Military Review

“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Bagration's injury

“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Bagration's injury

Meanwhile, the fight between the flushes continued with unrelenting ferocity.

“The terrible fire on both sides did not stop for a minute,” writes Akhsharumov; – the earth groaned from the thunder of the batteries; thick clouds of smoke floated over the combatants; The ranks of brave warriors were quickly carried away by death, and the cruelty of the extermination exceeded all probability.”

Napoleon sent Junot's corps to reinforce his attacking troops, which was supposed to follow between the troops of Davout and Poniatowski, trying to bypass the flushes. At the same time, Friant's division was ordered to reinforce Ney. The direction of the French attacks was completely determined: Ney went to the northern flush, Davout - to the southern; The eastern (middle) flush came as a surprise to the French and caused them additional difficulties in their attacks. With their numerical superiority, the French managed to take over the flushes.

Bagration brings all his forces into battle: 4 battalions of the 12th division from Raevsky’s corps, the 2nd grenadier division of Karl of Mecklenburg and, in reinforcement of the infantry, the 2nd cuirassier division of Duka.

“The entire enemy line moved towards us,”

- writes Jomini. Murat, noticing the movement of our infantry, moved towards it with the Württemberg horse huntsmen. But Duca's cuirassiers overthrew the Württembergers, drove them into flushes, knocked out the French from them and captured 6 horse guns, which they could not take away in the heat of battle. At the same time, as Jomini writes,

“Murat himself had to seek refuge in the middle of Razu’s division.”

According to the testimony of an officer of the French 2nd cuirassier regiment of the division of General Saint-Germain:

“The entire area in front of the flushes was littered with French bodies, and the flushes themselves and the area behind them were littered with Russian bodies. At this point the Russians went on the offensive several times. The bodies of the dead impeded the movement of the combatants; they walked on blood, which the saturated earth refused to absorb. This redoubt (flesh) - the key to the battlefield - was brilliantly attacked and equally courageously defended."

From Kutuzov’s report:

“The enemy, having strengthened himself with artillery and infantry against the fortifications of our left wing, decided to attack them again. His repeated attacks were repulsed, where Major General Dorokhov contributed a lot with excellent courage. Finally, he managed to take possession of our three flushes, from which we did not have time to remove the guns. But he did not take advantage of this benefit for long; The Astrakhan, Siberian and Moscow regiments, forming in closed columns under the command of Major General Borozdin, eagerly rushed at the enemy, who was immediately shot down and driven all the way to the forest with great damage. After which the enemy, multiplying his forces, desperately rushed again at our batteries and took possession of them a second time, but Lieutenant General Konovnitsyn, arriving in time with the 3rd Infantry Division and seeing our batteries occupied, quickly attacked the enemy and in the blink of an eye tore them down. All the guns that were on them were again repulsed by us; the field between the batteries and the forest was covered with their corpses, and in this case they lost their best cavalry general, Montbrun, and the chief of the main staff, General Romef, who was with Marshal Davoust’s corps.”

But our losses were also sensitive: generals Gorchakov and Neverovsky were wounded, “received a severe concussion from a cannonball to the side"The commander of the 2nd Grenadier Division, Prince Karl of Mecklenburg, who "with courage and excellent bravery he attacked the advancing enemy with bayonets with the Kyiv, Moscow and Astrakhan grenadier regiments and overturned the columns several times in a row"; Colonel Shatilov of the Moscow Grenadier Regiment received a mortal wound; commander of the Astrakhan Grenadier Regiment, Colonel Buxhoeveden, “already bleeding from the three wounds he had received, he went forward and fell on the battery"; commander of the Revel Infantry Regiment Mr. Tuchkov 4th, "uniting with a beautiful appearance a fiery soul, a mind enriched with all the fruits of enlightenment", led his regiment towards the enemy with a banner in his hand and was killed, according to some sources, by an enemy bullet, according to others - by an enemy cannonball. We owe it to his wife, Margarita Mikhailovna Tuchkova, for the founding of the Spaso-Borodinsky Monastery on the Borodino field, which became the first monument to the Battle of Borodino.

