[ocr errors][ocr errors]


romance ;


own country as if they were its ene- of ruins, while the cavalry took pos. mies.”-He could not appreciate the session of the churches, -as if they efforts of real patriotism; he judged of had meant by this act of sacrilege, to the Russians on principles which could raise to the highest pitch the fury and have applied to those only over whom indignation of the pious Russians. he had usurped authority. They met Buonaparte hastened to repair the him with flattery, because they dread. bridges which had been destroyed ; ed his power; but the inhabitants of and with that alacrity which so long Russia knew no terms of compromise characterized all his military operawith his arrogance and ambition. tions, ordered the construction of a In the obstinate affair before Smo.

new bridge farther up the river, that lensko, the Russians lost about 4000 he might at the same time harass the men killed and wounded; but the rear-guard of the retiring army, and loss of the enemy was much greater. endeavour, by a movement in another If the French accounts were entitled direction, to cut it off entirely from to credit, it might seem, indeed, that the main body.-His orders were so the enemy had achieved wonders, un- promptly obeyed, that Baron Korff, paralleled eve

for who commanded the Russian rearare told, that the dreadful contest guard, had not marched far from Smowhich preceded the occupation of lensko, when he found his progress inSmolensko cost him no more thanterrupted, the enemy having already 700 killed, and 3200 wounded. It pre-occupied his line of march, and in is surprising, that the authors of re- great force taken a position to interports so absurd should at any time cept him. Korff had no resource left have hoped to be believed; but when but to form on the spot, and try to we consider that the French accounts maintain his ground, till the generalare now very generally disregarded, in-chief should send him reinforce. while the reports of the Russians have ments. He had not time, however, been uniformly verified by the event, to make even these arrangements, till nothing more seems necessary than to he was assailed with impetuosity by oppose the candid history which the the corps of Marshal Ney. The Ruslatter give of the campaign, to the idle sian general was thus surrounded in an and absurd fabrications of their enę, instant, and placed in the most critical mies.

circumstances. The furious cannonSome Spanish prisoners, who were ade, which instantly commenced, was taken in this very battle, stated the heard by the main army of the Rusloss of the enemy in killed and wound- sians; and Prince Eugene of Wirtemed alone, as high as 13,000 or 14,000 burg was dispatched with a strong body men; and when the nature of the en. of troops, to support their companions gagement, and the situation of the under Korff, who had been thus expocontending parties are kept in view, sed to so unequal a conflict. The this account cannot be deemed incre- prince made good his passage in spite dible. But whatever may have been of all opposition; and as the ground the loss sustained in the action, the which General Korff occupied was city, on the entrance of the French, favourable, and he found himself so disappointed their hopes of comfort strongly supported, he determined to and repose. Buonaparte and a few of meet with firmness all the efforts of the his favourite generals occupied the enemy, who commenced a furious at.. episcopal palace ; his infantry sought tack on the Russian centre, which he relief from their fatigues amid a heap hoped to break. A heavy discharge of

[ocr errors]

artillery, however, baffled all his ef. had been appointed in his stead to the forts, and he was forced to withdraw.. command of the Russian armies. He now changed his plans, and as he The appointment of this veteran found that a small party of Russians hero to so honourable a station at had occupied a village near the high this critical moment, gave universal road to Moscow, he expected by fall. satisfaction. His talents were known ing on this position to distract the at- and admired by his countrymen ; his tention of Korff, and to force him to long experience and various services abandon the ground which he had 80 appeared to entitle him above all well defended. It fortunately hap- others to the distinction which he pened, that General Touchkoff, who now attained. His great age alone, had been ordered from the main army might have seemed an obstacle to his to the support of this position, arrived elevation, at a season when so many at this critical moment. A furious vigorous efforts would be required; battle ensued; the whole force of the but it was afterwards found, as his soenemy was now directed to this point, vereign had anticipated, that length of and fought with a resolution which years had not impaired his capacity, did them honour. The battle lasted nor relaxed his spirit of enterprise.--In till midnight, when the enemy was his way to head-quarters, where he arcompelled to withdraw,--to leave the rived on the 29th August, he passed Russians in full possession of the field, through Moscow, and had an interview and at liberty to direct their future with Count Rostopchin the governor, movements according to their own whose memory will be cherished with choice. The affair of this day cost fondness so long as the campaign in the Russians a loss of 4000 men kill. Russia is remembered. Whether they ed and wounded ; the loss of the ene. at this périod foresaw the events which my must, from the nature of the con- were so soon to follow, and aware test, have been still greater. The that Moscow must be entered by the French, besides, lost in the course of enemy, formed the singular determithe day about 1300 prisoners. nation of sacrificing this ancient and

