History of the Douanes Imperiales
The history of the Napoleons customs officers corps was virtually forgotten. Almost nobody
in Napoleonic reenactment (in which much knowledge about the Napoleonic period is
present), new about their existence.
For more then two years I studied into their uniforms and their history, especially with the
main idea behind it, to portray them in an authentic way at Napoleonic re-enactment
(living history) events in the Netherlands and other countries.
The text written down below has literally cost me hundreds of hours of work. Information
is to be find only in fragments, and the art is to tie these pieces up to being a correct whole.
Unfortunately at the end of the19th century the complete French customs authorities
archives are destroyed by a large fire, as a result it is very difficult to find detailed
information about the Douanes Imperiales corps.
Then and now
The corps of custom officers under Napoleon of course frequently becomes compared to
the functioning of the nowdays customs officers. This is of course understandable, but
nevertheless the corps of customs officers under Napoleon differed much from customs
officers today. The current customs officers tasks are mainly based on controlling at airports
and harbours, controlling the incoming goods and persons.
Under Napoleon however their tasks were much more wider, a semi-military unit, actually
used for everything.
Also the French customs apparatus in his French form has been later taken over by other
countries in Europe. Carrying back the colours of the current green uniforms on the French
green uniform, for the first time regulated in February 1800.
The start up
In April/May 1791 the 'Assemblée' started the set-up of the `douanes nationales' corps.
An independent functioning government body with officials who got as a task; excise control,
bordercontrol and police force tasks. In January 1800 the corps got its first own uniform.
With this new uniform regulations all ranks within the corps got their own dark green uniform,
with silver galon or silver stitching on sleeves and collar, showing their rank.
In the years before, customs officials were mainly only recognizable by their copperplate on
their sable belt, and carried with them a document (commission), which explained that one
was operative at the French corps of customs...
A douanier on guard at Bordeaux (E.Fort)
The functioning of the 'douanes nationales' (and the later douanes imperiales), their ranks,
all rules, excise levies on goods, new legislation and rules, etc, was kept together within the
so-called: 'Legislation des douanes ' bookwork. A member of our group has bought one of
these now rare books, this version of the book has been pressed in 1813, and is a second
edition, more information and photographs: Here
...Under Napoleon and during the continental blockade, the customs authorities received a
complete authorisations from Napoleon himself, for the correct implementation of their tasks.
Customs authorities could do for example irruptions and controls on any suspected persons
an their livings, irrespective of which army degree or civil status, All this to reduce any trade
in English goods. They only had to obey their officers/chiefs in command and to Napoleon
Director of the douanes (customs officers) in his uniform (E.Fort)
The douanes imperiales corps operated within a complex multiple numbers of functions and
' bureau's ', the highest function was the 'Directeur general des douanes'. Below the
complete list of ranks and functions:
1 Directeur general des douanes
1 Secretaris general des Douanes
1-Ministre du commerce:
chef du bureau des douanes, sous chef, sous chef adjoint directeur
commis d’ordre, redacteurs second classe, plusiers commies aux expeditions
2-A l’Administration des douanes:
Chefs de division, sous chefs, premiers commis, commis principaux, commis
d’ordre, commis aux expeditions
3-Dans le directions:
Premier commis, second commis, troisieme commis, quatrieme commis.
Inspecteurs generaux, directeurs, inspecteurs principaux, particulairs et
sedentaires, sous inspecteurs.
Bureaux de Perception
1-Dans les grandes Douanes:
Receveurs principaux, controleurs aux visites, premiers commis a la navigation,
controleurs aux entrepots, verificateurs, receveurs aux declarations, commis
aux expeditions, commis a la recette, aides verificateurs, poseurs, emballeurs,
Concierges ou portiers
2-Dans les douanes subordonnees:
Receveurs particuliers, visiteurs, commis aux expeditions
2.Active part (Brigades)
Controleurs de brigades, captain, lieutenant principaux et ordre, lieutenant et
sous lieutenant a pied et a cheval, preposes.
Douanier a cheval (1812-1813, Knotel)
After the crowning of Napoleon as emperor in 1804, the `douanes nationales ' corps is
transformed into the 'Douanes Imperiales corps. Although still functioning as prescribed
in the early 90'ths, their tasks were extended and Napoleon especially had a further
militarization in mind.
Officially the customs corps has never become an real army component under Napoleon I,
this would happen in a later period (in the 1830's). Napoleon has, however, tried for
several times to place the corps under the ministry of war and even wanted (in the later
years) to place customs units in his own Imperial Guard. That all of this had not succeeded,
was part of a strategy used by the customs highest administration, who applied a type of
delay tactics, (on the implementation of new legislation concerning militarization).
