Feb 8th 1796
On joining my battalion I was made appointed junior for my reading and writing was a good standard. My first duty was as acting administration to the 20th DBda,le I took stock of supplies and numbers of men and recruitment. As with most of the army, we had little of anything. We had, had no recruits for months, and food and uniforms were in short supply. We marched and marched with no sign of the enemy. Would this be a war of marching, would I ever see a battle.
March 10th 1796
My first combat came when we were involved in the skirmishes south of Sulzbach we the 20th were part of Augereus division, being light infantry we were tasked with providing a skirmish screen to the division. I was with a company of chasseur we had 3 officers with us and about 112 men our company moved out in open order 2 companies of the 20th moved out the rest were held in back to be feed into the skirmish line in support.
The clash started well for us we advanced in good order. The enemy opened fire on us as we approached the wood a to our north our orders being to clear these woods. I could hear musket fire to our left, our other company had also found the enemy. As we drew closer to the woods we started to take casualties here the fire fight became heavy and the valley we were in began to fill with smoke.
We managed to dislodge the enemy for the edge of the woods and we advanced into the wood itself.
The enemy dead were dressed in brown tunics and blue pantaloons we pushed our advantage with small charges with the bayonet and fire. All this time the fire to our left grew heavy and I could hear volley fire. In one of the many charges I was wounded in the arm. The enemy was reinforced to our right but so we're we. The enemy fire began to slacken as our numbers began to tell, and the enemy began to withdraw we had won the day. We had lost 8 men killed 16 wounded 3 of those would not last the night.
My friend Duphan and most of the others were killed when they were suppressed by enemy cavalry. We advanced into Abvoum were we stopped, heavy rain made any more fighting impossible. The enemy fired a few shots with there cannon a few balls landing near us but did little damage other than damaging a few roofs. This was my first battle, and tomorrow would bring more.
Our hero Francais in the centre