Trois Jours

Trois Jours

A Story by Austin H.

A monologue I wrote for my Honors World History class a few years ago. I really liked it, as did my classmates. It's about a French soldier during the retreat from Russia the Napoleonic Wars.


Trois Jours

What is cold? Death? Suffering? It is my life, my world, for as long as I’ve known. The General Winter has swept through the ranks, picking off and carrying away the souls of all but five. Five left of a regiment of thousands. I have seen nothing but this frozen world for months, an entire lifetime. It seems I was born here, and I shall surely die here.

As we marched into Russia seemingly forever ago, we had hopes of wine, women, and glory.

L’Empereur filled our heads with his tales of riches and easy winnings. We now hold these truths to be in fact lies. I was seen off by friends and family. I have seen my friends freeze to death. The fallen we left behind on our march into Russia, we now leave again as we retreat the other way. No one was prepared. No one was ready.

Moscow was our mistake. Our only hope to rest and prepare for this onslaught of frost and ice. And we burnt it to the ground. Who exactly started it, I cannot say. Was it our men, drunk with alcohol and celebration? Was it a disgruntled shop owner, angry with occupation? It could have been Russian spies or an accident. It does not matter. We lost no men to the fire, but to the consequence.

Word is that we are three days from the border. Three days from salvation, warmth and a chance at life. Three days, three freezing nights that chill you to the soul. Three chances for the Russians to overrun us, and kill every last remaining Frenchman. My commander has ordered us to “hold the line”. I scoffed. Five men fighting fifty thousand? What could we do? Nothing. My commander approached me with the order to hold, and I said, “Hold it yourself. I’m going home.”

Trois jours. Three days. I can make it.

© 2012 Austin H.

Author's Note

Austin H.
It's not that long, since we had a time limit to present. But, I hope I convey enough emotion in its compact form.

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Added on June 20, 2012
Last Updated on June 20, 2012
Tags: Napoleon, 1812, 1814, Russia, winter, soldier, French


Austin H.
Austin H.


I am a student of history first and foremost. I like to imagine myself as a writer and weaver of beautiful words. I think myself witty, cynical, and critical. My favorite works to read are historical .. more..

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