She has continued this until Napoleon I would eventually once and for all disappear
in 1815. Reason for their behaviour, was their fear that Napoleon would use their men
only for military actions instead for the tasks which the corps had been setup in 1791,
(excise control, border control and police force tasks).
Eventually in the later years, a lot of the customs units (in spite of the early non
cooperative attitude of the customs administration), were used military in a large scale.
Brigades were put together in battalions sizes, as a support for the regular army units,
during military actions and for the maintaining of city defences. Military commitment
however was already a fact also in 1805, (a year after the establishment of the Douanes
Imperiales) and maybe earlier. For an example look Here
Fighting until November 1815
This military commitment increased considerably, in a biography from 1809 (Charles hare)
is already written down by an eyewitness that more and more douanes units were called
under arms in those two years, which eventually would further increase especially after
the year 1812, until they stopped fighting in November 1815! With large customs units still
involved in fighting's at the the French borders, against an supremacy of mainly Prussian
The militarization of the whole customs corps was however in the beginning also a large
change for the douaniers itself, never these had expected that Napoleon would equip
them with own uniforms and shako's, and that they would be stationed all along the new
strange coasts and country borders of the ever growing French Empire.
That these considerable reversal and extension of their tasks nevertheless was well taken
by the douaniers that we can attribute to the fact that the most of them for years earlier
had served as a soldier, and among other things knew ' how to handle their bayonets ' and
as a soldier already had been in other countries. At the end of Napoleons realm their
numbers were almost as high as other troops in the field, and they were often the only
remaining men in full uniform and with a long service and military history. as the most part
of the remaining army were the 'Levis' and 'Marie Louise's', with almost no military
experience and no real uniforms.
Drawing of an douanes inspecteur
In the Netherlands
In the Southern Netherlands the first French customs appeared already in 1793, shortly
after the taking of these areas by France. Everywhere along the Batavian republic border,
customs officers posts were set up, in cities such as Maastricht, Venlo, Roermond and
in the neighbouring villages and even frequently in hamlets. But also near the larger rivers
(for example the river Meuse), on which many trade goods were moved.
In 1806, Lodewijk (a brother of Napoleon), became king of Holland, and the
Batavian republic was abolished. To exclude smugglers and their forbidden goods from
England, French douaniers also came to Holland. Under Lodewijk Dutch douaniers
were also trained, by their French colleagues called 'douaniers Hollandais'.
In 1811, the kingdom of Holland disappears and becomes a component of France, this
after a long period of mutual dissatisfaction between both of the brothers, whom
especially (brother Lodewijk) not wanted to carry out well the international blockade
against England, trying to prevent an impoverishment of the Dutch port cities and his
kingdom (most conducted trade was with England at that time).
A douanier a pied and douanier a cheval 1812-1815 (Vernet)
Holland becomes part of the French Empire (1810)
After te disappearing of the Kingdom Holland, the French customs moved themselves
around the 'Zuiderzee', the large rivers 'Rhine and Wale', and along the whole coastline.
The former 'douaniers holandais' were incorporated into the Douanes Imperiales corps,
as they needed more and more men for carrying out the ongoing blockade. In the Dutch
cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam and in Groningen appears an administrative customs
officers head office (headed by the 4th customs `division'), charged with carrying out the
international blockade. In Amsterdam alone there were more then 400 douaniers
In the middle of 1813, the strength of the French authority eroded slowly in the
future Dutch territory. The larger French army units withdrew themselves to Antwerp,
(future Belgium) and France to realign itself there, and only small departments soldiers
lagged behind in the cities. French officials and a lot of douaniers left the future Dutch
territory, by small boats or coaches, with their children and women. A lot of them had
founded a family with children, during the many years stay in the Netherlands, and
found a save departure with their family more important, whereas others stayed behind
to fight for the French cause.
Burning douanes posts and offices in Amsterdam in 1813. The douanes
had leaved the city earlier on..
Riots in Holland
By this situation rapidly arose small riots in the Dutch port cities and future Dutch
provinces, fed by the hated continental blockade which arose poverty, but also by the
hated conscription and the still high Orange inclination in the Northern provinces.
In Dutch future Southern provinces however it remained relatively quiet during this
period. Here the blockade had been less tangible because they were less depending
on trade only, and most income came more from agriculture and industry. Also was
there little to no tie with the Orange house, which was considered as 'alien' and one
had accepted the conscription and French authority as something inescapable.
