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Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

This is an extract of Louis de Tousard's American Artillerist's Companion (Volume II, page 75regarding the strength and composition of the French artillery arm in 1809:

‘The French Imperial Corps of artillery, at this time (1809), is composed of eight regiments of foot artillery, and six regiments of horse artillery. The full compliment of the foot artillery is 2,582 all ranks, the total of the eight regiments being 20,656 all ranks. The full compliment of a regiment of horse artillery is 524 all ranks, and the total of the six regiments is 3,229 all ranks.'

‘Fifteen companies of artificers, each of 92 all ranks, the aggregate total being 1,380. Eight train battalions, each battalion having 477 all ranks, the aggregate total being 3,816 all ranks.

‘When the train battalions are placed on a war establishment, they are increased by the same number of battalions, six companies per battalion, each of 99 all ranks, 60 of which are conscripts.'

‘There are two battalions of pontonniers, 610 all ranks each for an aggregate total of 1,220 all ranks.'

‘Fourteen battalions of veteran cannoniers, 50 men each, 700 total, and 128 garde-cote (coast artillery) companies of 121 all ranks each, which gives a complement of 15,488 all ranks.'

‘The whole of the French artillery is 46,489 all ranks. The sapeurs du genie and mineurs are not included, as they were formerly attached to the artillery, but now form part of the engineer arm, the total of which is 5,445 all ranks, not counting the 428 officers which form the Imperial Corps du Genie.'

Le Breton05 Mar 2017 4:01 p.m. PST

I do not know how useful such totals are. But if they are to be useful, they would be more so if accurate.

The quoted text is out-of-date for 1809. I suppose the difference is from when de Toussard wrote or from when he was last in the French service to when it was published. Overall, it really rather markedlly *understates* the French investment in artillery.

The passage given by Mr. Brechtel omits:
--- l'état-major d'artillerie
--- 1 compagnie d'artillerie à cheval en plus dans le 6e régiment – detached to various colonies
--- 1 compagnie d'ouvriers d'artillerie
--- 4 compagnies d'armuriers d'artillerie
--- 10 bataillons ou bataillons (bis) du train d'artillerie
--- 4 compagnies (mis-labelled "battalions" in the above) de cannoniers véterans
--- 11 compagnies de cannoniers gardes-côtes ou cannoniers sédentaires – plus 3 more added during the year 1809
--- 14 compagnies de dépôt – created by the decree of 16 March 1809, for deployment near the active army, based on 1 depot per corps
--- les éléves sous-lieutenants d'artillerie
--- les employés de civil dans l'artillerie : professeurs, répétiteurs, maîtres de dessin, gardes (généraux, principaux et ordinaires), conducteurs, artificiers, contrôlers, réviseurs, ouvriers véterans, etc.

Plus separately organized from the "corps impérial d'artillerie", but involved with artillery :
--- l'artillerie de la garde
--- la division d'artillerie au ministère de la guerre
--- l'écôle d'artillerie et du génie à Metz
--- les 9 manufactures impériales d'armes
--- les 4 forges d'artillerie
--- les moulins à poudre et salpêtre
Plus the naval artillery, the Italian, the other "allies", etc, etc., etc.

I did not check all the establishments. I did spot-check the horse artillery.

organisation de 1809
état-major d'un régiment d'artillerie à cheval
--- colonel
--- major
--- 2x chef d'escadron
--- quartier-maître trésorier
--- adjudant-major
--- officier de santé
--- 2x adjudant sous-officier
--- trompette-brigadier
--- artiste vétérinaire
--- maître-sellier
--- maître-bottier
--- maître-tailleur
--- maître-armurier
6x compagnie, each
--- capitaine en premier commandant
--- capitaine en second à la suite (destiné au service des dépôts et places)
--- lieutenant en premier
--- lieutenant en second
--- maréchal-des-logis chef
--- 4x maréchal-des-logis
--- brigadier-fourrier
--- 4x brigadier
--- 18x (puis 12x) canonnier de 1ere classe
--- 36x canonnier de 2e classe
--- 46x (puis 52x) artilleur (en temps de guerre)
--- 2x ouvriers en bois
--- 2x ouvriers en fer
--- 2x trompettes

And that does *not* add up to what is quoted from de Toussard for one regiment and the artillerie à cheval overall. I think what is shown is a total per a prior organization in time of peace (I think it is the An X). The actual total war-time 1809 artillery à cheval was a regiment of 855 all ranks and the total for all regiments was 5,150 all ranks.


