“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” “This day will remain an eternal monument to the courage and excellent courage of Russian soldiers”
The night after the Battle of Borodino turned out to be dark and damp. Napoleon slept poorly. His valet Constant tells:
The day after the Moscow battle, I was with the emperor in his tent, which stood on the battlefield. Absolute silence surrounded us. The Emperor seemed to be in the grip of immense fatigue. From time to time he squeezed the knees of his crossed legs with his palms and repeated, accompanying the words with convulsive movements: “Moscow! Moscow!". Several times he sent me out of the tent to find out what was going on outside, then got up and followed me, peering over my shoulder. The noise that arose from the fact that the sentry was taking his gun on guard alerted me every time that the emperor was following me.”
Really, the behavior of Napoleon described here is not at all similar to the behavior of the winner that he would later declare himself to be. It rather speaks of Napoleon’s moral shock at the outcome of the Battle of Borodino, which did not live up to his hopes, and Moscow, which seemed to be very close, now suddenly moved away and began to seem like an unattainable dream. And this look from over his valet’s shoulder seems to already be afraid of meeting fate.
In the morning, an alarm arose in the French camp caused by a Cossack raid, which spread all the way to Napoleon’s tent. The old guard rushed to arms. The French officer Combe says:
Our rearguard remained at the Borodino position until 10 a.m. and then slowly moved after the army, not even being bothered by the enemy. The alarm he raised in the French camp clearly proved that the Russian army was far from being overwhelmed by the previous battle; her disappearance from the Borodino position only left the enemy in bewilderment. Kolachkovsky writes:
– Yesterday was a hot day, I have never seen a battle with such artillery fire. At Eylau they fired no less from cannons, but there were cannonballs, and yesterday both armies stood so close to each other that they fired grapeshot almost all the time.
“We didn’t break the eggs,” Ney objected. – The enemy’s losses must be enormous, and morally he must be terribly shocked. We must pursue him and take advantage of the victory.
“He, however, retreated in perfect order,” noted Murat.
“I just can’t believe it,” Ney objected. - How could this be after such a blow?
Here this interesting conversation was interrupted, as the emperor called Marshal Ney to him.”
Until noon the French army remained in place, collecting their wounded and "restoring order in buildings" The battlefield presented a terrible picture. Kolachkovsky says:
According to information collected on the spot, and not from the false XVIII bulletin, French losses reached 40 people killed and wounded...”
Our losses at Borodino were also considerable, but, in the opinion of our soldiers, they were still less than those of the French. Non-commissioned officer Tikhonov speaks about it this way:
However, the loss figures in the historical literature still do not find agreement.
Around noon, Murat received orders to move with the vanguard after the Russian army and, having passed Mozhaisk, settle down 7 versts beyond this city. From this we can conclude that Napoleon believed or convinced himself that the Russian army was retreating because it was overwhelmed by the battle. He himself undertook a survey of the battlefield to personally witness its results. He began his survey from the left Russian flank, towards which his main attack was directed. The battlefield was completely covered with dead bodies of men and horses, broken and abandoned weapons, knocked out cannons and broken charging boxes, and as abundantly showered with cannonballs and grapeshot, like hail after a strong storm. Everything he saw bore traces of a terrible massacre and some simply unimaginable bitterness, in which he did not find any traces of the superiority of his troops, rather, on the contrary, their inability to break the resistance of the Russians. Going around the battlefield, he ordered the bodies of the dead to be turned over to see from what blows they had fallen. Almost all were killed by buckshot. Segur writes:
Napoleon was gloomy. The cloudy sky echoed his mood. It was raining lightly, a sharp gusty wind was blowing, and heavy dark clouds covered the sky. Gloomy despondency reigned everywhere. In this mood, Napoleon returned to his tent. At about three o'clock in the afternoon the French army moved after its vanguard.
Napoleon expected to move his main apartment to Mozhaisk by evening, but the Russian rearguard prevented this, repulsing all attempts by the French to occupy the city. The convoy of Napoleon's main apartment was forced to return back.
