Wilhelm Müller volunteered to fight on the side of the Prussians at the age 18.
He was a student at the University of Berlin at the time. According to the most
recent biography of Wilhelm Müller by Erika von Borris, Müller was a “Gardejäger” (foot rifleman)
in the battles of Großgörschen, Bautzen, Haynau in Silesia, and north Bohemian Kulm. He was assigned
to a military storage office in Prague in the fall of 1813, in particular October, and in 1814 to the commander’s office in Brussles, Belgium.
The details of his movements with the Prussian Army between Prague and Brussels are not known.
When I read the text of
"Der stürmmische Morgen" for the first time, I noted the phrase, "rote Feuerflammen" and thought that it might be difficult to find a fire somewhere.
When I visited Haynau (Chojnow) for the first time in October, 2016, I saw this town model on the left and a separate model showing the French troop practicing at the Regional Museum in Chojnow.
On my second visit,
I saw a model of this combat practice in Baudmannsdorf shown below.
See a close-up view of the model to see the tree on the left and the windmill on the right.
The Prussians paracticing are better seen in the closedup view.
The model showing the village of Baudmannsdorf, Chojnow (Haynow), Poland.
The painting (in the public domain,) shows the Combat at Haynau.
Haynau (Chojnow in Polish) is a town where the French
troop under Napoleon was, but there were several brigades of the Napoleonic troop and also the Prussian troop had several
brigades scattered in the villages south of Haynau.(See the book by Michael Leggiere cited below for details )
The smoke shown on the painting was due to the torching of a windmill seen in the village model above in Baudmannsdorf (Budziwojow)
to signal the start of the battle to let the Prussian troop scattered in the area know.
My photograph of the sky and the tree is shown on the previous page but the monument shown above is under the tree in the photo.
I would expect that initially one would see red flames just as Müller’s poem says.
The restored windmill shows clearly the brick portion extending to about 1 m and the wood portion beginning above.
It would be easy to set a wooden windmill to fire with a torch or a bundle of hay because the wood windmill would ignite very well.
The first stanza emphasizes the stormy clouds in the sky which the photo above I took in the field near Baudmannsdorf indicates.
The area south of Haynau is a vast plain and the villages are small and scattered. I was in this area twice so far, for the first
time in October, 2016 and the second time in May, 2017. Normally the storms with clouds develop in the summer rather than in the
winter. Thunderstorms develop in summer rather than in winter.
Therefore I surmise that this poem about the stormy morning is so named because Wilhelm Müller wanted to create a poem using what he
saw in Baudmannsdorf in May 1813. The clouds formation above the vast plain without any tall buildings or the mountains are so impressive
because the clouds dominate the view you see around. I walked to the village of Baudmannsdorf from Chojnow in May, 2017. I also walked
from Chojnow to the windmill located northwest of the town. I saw the clouds and the sky a lot on this summer trip.
Restored Windmill called "Wiatrak" in Witkow, Lignica Country, Poland
Leggiere, Michael V. Napoleon and the Struggle for Germany : The Franco-Prussian War of 1813 Vol. 1 The War of Liberation, Spring 1813. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2015 pp. 385 to 388.
von Borries, Erika, Wilhelm Müller, Der Dichter der << Winterreise >> Eine Biographie. Verlag C. H. Beck oHG, München, Deutschland 2007
Polen Strassenkarte Ostbrandenburg- Niederschlesien Küstrin-Grünberg-Liegnitz, Höfer Verlag ISBN 978-3-931103-11-8
The photographs of the models and the battle painting at Regional Museum of Chojnow were made with their permission. I have permission from the restaurant of Wiatrak for publisching on the Internet.
Keywords: Franz Schubert, Wilhelm Müller, Tomoko Yamamoto, Sturm, storm, Kleid, robe, Wolkenfetzen, cloud scraps, Feuerflammen, fire flames, Morgen, morning, Himmel, sky,
Winter, Rote Feuerflammen, red fire flames, Chojnow, Haynau, Budziwojow, Baudmannsdorf, Polen, Poland