Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
At the break of dawn on March 4th, 1813 French troops under Marshall Oudinot, part of the formerly invincible Napoleonic army, began their retreat from Berlin. As they were walking through Hallesches Tor, an old city gate south of today´s Friedrichstrasse, on the road leading to Halle, the Russian avant-garde led by Count Repnin were entering Berlin through Oranienburger Tor in the north. It was 6 AM.
It was not a good day for Napoleon´s troops. Followed by Cossack soldiers, determined to make that encounter memorable, they hoped to get south fast and reduce any chance of a run-in. In vain. The confrontation took place around Zehlendorf: shots were exchanged and cannonballs flew. Half of the village was gone.
One of the cannonballs hit and went right through the roof of Müller (miller) Lorenz´s house, causing a fire that left the mill in ruins. Preserved by the miller as a souvenir from “interesting times”, it survived until today. You can see at the Heimatmuseum (Museum of Local History) in Zehlendorf.
Heimatmuseum Zehlendorf, Clayallee 355 (Zehlendorf Eiche), 14169 Berlin