The Black Legion was raised by General Hoche for the Irish expedition.
It was formed in Rennes in June 1796, it consisted of 3 battalions, each with a rifle company and 9 hunting companies. It was equipped with the uniforms taken from the emigrants captured at Quiberon.
Under the orders of General Lemoine, it weighed anchor in Brest on December 15, 1796 and reached Bantry Bay, where it was hit by a storm. But, because of the delay of Hoche, it returned to Brest on January 1, 1797. Reorganized in Caen, it was directed on the Rhine where it distinguished itself in Neuwied.
Called back to Paris, it participated in the repression of the insurrection which led to the arrest of Pichegru. First assigned to the army of Helvetia with Masséna and later to the army of the Rhine.