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to martial prowess, for which, by his age for the great contest which was imand the state of his constitution, he was pending, and had returns sent in of no longer qualified. When he joined the strength of each corps. From the army he was seventy-four years old; these it appeared that he had 103,000 and, though hale, so very corpulent that infantry and 30,000 cavalry-in all, he was obliged to move about, even when in the field, in a little four-wheeled
133,000 combatants present with the carriage with a head, called a droska eagles : 420,000 had crossed the Such was the successor whom, as Alex- Niemen, about 120,000 had been deander told the English general, Sir tached to the flanks or left in garRobert Wilson, 'the nobility of Russia rison ;-his loss up to this period had selected to vindicate the arms of alone, therefore, must have amounted Russia, and defend their remaining pos- to the enormous number of upwards sessions.'”—(Wilson, 131.)
of 160,000 men. Personally, Kutusoff was inclined It was six o'clock on the morning to follow out the plan conceived by of the 7th September when the strife Barclay. But the circumstances of of giants began at Borodino: 115,000 his appointment, and the feeling of Russians, with 640 pieces of artillery, the army, rendered any further re- struggled there from the rising till treat without a general battle im- the setting of the sun against 127,000 possible. Having chosen, therefore, French and 580 guns.* No such à battle-ground at Borodino, seventy- terrible contest had yet occurred even five miles in front of Moscow, he in that age of ceaseless strife. Three hastened to occupy it, and strengthen redoubts covered the Russian left, it with earthworks.
one large fieldwork protected their It was not without great hesitation centre. Around these the storm of that Napoleon took the resolution battle ebbed and flowed-now surgof advancing from Smolensko direct ing over their blood-stained ramparts, upon Moscow.
His most prudent now rolling down the heights becourse would have been to have yond. Now heavy columns of French taken up his position there behind infantry forced their headlong way the Dnieper and the Dwina, and with the bayonet, anon with horrid employed himself during the winter yells the sturdy Russian foot, closing in strengthening his position, secur- with a desperate courage, would ing his base, and reorganising Poland win back their ground; then the glitand Lithuania in his rear, ready to : tering cuirasses of charging horsemen advance with the early spring on would sweep through the struggling the Russian capital. But his active crowd, or loose hordes of long-lanced mind could not brook the prospect Cossacks go swarming along the rear. of the long inaction; he was deeply When mutual exhaustion and the impressed with the idea, that if he failing light brought this terrible could defeat the Russians in a general battle to a close, the covering-works action, and occupy their capital, both on the Russian centre and left Alexander would immediately sue were in the hands of the assailants ; for peace; and he knew enough of but behind them, on the heights in the state of their army to be sure rear of the ravines of Gorizkve and that they would not fall back much Semenowski, the Muscovite masses farther without fighting. Moreover, lay, exhausted, but unbroken. About he felt strongly that the courses of 80,000 killed and wounded men were the Dnieper and the Dwina ceased stretched upon that field of blood, to be defensive lines the moment the divided in about equal proportions hard frost set in. Influenced by between the two sides. But the these various considerations, and French had two decided advantages: trusting much to his star, he took the guard, 20,000 strong, had never his final resolution at Dorogobouge taken their muskets from their shoulto march straight on Moscow. At ders, while the last Russian reserves Gjatsk, on the 20 September, he had been engaged; and on their right halted for a day to refresh his men they had gained ground, which enabled
For these numbers compare Thiers, xiv. 318, and Chambray, ii. 33, with Boutourlin, i. 320, and Wilson, 136.
them to menace the Russian line of dred thousand, with sixty-five thousand retreat.
carriages of every description, exclusive These circumstances decided Kuts of the artillery and military ambulances, usoff to retire, and accordingly, before passed the
barriers in funeral march.” dawn on the following morning, he (Wilson, 165.) evacuated the position, and fell back The nation accompanied theirarmy, slowly, and in perfect order, to Mo- and the empty shell of the capital jaisk on the Moscow road. Benning- was alone left to the invaders. We sen, who had a keen eye for strategy, now come to the very curious and urged Kutusoff here,
much-vexed question, Who burnt Mos"Not to fall back on Moscow, but to
cow ? Wilson agrees with Thiers and more with the main body of his forces in Alison in attributing the deed to the the direction of Kalouga, on which line governor Rostopchin. The reasons he he would be most advantageously posted assigns seem quite decisive upon the in case the enemy persisted in his move- subject. When Kutusoff fell back ment on Moscow to baffle his operation, towards the capital, Rostopchin pubor render it finally disastrous.”—(WIL- lickly avowed his 80x, 161.)
