A little military lesson from my friend Harald in Germany:
In a lithograph by Richard Knötel, whose former capacity was in regards to questions of European uniforms and equipment, from 1890 to 1905 when he published hundreds of these plates showing the European armies since the 30-year war, edited by Max Babenzien in Rathenow. It can be recognized that there are no significant differences, neither in the uniforms nor in the armament of the musketeers and fusiliers.
Usually women are more interested in the clothing of the ladies than in the solders` uniforms. Nevertheless it is sure, that at least two of my ancestors had to wear "des Königs bunten Rock" and there was also of the Swiez family as executioner and three of the Badura family who had joined the army.
When Friedrich der Große had conquered Silesia he started at once to institute a government, dividing the country in civil counties and military "Kantons". The general duty for serving in the army was also introduced at once. Early as 1742 Friedrich was recruiting Silesians and forced them to his troops. Fighting for the Austrians in 1741 some people found themselves in the Prussian army one year later in 1742. Beuthen, Tost and Tarnowitz had Prussian garrisons at several times.
Fighting in the Napoleonic Wars went back and forth. In the beginning the Prussians fought against the French. After the catastrophe of Jena and Auerstedt in 1806, Prussia was forced to support the French with their own troops at their Russian campaign. Which units had to follow Napoleon to the east was decided by lots. From our area it was: II. Battalion of the 1. Silesian Infantry Regt., II. Bat. and Fuesilier Battalion of the 2. Silesien. Inf. Regt. The disaster of Moscow is well known.
In the meantime Prussia had reorganised its army. A novum, founded by the French, now was used by the Prussians: nationalism. Up to that time farmers and labourers didn`t mind to which king they had to tax. But now they were going for their country. The Prussian king posted his declaration "An mein Volk" in Breslau 1813. With this declaration also the Order of the Iron Cross was founded (in Breslau!) - the first decoration the simple soldiers could receive as well, as the noble officers. (By the way: the first decorations were produced in the iron hut of Gleiwitz) And now one was going to fight against the French again and in the end some of the Silesian troops which had to support Napoleons army, served as a part of the allied occupation army in Paris.
And Knötel is showing us what the people of these times looked like. And there are some people who told me, genealogy was boring!
One result of the Napoleonic Wars was the "Bauernbefreiung" in Prussia. It started 1810, initiated and developed by Stein und Hardenberg. Before this the Farmers and gardeners were not slaves, but they were not allowed to leave their lent land, had to work up to 4 - 5 days a week for the landlord who also decided which of their sons should inherit the lent cottages and who even had to give his allowance if one of his "erbuntertänigen" Bauern / Gärtner / Häusler wanted to marry. For the landlords needed the cheap workers, they fought against this "Bauernbefreiung" so the dependence lasted in Schlesien partly until 1830, while in the other Prussian provinces the farmers were freed in 1818. So it is always something special if the profession is given as Freibauer or Freigärtner. If you click on the image, you will see a larger view.