The numbers for the génie are also wrong (again they look out-date, omit the garde, employés, etc.). As of June 1808, the corps impérial du génie was authorzed as full war-time strength :
--- état-major (including officers on strength at the écôle & l'état-major général) : 415
--- sapeurs 6885
--- train des sapeurs 340
--- mineurs 900
--- gardes du génie 588
Total : 9128

Almanach Impérial (1809) : link
Cotty's "Dictionnaire de l'artillerie" (1822) : link
État du Corps Impérial du Génie (1808) : link

Lilian05 Mar 2017 8:18 p.m. PST

there were also a third category of ordnance companies with the compagnies of Ouvriers d'Artillerie (translated as «Artificers» in english) and Armuriers (Armourers) : the 4 companies of Artificiers (Pyrotechnicians) mentionned here as if they were only some civilians employees and no military units…

von Winterfeldt06 Mar 2017 12:08 a.m. PST

Toussard is useless about detailed and informative information about any non American artillery organisation and equipment, see also his famous Bleeped text about Austrian "horse" artillery.
It is more a general book about artillery.

very poor to give Toussard as source instead of using original French documentation about that subject.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 4:15 a.m. PST

You are incorrect. Tousard produced one of the best artillery references of the period and to discount it is also to discount his references, which are both French and British.

Further, to denigrate it as an artillery reference or artillery manual demonstrates a lack of understanding of period artillery.

All of the reference material that Tousard used for the manual is not American-but European.

And it should be noted that Tousard himself was a school-trained French artillery officer.

von Winterfeldt06 Mar 2017 5:07 a.m. PST

not of 1809 but of 1805

État militaire du corps impérial de l'Artillerie de France. 1805. 378 S.:
link link

also it has to be noted that the French artillery had quite a few problems in 1800 – 1809, regarding the quality of their officers, more about that – in case anybody is interested could be read the volume one of Alembert & Colin

Le Breton06 Mar 2017 9:04 a.m. PST

De Tousard's "school training" was 2-1/2 years at the Strasbourg regimental school, and 1 year (June 1768 to June 1769) at l'école royale des élèves de l'artillerie à Bapaume (June 1768 to June 1769), before being commissioned as a lieutenant en 2e d'artillerie, then age 20.

Actually, his total service in artillery was not so long – he seems to have had most of his combat experience repressing slave revolts in Haiti ….

Anne-Louis, le chevalier de Tousard (ou Touzard)
--- 1749 born in Paris – the second son of général Charles-Germain de Tousard and Antoinette de Poitevin de la Croy
--- 1765 entered the Strasbourg regimental artillery school
--- 1768 transferred to the Bapaume royal atillery school
--- 1769 lietenant en 2e de bombardiers au régiment de La Fère artillerie
--- 1772 lieutenant de canonniers
--- 1775 capitaine d'artillerie à la l'administration des colonies d'Amerique
--- 1776 resigned his commission and departed to join the American revolutionaries
--- June 1777 joined Washingotn's staff, posted an aide-de-camp to the marquis de Lafayette
--- August 1778 lost his right arm during the retreat from Newport, Rhode Island – it seems that he was moving a captured British piece when a nearby piece was discharged, somehow causing the injury
--- October 1778 retired from US service and granted a Congressional pension of $30 USD per month as a lieutenat-colonel
--- 1779 chevalier de Saint-Louis
--- 1780 major au régiment provincial d'artillerie de Toul
--- 1784 lieutenant-colonel au régiment du Cap infanterie (coloniale)
--- 1787 repressed a slave revolt in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti)
--- 1788 married Marie-Reine St. Martin, née Joubert, the widow of a Saint-Domingue plantation owner with several large estates
--- 1791 repressed slave revolts at Port-Margot and Fort Dauphin
--- 1792 arrested as a royalist, returned to France and imprisioned
--- 1793 released pending trial, emigrated to the United States with the help of the US Consul in Paris, settled in Wilmington, Delaware
--- 1795 major in the US Regiment of Artillery & Engineers
--- 1800 named an inspector of artillery
--- 1801 lieutenant colonel in the 2nd US Artillery Regiment – helped plan fortifications at Fort Mifflin (Pennnsylvania) and West Point (New York)
--- 1802 retired from the US service, and joined the forces of Leclerc in Haiti as chef de batailon adjoint à l'état-major
--- 1804 retired from French service
--- 1805 appointed French vice-consul in Philadelphia
--- 1809 published "The American Artillerist's Companion"
--- 1811-1815 French consul at New Orleans
--- 1816 retired to France
--- 1817 died in Paris

