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The current time is: 9/24/2018 6:09:43 AM
 (1803-1815) Napoleonic Wars
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kaii
Tallinn, Estonia
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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.

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I’m not worried about the Third World War. That’s the Third World’s problem.

Phil andrade
London, UK
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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
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Posts: 2332

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
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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
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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
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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
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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

BWilson

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Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 1/14/2018 11:27:01 AM
 Anyone know when this practice ceased in the West ?

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 1/14/2018 12:28:38 PM
The bodies of American soldiers were burned in a massive funeral pyre after the Battle of Lundy's Lane during the war of 1812.

Lundy's Lane is near Niagara Falls in Ontario.

So certainly, if this was a British practice, it was transferred to this continent during the same time period.

As I recall, it was brutally hot at the time of the battle and disposal of the US soldiers remains was partly by burning. The Brits had plenty of their own dead to bury after this one.

I think that decomposition forces the issue.

Were all soldiers buried during the US civil war whether on the winning side in a battle or not?

I was wondering about Soviet Russia during WW2. I know that the Germans are trying to repatriate soldiers whose remains were found in mass graves but I wonder whether cremation was used there as well.

Cheers,

George

BWilson

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Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 1/14/2018 1:04:00 PM
 I'm not sure I've ever seen Civil War graves of men who died on the battlefield (regrets to Civil War buffs if that sounds ignorant). I have seen the graves of Civil War veterans and, IIRC, a cemetery at the site of the Andersonville Camp. I may well be wrong in my view of this.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 1/15/2018 9:57:51 AM
Napoleon eagerly seized upon Kutuzov's stand and prepared for battle. Napoleon's normal practice would have been to try to turn one of the flanks of the Russian army, which Kutuzov had fortified. Mindful of the Russians' retreat from Smolensk when he had tried a similar maneuver, Napoleon rejected this approach in favor of a frontal assault. The extremely bloody battle that ensued centered around French attempts to seize and hold Kutuzov's field fortifications, especially the Rayevsky Redoubt. The battle was a stalemate militarily, although Kutuzov decided to abandon the field during the night, continuing his retreat to Moscow.

Borodino was effectively a victory for the Russians and a turning point in the campaign. Napoleon sought to destroy the Russian army on the battlefield and failed. Kutuzov had aimed only to preserve his army as an effective fighting force, and he succeeded. Napoleon's subsequent seizure of Moscow turned out to be insufficient to overcome the devastating attrition his army had suffered. Russia's losses were, nevertheless, very high, and included Bagration, wounded on the field, who died from an infection two weeks later.

Regaeds

Jin
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 1/15/2018 10:37:39 AM

Quote:
 I'm not sure I've ever seen Civil War graves of men who died on the battlefield (regrets to Civil War buffs if that sounds ignorant). I have seen the graves of Civil War veterans and, IIRC, a cemetery at the site of the Andersonville Camp. I may well be wrong in my view of this.

Cheers,

BW
--BWilson


Bill,

There are quite a few big battlefield cemeteries where the Union dead are interred in serried ranks, redolent of the battlefields of Flanders. Gettysburg is, of course, the most famous example . There are other such at Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, Antietam, Murfreesboro, Shiloh and a good many other places. Some of them contain more than ten thousand dead. These are not always strictly battlefield dead from specific engagements : the huge cemetery at Fredericksburg , for example, contains among its many thousands large numbers who succumbed to the squalour and hardship of camp life as well as actual battle casualties.

The Confederates were not afforded the same amenities, and their dead were more randomly exhumed and repatriated, or just left in mass graves, or just left to rot unburied. But there is one strictly battlefield cemetery, which contains the casualties from an actual battle and is purely specific to a particular engagement . This is the McGavock Plantation cemetery outside Franklin , Tennessee , where some fifteen hundred Southern dead from the battle of 30 November 1864 were interred, with the stark statement Killed at Franklin engraved on each headstone.

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

BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4545

Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 1/15/2018 10:53:55 AM
 Thanks Phil. I was not aware of the existence of those cemeteries.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
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Posts: 2332

Re: Napoleonic battlefields
Posted on: 1/18/2018 5:53:37 PM
An interesting exception was in Spain. The spanish peasants were anxious to bury the english dead with crosses rather than burn them. Not out of any respect but because they didn´t want the ghosts of heretic protestants wandering about.

Trevor
---------------
`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.

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