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Download From Valmy to Waterloo: France at War, 1792–1815 by Marie-Cécile Thoral (auth.) PDF

By Marie-Cécile Thoral (auth.)

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Extra info for From Valmy to Waterloo: France at War, 1792–1815

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80 In his memoirs Bourgogne relates with equal openness his killing of a Russian at point-blank range in the battle of Krasnoë in 1813. We fought furiously, man-to-man. The slaughter was appalling, we were split up, each man was fighting on his own . . A Russian soldier stopped me at two paces from the end of his musket barrel and fired. It was probably only the fuse that ignited, for if the charge had gone off it would have been over for me. Realizing that I was unwounded I moved back a few steps from my adversary who, believing me badly wounded, was calmly reloading his weapon.

Gunners, for 30 From Valmy to Waterloo instance, had a reputation for great bravery. Many soldiers in other arms singled out the gunners for their courageous – or foolhardy – behaviour, staying at their posts until death – ‘stuck to their pieces as to their mistresses’54 – and never leaving the field of battle before the end. 55 By contrast, some other categories of soldiers enjoyed relative safety. They were usually treated with a degree of contempt by soldiers taking an active part in combat, contempt sometimes expressed by calling into question their masculinity, their virility.

French blood was flowing in my veins . . I was still shaking but now it was from rage . . I wanted to mow them all down, avenge my brothers, and I spurred my horse into the midst of the enemy . . 80 In his memoirs Bourgogne relates with equal openness his killing of a Russian at point-blank range in the battle of Krasnoë in 1813. We fought furiously, man-to-man. The slaughter was appalling, we were split up, each man was fighting on his own . . A Russian soldier stopped me at two paces from the end of his musket barrel and fired.

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