As the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s Russian campaign draws to a close, I want to make sure I thank those who have helped me along the way. My goal for this blog is to bring the experiences of the soldiers to life through eyewitness accounts on the 200th anniversary of the event. In other words, I want(ed) readers to be able to feel what the men, women and children of the Grande Armée were experiencing exactly 200 years ago. Now that the bulk of campaign’s bicentennial is in the past, this blog can become a historical record.
I wish to send out a big THANK YOU to the following people for helping me with this blog:
James Fisher – James was one of the first people to comment on one of my posts. We began a correspondence and he ended up sending me numerous collections of eyewitness accounts which were posted on this blog. This was a big help as it was sometimes difficult to keep up with the research and writing on daily basis. I should also add that James had many kind words to say about this blog and I appreciate that. You can follow his war gaming blog at Avon Napoleonic Fellowship.
Alexey Temnikov – I met Alexey through Facebook and he has been extremely generous with his time and talents. As a bi-lingual Russian citizen, Alexey did much translating and answering of my questions about geography, town names, etc… He also provided some of the images I used, including the commemorative 1912 Russian candy box cards I have used throughout the blog. He is also an excellent artist and dedicated re-enactor. He provided a number of the re-enactment photographs and even did a turn as a guest blogger to tell about his experience at the recent 200th anniversary of Borodino.
Alice Shepperson – Alice commented on one of my posts a few months ago and that began an exchange about the relationship between Prince Eugène and Napoleon. Well, that led to Alice doing two guest posts: one on Eugène and Napoleon and the other on whether it was the horseshoes that led to the downfall of the Grande Armée on the retreat (it wasn’t). She is currently putting her Oxford history degree to use on a post about Marshal Murat. Stay tuned. When she isn’t guest blogging about the Grande Armée, she is writing her own blog: Noon Observation. I insist that everyone reading this post immediately sign up to follow Noon Observation. Alice’s razor sharp wit is evident in every line as she blogs about whatever history topics happen to strike her fancy. Check out her blog and then tell all of your friends and neighbors.
Mark Schneider – I met Mark through Facebook although we do have a mutual friend in real life and I have re-enacted at Colonial Williamsburg, where he works, many times. Many of you know Mark as Napoleon. As I once saw someone comment about a photo of Mark in front of a portrait of Napoleon: “You look more like Napoleon than he does.” Mark has been attending re-enactments portraying the Emperor Napoleon since 2005. Napoleon should consider himself fortunate to have a person such as Mark as care taker of his image and legacy. Mark’s contribution to this blog was through a post in which he shared his experience portraying Napoleon at the 200th anniversary of the battle of Borodino. Vive l’Empereur!
Alexander Mikaberidze – Alex is the author of many books on the Russian campaign. As a native of Georgia (the one near Russia), he is able to bring much material to life in English that normally would not be accessible to those of us who are not multi-lingual. Alex has been generous with his time in answering my questions and in providing guest posts as well. You can see his guest posts here and here.
Pierre Toussaint – Another friend through the wonder of Facebook. Pierre is a member of Centre d’Etudes Napoléoniennes and has been generous in sharing contemporary photos of Smolensk and the Berezina. Particularly with the Berezina, he selected and described the views of various photos showing the actual location of the bridges. You can see those photos on this blog post as well as this one and this one.
Elena Khonineva – Elena took a tour of the Borodino battlefield this summer and posted her photos on Facebook. She graciously allowed me to use them in a post.
Armchair General website – Alexey Temnikov told me about this site and it has been the source for many of the images that have appeared with the posts. Thank you to all of the unnamed contributors who took the time to scan and share images of the retreat on the Armchair General website.
The Readers of This Blog – I began this blog on the 199th anniversary of the campaign in 2011 as an experiment to see if I could sustain the effort it would take to blog on a near daily basis. In 2011, I averaged two visits per day. Over the last seven days, I have averaged over 200 visits per day. To date, the blog has received 14,000 visits. Thank you for reading.
The readership of this blog certainly has an international flavor. I live in southeastern Pennsylvania in the USA. One night, I was exchanging emails with someone in Australia and also someone in Holland.
Share the link to this blog wherever possible, comment and/or volunteer to contribute. I can be reached at ScottArmstrong@RussianSnows.com.
This blog is an off-shoot of the research I did for a work of historical fiction about the campaign: Russian Snows: Coming of Age in Napoleon’s Army. I wanted the readers to feel as if they were right there with my main character on the invasion. I read many eyewitness accounts to get this feel and didn’t want my research to go to waste. The result was this blog.
If you know a middle school student who would be interested in reading historical (accurate) fiction about the Russian Campaign or want to read about it yourself, please order a copy of my book either on Amazon or the Russian Snows website. Christmas is coming…. put a little Napoleonic history under your tree this year.