An Artist Sees His First Battle and London Gets News of the Invasion

Artist Albrecht Adam wished to see a battle so he would have some material from which to make his paintings.  On July 25, 1812, there was an engagement with the Russian rear guard west of Vitebsk at Ostrovna.  Adam was attached to Prince Eugene’s staff.  A German, he wrote that he was treated well by the French, but was teased, ” ‘Just now our Adam is always around, but once the bullets start flying we shall have to hunt for him.’ “

Adam vowed to himself to show them “…that a German heart is worth as much as a French one.”

He proudly wrote that he “…saw enough to provide me with material for a lifetime of painting battles.  Furthermore, on this occasion I really heard the bullets whistle, but I did not let this distract me from drawing.  I still possess sketches done in the middle of the battle and autographed by Prince Eugene.”

Meanwhile, the news of the French invasion of Russia was only just reaching London.  The Times had an account of the crossing of the Niemen in the July 25th, 1812 edition while the Observer carried the news the next day.  It had taken one month for the news to cross Europe and the English Channel.


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