I Corps (Grande Armée)

The I Corps of the Grande Armée was a military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was composed of troops in Imperial French service.

I Corps (Grande Armée)
Active 1805–1815
Country France First French Empire
Branch Army
Type Army Corps
Size Two to five infantry divisions, cavalry, artillery
Engagements Napoleonic Wars
Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte
Claude Perrin Victor
Louis-Nicolas Davout
Dominique Vandamme
Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Comte d'Erlon

The Campaigns

The corps was formed in 1805 and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was appointed its commander.

The War Of The Third Coalition

It fought at Austerlitz in 1805

The War Of The Fourth Coalition

It took part in the battles of Schleiz, Halle and Lübeck in 1806, and Mohrungen and Spanden in 1807. After Bernadotte was wounded at Spanden, Claude Victor-Perrin led the corps at Friedland where his tactics won him a marshal's baton.

The Peninsular War

Victor continued to lead the I Corps in Spain where it was engaged at Uclés, Medellín, Alcantara, Talavera in 1809, the Siege of Cádiz beginning in 1810, and Barrosa in 1811.

The Invasion Of Russia

The corps was reorganized in the strength of five infantry divisions for the French invasion of Russia in 1812 and Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout was appointed to lead it. At the crossing of the Niemen River in 1812, the I Corps' size was about 79,000 men, but by the Battle of Smolensk, about 60,000 men remained.[1] By the end of the Russian campaign, only 2,235 men remained.[2]

Under Davout the unit fought at Borodino, Vyazma, and Krasnoi before dissolving as an effective unit during the retreat from Moscow.

The War of the Sixth Coalition

In 1813, the I Corps was reconstituted and placed under the command of Dominique Vandamme. The corps was cut to pieces at Kulm and the remnant surrendered together with the XIV Corps after the Siege of Dresden in November 1813.

The War of the Seventh Coalition

The corps was rebuilt in 1815 and assigned to Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Comte d'Erlon under whom it fought at Waterloo.


  1. ^ Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "1812 – Invasion of Russia". Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  2. ^ Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. ""I have no army any more!" – Napoleon". Retrieved 16 August 2007.


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