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Jakob Walter (1) (1788–1864)

Autor/a de Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier

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Eighteen-year-old German stonemason Jakob Walter served in the Grand Army of Napoleon between 1806 and 1813. His diary intimately records his trials: the long, grueling marches in Prussia and Poland, the disastrous Russian campaign, and the demoralizing defeat in a war few supported or understood. It is at once a compelling chronicle of a young soldier's loss of innocence and an eloquent and moving portrait of the profound effects of all wars on the men who fight them.



This memoir is memorable for its description of foot slogging hell, as Napoleon's Grande Armee advances into Russia, reachng Moscow before an ignominious retreat. The weather and wretched privation - no food or shelter while under constant threat of harrying attacks by Cossack soldiers, make one wonder how anyone survived - few in fact did.
DramMan | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Aug 5, 2023 |
5509. The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier, by Jakob Walter Edited and with an Introduction by Marc Raeff (read 22 Oct 2017) In 1856 Jakob Walter sent an account of his doings as a soldier for Napoleon. Walter was born in 1788 in Rosenberg, Wuerttemburg, and in 1806-1807, 1809,, and 1812 was in Napoleon's army. The book is called a diary, but actually the account of his time in the Army was written later and sent to his son in Kansas in 1856. It was not published until the 20th century. The account of his time in Russia is extremely vivid and gut-wrenching and one is amazed that he managed to live through what he describes, unless he is exaggerating the events. On the retreat from Moscow he managed to usually be on a horse, which was likely to be stolen from him. He seldom had decent food and what he ate is enough to make a person regurgitate just reading about it. He made no attempt to destroy the lice he was infected with. One breathes a sigh of relief when he finally gets out of Russia. My greet-great-grandfather's brother was in Russia with Napoleon's army and the stories which have come down in the family in regard to that time are similar to what Walter describes in this book, which added to my interest in the account.… (més)
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Schmerguls | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Oct 22, 2017 |
What could be worse than retreating from Moscow in the dead of winter with Napoleon's army? This young man made it and emigrated to the U.S.
ShelleyAlberta | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Jun 4, 2016 |
We normally view the war experience from the perspective of generals, great strategists, and politicians who invent euphemisms to allay our fears. (See Paul Fussell's [book:Wartime]for more examples). There are few books showing what war was like from the perspective of the grunt (most were killed for one thing). An exception is The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier by Jakob Walter. This manuscript was discovered at the University of Kansas several years ago. Walter was a stone mason who was conscripted by Napoleon. He served in three campaigns that he describes in a reportorial fashion in this short book. The most harrowing of the three was the retreat from Moscow.
Napoleon had developed an intricate and reliable logistical system for delivering ammunition and weapons to the soldiers at the front. Soldiers were expected to buy their own food from local merchants or sutlers who followed the army. This usually worked reasonably well (especially when supplemented with occasional marauding raids). During the Russian campaign it failed miserably because of the slash and burn campaign of the retreating Russians who left nothing in their wake. Whatever food was found was given to the French Imperial Guard troops. Unfortunately our hero was a German conscript. His tales of searching for food and clothing during the bitter winter are heartrending. Of 600,000 troops Napoleon took with him to Russia only 25,000 returned.
… (més)
ecw0647 | Hi ha 7 ressenyes més | Sep 30, 2013 |


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