The remains of about 120 Russian and French soldiers, who fought each other in 1812 during the campaign to Russia by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, were reburied on Saturday in the Russian town of Vjazma. Vjazma is located more than 200 kilometers west of Moscow. The remains of three cooks and three drummers have also been reburied.
The remains were discovered about 12 years ago in a mass grave near Vyazma, where a battlefield took place on November 3, 1812 where they died. At this point in the campaign, the French were already withdrawing.
The funeral ceremony in the freezing cold was accompanied by cannon shots as a salute and took place in the presence of a hundred extras in historical costume.
There were also descendants of the ‘great generals’ of the Napoleonic era, such as Marshal Joachim Murat. His distant great-grand-nephew of the same name said he was very emotional that he was allowed to attend this tribute to the soldiers of Napoleon.
Soldiers identified with metal uniform buttons
It was only years after the discovery of the bodies, in 2019, that Russian and French archaeologists excavated and examined the remains. Due to the metal uniform buttons, some of the remains could be established that they were former soldiers of Emperor Bonaparte.
The campaign to Russia cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers of Napoleon’s multinational ‘Grande Armée’: 300,000 French, 70,000 Poles, 50,000 Italians, 80,000 Germans and also thousands of Dutch. On the Russian side, possibly 450,000 people were killed.
Source: NU by www.nu.nl.
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