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Kaysersberg 1793

Extract from the diary of Lieutenant Marc Leydet, citizen-officer of the Army of the Rhine.

13 Floréal Year I - This morning, after battalion drill, I received word that the colonel wished to see me in the afternoon. During this meeting, he advised me that he had received orders to detach a junior officer of the regiment to the town of Kaysersberg in the Bas-Rhin, in order to take charge of a small detachement responsable for keeping order in the area. It was only to be a temporary appointement (2 days at the most) whilst the designated officer was on his way from Paris.

Naturally I would have preferred to stay at the camp in Strasbourg for a while long in order to get more familiar with my new military trade, but I believed that this first mission might be the opporunity to get some much needed practical experience, so I accepted the offer. The colonel seemed happy and gave me my written orders as well as some money for my journey.
I now have to prepare my luggage. Seeing that this is a short-term mission, I believe that I would only need a bag and a couple of good blankets. In the former, I place two pairs of woollen stockings and a pair in silk, a linen shirt, my shaving and cleaning kits as well as my diary and writing equipement which I take carry to store in some small linen bags. As for my blankets, I decided to roll them up and carry them over the left shoulder.

From what Hausmann (a brother officer from this region) told me, I would have to go to the market at Strasbourg tomorrow morning and find a wine merchant that would accept to take me with him to the south. I decide to follow his advice as it would certainly be more enjoyable than walking and I would thus be able to sleep alittle longer tonight.

14 Floréal Year I - This morning, I went to the market at Strasbourg in the early hours and managed to find a peasant with a small cart that was heading to Kaysersberg! I was happy to be transported thus, despite the fact that there was very little room and I had to site at the back of the cart with my legs dangling in the air, which was midly uncomfortable when the cart went over a bump or changed direction suddenly. I almost lost my bag on several occasions and, which would have been worse still, was nearly ejected from the cart onto the side of the road.

After going past Illkirch-Graffenstden, Fegersheim, Matzenheim, Benfeld, Sermersheim, Ebersheim, Sélestat, Bergheim, Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr, I finally reached Kaysersberg by the end of the afternoon. I went to the town hall and was made aware of where my troop was bivouacing, which happened to be within a small barn on the heights facing the town. Whilst climbing up the road the mayor told me take to get to my new posting, I remarked that the weather, which had been sunny all day, was now starting to darken and the humidity in the air was such as a storm must surely be on it's way.

And once I saw the barn coming into view, I could distinguish the soldiers that were busy taking care of the fire and of the evening meal. I got closer and instantly took command of the troop, which I immediately called out: The detachement was composed of a corporal and 8 soldiers of the Jemappes Federal Battalion, 3 soldiers of the 7th Infantry Regiment (previously the Champagne Regiment) and a soldier of the 4th Battalion of Volunteers of the Haut-Rhin. Before settling down for the night, I ordered the coporal to make sure the men were ready for a patrol tomorrow morning as I had the intent of patrolling the Crows's Mount, which was known as being a hide-out for contreband in the region.

Morning rises over the bivouac.

In the morning, some soldiers are busy with provisions...

...others are preparing their equipement.

The officer passes his instructions to the corporal. It's time to go out on patrol.

After a stop at the town hall, it's time to start climbing the mountain.

The climb is rather steep.

At the summit, the troops find themselves covered in fog.

At the town of Riquewihr, the troops make a halt.

Back to Kaysersberg via the vine-yards.

Once back at camp, muskets are neatly stacked...

...and the troops can at last take a well earned rest.



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