This manner of thinking will have to do much with the fact that these areas belonged
already for hundreds of years to all kinds of conquerors from foreign countries and had
less to do with a pro-French manner of thinking, like frequently suggested.
End 1813 some cities in the north of the Netherlands are however defended still by
small French garrisons, among them are also units of douaniers. In most of the cases
these garrisons continued to sit out their time, with time to time carrying out some small
breakouts. Exception among them were the sieges of Gorinchem, Doesburg and Arnhem,
were the fighting was fierce.
Some of these occupied cities remained French into the months of March and April in
1814. In April Napoleon distance himself of his throne and leaves to Elba. At Coevorden
and other still occupied cities, the French garrisons gets an free escort, official the war
then has expired against France and a new French government was installed. French
army components (among which also remaining French customs units) leave then once
andfor all the future Dutch territory.
Cartoon; take a pick, take a pick, six douaniers for a penny
Douanes Imperiales corps
The men in service of customs authorities corps were all ex-soldiers or veterans, one
had to have a military history, without one it was not possible to take service. Since the
Douanes corps was a government part and no army body, these men thus were no more
soldiers, but officials. Becoming employed was voluntary, but the douanes corps also in
an active way kept searching for fitting men. By the ongoing growing of the French
borders, the numbers of douaniers kept growing also, in 1812 and 1813 a 35.000 men
with a short peek to a more then 40.000 men.
Not only French men
For It concerned also not only French men that took service, as often thought. In the
later years also men from Italie, Germany and from Holland took service. After a recent
small research project it appears that the numbers of Dutch men in service of the
Imperial customs was much higher then thought. For more info, click (Dutch only)
The customs units had been set up as semi-military corps. With an existing 'actively'
(brigades) and 'administrative ' part, each with their own ranks. The administrative
part was build up in a number of `directions' (administrative offices) divided over the
French area. These `directions ' had been subdivided in four `divisions ', each of these
divisions was headed by a senior official, called the `administrator `. Also these
divisions were called 'legions', as within the Gendarmerie. The set-up of these
`directions' was as follows, (February 1812)
- Premiere division, offices in the cities:
Toulon, Cette, Perpignan, Saint Gaudens, Baionne, bordeaux, drawer rochelle, Nantes,
- Deuxieme division, offices in the cities:
Brest, Saint Malo, Cherbourg, Rouen, Abbeville, Boulogne, Dunkergue, Besancon.
- Troisieme division, offices in the cities:
Marseille, Nice, Genes, Livourne, florence, Rome, Foligno, Parme, Voghere, Verceil,
- Quatrieme division, offices in the cities:
Anvers, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, groningen, Embden, Hambourg, Lunebourg, Wesel,
Cologne, Mayence, Strasbourg.
Each of these directions, with all their administrative officials, was headed by one
customs director. These directors communicated with the the concerned division among
under which they were part of. For all activities around these offices they had specific
functions, each with their own tasks. Every direction had a certain piece of territory
(arrondissement) of the French Empire which to control.
Four douaniers, one of them an officer, painted in Hamburg 1809
Besides the administrative part there where the customs brigades, which were headed
by the director of the 'direction', in which one was functioning. Their posts been spread
out at strategic places. One worked with invisibly so-called `lines', a 1st and 2e line,
linked together by customs posts distanced from each other, in certain layers. These
lines ran along the whole coasts and the borders. Their main task; checking in and out
going goods, border control, and all kinds of police force tasks (frequently in association
with the gendarmes) as been already established in 1791. Later added the hunt on
deserters and army service refusers, the protection of high officials and army officers,
the guarding of prisoners of war and the always returning military commitment of the
Small douane posts, placed in a sort of line along the coast, each one occupied by a
few number of douaniers. If smugglers were spotted, they hoisted a red flag, alarming
the nearby other posts, so that they also could intervene.
Functions and ranks within the brigades
- Controleur of the brigades:
The highest rank/function within the brigade was the controleur of the brigades. He was
responsible for the complete (general) pace of matters in his district (arrondissement)
responsible for the discipline at the brigades in the district. Kept up any changes in orders,
and checked if these were also carried out properly. He could note preposes for a
promotion, but also for a punishment, what was assessed then by the customs director,
among in which district it fell.
Hereafter the rank of captain follows (the ville, of the city). These were only used in the
large cities, frequently only in the capital of the district, where they several brigades
- Lieutenant principaux (principal):
In function the same as the controleur, but this only in less important and less large
districts, and fell directly under supervision of customs inspecteur or sous inspecteur.
