In early 1805, as Napoleon gathered his forces together at Boulogne for a projected invasion of Britain he decided to dismount several regiments of Dragoons in order to more easily transport them across the English channel. He supposed that these troops would fight on foot after their initial landing until such time as they could capture or requisition sufficient horses to be remounted.
After the French defeat at Trafalgar in October 1805 the invasion, was cancelled however these ‘Foot Dragoons’ did not have their mounts returned. Instead they were dispatched to fight on foot in campaigns across Europe and into Austria and Russia.
They did however retain their tall brass helmets complete with black horsehair plumes and the traditional, green tunics of French Light Cavalry and Infantry as well as their long dragoon muskets.
To suit their new fighting role they wore long, black canvas leggings and the regular French Army infantry backpack.