“Resolve, if the city were not to be de But the commander-in-chief fell
fended by the Russian army, to convoke back leisurely along the main road, all the authorities and inhabitants for and, with some sharp rear-guard the purpose of arranging a general and combats, arrived in front of Moscow, municipally regulated conflagration--a where he took up a defensive position sacrifice which he was confident would on the 13th. Many of the generals, unhesitatingly be made by their patriotand the mass of the army, were eager ism, excited by their horror of the infor another combat beneath the walls vader. As a further security against the
counteraction of his design, he insisted of the capital; but at a council of war,
on and obtained a solemn promise from held to decide the question, the Kutusoff, that if any change should opinion of Kutusoff prevailed,—that occur in his resolution to defend the there was no good position covering city, he would give him three full days' the capital,
notice.”—(Wilson, 162.) " That the Russian army, in another Kutusoff could or did not fulfil his battle before Moscow, might be so shat promise ; the meeting could not be tered as to be rendered incapable of re- held, and thus suming offensive operations in conjunction with the other armies on march, or “Rostopchin, the governor, was placed man ceuvring to act on the rear and flank in a false position. He could neither cummunications of the enemy, the suc- deny nor adopt the act; but his previCees of wbich operations, as well as their ous announcement of that intention, his own safety, depended on the co-operat demand of Kutusoff for three days' ing support of the Russian main army; notice,' the removal or destruction of all that the enemy would be obliged to the fire-engines and apparatus, the reweaken his disposable force by the occu- lease of several hundred malefactors, and pation of Moscow, whereas the Russian the organisation of their bands under army would be daily gaining strength; directing superiors, impress conviction and finally, that it must always be kept that Rostopchin was the author and in muind that the contest was for the abettor of the transaction. He never forRussian empire, and not for the preser- gave Kutusoff for the infraction of the vation of any particular city, or the promise-a promise which he publicly capital itself."- Wilson, 164.)
declared Kutusoff“ swore by the white
hairs of his head'to keep, and the breach There can be no doubt that these of which compelled him to make clandesreasons were perfectly sound, and tipe preparations, and take measures as fully justified by the event.
if he were instigating an offence against " On the morning of the 14th,” says
his countrymen and country; whereas, Wilson, “ before day-dawn, the troops bave been presented to him to assumo
if it had been kept, an occasion would commenced filing through the city, and the avowed responsible lead in an act of were soon accompanied by all the inha- public virtue enhancing national fame." bitants and populace who could find any
-(Wilson, 173.) means of conveyance. A hundred and eighty thousand souls, out of two hun. Of the stern character of the man,
and the fierce patriotic spirit which march round Moscow at a distance of burned in every Russian breast, from about twenty-five miles from it, up the Emperor to the serf, the follow- the stream of the Pakra, vill he reaching anecdote will afford an illustra- ed Krasnoi Pakra on the old road to tion worth pages of declamation. Kalouga; here he arrived on the 19th. Rostopchin possessed a magnificent By this most able movement the Ruspalace residence at Woronowo, fitted sian general at once drew near to his up in the most superb and costly own reinforcements, threatened the manner with articles of antique line of retreat of the enemy, and severtu. When the French approached cured his own upon the important city the place, he desired the presence of of Kalouga, whilst he preserved to several Russian generals and the himself, and debarred them from, the English Commissioner.
