Tuesday, 18 August 2015


This was found by Michael Wosniak on my Seven Years War Facebook group - it's the memoirs of a common soldier in the Itzenplitz regiment -  translated into English. Only a certain amount of the memoir concerns his time in the Prussian army but it's worth dipping into.Here's a section of when he joins the army

46. So it's true that I'm a soldier?

In the afternoon the sergeant-major brought me my bread-ration and my weapons, and asked me if I were now better content with my situation. "And why not?" answered Zittemann for me, "He's as good a lad as you can find." Then I was led into the uniform store, and fitted out with breeches, boots and gaiters, and given a hat, a stock, hose and so forth. Then, together with about twenty other recruits, I was sent to Colonel Latorf. They led us into a hall as big as a church, brought out some banners, all tattered and torn, and ordered us each to take hold of an edge. An adjutant, or somebody, read us out a whole pack of Articles of War, and pronounced some words which most of us murmured after him. I kept my jaw shut 48, thinking of nothing in particular, Ännchen maybe; then he waved the flag over our heads and dismissed us.

 I was still off duty for the first week, and went about the city to all the drill-grounds, and watched the officers inspecting their men and whipping them, so that in anticipation the sweat of fear stood out on my brow. I therefore asked Zittemann to show me the arms-drill at home. "You'll soon get the knack of it", he said, "but it's a question of doing it quickly. You must be able to do it like lightning!" Whereupon he was indeed so kind as to teach me everything: to keep my weapons clean, and to press my uniform, and to dress my hair after the military fashion and so on. Following Cran's advice, I sold my boots and bought instead a small wooden chest for my linen. In my lodgings I practised the arms-drill assiduously, read in the Halle hymn book
and prayed.

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