A critique of Poles

Colonel A. Girardon was attempting to put down a revolt around Rome in mid-1798. He could not be everywhere at once (a problem when confronted by insurgents) and so those troops he had were required to march hard, and often. Girardon found his Polish contingent to be unsuited to this exhausting style of warfare (letter of 5 August 1798):

“The Poles have bare feet and plead for shoes. I forgot to mention something about them. After Frosinone was taken I marched on Alatry with 400 men. Half way there the Poles lay down and refused to budge. I asked the officers, who were shocked, what was happening and they told me that the soldiers were complaining that they should not have to take part in two attacks per day. I failed to convince them that we were not operating in friendly territory.”

And complained to General Macdonald, his superior in Rome:

“Send me Frenchmen and have the Poles return to Rome if you can, for they have committed atrocities which my pen refuses to describe. They do not listen to anyone and the sight of the body of one of their comrades made them furious.”