Introduced by Walter Wallich
Illustrated by Christian-Wilhem von Faber du Faur
A compelling and honest account of one of the most infamously devastating conflicts in war history, told by an officer serving in Napoleon’s army.
‘A miserable plateful of bread soup oiled with the stump of a tallow candle was all I had to eat on the eve of the big battle. But in my famished condition even this revolting dish seemed quite appetizing.’ This eyewitness account by Heinrich Vossler, an officer in Napoleon’s army, reveals what it was like to live through one of history’s most notorious military defeats. From the outset, the French campaign in Russia was a litany of catastrophes. Vossler records terrible illnesses brought on by drinking brackish water; attacks by peasant Cossacks and hostile locals; and the aftermath of the battle of Borodino, where bodies lay so thickly he had to ride over the corpses of his comrades. Vossler was eventually captured by Cossacks before being repatriated to his home of Wurttemburg – which by then had ended its alliance with France and gone over to the Russian side.
This Folio edition was translated by historian Walter Wallich. In his introduction, he places Vossler’s experience in a wider context, positing reasons for Napoleon’s terrible defeat. The text is illustrated with the lithographs produced by Vossler’s compatriot, Faber du Faur. The lithographs are in black and a pale buff tint, the latter worked to leave the highlights showing through in white, which is particularly effective in the snow scenes.
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