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DB 1876 is a heartbreaking letter. The writer, Leendert Jansen van Muers, was a Dutch soldier who wrote a letter to his wife, who was at home in The Hague in 1694. 

He told a sad story: On 29 July, 1693 he was captured by the French during the Battle of Neerwinden. This was one of the most famous encounters between the French army and the Dutch-English troops during the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697). Leendert’s son Hans had fought beside him, but he indicates that he does not know what happened to him, hoping that he made it home safely; Leendert begs his wife to send him news. 

Leendert endured hard times as a captive, feeling lost and displaced. He writes: 

“And I wish that with God’s help I may see you again, as my heart aches being so far apart from you, in a country and with people whose language I have never spoken, nor my father before me.” 

Leendert was eventually forced to work in the French army for 2 years. He hopes that peace will come soon, so that he can return home. He ends the letter by wishing his wife, children and family “a hundred-thousand good nights and a happy new year.” But sadly, the letter never arrived.


De Brienne letter: Leendert van Muers to Marie, 1694


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