This recently translated memoir,tells the exciting story of one of these intrepid Polish soldiers who left home and fought for Napoleon the length and breadth of Europe. Heinrich von Brandt was a Pole of Prussian heritage who had been a junior officer in the Prussian Army. After the destruction of that army in the Jena Campaign, he applied for a commission in the French service, and after an enlightening interview by Marshal Davout, he was given his commission, assigned to the Legion of the Vistula, and humped his pack to Spain.
What follows is one of the best memoirs of the period, definitely on a par with that excellent French memoir by Charles Parquin. Brandt, a 19-year-old second lieutenant, takes to the military life with a passion, and is an efficient and observant officer. His first assignment gets him into Spain for the second siege of Saragossa, in which he played an important part. This leads to some of the interesting and informative character sketches that pepper these memoirs and give critical insight to some of the French commanders of the period. Brandt saw Lannes, Davout, Suchet, Lacoste, Laval, Habert, Claparede and others, and some of his stories have not been related to us before.
Brandt describes in great detail the actions in which he and the Legion fought, the type of officers and men he served with, and the grueling campaigns in which they participated. He also gives insight into the minds of his comrades and superiors