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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 32
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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 32 Post by :demenev Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2800

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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 32

Beside himself with terror Pierre jumped up and ran back to the
battery, as to the only refuge from the horrors that surrounded him.

On entering the earthwork he noticed that there were men doing
something there but that no shots were being fired from the battery.
He had no time to realize who these men were. He saw the senior
officer lying on the earth wall with his back turned as if he were
examining something down below and that one of the soldiers he had
noticed before was struggling forward shouting "Brothers!" and
trying to free himself from some men who were holding him by the
arm. He also saw something else that was strange.

But he had not time to realize that the colonel had been killed,
that the soldier shouting "Brothers!" was a prisoner, and that another
man had been bayoneted in the back before his eyes, for hardly had
he run into the redoubt before a thin, sallow-faced, perspiring man in
a blue uniform rushed on him sword in hand, shouting something.
Instinctively guarding against the shock- for they had been running
together at full speed before they saw one another- Pierre put out his
hands and seized the man (a French officer) by the shoulder with one
hand and by the throat with the other. The officer, dropping his
sword, seized Pierre by his collar.

For some seconds they gazed with frightened eyes at one another's
unfamiliar faces and both were perplexed at what they had done and
what they were to do next. "Am I taken prisoner or have I taken him
prisoner?" each was thinking. But the French officer was evidently
more inclined to think he had been taken prisoner because Pierre's
strong hand, impelled by instinctive fear, squeezed his throat ever
tighter and tighter. The Frenchman was about to say something, when
just above their heads, terrible and low, a cannon ball whistled,
and it seemed to Pierre that the French officer's head had been torn
off, so swiftly had he ducked it.

Pierre too bent his head and let his hands fall. Without further
thought as to who had taken whom prisoner, the Frenchman ran back to
the battery and Pierre ran down the slope stumbling over the dead
and wounded who, it seemed to him, caught at his feet. But before he
reached the foot of the knoll he was met by a dense crowd of Russian
soldiers who, stumbling, tripping up, and shouting, ran merrily and
wildly toward the battery. (This was the attack for which Ermolov
claimed the credit, declaring that only his courage and good luck made
such a feat possible: it was the attack in which he was said to have
thrown some St. George's Crosses he had in his pocket into the battery
for the first soldiers to take who got there.)

The French who had occupied the battery fled, and our troops
shouting "Hurrah!" pursued them so far beyond the battery that it
was difficult to call them back.

The prisoners were brought down from the battery and among them
was a wounded French general, whom the officers surrounded. Crowds
of wounded- some known to Pierre and some unknown- Russians and
French, with faces distorted by suffering, walked, crawled, and were
carried on stretchers from the battery. Pierre again went up onto
the knoll where he had spent over an hour, and of that family circle
which had received him as a member he did not find a single one. There
were many dead whom he did not know, but some he recognized. The young
officer still sat in the same way, bent double, in a pool of blood
at the edge of the earth wall. The red-faced man was still
twitching, but they did not carry him away.

Pierre ran down the slope once more.

"Now they will stop it, now they will be horrified at what they have
done!" he thought, aimlessly going toward a crowd of stretcher bearers
moving from the battlefield.

But behind the veil of smoke the sun was still high, and in front
and especially to the left, near Semenovsk, something seemed to be
seething in the smoke, and the roar of cannon and musketry did not
diminish, but even increased to desperation like a man who,
straining himself, shrieks with all his remaining strength.

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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 33 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 33

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The chief action of the battle of Borodino was fought within theseven thousand feet between Borodino and Bagration's fleches. Beyondthat space there was, on the one side, a demonstration made by theRussians with Uvarov's cavalry at midday, and on the other side,beyond Utitsa, Poniatowski's collision with Tuchkov; but these twowere detached and feeble actions in comparison with what took place inthe center of the battlefield. On the field between Borodino and thefleches, beside the wood, the chief action of the day took place on anopen space visible from both sides and was fought in the simplestand most artless way.The battle began
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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 31 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 31

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Having descended the hill the general after whom Pierre wasgalloping turned sharply to the left, and Pierre, losing sight of him,galloped in among some ranks of infantry marching ahead of him. Hetried to pass either in front of them or to the right or left, butthere were soldiers everywhere, all with expression and busy with someunseen but evidently important task. They all gazed with the samedissatisfied and inquiring expression at this stout man in a whitehat, who for some unknown reason threatened to trample them underhis horse's hoofs."Why ride into the middle of the battalion?" one of them shoutedat him.Another prodded
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