December 14, 1812
I remember sitting inside my little tent listening to the rough patter of the snow on the canvas just like it was yesterday. The Russian Campaign will haunt me for the rest of my life. The horrifying things I witnessed will forever be engraved in my mind.
Napoleon had anticipated a short war to reprimand Alexander I for his misbehavior in leaving the continental system, but this was anything but short.
Napoleon took about 600,000 of us into Russia, but after a grueling winter, fewer than 100,000 made it out alive. Many obstacles made this journey unsuccessful: One being Napoleon s strategy of following the Russians repeatedly, just taking us deeper and deeper into Russia making this campaign much longer than one could have ever expected. Making matters even worse, we only had a few essential supplies because Napoleon expected us to live off the land that we were in, but the Russians made this impossible. They adopted a scorch- earth policy. This policy was whenever they retreated; they would burn the places they left behind. This made it extremely complicated for our army to find goods, and we grew progressively weaker day by day. If that wasn’t horrible enough, as time progressed, the weather became unbearable. The Russians were prepared for the cold; they knew what it was like and what to expect. But us, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We had come from a milder climate and were not at all prepared for the freezing below-zero temperatures. Many soldiers were already weak from walking thousands of miles, contracting disease, and severe malnutrition and the cold just made it worse. Not only was it freezing outside, but also food was very scarce, and soon, many of the strong became weak, and the men were dying quickly. In order to save our lives, we were forced to eat awful things. At times we were so desperate that we would eat our own horses. If we were lucky enough to cook our animal in a fire we would, but if not, we...