Originally Posted by Desiree Clary
Richard Aldington says that one Spanish soldier killed a French family because Frenchmen killed his family.
You say that as if it were a bad thing. Personally, one of the things that I cannot forgive Wellington for is cheating the Spaniards out of their just vengeance.
France got it off lightly in 1814. Had the Frenchmen experienced at least some measure of retribution for what their armies did in Spain and Russia, that would have taught them a lesson and moderated the warmongering of successive French governments, it might have spared us both world wars.
Oh, as to the question, I would survive because I am a woman and we are tougher than men.
I know is a light hearted reply, but the grisly reality is that unless you were attractive and of a social status high enough to gain the attention of a high ranking officer, wich would mean riding in a carriage, well clothed, well fed and enjoying the chivalric protection... unless you were so fortunate most likely you would end up raped and had your throat slit by the Cossacks, if you were lucky, or perishing of cold and starvation. The death rate of female camp followers must have been higher than that of ordinary rankers. If you were a cantiniére your chances of survival would be better as long as you kept your cart, and you had the good sense of loading it with foodstuffs and not loot. Aside from Cossack attacks, it would be a matter of luck not to suffer any breakdown or mishap on the way, specially when crossing streams, and even if you had made it so far, you would likely perish at the bridges of the Berezina.
I have given a lot of thought to the question, trying to write up a fictional character that could have taken part in the 1812 campaign and survive, and invariably I came to the same conclusion, the farther you got into Russia, the lesser your chances of coming back.
I think the most fortunate were the ones that blew their brains unable to stand the suffering on the march... right after they had crossed the Niemen.
Best chances of survival would be being wounded seriously enough to be sent back to France (excluding amputation!) anytime before Borodino, wich is the point of no return, but no so seriously you are left to die at field hospitals.
This thread is a futile exercise
, is like asking if you would survive a fall from a tenth floor. Though it do gives insights in human nature.
As I see it, the question is, what gives the highest chances of survival in this kind of dire situation? Comradeship and group survival effort? Or being ruthless enough to go on your own and do what it takes and sauve qui peut