writes Chambray. It proved that the Russian army was not at all affected by the battle and retained its combat effectiveness. Just as gloomy and silent, Napoleon was forced to spend the night in the village of Krivushino, located in our rear of the Borodino position. The reconnaissance plan of the fortifications that have remained on the Borodino field since 1812 shows a system of fortifications surrounding the village of Krivushino, and, based on the circumstances presented, we have every reason to consider these fortifications to be French, assigned to defend Napoleon’s headquarters on the night of August 27-28. And if so, then these fortifications are documentary evidence that Napoleon did not have any victory at Borodino (or even “at the Moscow River”), and, moreover, he himself did not recognize himself as a winner, for the victor does not protect himself from fortifications defeated enemy, whom "all hope is gone", and which
Thus ended the Battle of Borodino, and with it ended for Napoleon everything that he had deluded himself with when starting the “Russian campaign.” He himself does not yet realize this. He goes to Moscow, drawn there by the retreat of the Russian army, and does not notice that the strategic initiative has already settled on Kutuzov’s side. And here he is in Moscow, in which “hoped to achieve all the results of the war" But what did Moscow turn out for him? No, not the crown of his campaign, not a trophy or reward, but a pile of ashes that the Russians left him and in which they buried all his hopes of success. It was later, already on the island of St. Helena, that Napoleon would claim:
But these are just words. After all, it was enough for the Russian army not to recognize this imaginary superiority of Napoleon so that “the whole world” would not recognize it. The “Elements” refused Napoleon recognition only later, in the last place. It was in Moscow that the real result of the Battle of Borodino was revealed - for Napoleon it turned out to be a battle with a delayed end. Why? Because he failed to defeat the Russian army, and now this army, which surrounded him in the ashes of Moscow, made it clear to him that the war, which he intended to end in Moscow, was just beginning for the Russians. Moscow exhausted Napoleon's entire strategic resource and upset all his calculations. After Moscow, Napoleon’s “Russian campaign” no longer had a military solution. This is where only Napoleon could fully understand the treachery of Kutuzov, who lost Moscow to him, and this is where Kutuzov had already strategically outplayed Napoleon - in Moscow! However, for a whole month (more precisely, 39 days), Napoleon “out of stubbornness” (Kutuzov’s expression) sits in burned Moscow, trying to present himself as a winner. In vain! This fools no one, except perhaps his hapless allies.
In September 1812, while Napoleon sat in burning Moscow, the Prussian Chancellor Hardenberg shared his concerns with the Austrian Foreign Minister Metternich:
And I received the following response from my Austrian colleague:
These prophecies, as we know, were not destined to come true.
It is not known how long Napoleon would have sat in burned-out Moscow, but on October 6, the Russians defeated Murat’s vanguard at Tarutin, clearly demonstrating who really was the master of the situation in the theater of war. Napoleon realized that upon entering Moscow, he was trapped! That sitting in it, he was just wasting his time! But he always knew:
He rushes out of Moscow, driven by a premonition of an impending catastrophe... but the game is already done. At Maloyaroslavets, where the Russian army blocks his way, Napoleon no longer finds himself capable of fighting.
- he throws out in anger and for the first and only time in his life he avoids battle. From now on, he seeks salvation in flight. Alas,
He finds salvation for himself personally, but his entire army was defeated on the return journey from Russia.
- F.I. Tyutchev noted with a poetic line the ending of this mournful “Russian campaign” for Napoleon.
What did Napoleon achieve by starting a war with Russia? He didn't hide it; in his appeal to the troops on the eve of the invasion of Russia, he directly stated that he intended
Essentially, it was an anti-Petrine project, which had the goal of returning Russia to its pre-Petrine state, ousting it from the European political and cultural space and, moreover, subordinating it to the dictates of the political system created by Napoleon. As such, this project is in line with the historical rejection of Russia by Europe, which we observe today. None of this worked out for Napoleon. He himself explained the reason for his failure as follows:
Where did this “bad genius” get mixed up in Napoleon’s plans, and what could he be? Indeed, until Napoleon’s entry into Moscow, we do not find anything in the circumstances of the military campaign that could not have been foreseen or expected by the conqueror. We will not classify the enemy’s resistance, even the most desperate, as a surprise! But there were two moments in that war that really “could not have been foreseen” by Napoleon - the Battle of Borodino, which was fruitless for Napoleon in its result, and the fire of Moscow, which made the results of Napoleon’s campaign as a whole fruitless. And now we can even call this “bad genius” Napoleon - it was the patriotism of the Russian people and the valor of the Russian army led by Field Marshal M.I. Kutuzov.
* * *
Centuries have passed. Borodino Field has become a memorable place. On Borodin Day it can be very crowded and noisy here. But the best thing about Borodin Day is the silence that reigns here on ordinary days. Obelisks stand here and there in solemn repose, preserving the memory of the Russian troops who fought here in 1812. The wind blows across the entire vast field, like a watchman, and the bell ringing of the Spaso-Borodinsky Monastery performs its funeral rite. Everything calls to your memory and duty of heart. We will remember:
On August 26, 1813, Bishop of Dmitrov and Vicar of Moscow Augustine, during the annual commemoration of the soldiers who laid down their lives for the faith and fatherland at the Battle of Borodino, said wonderful words:
And we would like to complete our story about the Battle of Borodino with words from Kutuzov’s report, which are forever inscribed in the annals of Russian history:
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- Vyacheslav Khlestkin
- “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
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Bagration's injury
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Battery Raevsky
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Semenov flushes
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” Kurgan battery
“It’s not for nothing that all of Russia remembers.” “The enemy has never won an inch of ground with his superior forces.”
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