Jakob Walter Essay, Research Paper
“The Diary of a napoleonic foot soldier” is a autobiography/biography piece ofliterature of a soldier who went to war during Napoleon’s rule. Jakob Walter isor was the author of this book, and Walter explains to us what he did duringseveral war campaigns.Even though Walter was only nineteen, he was enlisted to the army byconscription and assigned to the regiment of Romig, later to be called theFranquemont Regiment. His first major mission was to escort several convoys ofcaptured Prussians, from Glogau to Dresden during the month of March,1806.His voyage to Dresden was simple but the way back to Glogau, they weresurrounded by Prussians at the city of Bunzlau. So they stayed in Bunzlau andcaught any spies that somehow got in. One spy that was caught was whipped onehundred and fifty times on his back, until he was half dead, and then shot,because he was about to send letters to the Prussians about the city’s manpower.After the siege there was over Walter headed back to Glagau. Other missionsassigned to him were the safe escort of the money wagons from Glagau to theVistula River, the attack on the fortress Stettin, and the siege at Glatz.Walter had a brother in the was with him who was stationed in theLilienburg Regiment. Whenever they fought and whenever they were in thesame city, they would look for each other because they had a strong brotherlylove.
In 1809, Walter was called back to war when war with Austria broke out.He writes about the march from village to village, and would stay at otherpeople’s houses where there was plenty of wine to drink. In October he came to avillage where he was quartered at a place housing a nun. Upon seeing Walterread a lot, the Nun started asking questions and Walter lied telling her he was amonk. He left that place leaving the hosts liking him and then two years go by (maybe a part of the diary was missing!)The next part of the diary was long, so I will only point out some of the majorand interesting events of 1812 and 1813.In January, 1812, Walter was recalled towar. His regiment marched for months traveling through Poland and into Russia.Food was scarce and hunger took over all the soldiers, so they pillaged villages.As time went by, more villages were already pillaged or even burnt down beforethe soldiers got there. They marched through several cities and at last came toSt.Petersburg, where other troops were waiting so they could all attack the cityon August 17,1812. After they took over the city, they burnt down and pillagedthe city. Walter and his regiment went onto other cities but found all burnt down.He did find useful and life-saving things such as fur and grain with a handgrinder. The battles in Russia and Poland were bloody, and deadly. To all thecities and grounds they fought for or on, hundreds of thousands died. Peoplefought amongst each other for food and horses, such as Walter, whose horse wasstolen at least two times. Everyone believed that their “time was up” and it was
their last hour. Winter didn’t help either, it made staying warm difficult andfreezing to death pretty simple. An interesting event that came upon Walter waswhen he and some soldiers were attacked by Cossacks, and Walter pretends toact dead after someone lances him to the ground. He then waits until they allleave, ( he knew he was outnumbered ) and then gets up and walks away. He isseparated from the group and travels to meet up again with them. As he gets tosomeone from the army, he is robbed and he catches a fever, both of which hesurvives through. On February,24, 1813, he finally makes it home to see hisfamily, including his brother, all well. Walter, though falls sick and so is taken toa hospital. He is feeling better weeks later when he isn’t sick anymore and he hasbeen discharged from the army.
At first the introduction was not as appealing as itcould of been, but the diary Jakob Walter wrote was amazing. The details werevivid, picturable and interesting. Enough so that I read the diary in one reading.Walter explains how life as a napoleonic soldier was, and the hardships they had.Walter shows how hungry he was and how any food is good food. I could nevereat hog’s face raw or coagulated horse blood, but that’s just me, and walking forthousands of miles in extreme hot and severe cold temperatures. This book issuperb and I’ll probably buy this book and add it to the shelf