The Gendarmes d’Ordonnance were created in September 1806 to give the Ancien Regime nobility the opportunity to serve France again, under Napoleon: though, candidates had to buy their kits and pay their journey to Mayence, where they were enlisted.
Foot Gendarmes never were more than fifty and did not leave Mayence up to 1807, when they were disbanded. On the other side, mounted Gendarmes were five companies strong, under command of Matthew of Montmorency, viscount of Laval, and fought with panache at Maskow, Neugarten, Treptow, Degow, Colberg, Guttstadt, Friedland, Tilsitt… while escorting Napoleon alongside the Garde Chasseurs.
But they were hated by all other soldiers, commoners who took part to the Revolution, and the unit was eventually disbanded on July 12, 1807, by Napoleon submitting to the will of his soldiers. The Gendarmes, individually transferred to the Line with a higher rank, gave quite a few heroes to the Grand Army.