As with so much of what represented Napoleonic France, the Imperial Guard could trace its existence and spirit back to the Roman Empire of old. Where the Grand Army could look back to affiliate itself with the Legions, the Imperial Guard was nothing less than the Emperor's Praetorians-the elite-the best of the best. Its men coveted their position to the degree that they would often refuse promotion if it meant a transfer to a line regiment. Never squandered, when the Guard advanced it meant the battle was near to its end and victory once more a step away. Their steady presence would put courage into dispirited allied troops and shred the last vestige of morale from an enemy. They represented every branch of the Army and where their magnificent uniforms appeared under their tricolours and eagles, all knew there would also be the Emperor himself. This the story of Napoleon's Imperial Guard from the bearskin caps of the grenadiers to the flamboyance of their mounted chasseurs, their principal characters and the men who commanded them. From Marengo to Waterloo the Imperial Guard created a legend that is unparalleled in modern military history.