Foraging in an Inhabited Village

Jakob Walter tells of another foraging excursion that took place near the end of July on the way to Vitebsk.  With the large army scouring the countryside for provisions, they had to move farther from the main body to find a village that had not been stripped.

“Some thirty of our men went off the main route to find a still inhabited and unstripped village.  We collected our strenght and walked from three to four hours in hopes of rejoining the army at the second bivouac.”

They found a village, posted a guard and then began to negotiate for provisions.  The villagers refused to contribute anything so the men split into groups of two’s to search each house.  Walter was not successful until he found a locked hut on a farm.  The door was broken down and “… a woman who was with child came running at us as if mad and wanted to throw us out, but we forced her back with gentle thrusts.  Here we obtained some flour, eggs, and fat.  When all brought their findings together later, our booty was considerable.”

Walter wrote that he included this story to show how the Russians treated the invaders.  He said if they had voluntarily given up their provisions, “…much of the household furniture would have remained unspoiled, for it was necessary to raise the floors and the beams in order to find anything and to turn upside down everything that was covered.”

Under one floor they found some sausages and “Although such sausages already had a fierce smell, they were quickly eaten.”

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