richest provinces of the empire. Here
he remained until the end of the "At the morning dawn a deputation of elders from the village appeared, month, when Napoleon despatched a stating that they had all made their strong force under Murat and Poniadispositions to retire with the troops, and towski against him; he then fell back soliciting to be permitted to go to an still along the old Kalouga road, from estate of their suzerain's in Siberia, as
the banks of the Pakra to those of they preferred to be removed there, or the Nara, and established himself at to any other province of the empire, Taroutino, where he put a period to rather thau to be subjected to French do- the long retreat of the Russian armies, minion. The permission being granted, and preserved in a much more secure the whole colony, seventeen hundred position all the advantages of his souls, began their march, and presented
former more advanced one on the one of the most affecting sights ever beheld : but not a plaint was heard. 'God
Pakra. The camp of Taroutino was give our Emperor and Russia victory,
strong in itself, and now became the with benedictions on their lord,' were
real capital of the mobilised Russian the only exclamations or expressions that empire. It was the Torres Vedras escaped their lips. Having posted their of the Moscow campaign. In it declaration on the church doors in three Kutusoff remained undisturbed from languages, Rostopchin, on hearing the the 2d October till the 24th of the pickets commence skirmishing, and same month, reorganising and reseeing the enemy in movement, entered cruiting bis army. Of this period his palace, begging his friends to accom- Wilson has left the following striking pany him. On arriving at the porch, burning torches were distributed to every
picture :Mounting the stairs, and reaching his state bed-room, Rostopchin paused a
“ The reinforcement and provisioning moment, and then said to the English of the assembling army was one of the General, . That is my marriage-bed ; I most extraordinary efforts of national zeal bave not the heart to set it on fire ; you ever made. No Russian who possessed must spare me this pain.' When Ros. any article which could be rendered sertopchin had himself set on fire all the viceable to the state, withheld it: horses, rest of the apartment, ther, and not arms, equipment, provisions, and, in brief, before, his wish was executed. Each everything that can be imagined, was apartment was ignited as the party pro poured into the camps. ceeded, and in a quarter of an hour the formed the most remarkable marches, whole was one blazing mass. Rostopchin even for Russians, to reach the headthen proceeded to the stables, which were quarters. Old and young, under and quickly in flames, and afterwards stood over the regulated ages, flocked to the in front, contemplating the progress of
standards and would not be refused serthe fire and the falling fragments. When
vice. Fathers of families, many seventy the last cast of the Cavallo group was years of age and upwards, placed themprecipitated, he said, 'I am at ease :' and selves in the ranks, and encountered as the enemy's shots were now whisting every fatigue as well as peril with all the around, he and all retired.”—(WILSON, ardour of youth. Governors of distant 179, 180.)
provinces, without waiting for orders or
requisitions, urged forward every supply When Kutusoff evacuated Moscow,
they could collect; and so many cannon he fell back for two marches along were despatched by relays, that a hunthe Kolomna road ; wheeling then to dred and sixty beautiful new guns were his right, he made a semicircular in one day sent away as superfluous.
Militia perWhen the army amounted to a hundred serve as the basis of a peace to which it and ten thousand men, not only were was to be the preliminary.'. They added they regularly fed, but fifty thousand that ‘Napoleon himself might be expect. horses received full rations of hay and ed at the interview, as Lauriston had corn without the extension of the forag. stated that he would be accompanied by ing range above twenty miles. The camp a friend.' They therefore required from resembled a beehive in the activity of the English General 'that he would act its swarming hosts. The whole nation as commissioner of the Emperor under was solicitous to fill it with stores and his delegated authority, and as an useful largesses."-(Wilson, 194, 195.) English commissioner charged with the
protection of the British and allied inteWe now come to one of the most rests :' adding the resolve of the chiefs, curious of the many curious revela
which would be sustained by the army, tions contained in this work, and that
not to allow Kutusoff to return and reis as to the decisive part taken by
sume the command if once he quitted Sir Robert in preventing Kutusoff
it for this midnight interview in the from concluding an armistice with
enemy's camp. They declared that they
wished to avoid extreme measures, but Napoleon for the evacuation of Mos
that their minds were made up to disposcow. When Napoleon first entered
sess the Marshal of his authority if he the Russian capital, he never doubted should inflexibly perserere.' ” — (Wilson, that a few days would bring propo- 183.) sals from Alexander, offering to con clade peace upon the most favourable This was a dangerous mission to terms, and conceding all the points
undertake and a delicate one to exeat issue when the contest began. The cute, but Sir Robert did not hesitate. burning of the town was the first Kutusoff
, at the private interview rude shock which this pleasant an- which ensued, admitted the truth of ticipation received. But still he be- what Sir Robert had heard as to an lieved that, so long as he held Mos- interview, and added that “he would cow, the Russians would be only admit that he already knew those too happy to conclude a convention, propositions to be of a pacific characagreeing to his unmolested retreat in ter, and perhaps they might lead to exchange for it. Yet as time passed an arrangement satisfactory and honon, and the negotiators came not,
ourable for Russia,” concluding by Napoleon grew anxious ; his acuté an assurance that his determination mind saw at a glance the enormous was “ irrevocable," and justifying it and frightful extent of the peril to by the state of the empire and the which he would be exposed should
condition of the army, which, alhe be ultimately, compelled to fall though becoming numerous, was still back, and he took the first step on far from being efficient in proportion his own side, by sending General to its numbers. Sir Robert then reLauriston on a secret mission to Ku- minded the Marshal "of the Emperor tusofi's headquarters to propose an
Alexander's last words to himself, the armistice.