From the report of Mr.-L. Konovnitsyna:

“The infantry regiments of the 3rd division of Chernigov, Murom, Revel and Selenga were required ... on the left flank of the second army, to reinforce the infantry general Prince Bagration, where, upon arrival, they were immediately used to capture an important height occupied by the enemy. This was accomplished with complete success, the said regiments, despising all the cruelty of the enemy fire, went to the bayonet, and with the word “Hurray”, overthrowing the excellent enemy, threw his columns into extreme confusion, and occupied the heights, stubbornly defended from the very beginning of the battle.”

The story of non-commissioned officer Tikhonov conveys vivid details of this attack:

“Konovnitsyn led us to the Bagration trenches at about eight o’clock, if not later. Our two brigades approached, and the third was in the bushes, they lined up, charged with bayonets: the French rushed about like crazy (laughs). The Frenchman is brave. He stands well under cannonballs, goes boldly against buckshot and cannonballs, holds his own bravely against cavalry, and you won’t find his equal in marksmanship. But with bayonets, no, not much. And he stabs in vain, not our way: he pokes you in the arm, or in the leg, otherwise he will drop the gun and strive to grab you by hand. He is brave, but very gentle.”

Saint-Prix writes that Konovnitsyn

“was supported by the cavalry of the 2nd Army, which drove the French columns into the forest. The French, however, resumed the attack, again captured the flushes, and had to move the reserve grenadiers against them, who drove them out of there for the third time.”

What happened here then is no longer subject to any imagination and is not called anything other than a “dump.” Attacks and counterattacks followed one after another and were replaced with such speed that it is simply impossible to establish their sequence with accuracy, and any orderly description of this frantic struggle will only be conditional. All types of troops: infantry, artillery, cavalry - mixed here in one general battle, the ferocity of which exceeded all probability,

“incomprehensible to one who was not an eyewitness to such a terrible struggle.”

“I have never seen such a massacre before,”

- writes Rapp. And he’s not the only one. We will hear this opinion more than once from both sides, from both opponents. What was the driving force of the Battle of Borodino, its integral quality, is not found later anywhere, in any battle in this or any other war. It was an inspired battle in which souls were on fire: some with pride and love of glory, others with love for the Fatherland and readiness to die for it.

“Why did they fight so bravely in Borodino? - asks Private 1812 and answers himself. “Because, sir, then no one relied or relied on others, but everyone said to himself: “Even though everyone runs, I will stand!” Even if you all give up, I’ll die if I don’t give up!” That’s why everyone stood and died!”

Non-commissioned officer Tikhonov says the same thing:

“The leadership near Borodin was such as we will not soon see again. It almost happened that someone was wounded, and now two people would jump out in his place. Our company commander was wounded, we carried him to be bandaged, and met him behind the second line of warriors. “Stop! - the company commander shouts to us (and he himself is pale as a sheet, his lips are blue). - The warriors will demolish me, but you have no need to fool around, go to the battalion! Petrov! Lead them to your place! We said goodbye to him and never saw him again. They said that in Mozhaisk the French threw him out of a window, and that’s why he died. Our lieutenant was wounded by buckshot. We carried him to the front, unrolling his overcoat so that he could be carried to the dressing room. He lay with his eyes closed, woke up, saw us and said: “What are you, brothers, like crows gathered around carrion. Go to your place! I can die without you!” As soon as we crossed the ravine, after Bagration, we began to build up. We had a cadet, young and frail, like a girl. He should have been in the 8th platoon, but he, take it, and join the banner ranks. The battalion commander saw this and ordered him to take his place. “I won’t go to the tail,” Your Highness says, “I don’t want to be a scoundrel: I want to die for the Faith and the Fatherland.” Our battalion was strict and did not like to talk; He ordered the sergeant major to put the cadet in his place. Ivan Semenovich, the servant of God, took him by the cross (Baldric and sword belt crossing on the chest in the shape of St. Andrew’s cross. - Author’s note), leads him, and he rests there. If it weren’t for such leadership, we wouldn’t have fought like this. Because no matter how much desire or diligence you have, when you see that your bosses are making mistakes, you yourself give up. And here, no one should give a damn if he decided to wag when he sees that he is a boy and cannot yet be called a man, but strives to lay his head down for the Faith and the Fatherland. Nobody even thought about wagging.”

