11 Sept 2017
Joseph Stanzel [2nd entry]
"Of his regiment only 27 men survived to reach home. The rest of his regiment perished
on the return trip. He was young, strong and healthy when first conscripted. His parents
hardly recognised him as their son when he staggered home.
Towards spring, after regaining most of his former strength, he advised his parents that he was going to leave home, otherwise he would be recalled back into the army when spring arrived.
How, why or when he reached Belfast, Northern Ireland we don't know. He got himself a
job working in the Belfast shipyards which was recognized as the largest shipbuilding
centre in the world. Fearing he might be recalled back into napoleon's Army, he took out
naturalization papers and became an Irish citizen. Like all young men, he found himself
a young Irish girl, or biddy as they were called. Her first name was Sarah [Coyle].
They fell in love with each other and he went to the priest to make arrangements for their
marriage. The only hitch was that most of the people in Northern Ireland were
Protestants and she would have to become a Catholic before the priest would marry them.
When he informed her of this, she said 'No'. They broke up for a short time, but
loneliness makes the heart grow fonder. So he went to her and asked if he became a
protestant, would she reconsider. Her answer was 'yes', so they became united shortly
after in the Lutheran Church".
I have a book which deals with Napoleon's march to Moscow called
"The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier" by Jakob Walter, 1788-1864
A unique eyewitness account of the face of Battle from inside
the ranks of Bonaparte's Grand Army ISBN 0 1401.6559.2 (paperback)