Marshal, on quitting St Petersburg, Sir Robert Wilson, on the 4th Oc- relative to the rejection of all negotober, was at Milaradowich's bivouac tiation whilst an armed Frenchman when he received a message from was in the country; and of the reGeneral Benningsen, requesting him newal of that solemn pledge to him, to return instantly to headquarters. the English General, with instrucHe found an assembly of general tions to intervene when he saw that officers anxiously awaiting his return. pledge and connecting interests en
dangered by any one, of whatsoever “ They afforded him proof that Kutusoff, rank he might be," and he entered in answer to a proposition made by Lauriston on behalf of Napoleon, had agreed
his protest and brought forward his to meet him this same night at a station arguments. But in vain ; Kutusoff several miles from his most advanced remained firm. The English General videttes, on the road to Moscow, there then brought in to aid his representato confer on the terms of a convention,
tions the Emperor's uncle (Duke Alex*for the immediate retreat of the whole ander of Wirtemberg), his brother-ininvading army from the territories of law (the Duke of Oldenberg), and his Russia, which convention was also to aide-de-camp (Prince Wolkonsky).
They expressed their “full confidence leave Moscow, and move with his in the Marshal's loyalty, patriotism, main army to Weliki Luki in a northand judgment; but recommend, under westerly direction on to the St Petersthe considerations urged, and the sus- burg road, whence he could at once picious temper of the army, to which either support an offensive point to they could testify, that the Marshal be made upon that capital by the
, should apnul the proposed interview corps of Victor, St Cyr, and half of out of the Russian camp, and invite that of Macdonald (which had been General Lauriston to one at his own left to guard his flanks and commuheadquarters, as a more becoming nications at Smolensko and Witepsk); and less disquieting proceeding;" or, in the event of that failing, retire (WILSON, 188.) Kutusoff at last directly upon Poland through Witgave way, the midnight interview epsk.* But the unanimous opposition was given up, and Lauriston publicly of his generals and army at the very received at the Russian headquar- mention of an offensive movement ters, where he handed to the Russian caused this to be given up. At last commander a letter from Napoleon he became convinced that all hope of to the Emperor Alexander, and was negotiations was fruitless, and that told by Kutusoff, that as to conclud- retreat he must. But the determinaing an armistice," he had no autho- tion was made too late. The hand rity on that head.” This transaction of fate was already upon him. Whilst may be said to have rendered inevit- he wasted time at Moscow, the vast able all the horrors of the Moscow Russian plan for enveloping and deretreat. It placed Kutusoff and Sir stroying his host was in full progress. Robert Wilson in an attitude of al- Every day increased the numbers most open hostility, and drew from and efficiency of Kutusott’s army at the Emperor Alexander the following Taroutino. The peace with Sweden severe instructions to the former :- had rendered disposable the army of
Finland ; the greater part of it, rein“ In the interview I had with you at forced by the militia of St Petersthe very moment of your departure, and burg, was moved up to the support when I confided my arınies to your con- of Count Wittgenstein, who was opmand, I informed you of my firm desire posed on the line of the Dwina by the to avoid all negotiations with the enemy, and all relations with him that tended to
corps of Oudinot and Wrede, and peace.
Now, after what has passed, I might be reinforced by Vietor from must repeat, with the same resolution, Smolensko. Wittgenstein, who would that I desire this principle adopted by thus have about 50,000 men, was to me to be observed by you to its fullest ex
act vigorously against Oudinot from tent, and in the most rigorous and inflec- the north, drive him back from Polible manner.”—(Wilson, 203.)
otsk over the Dwina, advance to the
banks of the Oula, and menace the line From this time until the 19th Octo- of retreat of the French army. Tchiber, Napoleon lay inactive at Moscow, chagoff, who commanded the army of wasting those moments which never Moldavia, also 50,000 strong, rencould return, not undervaluing the dered disposable by the treaty of frightful peril of his position, but peace with Turkey, was ordered up by hoping to the last that Alexander hasty marches from the banks of the would accept his terms. Clearly see- Danube to the marshes of Pinsk on ing on the one hand the dreadful the Polish frontier ; he was there to military difficulty and danger of a join the force of Tormasoff, which retreat, fully appreciating on the was employed watching Reynier's other the great political advantage of corpsand Schwartzenberg's Austrians, his position in the capital which he and drive them back on Poland. had won, he could not bring his Leaving a corps to keep them in check, mind to abandon this political van- he was then to march on the line of tage-ground, and for the first time in the Beresina, and establish himself on his life to fall back before his enemies. the important bridge of Borissow, He proposed, indeed, at one time, to directly on Napoleon's line of retreat.