And this readiness for self-sacrifice, which spiritualizes the Battle of Borodino, remains elusive and inaccessible when trying to describe it rationally. That's why it says:

“The description of the Battle of Borodino will always be imperfect, no matter what brush or pen attempts to draw it.”

From Kutuzov’s report:

“After this failure, the French, taking several columns of both infantry and cavalry to the right, decided to bypass our batteries. [They had barely] emerged from the forest when Lieutenant General Prince Golitsyn, who commanded the cuirassier divisions located to the left of the third infantry division, ordered Major General Borozdin and Major General Duque to strike at the enemy. He was instantly put to flight and forced to hide in the forest, from where, although he showed up several times later, he was always driven away with loss.”

Here we talk about the brilliant attack of our cuirassiers against Junot’s Westphalian corps, sent by Napoleon into the gap between Davout’s divisions and Poniatowski’s troops. The Westphalians slowly advanced through the area, partly covered with forest and partly with bushes, pushing back Shakhovsky's rangers, but were stopped by the attack of our cuirassiers. The Westphalian officer von Lossberg writes that Russian cuirassiers ran into their battery and “chopped down the dumbfounded artillerymen who left their guns"; The Westphalians were forced to hide in the bushes and close in a square. It is also reported that in action against the Westphalians, the Life Guards horse artillery of Colonel Cozen especially distinguished itself, holding with great success for more than two hours Junot's troops, who attempted to bypass our flushes from the left flank. A. S. Norov (ensign of the Guards artillery in the Battle of Borodino) writes in his memoirs:

“The 1st light battery of the Guards Horse Artillery of Captain Zakharov, seeing the corps of Marshal Junot coming out from behind the Utitsky forest, quickly rushed towards him. The entire head of the enemy column was literally put in place under his grape shots, which gave our cuirassiers the opportunity to make a brilliant attack and repel several guns. The brave Zakharov was killed."

Sievers also writes in his report about repelling the Westphalian attack with our artillery fire:

“When the front two flushes were abandoned by us, I saw the enemy’s intention with bushes, in several columns of infantry and cavalry following, under the cover of tirailleurs, to bypass our left flank, through which he could go to the rear of our entire position and cut off the corps of Lieutenant General Baggovut. At that moment I took two battery guns and three light ones from the nearest battery, establishing a battery from them much ahead of the position of the 2nd Army, on a hillock near the forest. The effect of grapeshot shots on these columns was so striking that the columns were overturned and the enemy no longer dared to repeat the attack...”

Mentioned by Sievers "nearest battery"belonged to the 17th Artillery Brigade of Colonel Dieteriks 2nd, which was part of the 17th Infantry Division of the 2nd Infantry Corps of the city. Baggovut and who, therefore, managed to come here and support the troops of our left flank. We specifically draw attention to this fact, which confirms what Liprandi said in refutation of the French lampoons:

“Our troops, who occupied the right flank at the beginning of the battle, left their places... and always arrived on time to where Kutuzov directed them.”

