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 (1803-1815) Napoleonic Wars    
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kaii
Edinburgh, UK
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1884

Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 7/12/2016 3:02:29 PM
Came across this interesting article about how Napoleonic battlefields were cleaned up after the battles.

[Read More]
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A fool and his money are soon elected.

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 7/12/2016 5:09:42 PM
What a fascinating - though macabre - article.

It makes you wonder whether there was a deep seated revulsion to the treatment of Napoleonic battlefield dead that resulted in a more decent interment of battlefield dead in the middle of the nineteenth century.

The dead of the Crimea were, by and large, afforded the repose of military cemeteries, although they were little more than mass graves...at least they were marked and honoured as such ; this, of course, was a decade before Gettysburg, which inaugurated something more akin to the formal cemeteries of the World Wars.

Solferino was a half way house : no big cemeteries , but an enormous ossuary which shocked me when I saw it.

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1923

Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 7/12/2016 8:22:59 PM
One exception was Leipzig. Here the enormity of the casualties - 80,000 dead and wounded - was overwhelming. The rivers were polluted and the civilian population were forced to flee as typhus epidemic broke out.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 7/13/2016 1:40:55 AM
Do you think that some form of enlightenment in the form of an increase in humanitarian movements changed the way soldiers were treated, in death as well as life ?

I'm wondering about the religious revival in Britain - Methodism - that brought with it a determination to treat fellow human beings better. There were huge social changes afoot - The Industrial Revolution - that gave rise to programmes of social reform.

Perhaps these Napoleonic battlefields exemplified the callousness of an ancien regime that was in its last gasp.

There were revolutions in Europe that must have altered the parameters of social conscience.

To what degree were these changes apparent in the way soldiers were regarded ? These soldiers, of course, were cherished more when the volunteer citizen armies of America went to war with each other.

The article about the pulverised remains of dead soldiers being brought back to fertilise British farms - the return of children to the lands of their birth - made me think of Jonathan Swift's satirical pamphlet on the eating of Irish children as a pragmatic solution to the ills of the land.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 6/24/2017 11:45:26 AM
he Duke of Wellington's polyglot army assembled for the Waterloo campaign was pretty hastily organised; and the Army Medical Department was somewhat short of staff; and not anywhere near the calibre of the department which had served in the Peninsular campaigns.

The casualty rates during the battles of this campaign were high and the regimental and hospital staff struggled with the large number of casualties.

Lack of stretcher bearers and transport were the main problems, which were further aggravated by the high number of the wounded c 9000. Surprisingly half + of the "surviving" wounded rejoined their units.

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2752

Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 7/6/2017 8:40:16 AM
Jim,

At Waterloo the British use of the military squares formation against the mounted lancers and French Calvery helped stem the battle, along with the timely arrival of the Prussians! Napoleon also was quite ill?

What say you?
MD

BTW the Waterloo Battlefield must be like visiting Gettysburg, really historically exciting?

Also Kai fascinating article about what happened to the site after the battles!?

Thanks,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5939
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 7/9/2017 11:19:18 AM
The slow, gory task of disposing of thousands of dead bodies fell to surviving soldiers and local peasants, who dragged and dumped them into huge pits.

Dead, horses had their metal shoes ripped off for re-selling before being arranged in vast pyres and set alight. The scene was made even more hellish by the stacks of unburied human bodies that lay around for days afterwards, literally going black in the scorching heat of the June sun.

The only thing to do was burn the men just as they did the horses - according to one source, "they have been obliged to burn upwards of a thousand carcasses, an awful holocaust to the War-Demon".

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

 (1803-1815) Napoleonic Wars    
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