Kersting painted this picture as a memorial to three friends who had fallen in the Napoleonic wars: Theodor Körner, Karl Friedrich Friesen, and Heinrich Hartmann. Kersting had also followed Körner’s lead and joined the Lützower Freikorps (volunteers) in 1813. As an unmounted marksman, “Jäger zu Fuß”, Kersting had been given weapons and money by Kügelgen and Caspar David Friedrich. Goethe had pronounced the blessing of the arms. The painting represents both Kersting’s patriotismand his grief. The three friends have taken up their position at the edge of an oak wood. They are wearing the Iron Cross medal, which was designed by Schinkel in 1813. Oak trees, their hair styles, and their red, black, and gold uniforms point towards a newly-awakened sense of being German. Silence reigns. Each member of the group seems lost in his own thoughts as though he were no longer of this world. Friesen leans against an oak tree with his rifle at the ready. As a drill instructor he fought alongside Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and became Lützow’s personal adjutant. On the left of the picture sits Hartmann, a nineteen-year-old law student from Heidelberg who had fought with Friesen and Kersting in the battle at Göhrde. Kersting was to see him die. The poet and dramatist Körner, sitting behind Hartmann, recruited volunteers for the Freikorps in Dresden. In his works, he advocated that the freedom of the fatherland should take precedence over the life of the individual.