This corps of volunteers was created by the decree of 17 Ventôse year VIII (March 8, 1800).
Article III of this decree carried:
“III. The French citizens (…) who, in this extraordinary circumstance, will want to accompany the first consul and participate in the perils and glory of the coming campaign, will be registered with the prefects and sub-prefects.
The Minister of War will give the necessary orders for them to be formed into volunteer battalions. Those who could afford horses will be formed into volunteer squadrons; they will be definitively organized in Dijon, and the officers appointed by the first consul.”