Monday, August 03, 2009

Liveblogging Napoleon's Russian Invasion: Captain Roeder Spends A Miserable Night

Pressing on towards Vitebsk, Captain Roeder and his Hessians fall under the command of a French officer who doesn't seem to know how to take care of his force. On August 3, they bivouack beyond Kamen:
The night was black as pitch. We were soaked to the skin and unable to see whether we were lying in a clean place or in the filth left by our predecessors, and there had been many of them. I myself first lay down in the proximity of a dead horse, and when it was revealed by the light of the camp fires and by its stench, which was all pervading, I had to wander about to find another place. Most of our wagons had been unable to reach the march station, and only arrived about midnight. The soldiers were so weary and dispirited by their march today and yesterday without cooked food that they flung themselves down and tried to sleep.
--Helen Roeder, The Ordeal of Captain Roeder 108 (1960)

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