The rear-guard of the Russians pro- venerable capital to the independence ceeded on their march to join the main of their country, has not been hitherto army; and on the 23d they accom- ascertained. Certain it is, that both plished their object.-- The enemy again these great men were animated by the made his appearance in force, and warmest patriotism, and had their shewed a design of turning the left of whole minds absorbed in the result of the Russians, that he might intercept the momentous conflict which was aptheir retreat, and compel them to en- proaching. gage in a general battle; but as the When the prince arrived at headground was unfavourable, the Russian quarters, he perceived that the posigeneral-in-chief continued his retreat. tion which the army then occupied,

-At Wiasma every thing that could was altogether unfavourable for a gé. be useful to the enemy was destroyed, neral battle, and he instantly determiand a position nearer Moscow taken ned on seeking another, where the up by the Russian army, where it was troops might repose for a while in sedetermined for some time to make a curity, and prepare for new fatigues stand. While matters were in this and dangers. On the 30th of August state, Barclay de Tolly was inform- he put the army in motion, and halted ed by a courier, that Prince Kutusoff it on the following day in the neigh.

bourhood of the village of Borodino, my under Lieutenant General Konosituated near the great road leading to vitzen, was still a little in front of the Moscow. He could find no position Russian left, where it was attacked betwixt this and Moscow more fa- with great impetuosity. After a short vourable for the great battle which he resistance, it fell back on Prince Bahad resolved to hazard.-At a small gration's line, under cover of a redoubt distance from the village there is a deep which was powerfully defended, and ravine, through which a rivulet runs, was as vigorously assailed. It was the and of which the prince availed him. object of the enemy to carry the reself for the protection of his right and doubt, and to dislodge the Russians centre under Barclay de Tolly and from a neighbouring wood in which Benningsen. The left under Bagra- they had been posted ; but a furious tion, stretched to the village of Se- discharge from the Russian artillery menofka, and as it had no natural de- compelled him for a while to with fences, it might easily have been turn- draw. The corps under Poniatowski ed by the road leading from Smolensko was more fortunate ; and the assailto Mojaisk. But every thing was ants, who had already been repulsed, done which the hurry of the moment were inspired with fresh


А would permit, to strengthen it with most obstinate affair ensued; the post redoubts and batteries, which might was abandoned and retaken by the impede the rapid approach of the ene- Russians no less than four times, but my.-The general-in-chief communi. they were at last compelled to fall cated the plans which he had formed back, and

leave it in possession of the to his officers; he encouraged his sol. enemy.The general-in-chief afterthis diers by his presence and exhortations, affair' ordered the left-wing to withand made every arrangement which draw towards the adjoining heights, circumstances would permit, to ensure that, should it be again attacked, it success in this great encounter. might be better protected by the strong

It was remarked, that so soon as batteries with which they were coverBuonaparte was apprised of the ap- ed. They were left to do this with. pointment of Prince Kutusoff as gene- out interruption from the enemy ; for ral-in-chief, he became more cautious the whole of the 6th of September, in his operations, and paid this silent (the day which preceded the battle of and involuntary tribute to the genius Borodino, the most sanguinary which of his antagonist.-On the 30th of has been fought in modern times,) August, the French leader had reach. passed without military operations of ed Wiasma, which, like Smolensko, he any kind, and was employed in active found a scene of desolation. Yet he preparation for the conflict which did not advance from its vicinity till was expected to decide the fate of the 4th September. On the 5th of Russia. the same month, the reconnoitring The skill and activity of Buonaparties of the enemy were rapidly suc- parte were conspicuous on this occa. ceeded by strong masses of infantry sion. He covered the height which and cavalry, which, by advancing on his troops had carried the preceding the Russian left, unequivocally indica- day with a hundred pieces of artil. ted the intention of Buonaparte, to di. lery; he constructed three other batrect his efforts against that part of the teries, two of which were directed army under Kutusoff, which the prince against the centre, and one against the expected would be first assailed. " left of the Russians ; detachments of

The rear-guard of the Russian ar. artillery were also distributed along the French line, so that he had not less which calls upon heaven, to unite with than a thousand pieces of cannon ready men against the despotic troubler of to open their fire - It was obvious, that the world. Not content with defahe still meant to direct his chief

efforts cing the image of God, in the peragainst the Russian left; and he did sons of millions of his creatures, this every thing to ensure success in this universal tyrant, this arch-rebel a. quarter, by ordering up the greater gainst all laws human and divine, part of his troops and his ablest ge- breaks into the sanctuary, pollutes it nerals.

with blood, overthrows its altars, Nor were the dispositions of the tramples on its rites, and exposes the Russian general less profound. He very ark of the Lord, consecrated in quickly penetrated the intentions of these holy insignia of our church, to the enemy, and strengthened his left all the profanations of accident, of the with the best part of his troops, which elements, and of unsanctified hands. he formed into two lines, supported by Fear not, then, but that the Lord, artillery and cavalry.. He posted a whose altars have been so insulted by strong body of the militia of Moscow the very worm his Almighty power in a wood on the left, that they might had raised from the dust ; fear not act on the enemy's right and rear, that he will not be with you ; that should he attempt to turn the Russian he will not stretch forth his shield over fank. Strong batteries were also con- your ranks, and with the sword of structed for the protection of the cen- vengeance fight against his enemies ! tre and other parts of the army ; and This is the faith in which I will fight nothing seemed wanting to ensure the and conquer ; this is the faith in which success of the Russians, but an equa- I would fight and fall, and still behold lity in point of numbers with their the final victory with my dying eyes. enemies, who, in this respect, still boast. Soldiers ! do your part. Think on ed a superiority.

