Besides the most famous literary testimony of the Thirty Years’ War, the “Simplicissimus” by Grimmelshausen, there is a second, no less interesting one that was unknown until recently. It was not until the end of the 1980s that a historian discovered P. Hagendorf’s writings in the Prussian State Library and made this important contemporary document available to us.
Immediately after the end of the war, Peter Hagendorf purchases twelve sheets of fine paper and transfers his notes and memories from the field camps into this diary. It covers the period between 1625 and 1649, during which he covered more than 22,500 km across Europe as a mercenary.
He came to his “craft”, like so many others, for lack of money. When he had also pawn his shoes (“There the wine was so good that I forgot the shoes.”), he let himself be recruited.
During the next 24 years he served in various armies. First in the regiment of the “Pappenheimer”, then under the supreme commander of the Catholic League, Johann T’Serclaes von Tilly, under whom he participated in the siege of Magdeburg in 1631.
In the course of time one notices how the tone of the diary becomes rougher and rougher. “Eight days with cannons played well together.” Or to a plundering: “There we had again churches consecration!
Because it is a life that constantly oscillates between hunger and gluttony, victory and defeat, illness and recovery.
At the end of the war he becomes a garrison soldier in Memmingen. Shortly after the end of the war, on September 26, 1649, he and his family left through the Memmingen Gate. Apparently he wanted to be recruited in Strasbourg.
But here his trace loses itself, because the diary abruptly breaks off.