Author Topic: Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era  (Read 645 times)

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Offline Skaenn

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Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era
« on: August 18, 2020, 01:29:13 pm »
Hello

During the Napoleonic times, you also had obviously people that led their normal life outside the war. Normal civilians so to speak. What I ask myself is, was it a good life that they had? I mean did they have to fear the constant possibility for a war outcome in their village/city? Because war back then was much more common on such a large scale on our planet. We also face wars now, but it mostly happens in the Middle-East. I am trying to get a better knowledge of everything Napoleonic related.
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Offline BattlePlayer

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Re: Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2020, 04:09:24 pm »
I would imagine during the Waterloo period  they would have been mainly pressed into service, spending alot of time either in battle or marching, not sure how much freetime they would have had.
I am sure some of the reinactors will be along soon  to discuss in far better detail than myself.

Offline 33rdKincaid

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Re: Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2020, 04:24:23 pm »
Certainly on main land europe war had wreaked havoc for a good 25 years come 1815. Conscription is a good point as most civilians would have been affected to some extent, whether by family members being lost to various campaigns or enlisting themselves out of neccessity or revolutionary fervour. Needless to say life was rough by comparison to today for 90% of the population; families were larger with death being a more common theme due to disease or deprivation, average life expectancy at just over 30. but at least during this period most had jobs due to still thriving agriculture through manual labour... mechanisation coming into play in years to come would put many livelihoods, agricultural in particular at risk.

Just my tuppence... In short life was fookin grim and those who survived to adult hood from poor backgrounds were tough feckers.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 04:29:32 pm by 33rdKincaid »

Offline DragonKing

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Re: Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2020, 04:41:00 pm »
The wars of the Napoleonic period were not total like those of World War I or World War II. Nevertheless, all the populations were affected by the war but not only the Napoleonic wars: also those of the revolution which led, in France, to a great movement of weariness in particular on the part of Napoleon's generals after the 100 days epic and to a return of the monarchy.
We can say that the war affected France from 1790 to 1815, between the civil wars in the Vendée and the external wars against Europe. Very few European countries did not have to suffer an army. I am thinking of the Balkan nations or even the British, protected by the English Channel. No, this century was not an easy one but war was only periodic and did not mobilize the whole population at the same time over a long period of time.

As Kincaid says: conscription is a good example because the whole French population was affected by the war.

An anectode says that Napoleon in disguise, leaving for his exile in Elba, asks an innkeeper what she thinks of the Emperor. The latter, unaware of who he was, replied: I lost my two sons to conscription and they never came back. Who will give them back to me?

Napoleon resumed his journey while tears ran down his face
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 04:47:40 pm by DragonKing »
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Offline Skaenn

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Re: Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2020, 04:50:07 pm »
That was actually very interesting to read. Thank you for your inputs. Also, was there mandatory conscription in the sense if you didn't want to go to war that you would get lined up against a wall and get shot? Or were people these days very patriotic in defending their own lands? Because I can imagine if you need to fill multiple regimental battalions you'll need a lot of men.
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Offline DragonKing

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Re: Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2020, 04:57:35 pm »
As a general rule, the vast majority of conscripts did not flee Despite the fact that it was mandatory and somtime against the will of people.

 Usually, people who wanted to escape conscription would mutilate themselves. They would either cut off a finger that prevented them from firing or they would break some of the teeth that would allow them to reload the musket. That was the way they were reformed.

Otherwise they could also find a replacement.

Nevertheless, they risked dishonour not only on themselves but also on their family (the family which was a very important valour in France at that time) but also to be outlawed and, as you say, to be treated as such.

At that time, there was no shortage of men because we were the most populated country in Europe (excluding Russia) with 30 million inhabitants. But yes, conscription during the revolution and the empire was mandatory
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 05:05:41 pm by DragonKing »
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Offline developmentaddict

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Re: Question about a normal day in the Napoleonic Era
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2020, 09:28:04 am »
I can agree with the previous answers, however I think not everyone went to war. Europe with still big on agriculture and people had to survive somehow. Therefore, I guess many people including men did work on the fields. Also, children had to help out by working and probabaly joining the forces as soon as they were old enough.