Thursday, 5 January 2017

Integration through military service

First book read this year! Chance encounter in 2nd hand. Very readable military autobiography of early 19th century.

Koch was born in the small German principality of Waldeck before the French Revolution and joined a Waldeck regiment in Dutch service in 1803. This took him into Austria in 1805, Eastern Germany in 1806, Spain in 1808.

As the Waldeckers were corporated into Dutch and later French regiments, Koch doesn't seem to have been troubled too much. However, he requested to be released from French service in 1814 and returned to the Netherlands in 1814.

He remained in Dutch service during the Waterloo campaign and the war against Belgium in the 1830s, ending his rise through the ranks as commander of the veterans in Leiden in the 1840s.

In all this time he only saw his family three times, and he settled and died in the Netherlands, where his autobiography was taken down by one of his sons.

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