza
    24-25 Oct 1811 - Puzol, Murriedro, Saghunt
    26 Dec 1811 - 09 Jan 1812 - Valencia

    1812 in Russia and Spain.
    In Spain they served as escorts of the French marshals
    In Russia they were ambushed by the Cossacks.

    In the Invasion of Russia participated only 60 uhlans led by Ltn. Boguslawski. This troop was attached to the (Polish) 1st Guard Lancers as the 11th Company. The rest of the Vistula Uhlan Regiment was either in Spain or in depot in France.

    Actually Napoleon ordered all the uhlans go to Russia, but some French marshal refused to follow this order and kept them as personal escorts. Spain was a dangerous place.

    On 16th September 1812, Chef Cotty with 60 veterans Vistula Uhlans and 70 young Red Lancers scouted on the road to Borowsk. Cotty's force was ambushed by Cossacks, they were attacked in the wood from both flanks and rear. The Poles and Dutch were routed. Boguslawski was furious with careless Cotty and his lancers. The heated exchange of opinion ended up in a duel. (Kirkor - "Legia Nadwislanska 1808-1814" p 324)

    Other Combats in 1812:
    01 July 1812 - Badajoz
    12 Sept 1812 - Ciudad Rodrigo
    15 Sept 1812 - Burgos
    4-16 Nov 1812 - Salamanca, Ciudad Rodrigo

    1813 in Germany.
    The last grand cavalry charge.

    During the campaign in Germany the 7th Lancers fought at Lutzen, Dresden and Reichenbach. At Dresden the Lancers led a massive cavalry charge under Murat. (Nafziger - "Napoleon's Dresden Campaign" p 172)
    At Dresden the 8th Lancers (2nd Vistula Uhlans) was part of the 1st Cavalry Division under General of Division Corbineau [I Cavalry Corps].

    The regiment then became part of French garrison in Dresden. The city became surrounded by Allies. Not long after Napoleon's defeat at Leipzig, Marshal St. Cyr and the garrisson of Dresden attempted to break through enemy's lines. It failed and St. Cyr surrendered. The captured uhlans (446) were taken into Hungary and there were kept until the end of war. Approx. 230 uhlans were with other French troops and these moved to France.

    Other Combats in 1813:
    1813 - Magdebourg
    1813 - Naumbourg
    21 May 1813 - Bautzen
    26-27 Aug 1813 - Dresden
    27 Aug 1813 - Pirna
    16-18 Oct 1813 - Leipzig
    30-31 Oct 1813 - Hanau

    1814-15 in France.
    No Surrender.

    Cavalry charge at Montereau, 
picture by Jean Langlois, France. In 1814 the 7th Lancers fought at Montereau, Neuilly-Saint-Front, Chalons and Chartres. The Battle of Montereau was fought near Montereau-Fault-Yonne on February 18, and resulted the victory of Napoleon against Austrians and the Württembergians under Royal Prince of Württemberg. By early afternoon artillery of the Imperial Guard had arrived, silenced Württemberg’s batteries and bombarded the village. At 3:00PM a French attack captured a ridge forming the key to Württemberg’s defence. Württemberg ordered a retreat, but soon turned into a rout by a cavalry charge, which sweep into the village and Allied rear. The cavalry charge also prevented the Allies from detonating demolition charges on two key bridges.

    In 1815 on the road near Rambouillet the Vistula Uhlans met their beloved Napoleon. The Emperor was on his long way to St. Helen. (Marchand - "Memoires" 1952 VOL I, p 192)
    Not discouraged the 7th Lancers kept fighting, their last action was on July 7th, after Napoleon's 2nd abdication. They distinguished themselves in the defense of bridge at Sevres.

    When France surrendered the Polish troops were disbanded. The Polish infantry surrendered to the Tsar and returned to Poland. The 7th Lancers however refused to surrender to the ancient enemy of Poland and stayed in France.

    Other Combats in 1814-1815:
    18 February 1814 - Montereau
    Feb 1814 - Neuilly-Saint-Front
    1814 - Châlons
    1814 - Chartres
    1815 - Sevres

    Sources and Links.
    Recommended Reading.

    Kirkor - "Legia Nadwislanska 1808-1814"
    Gates - "The Spanish Ulcer"
    Kukiel - "Dzieje Oreza Polskiego w Epoce Napoleonskiej, 1795-1815"
    Gembarzewski - "Wojsko Polskie. Ksiestwo Warszawskie 1807-1814"
    Picture of officer of the Vistula Uhlans by Steven Palatka.
    Bataille d'Albuera
    2e régiment de Lanciers polonais de la légion de la Vistule

    Napoleon, His Army and Enemies