Ow does Jakob Walter view modern warfare?
How does Jakob Walter view modern warfare?
An Ordinary Soldier on Campaign with Napoleon (1812) by Jakob Walter
Jakob Walter (1788i??1864) recorded his experience as a soldier in the Napoleonic armies marching to Moscow in 1812. He wrote his account sometime after the events took place, though exactly when is not known. Walter was a German conscripted into military service from one of the many western German states controlled by Napoleon. The selection here describes the Napoleonic armies still on the offensive moving toward Moscow. But the seeds of future problems are already germinating.
On August 19, the entire army moved forward, and pursued the Russians with all speed. Four or five hoursi?? farther up the river another battle started, but the enemy did not hold out long, and the march now led to Moshaisk [near Borodino], the so-called i??Holy Valley.i?? From Smolensk to Moshaisk the war displayed its horrible work of destruction: all the roads, fields, and woods lay as though sown with people, horses, wagons, burned villages and cities; everything looked like the complete ruin of all that lived. In particular, we saw ten dead Russians to one of our men, although every day our numbers fell off considerably. In order to pass through woods, swamps, and narrow trails, trees which formed barriers in the woods had to be removed, and wagon barricades of the enemy had to be cleared away. i?? The march up to there, as far as it was a march, is indescribable and inconceivable for people who have not seen anything of it. The very great heat, the dust which was like a thick fog, the closed line of march in columns, and the putrid water from holes filled with dead people and cattle brought everyone close to death; and eye pains, fatigue, thirst, and hunger tormented everybody. God! How often I remembered the bread and beer which I had enjoyed at home with such an indifferent pleasure! Now, however, I must struggle, half wild, with the dead and living. How gladly would I renounce for my whole life the warm food so common at home if I only did not lack good bread and beer now! I would not wish for more all my life. But these were empty, helpless thoughts. Yes, the thought of my brothers and sisters so far away added to my pain! Wherever I looked, I saw the soldiers with dead, half-desperate faces.
Hunt, Lynn, Thomas R, Martin, Barbara H. Rosenstein, and Bonnie G. Smith. 2012. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins.