A routing unit can often cause other units to doubt themselves, and panic can easily spread through the ranks. When soldiers waver, a general’s presence can inspire courage and make men redouble their efforts. His importance also makes him a target for the enemy; a sensible general has a bodyguard of his best soldiers. These men are fiercely loyal and protective of their general, never leaving his side unless all else is lost.
In 1796, General Napoleon Bonaparte created his own bodyguard of 200 men after a too-close call with some Austrian cavalry. These men were forerunners to the Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard. Naturally, being the first, they were favoured by Napoleon. Indeed, they were called the ‘Favoured Children’ and, like all children, were often indulged too much and undisciplined. Still, only the most talented men would be recruited to guard the Emperor and, during many of his battles, they proved their skill and bravery in defence of their Emperor.