- Lieutenant dórdre:
Temporary boss concerning the brigades in a district, which needed extra attention and
extra control. And among other things checked all the daily rapports of the lieutenants.
Lieutenant et sous lieutenant:
Actual chef of the brigades, where the sous lieutenant took over the tasks of the
lieutenant when he was absent.
Prepose (a pied, a cheval):
The most attentive function within the brigades, actually the ' backbone ' of the
(note: the rank of brigadier who is described in some books, not yet existed under
Napoleon I, this rank was later introduced)
Two douaniers looking for forbidden goods at a port (E.Fort)
A douanes post
A small douanes post was nothing more than a rented building or house, which also
acted as administrative office, for visitors to receive and to stock some goods. It had
been obliged at each post had a sign with showing the text; Douanes Imperiales, entry
and sortie. Sleeping and living space was somewhere else foreseen, namely in rented
houses, rooms or a chamber in an inn, where one stayed, possibly with its family.
It was the lieutenant who kept up the administrative operations, this task also was
however often taken over by the douanes 'receveur', who did his round on the douanes
posts and sometimes also temporary stayed on one particular post, for taken over their
A small douanes post near a river
By all these tasks the customs brigades became an almost daily returning sight, in the
daily living of a lot of citizens, who lived in the French Empire. Their function was the
most dangerous but also the worst paid. The average wage of a customs 'prepose'
(the lowest rank in the brigade), had been determined on 500 franc per year. But in more
remote (read more dangerous) the wage was higher, namely 900 francs a year.
Also a type of bonus was implanted (sometimes also a percentage of the confiscated
goods) for every deserter, service refuser and criminal which was taken up by a douanier.
Further rights for a douanier were holidays, getting back his declarations (with an
appointed maximum for each rank), and a pension from the state.
The brigades did their much more dangerous work in the field in day and night,
for administrative units on their offices it was relatively much more safe , and these
also were better paid then the men within the brigades. By this inequality there was thus
always much tension between both groupings. The comparatively low payment and the
fact that one was placed in a position able to easily deserve much money, ensured that a
lot of customs within the brigades would make themselves guilty to corruption, by
receiving compensations from smugglers to let through their goods, or by smuggle
Sentences for this were however very high, customs officials who were taken up for
corrupt practices, could count on years of prison in irons, or even to be shot. In spite of
these measures, there was much corruption under the customs officials, and the
administration always considered new rules to reduce corruption. It was forbidden for
them to live close near a border, and often they were moved to another post.
An average brigade
An average functional brigade in the field, existed from 7/8 customs preposes (more
or less, depending on their tasks), a second (sous) lieutenant and a lieutenant. At
added brigades also a drummer had been frequently incorporated. The brigades in the
field worked already with dogs, (firm dogs), which could stop a smuggler. The higher
ranks in the brigades, such as a captain or controleur operated mainly on their office,
and seldom with the brigades themselves in the field.
A number of smugglers, bringing their illegal goods a shore
The Continental Blockade
(or Continental System)
First move by the British
A range of decisions, which formed together an economic war between the United
Kingdom and France, and ran in fact parallel with the war conducted in military.
It was the United Kingdom and not France (like it is generally adopted) that started
it in 1803. In this year the United Kingdom started to obstruct the import which
came from countries with French influence, and made skilfully use of their strong sea
power to add strength to their prohibition provisions.
The United Kingdom, exclaimed in 1806 that the whole coast line from Brest to
Hamburg was to be blocked by their navy. Napoleon answered with the decree of
Berlin, in which all trade with the United Kingdom was forbidden to France and here
allies. After this the United Kingdom went on a step further; all strange ships (also the
neutral ones) had to halt in London or other English ports to become inspected and
had to pay scandalous high amounts of money to be able to continue their travel.
Napoleon exclaimed hereafter the decree of Milan in 1807, that each ship, which
would submit himself to this requirement, was explained forfeited as it again would
stop in a French port our at one of the ports of French allies.
Prices of Goods
By these blockades the prices of colonial goods grew enormously, and becoming a
smuggler turned out very profitable. Whole classes within the population occupied
themselves to smuggling, and it was on a scale like never earlier seen in the
Rich by the large profits, having lots of money, relatively easily earned, ordinary
work become despised. Not only the smugglers themselves were involved at smuggling
but also innumerable mediators, who ensured transport inside the countries, mostly
over water. And then at last they in the large cities, who received the goods and stored
them in secret places, from where they the reached consumers .