von Winterfeldt06 Mar 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

well, that explains a lot.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 3:45 p.m. PST

also it has to be noted that the French artillery had quite a few problems in 1800 – 1809, regarding the quality of their officers, more about that – in case anybody is interested could be read the volume one of Alembert & Colin

Perhaps you could enlighten us as to all of the problems with French artillery officers, real or perceived, from 1805-1809?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 6:02 a.m. PST

Authors of Source Material Used for American Artillerist's Companion by Louis de Tousard:

-General Victor-Antoine Baron Andreossy.
-Lieutenant-General De Mouy.
-Captain Henri Othon DeScheel.
-Colonel Edme-Jean-Antoine Du Puget.
-Denis Diderot and JL d'Alembert.
-General Jean-Jacques-Basilien Gassendi.
-General Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval
-General Jean, Comte Fabre de Lamartillerie.
-General Theodore-Bernard-Simon d'Urtubie de Rogicourt.
-Captain Ralph Willett Adye.
-Major General Alessandro Vittoria Papacino d'Antoni.
-James Glenie.
-Major Charles James.
-John Muller.
-Benjamin Robins.
-Captain William Stevens.

-Andreossy was a French engineer officer and his lectures on fortification theory delivered at l'Ecole de Polytechnique were consulted for the Companion.

-De Mouy was a French artillery officer who presided over the tests of the new Gribeauval System and wrote an artillery treatise which remained unpublished on the artillery experiments at Strasbourg in 1764.

-DeScheel was a Danish artillery officer who wrote an important artillery treatise on the Gribeauval System in 1777.

-DuPuget was a proponent of the older Valliere System and wrote material in its defense.

-Diderot and d'Alembert were the principal authors of the famous Encyclopedie ou Dictionaire Raisonne des Sciences, des arts et des métiers, which included technical drawings of the new Gribeauval System.

-Gassendi is the author of the famous artillery Aide-Memoir which was published in numerous editions which covers the artillery quite literally ‘from muzzle to butt plate.'

-Gribeauval was the promulgator of the new artillery Regulation of 1765, which authorized the new artillery system. The Tables of Construction des principaux attirails de'artillerie, published three years after his death in 1792 was made up of four volumes and contained 125 places and was considered a secret document by the French government and only published 104 copies. The technical drawings were directed to be completed by Gribeauval and were distributed to the armories and foundries for the construction of the new artillery system. The material was finally consolidated in 1792, but the drawings were completed by direction of Gribeauval and employed to construct the gun tubes, gun carriages and ancillary vehicles of the system before Gribeauval's death in 1789.

-Lamartillerie was a French artillery officer who published a treatise on the casting of cannon.

-D'Urtubie wrote an important artillery treatise which was published in four editions and was eventually superceded by Gassendi's work.

-Adye published the famous Bombardier and Pocket Gunner and was an admirer of the Gribeauval System.

-D'Antone was a Sardinian artillery officer who wrote an important work on gunpowder.

-Glenie was a junior artillery and engineer officer who wrote an important work on gunnery.

-James wrote, among other things, his famous New and Enlarged Military Dictionary which was published in four editions.

-Muller was the author, among other titles, of the famous Treatise of Artillery, which was a standard artillery work of the period, used by both the British and Americans and was published in three editions.

-Robins is famous for his work on muzzle velocity and his New Principles of Gunnery. Robins work was supplemented by other authors such as Euler, Vilantroys, Lombard, and Hutton, all of which were used by Tousard in the preparation and writing of the Companion.