In the notes of Ensign Lyubenkov from light company No. 33 of the Dieteriks 2nd artillery brigade we find a description of this episode of the battle:

“The enemy intensified his shots, concentrated them against us, but we reached our destination, quickly found ourselves on the left flank, where our help was needed, began to split up, fill the gaps, and entered into a hot affair - here all hell was against us, the enemies, in an inflamed state, half sober, with violent screams, they fell on us in crowds, their cannonballs tore apart our line, the battle was already general, our riflemen were retreating, the enemy was pushing them back. Their officers were killed, the enemy, not seeing cannons in this place, was already making cavalry attacks, but the appearance of the battery encouraged our riflemen. The battery stood still, off the front lines - it gushed with grapeshot, knocked over the columns, the enemy cavalry detachments were mixed up, and the enemy line moved back, our riflemen rushed forward, took possession of the heights, we firmly stood in this position. (Where before the formidable Vorontsov with his grenadiers and Prince Golitsyn with his cuirassiers destroyed enemy columns). Our soldiers love guns and stand behind them with their chests: “Forward, guys,” they shout, “darlings have arrived.”

Here the battle became like a duel, corpses littered the ground, horses without riders, their manes scattered, neighed and galloped; broken guns, the skeletons of boxes were scattered, smoke, flames, the roar of guns spewing continuous fire - the wounded were groaning, the earth was shaking. The courageous, undaunted General Baggovut, who commanded our corps, galloped up to us. It's very hot here, he said; We are warming ourselves with the enemy, we answered. “You need reinforcements, stand still, brothers, don’t take a step, you amaze the enemy.”

We also pay attention to the words of Sievers about the two front flushes, which were already abandoned by our troops; The middle flush was still holding, and the flush fight was still going on. This is evidenced by Lieutenant Danilov, already familiar to us, whose gun “shot until the light" He tells:

“As the French went around the left flank into the bushes, Bellingshausen was the first to leave the fortification with his battery.”

(And here we have direct evidence that the guns from the flashes were taken away by our troops during the retreat, and not abandoned or captured by the enemy).

After this, continues Lieutenant Danilov, the French “they started hitting [his] flank" He, with his five guns, occupied the rear (middle) flush.

“Soon many people and horses disappeared, and the French slowly moved in huge masses toward his left flank. He had to make an embrasure in the side shaft, dig out the ground with a cleaver and his hands. Just before he fired buckshot, he suddenly heard shots from guns behind him. Everyone thought: surely the enemy had gone around to the rear. But it was Kutuzov in Semyonovka, a village dug up in an hour, who installed a large-caliber battery and acted through his battery. This somewhat slowed down the enemy. When he had to leave the battery, but the exit was narrow and between two ditches, the horses of the first gun, the wounded - they were bleeding - took to the side; the wheels of the gun came off the road. He ordered the lines to be cut, threw the gun into the ditch, and transported others; the latter was carried by a pair of wounded horses, and of all the artillerymen there was only one with a banner, behind which he walked, throwing on a soldier's overcoat. The French had already broken into the fortification, and three of them ran around; one grabbed the reins of the horses, and two rushed at him from behind with bayonets. At once, bayonets were stuck into the sides of the overcoat; he instantly threw her off of him onto the bayonets, which became entangled. At that moment, the artilleryman, for whom he now prays every day: if he is alive - for health, and if he is dead - for peace - swinging his banner, he hit one, and then another, they fell dead. The one who grabbed the horse by the bridle, seeing it, ran away, and the stunned ones were raised and taken prisoners, to the greatest surprise of everyone. The commander took him to where the other broken battery was, and ordered him to assemble as many as possible from twelve guns; he made up 6 with difficulty, and he was left in command of them.”

The time when our troops left the flushes cannot be determined exactly. Traditionally, it is associated with the wounding of Bagration and the subsequent alleged breakdown in the leadership of the troops of the left flank. But, firstly, there is no disorder observed either in the troops or in the leadership of the troops, and secondly, the time of Bagration’s wounding differs too much in the testimonies of the participants in the battle. Konovnitsyn writes that having sent to report the success of his first counterattack to Bagration, he received the unfortunate news of his injury and therefore turned to Mr.-L. Raevsky, as the senior commander of the 2nd Army after Bagration, was asked to take command of the troops of the left flank, but he replied that he could not come, since he himself was attacked at that time.

