Pen and Sword, A Soldier of Napoleon

Title: A Soldier for Napoleon... 
Author: Edited by John H. Gill
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
ISBN: 978-1-47388-269-0

...The Campaigns of Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann, 7th Bavarian Infantry

Another of the Napoleonic Library series from Pen and Sword, a book first published by Greenhill books back in 1998. Dealing with a series of wars now over 200 years ago there were no newsreels, photos or recordings of what happened, so we must rely on paintings, and written records for details of what happened.  This makes use of a series of very personal records thanks to Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann, a junior officer in the 7th Bavarian Infantry.  It uses his extensive letters home and his diaries, plus additional information thanks to the editor, John H Gill.  We are very lucky that the family kept his letters and diary, so they are now preserved in an archive rather than simply being thrown away by the family as a 'bunch of old papers'.

The Lieutenant was diligent in writing home and ensuring he responded to the points raised in letter he received in return.  It did make me wonder what in more modern times a censor might have made of the details he put in his letters home, giving details of the forces involved in different actions, where and when he had been or was going.  Plenty of useful intelligence if they had fallen into enemy hands.  He gives a good insight to what his campaigns were like, including war against Russia in 1812, the conditions they found themselves in, a lack of food for both men and horses, and the casualties they passed on the march.  Writing home for extra clothing when his 'linens' went missing along with his servant and his need to get clean having been unable to change for a period of time, he was clearly worried about lice.  From his comments he was clearly something of a fan of Napoleon, even though in the later stages of his service he was then on the opposite side to the little Emperor.

His military career started in 1805/6 in a campaign against Austria and then in 1806/7 against Prussia.  Back to face Austria in 1809 and then Russia in in 1812.  He was fighting against France between 1813/14.  He was not directly involved in the campaign of 1815, but the Adjutant of the Reserve Battalion.  So he survived his military career, and went on to complete University studies and became a career Civil Servant.  He finally died in 1856 while on holiday.  This is a detailed and very personal view of his life in the army during the Napoleonic wars and does makes for some fascinating reading for anyone interested in the Napoleonic period.

List Price in the UK is £19.99.

For details of this and other books by Pen and Sword, do check their website.