A Soldier for Napoleon - The Campaigns of Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann, 7th Bavarian Infantry, ed John H. Gill

A Soldier for Napoleon - The Campaigns of Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann, 7th Bavarian Infantry, ed John H. Gill

Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann served as a junior officer in the Bavarian Army during the last decade of the Napoleonic Wars, serving in the Austerlitz campaign, the defeat of Prussia and Russia in 1806-07, the Franco-Austrian campaign of 1809 and the disastrous Russian campaign. During the War of Liberation Bavaria began on the French side, but switched to the Allies during the war. Hausmann was besieged at Thorn during the first stage of the war, then took part in the Allied invasion of France of 1814. 

Hausmann’s own writing takes up somewhat less than half of the text. For most of his career the only surviving material is his military diary, which was often simply a list of dates and locations, although there are some larger entries for particularly important days. Early in his career he served alongside his father, and the entries from this period tend to be shorter than when they were serving apart. As an example the diary for March 1809 to June 1810 only takes up seven pages. His regiment fought at the battle of Znaim, but this only gets two lines!

The letters from the Russian campaign take up about 50 pages, making them the most significant of the primary sources presented here. These are much more detailed than his diary, and give us a really useful view of life on the fringes of the greatest disaster in Napoleon’s military career. The Bavarians didn’t accompany the main army to Moscow, but instead protected one of the flanks, so weren’t caught up in the retreat from Moscow. We thus get a slightly different view of the campaign, with only occasion reports of the fate of the Grande Armée. Rather annoyingly Hausmann decided not to describe the worst aspects of the final retreat, explaining to his parents that it would be easier to discuss them face-to-face! Even so, these letters give us an idea of the daily concerns of someone of the fringes of the campaign, while the supporting material gives us a good history of the role of the Bavarian army during the Napoleonic Wars.

Chapters
1 - The Bavarian Army 1805-14
2 - War with Austria and Russia in 1805
3 - War with Prussia and Russia, 1806-07
4 - Renewed War with Austria in 1809
5 - The Russian Campaign
6 - War with Europe and the Siege of Thorn
7 - The Invasion of France
8 - 'The Happiest Years of my Youth'

Appendices
1 - Battles and Engagements
2 - Advice to his son
3 - The Life of Franz Joseph Hausmann
4 - The Life of Johann Wilhelm Hausmann
5 - The Bavarian Infantry Regiment
6 - Principal Bavarian Army Combat Units 1805-1814
7 - Bavarian Orders of Battle
Comparative Military Ranks

Author: Franz Joseph Hausmann
Editor: John H Gill
Translator: Cynthia Joy Haumann
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2016 edition of 1998


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