the pollution of your altars; think of The prince knew well how to avail your wives and children looking to you himself of the different principles of for protection ; think of your empe. action which guide the Russian soldier; ror, regarding you as the sinews of and he did not omit on this great oc- his strength, and before to-morrow's casion, to touch his feelings of reli- sun sets, write your faith and your gious enthusiasm. The holy pictures fealty on the field of your country which had been saved amidst the ruins with the life’s blood of the invader and of Smolensko, were carried along the his legions." line by the priests attached to the ar- The address of Buonaparte to his my, and inspired the soldiers to a de. army was not less characteristic. “Sol. gree, which, in the religious apathy of diers, before you is the field you have more civilized nations, will not easily so ardently desired. The victory de. be conceived. While their minds were pends upon you; it is necessary to in this state of excitement, he made a you. It will give you abundance ; speech, which, pronounced, as it was, good winter-quarters; and a quick reon the eve of one of the greatest bat- turn to your country. Conduct yourtles fought in modern times, the histo- selves as when at Austerlitz, at Friedrian would be unpardonable in omit- land, at Vitepsk, at Smolensk, and the ting ; " Russians and fellow soldiers," latest posterity will cite with pride he said, “ behold before you in these your conduct on this day. They will sacred representatives of the holy say, he was in that great battle under objects of our worship, an appeal the walls of Moscow."--Little did he

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


tha: 2

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

9:30'anticipate that the battle of Borodino Russian left. On the other extremity c me would be referred to in history, as a of their line-a combat scarcely less e glorious and eternal contrast to the obstinate was maintained. Beauhare. oc, et treachery which disgraced the com- nois made repeated efforts to carry C batants at Austerlitz, and the pusilla- the village of Borodino, and the rea 2014 nimity which at Jena laid the Prussia doubts which protected it; but his

a monarchy prostrate before his ambi- failure in all of them was complete, 27, * tion.

and he was ultimately repulsed with At four in the morning of the 7th great loss. The Russian commander and as of September, the corps of Davoust was thus enabled to reinforce his cencui and Poniatowskiadvanced by the wood tre, where the battle still raged with

which supported the Russian left ; at great fury.--Night at last approach- . six the action commenced, and the ene- ed, and added only to the sublime my experienced the advantages derived horrors of the scene. But victory from the possession of the redoubt had now declared for the Russians,

which he had taken the preceding day. and the enemy, aware that he could met Ney bore down with great force on the no longer make a stand after the

Russian centre, and Beauharnois assail. dreadful havoc which had been made ed the right. The battle became ge- among his legions, availed himself of neral; but the left of the Russians the opportunity to withdraw at all under Prince Bagration had still to points, and leave the field to the concombat with nearly one half of the querors. The field of battle, on the French force. The resolution of the return of day, presented a frightful enemy's cavalry on this flank was con- scene-for the carnage on both sides, spicuous ; they charged the Russians from the magnitude of the preparaeven to their batteries, and whole squa- tions which had been made, and the drons of them were instantly destroyed. resolution displayed by the combaFor three hours did this furious attack tants, was immense. --The Russians continue without effect; and Buona. estimate their own loss in killed and parte perceived the necessity of order. wounded at 40,000 men, and that of ing up reinforcements, both of cavalry the enemy so high as 60,000. The and artillery. The Russians werecom- French, who, as usual, claimed the pelled to fall back, and the enemy im. victory, told a very different tale ; but mediately turned against the retiring we may judge of the credit due to their columns the guns which they had aban- story, when it is recollected, that al., doned. The Russian general seeing though victorious, they found it nethe left of the army thus overpowered, cessary to retreat, and were on the fol. reinforced it from the reserve with lowing day exposed in their movements grenadiers and cavalry ; they returned to the galling attacks of Platoff and his to the combat with fresh vigour, and Cossaks, who were sent in the very moment when they were The Russians lost some officers of dis. making a desperate effort to regain tinction, among whom were Generals their lost position, the militia, and Toutchkoff and Konovitzen; the brave other troops which had been posted in Prince Bagration afterwards died of the wood, rushed forth and took a his wounds. Of the French generals, dreadful vengeance on the enemy. The Caulaincourt and Montbrun were killed, shock of this concentrated force was and twelve others dangerously wound. irresistible, and the French were for- ed. The Russians made 5000 prison-, ced to retire with precipitation.--Suchers, and took 30 pieces of cannon. were the events which occurred on the These details will not be deemed im

[ocr errors]

SL Itars :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »