Saturday, July 6, 2013


This is coolbert:

Here with extracts and comments from the book "The RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN, 1812" by M. de Fezensac.

This book is highly recommended by a variety of sources, a first-hand account from a middle-grade officer, that invasion and ultimately disastrous retreat from Moscow of the Grande Armee during the  Russian campaign, 1812.

"I read the tale at one sitting and anyone who takes it in hand will probably do the same. Nothing that I know in military literature quite compares with it" - -  S. L. A. Marshall.

"a short, graphic, and accurate mid-level young professional officer's view of Napoleon's Russian campaign. Fezensac was a staff officer from the Niemen to Borodino . . . For any reader this lucid memoir is as close as he will want to get to what it was really like in Russia." - - Theodore Ropp.

Fezensac with the rank of Colonel first an aide de camp to the general staff of the Grande Armee and during the retreat from Moscow in command of the 18th Regiment of line, Third Corps.

That Third Corps of the Grande Armee during the initial stages of the Russian campaign consisting of three divisions, two French and one of troops from Wurttemberg.

Total infantry as deployed by Third Corps numbering about 36,000 men-a-foot, three divisions of about 12,000 men each.

The experience of the Wurttemberg division [25th Division] in a microcosm that entire ordeal of the Grande Armee, casualties even prior to the retreat from Moscow disastrous and overwhelming:

"A third division of infantry composed of Wurttemberg, under the orders of General Marchand, was reduced to 1,000 men. The Prince of Wurttemberg command it a the beginning of the campaign. The Emperor reproached him severely on the depredations committed by his troops, depredations which were much exaggerated by the French, The Prince of Wurttemberg tried to establish a more rigorous discipline, but since they could only live through pillage, the starving soldiers wandered off. The Prince himself, ill and embittered, left the army."

Of that 12,000 man contingent of Wurttemberg division that marched on Moscow, only 1,000 left standing during that occupation of the city. A lesser number than that in the ranks during those beginning stages of the retreat, the command structure evidently having disintegrated.

"The general who commanded the Wurttemberg Division under General Marchand was created a count of the Empire, with a gift of 20,000 francs - - a meager reward indeed for the suffering of 12,000 men whom exhaustion and privation  had now reduced to eight hundred."

Of that eight-hundred Wurttemberg infantry on the retreat from Moscow those that survived the journey to safety not made clear, but must have been minuscule even in comparison.

It also noteworthy that "princes" of Wurttemberg fought on both sides during the campaign.

Fezensac relating that at Borodino among those of noble rank dead on the battlefield including Prince "Eugene of Wurttemberg".

"The loss was heavy on both sides: it can be placed at 28,000 French and 50,000 Russians. I might mention among those who fell on the enemy side Prince Eugene of Wurttemberg and Price Bagration"

Eugene wounded but not a fatality? That Prince Eugene indeed a "prince" of Wurttemberg fighting with the Russians but merely wounded and not killed.

There also a "prince" Alexander of Wurttemberg serving with the Russians during that campaign of 1812, both men of the royal Wurttemberg household rather senior officers.

When I speak of a "prince" these men were of noble rank but rather more correctly titled a Duke?

Also this Prince of Wurttemberg nominally in command of the 25th Wurttemberg division is exactly who? I need some help with this. NO where I can find on the Internet this particular "prince" referred to by his given name.


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