-Stevens was an American artillery officer who wrote and published A System of Discipline of the Artillery of the United States of American, or, The Young Artillerist's Pocket Companion. Tousard used this manual to compare the American and French systems of artillery drill.

Art07 Mar 2017 10:04 a.m. PST

So you know how to use Napoleon-series and download Graves…and use his sources ;-)

PDF link

But Tousard never became the Rules and Regulation for American Artillery in 1809…"nor was it ever considered as a definitive source for the U.S. ordnance of the War of 1812 period." -I can copy out of Graves to…

Instead the War Department decided upon:


Yes in Graves article he explains how Tousard was in demand at times…but it is not until 1815-6 that the manual is used at West Point


Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

Actually, Don Graves sent me a copy of the article in 2002 or 2003, so I've had it for almost 15 years.

I completely agree that, officially, Tousard was never considered as a definitive source for US ordnance for the War of 1812. Practically, however, is another story completely.

What Tousard is valuable for is its application to French artillery and military engineering, as well as being 'an important title in the bibliographic history of smoothbore ordnance because it represents a conscientious effort on the part of its author to base his work on the best available sources of the time, and, thus, represents the 'state of the art' of artillery writing in 1809.'

Tousard had 'three purposes in mind' when writing the Companion:

First, to demonstrate the need for formal military instruction for those who wanted to pursue the army as a career.

Second, Tousard believed that the artillery arm and the mastery of that discipline needed the most professional study.

Third, Tousard wanted to demonstrate the importance of the Gribeauval System, which was partially adopted by the United States.

While it may not have been the official artillery manual for the US Army before and during the War of 1812, it most certainly was highly thought of and young artillery officers were urged to get a copy and study it. One new artillery officer, William Wade, who joined the artillery in 1813 was told by his superiors regarding the Companion 'that I could gain more instruction in its duties…than any other work.'

Further, the Companion was very much in demand at the beginning of the War of 1812 and, unfortunately, the number of available copies was limited.

Lastly, while there are weaknesses in the Companion, especially regarding British reference material, it is 'made up for with …French sources with the result that the Companion is the only available English-language translation of many of the prominent French authorities such as Gassendi, d'Urtubie, and Dupuget. This fact alone ensures the Companion a prominent place in the published texts on smoothbore artillery.'

Perhaps you should have read more of the article and not left out so much material…you might want to check pages 52-53 of the subject article.

Art07 Mar 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

"Perhaps you should have read more"

"you might want to check pages"

what an interesting concept…I shall remember to echo such words in my next posting…but now I have actually got real work to do ;-)

Le Breton07 Mar 2017 4:09 p.m. PST

I did not give an opinion on the overall value of Tousard's "Companion". I was more interested in seeing the 1809 establishment for the French artillery, which (as noted above) is not to be found in Tousard's work.

Overall, for French artillery of the 1800-1815 era, it is hard to see someone substitute Tousard for, say, Gassendi just because the Tousard is in English. Is the little hop over to French so hard? The Gassendi is filled with tables and basic military terms that most wargamers know : how hard is "capitaine" for "captain", "canonnier" for "cannoneer" ?

Too hard? Really? With Google translate to help?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 4:16 p.m. PST

Tousard is also filled with the appropriate tables necessary to study the artillery of the period.

And, no, French isn't difficult to use. I've certainly used Gassendi, d'Urtubie, Rquerol, Fave, and other works when necessary.

However, for those who haven't studied French, Tousard is readily available and, again, is one of the best artillery manuals of the period.

And, as shown, Gassendi is one of the many sources that Tousard used when compiling his artillery manual.

nsolomon99 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 7:51 p.m. PST

I must confess to reading this thread in a quiet library. I got lots of glares when I laughed out loud at the comment that the French Artillery Officers were a problem from 1800 – 1809.

Very droll – I wonder what the Austrian Army at Marengo in 1801 thought of the poor quality of the French Artillery Officers or again during most battles of 1805. The Russian Officers must've been shocked by the poor quality of the French Officers they faced at Friedland during Senarmont's artillery charge. Or Austerlitz or anywhere else in this period. The Prussian Officers at Auerstadt in 1806 must've been disappointed to learn they were being mown down by the poor quality French Artillery Officers in Davout's 3rd Corps!! :)

Wow! Problems with the Grande Armee, sure, in the Officer cadre of the Artillery, huh? Seriously folks, can there be any honest debate about the performance of the French Artillery arm from 1800 – 1809? Force marching from battle to battle, through the mud, mixed equipment, guns of various types, almost always outnumbered when facing the Russkies, and yet …. their Officers and men, gosh how well did they do?! Show me a better, more effective group of Artillery Commanders in any other army of the period. Get real! Indeed Herr Oberst Smola's Austrian gunners of 1809 are held up as being notable because some of them were finally becoming much closer to the French!

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 3:55 a.m. PST

It seems that some are forgetting Boulart, Brechtel, Levavasseur, Hulot, Senarmont, Ricci, Forno, Drouot, Lauriston, Songis, Ruty, Lariboissiere and other outstanding French artillery officers.

There was a minor internal scuffle in the Guard artillery, however, as there were some Guard artillery officers who had not been educated at an artillery school and there was an idea that they should not be in the artillery by some of their colleagues. These officers had come up through the ranks and learned their profession in the field and in combat.

Napoleon found in favor of those non-school trained artillery officers and they maintained both their rank and status, as well as their position as artillery officers.

In 1805 there was a shortage of horses which meant that some artillery was left behind until the shortage could be made up. Davout, for example, had to leave part of his guns and caissons at Mannheim, and the average artillery assigned to an infantry division was only one foot artillery company.

That was not, however, a result of poor artillery officers at any level.

The next year Napoleon wanted every infantry division in the Grande Armee to have two artillery companies and if possible, one would be a horse artillery company. Light cavalry divisions were assigned one horse artillery company, heavy cavalry divisions two each. Each corps was to have an artillery reserve, the artillery chief of each corps being an artillery general officer with a staff, and that reserve would be made up of at least two foot artillery companies, one of them if possible being a 12-pounder company and one horse artillery company. Additionally, each corps would have its own artillery parc. There would be an army artillery reserve under the army artillery chief-a general officer again with his own staff.

The Guard artillery at this time was small and consisted only of the horse artillery regiment. In 1808 Drouot was tasked with organizing the Guard foot artillery regiment which took the field in 1809. From then on the army artillery reserve would be the Guard artillery.

Interestingly, in 1809 for the second Danube crossing before Wagram, the French had 550 guns manned by 12,000 artillerymen, 488 of them being employed in the field for Wagram.

Any French artillery 'problems' were organizational, not either skill or leadership.

The French artillery schools were the best in Europe, and the model for other nations' artillery arms. Woolwich and Budweiss in particular were modeled on the French schools. Artillery (and engineer) officers' education was excellent, and as Napoleon himself commented on his own artillery education:

'If there is no one to make gunpowder for cannon, I can fabricate it; gun carriages, I know how to construct. If it is necessary to cast cannon, I can cast them; if it is necessary to teach the details of drill, I can do that.'

von Winterfeldt08 Mar 2017 7:28 a.m. PST


This is not my view, it is the views expressed by French artillery officers.

In case of interest :

Alombert & Colin : La Campagne de 1805 en Allemagne, tome 1er,

p. 187

in case one is interested about infantry and cavalry as well, start at page 170

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 7:30 a.m. PST

Then I suggest you post some of the information to which you refer.

If you won't, then your point is moot and not very reliable.

Art08 Mar 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

It was given…

Alombert & Colin:

La Campagne de 1805 en Allemagne, tome 1er

page. 187

It starts off with:


"Les officier de l'artillerie…"

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

No, the information was not posted as requested, it was referenced.

There is a difference…

Art08 Mar 2017 12:04 p.m. PST

Kevin you have a good day ;-)


Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 2:56 p.m. PST

I already have a copy of the volume and have read it the section concerned, but thanks for the link anyways. That was very thoughtful.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 3:00 p.m. PST

also it has to be noted that the French artillery had quite a few problems in 1800 – 1809, regarding the quality of their officers, more about that – in case anybody is interested could be read the volume one of Alembert & Colin

Where does it discuss 1806-1809? What I read discusses 1791-1805 regarding the education and age of the artillery officers, usually junior officers.

For anyone who is interested, that subject is also discussed in Swords Around A Throne, Chapter VIII, pages 157 to 181.

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