Centre of the smugglers trade in the north became the coast of East frieze country
with its innumerable bays and coves, from way back a harbour for smuggle and
corsairs. Napoleon could not prevent that enormous quantities of products were
brought into the country. Guarding only from the country side (on water the English
Navy was present ) was insufficient.
Not for the ordinary men
In spite of high numbers of incoming goods, these were already no longer payable by
the 'ordinary men' , because the general prosperity in a lot of countries had collapsed;
this by constant wars, tax increases and the blockades. This poverty was felt mostly in
the larger cities in contrast to relative prosperity on the country. For many producers
and farm in the own country the blockade was an advantage.
By the lack and disappearance of the massive English goods, the request for goods
made in the own country arose. Production in grain and sugar arose, and farmers and
companies started on large scale planting sugar beets, in substitution for sheer sugar.
Also textile the industries thrived again.
Smugglers at Dunekerk and Gravelines
In the later years of the French Empire (1810-1814), Napoleon English agreed to have
English smugglers at the French ports Dunekerk and Gravelines, and motivated them
for transporting prohibited goods over the canal. In Gravelines even accommodations
had been regulated for an approximately 300 smugglers, this certain spot of the city
was called: 'city of smugglers'.
Napoleon used these smugglers in his war against the United Kingdom. They arrived
on the French coasts with escaped French soldiers, golden Guineas, English
newspapers, information of French spies and carried back French textile, French
brandy and gin. For this even entirely new distilleries were set up, one of them, build
in 1812, distillery Persyn, still exist today. A link HER
More information concerning the continental blockade finds you on the site of
Three ways of smuggling goods over water
Armies of smugglers
Even if as from 1806 (shortly after exclaiming the blockade) there were already at
least more than a 100,000 smugglers actively getting around the blockade. Actively
supported by England , illegal goods nevertheless in massive quantities entered
the French Empire . The numbers of smugglers grow in the years to follow, some
well organised and well armed, an always returning danger for the customs officers
brigades which were heavily in the minority (in the former years, 22,800 man, spread
out over the whole Empire), who could not do much against this supremacy.
In spite of this, the fight against smugglers and smuggling was hard, even with
customs brigades which set up raids to destroy large cargos of English goods,
stationed on hostile territory.
Smugglers followed by douaniers
Confrontations with smugglers frequently occurred, these degenerated in
small-scale fighting's to the coasts or somewhere in the country, where men on
both sides lost their life's. But also the douaniers on the small customs ships that
obliges (in spite of the overall present much stronger English Navy) had to choose
sea, and once discovered, by earlier-mentioned was attacked, had no easy task.
English sailors called them; the Regies.
By their imposed tasks people around them often hated them. The fight between
smugglers and douaniers hardened also according to the years expired and the
blockade kept on existing. Comparatively with an ordinary soldier the work of a
douanier was more dangerous. A soldier mainly only had a chance to get killed or
wounded on a battle field, moreover he lived in a relative security between his
comrades of the regiment.
A douanier ran each day again in a situation to get wounded or to be assassinated,
he was almost always present in hostile surroundings, and always considerable in
the minority compared to the gangs of smugglers who armed and unrecognizable
foraged the country. One frequently reads that douaniers were assassinated, were
killed in a ambush somewhere in a remote area or even at their own post, had to
deal with riots, rebellion and scuffles.
Not cute men
Reciprocally douaniers in the brigades were of course also not cute men, as an
often former soldier one must already have been hardened in the army and got
used to certain forms of violence which one had experienced or had taken part
during military operations. And one would have been therefore more rapidly prepared
to also use violence on a certain spot and situation, always been considered as an
enemy and probably also in this way treated. Beside the earlier mentioned corruption,
maltreatment and insult was frequently used by douaniers.
Smugglers approaching the French coast
After the calamity for the French army in Russia (1812), the last rests withdrew
themselves into Germany. Between the army and the Russians a thin green barrier
was formed of customs units, collected and invoked by Marshall Davout and customs
director Pyonniere. Also it is written there concerning about the set up of an 2e
regiment of customs, this written after a command of Davout himself on august17th,
1813., made out of two battalions, six companies, with own cavalry and artillery,
around 2000 men together.
Also customs units were added at components of the army , invoked by army officers.
At the siege of Hamburg, customs units were used for manning the bastions .