From the Notes of General Raevsky:

“From the very morning I saw columns of enemy infantry against our center, merging into a huge mass, which, then starting to move, separated a strong part from itself, heading towards my redoubt. This column approached me indirectly, and the battle began three quarters of an hour after the attack directed against Prince Bagration. At that moment, General Konovnitsyn invited me to Semenovskoye, on the occasion of the wound received by Prince Bagration. I answered him that I could not leave without first repelling the attack directed against me, and asked him to act before my arrival in accordance with the circumstances, adding that I would not hesitate to appear to him in Semenovskoye.”

From what Raevsky said it follows that Bagration was wounded “three quarters of an hour later"after the start of the attack on the flushes, but this seems completely incredible, given the duration of military operations on the flushes until Bagration was wounded. Saint-Prix, who, according to documents, himself “at about 10 am he was wounded"and who was next to Bagration, writes that Bagration was wounded"around 9 a.m., shot in the leg" Bagration’s orderly, N. B. Golitsyn, generally puts the time of Bagration’s wound at 11 o’clock, as does Barclay’s adjutant, A. N. Muravyov, who at about 11 o’clock went to look for his wounded brother Mikhail and writes that “the strongest fire was then produced at the Raevsky battery" and what "on the way he met the wounded Prince P.I. Bagration, who was carried by several people" So from what Raevsky said, only one thing indisputably follows for us - that Bagration’s wound coincides in time with the attack on his, Raevsky, battery. In general, this seems to agree with what Colonel Nikitin also writes, namely, that “by 9 o'clock the battle had broken out along the entire line"; and also with what Tol writes in his description of the Battle of Borodino after we repulsed Delzon’s attack on Borodino:

“Meanwhile, the enemy from the batteries located near the village of Borodino opened fire along the entire front of our line, but the superiority of the position we occupied made it convenient for our batteries to repeatedly silence the enemy artillery. The French divisions Moran and Gerard, assigned that day to the corps of the Italian Viceroy, and the division of General Brussier, who crossed to the right bank of the Kolochi River, entered into a firefight with the rangers of the 26th and 12th divisions, who occupied the bush in front of our position. ."

And although Duke Eugene of Württemberg says: “The chronological order of the battle is an almost impossible task“We’ll still try to understand the situation with Bagration’s injury and see what was happening then in the center of our position.
Articles from this series:
“It’s not for nothing that all Russia remembers”
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Barclay's retreat
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” On the eve of the battle
"It's not for nothing that the whole of Russia remembers." Battle of Shevardino
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Glory of the Battle of Shevardino
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” August 25, 1812
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Sun of Borodin
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Borodin Day

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  1. Arkadich
    Arkadich 22 September 2023 06: 07
    Thank you, I read it in one sitting, the memories of eyewitnesses are logically intertwined with the author’s text.
    The French showed themselves worthy of victory, and the Russians acquired the right to be invincible...
  2. UAT
    UAT 22 September 2023 09: 31
    Thanks a lot. Such great and masterful work behind your text is rare in our time. There is little to compare the emotional impact.
  3. novel66
    novel66 22 September 2023 09: 46
    Great cycle! Thank you very much, we are looking forward to it!! hi
  4. Arnok
    Arnok 22 September 2023 10: 43
    If it weren’t for such leadership, we wouldn’t have fought like this. Because no matter how much desire or diligence you have, when you see that your bosses are making a mistake, you yourself give up

    Gold words. Words from time immemorial.
    How honestly, painfully, hysterically, they sound now.
    How terribly true.
  5. Boo Boo Boo
    Boo Boo Boo 22 September 2023 19: 36
    Please continue. Very interesting and wonderful style hi
  6. nikon7717
    nikon7717 23 September 2023 10: 02
    I would like to combine this series into a book and release it as a separate edition. Such works will be great for learning history and engaging with it!