A special custom unit of 'sharpshooters', under command of customs captain
Lavandeze, was used to eliminate hostile units, with large rifles on large distances
(probably the enemies officers). Also from the Hamburg port small customs gunboats
took the enemies under a violent fire. Unfortunately also in Hamburg there were not
only douaniers who fought for the French matter , but there were also customs
colleagues who thought more financially..
Before the exodus of French army units out of the city Hamburg in 1814, douaniers
tried to take along the money from a bank the city. Danish sailors who had been
held prisoner in Altona (a suburb of Hamburg) prevented this, a violent fighting arose,
where on the side of the douaniers thirty men were killed.
Plan of the fortified city Thionville,
defended by douaniers and other troops in 1814 and 1815
In the beginning of 1814, the whole customs system collapses entirely . Customs
officers units continued defending cities, in current Belgium and more to the
French border. In cities such as Mayence, Landau, Strasbourg, Huningue, and more
in the west: Thionville, Metz, Belfort and Besançon and in a lot of other cities were
garrisons in which concluded large numbers of douaniers. Customs units also
fought during the short siege of Paris in 1814.
After the departure of Napoleon in 1814, the corps recovered its old name, the
'customs officers nationales '. In spite of the large numbers of emperor minded
men, no purifications were carried out. This would prove to be a mistake, because
the whole corps places itself right behind Napoleon as he on March 1ste 1815 puts
his feet back on French soil (Antibes France), and in his way to Paris a unit of
almost 500 douaniers voluntary follows him for taking care of his safety, and to
confront his enemies.
A douanier 'a cheval and a pied', 1812-1815
Customs Officers units at Waterloo?
In May 1815 report is made of customs authorities in an outpost fighting against
Prussian army units at the French border. Until now it has not been still really cleared if
customs units have taken part in the combat before and during the battle for Waterloo.
If this was been documented somehow, then probably these documents were lost during
the destruction of the French customs archives in Paris (end of 19th century), by a large
fire. But however plausible it still is. In a list reflecting the strength of Napoleons army
(written in June 1815), it is mentioned that for Armee du Nord, 12.000 douaniers were
incorporated in the army, as auxiliary troops.
There were in 1815 still much large numbers of douaniers, who after the shrinking of
the French Empire to France normal borders, and after the lifting of the continental
blockade probably had nothing more on their hands then again to support Napoleon and
his army, this in a time that Napoleon could use every man who could handle a weapon.
But however until this time. every proof for this is still lacking.
However a small remained document could be an indirect indication, that perhaps
douaniers have taken part in combat at Waterloo. Douanier Sacré operated in the Dutch
Hindelopen, and probably in 1813, had been left the country with the rests of French
armies and a lot of of his colleagues. The next indication concerning him is on 19 august
1815, this in the military hospital at Philippeville (near Charleroi and Waterloo). On this
earlier-mentioned date he died from his wounds, in the function as a douanier. (noted on
19 august1815 by an informé). Also it is knowned from an document written in the
beginning of June 1815, that Armee du Nord, consisted out of 12.000 douaniers.
Painting of Napoleon, made before the battle of Waterloo ?
After the defeat at Waterloo in June 1815, (also see the small you-tube films) the upset
French army withdraws itself on French ground, Prussian armies approached the French
border and French border cities. These are now again defended by customs units, garde
national units and the small remains of the French army.
In reinforced cities such as Givet, Belfort Longwy and Rodemack and others, these offer
under the command of general Hugo an other generals still resistance until the end of
November 1815, five months after Waterloo! Eventually after several recalls from Paris
(by the new French government), the action was broken off and a peace treaty was
After this the Imperial eagle disappears once and for all of the customs uniforms and
the corps is transformed for the second time into the 'douanes nationales '.
-Monument to honour customs officials, who died at the siege of the French city Givet,
attacked by Prussian columns on 3 September 1815. The douaniers were part of the
'legion des Ardennes':
2nd battalion 1st company en 2nd battalion 3rd company.
Documents: Cahier des Douanes (Douane France), Costums officers museum Bordeaux,
Costums officers and exercise museum Rotterdam, Costums officers museum Antwerp,
Book: Legislation des Douanes 1813, Edmond Zotto, Former Customs officer Andre Lucot,
Book: Memoires de General Hugo 1814, Laura Sacre, Sebastiaan Berntsen, Book: Le
fiamme gialle d'Italia, E.Fort, Lienhart & Humbert, Professor Joost Welten, Book:
Napoleons Europese droom, Website: Genealogie 19 eeuwse militairen, Erven van Charles
Hare, Albert van E, several original documents from internet websites.