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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 35
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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 35 Post by :larisanyc Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1383

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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 35

On the rug-covered bench where Pierre had seen him in the morning
sat Kutuzov, his gray head hanging, his heavy body relaxed. He gave no
orders, but only assented to or dissented from what others suggested.

"Yes, yes, do that," he replied to various proposals. "Yes, yes: go,
dear boy, and have a look," he would say to one or another of those
about him; or, "No, don't, we'd better wait!" He listened to the
reports that were brought him and gave directions when his
subordinates demanded that of him; but when listening to the reports
it seemed as if he were not interested in the import of the words
spoken, but rather in something else- in the expression of face and
tone of voice of those who were reporting. By long years of military
experience he knew, and with the wisdom of age understood, that it
is impossible for one man to direct hundreds of thousands of others
struggling with death, and he knew that the result of a battle is
decided not by the orders of a commander in chief, nor the place where
the troops are stationed, nor by the number of cannon or of
slaughtered men, but by that intangible force called the spirit of the
army, and he watched this force and guided it in as far as that was in
his power.

Kutuzov's general expression was one of concentrated quiet
attention, and his face wore a strained look as if he found it
difficult to master the fatigue of his old and feeble body.

At eleven o'clock they brought him news that the fleches captured by
the French had been retaken, but that Prince Bagration was wounded.
Kutuzov groaned and swayed his head.

"Ride over to Prince Peter Ivanovich and find out about it exactly,"
he said to one of his adjutants, and then turned to the Duke of
Wurttemberg who was standing behind him.

"Will Your Highness please take command of the first army?"

Soon after the duke's departure- before he could possibly have
reached Semenovsk- his adjutant came back from him and told Kutuzov
that the duke asked for more troops.

Kutuzov made a grimace and sent an order to Dokhturov to take over
the command of the first army, and a request to the duke- whom he said
he could not spare at such an important moment- to return to him. When
they brought him news that Murat had been taken prisoner, and the
staff officers congratulated him, Kutuzov smiled.

"Wait a little, gentlemen," said he. "The battle is won, and there
is nothing extraordinary in the capture of Murat. Still, it is
better to wait before we rejoice."

But he sent an adjutant to take the news round the army.

When Scherbinin came galloping from the left flank with news that
the French had captured the fleches and the village of Semenovsk,
Kutuzov, guessing by the sounds of the battle and by Scherbinin's
looks that the news was bad, rose as if to stretch his legs and,
taking Scherbinin's arm, led him aside.

"Go, my dear fellow," he said to Ermolov, "and see whether something
can't be done."

Kutuzov was in Gorki, near the center of the Russian position. The
attack directed by Napoleon against our left flank had been several
times repulsed. In the center the French had not got beyond
Borodino, and on their left flank Uvarov's cavalry had put the
French to flight.

Toward three o'clock the French attacks ceased. On the faces of
all who came from the field of battle, and of those who stood around
him, Kutuzov noticed an expression of extreme tension. He was
satisfied with the day's success- a success exceeding his
expectations, but the old man's strength was failing him. Several
times his head dropped low as if it were falling and he dozed off.
Dinner was brought him.

Adjutant General Wolzogen, the man who when riding past Prince
Andrew had said, "the war should be extended widely," and whom
Bagration so detested, rode up while Kutuzov was at dinner. Wolzogen
had come from Barclay de Tolly to report on the progress of affairs on
the left flank. The sagacious Barclay de Tolly, seeing crowds of
wounded men running back and the disordered rear of the army,
weighed all the circumstances, concluded that the battle was lost, and
sent his favorite officer to the commander in chief with that news.

Kutuzov was chewing a piece of roast chicken with difficulty and
glanced at Wolzogen with eyes that brightened under their puckering

Wolzogen, nonchalantly stretching his legs, approached Kutuzov
with a half-contemptuous smile on his lips, scarcely touching the peak
of his cap.

He treated his Serene Highness with a somewhat affected
nonchalance intended to show that, as a highly trained military man,
he left it to Russians to make an idol of this useless old man, but
that he knew whom he was dealing with. "Der alte Herr" (as in their
own set the Germans called Kutuzov) "is making himself very
comfortable," thought Wolzogen, and looking severely at the dishes
in front of Kutuzov he began to report to "the old gentleman" the
position of affairs on the left flank as Barclay had ordered him to
and as he himself had seen and understood it.

"All the points of our position are in the enemy's hands and we
cannot dislodge them for lack of troops, the men are running away
and it is impossible to stop them," he reported.

Kutuzov ceased chewing and fixed an astonished gaze on Wolzogen,
as if not understand what was said to him. Wolzogen, noticing "the old
gentleman's" agitation, said with a smile:

"I have not considered it right to conceal from your Serene Highness
what I have seen. The troops are in complete disorder..."

"You have seen? You have seen?..." Kutuzov shouted frowning, and
rising quickly he went up to Wolzogen.

"How... how dare you!..." he shouted, choking and making a
threatening gesture with his trembling arms: "How dare you, sir, say
that to me? You know nothing about it. Tell General Barclay from me
that his information is incorrect and that the real course of the
battle is better known to me, the commander in chief, than to him."

Wolzogen was about to make a rejoinder, but Kutuzov interrupted him.

"The enemy has been repulsed on the left and defeated on the right
flank. If you have seen amiss, sir, do not allow yourself to say
what you don't know! Be so good as to ride to General Barclay and
inform him of my firm intention to attack the enemy tomorrow," said
Kutuzov sternly.

All were silent, and the only sound audible was the heavy
breathing of the panting old general.

"They are repulsed everywhere, for which I thank God and our brave
army! The enemy is beaten, and tomorrow we shall drive him from the
sacred soil of Russia," said Kutuzov crossing himself, and he suddenly
sobbed as his eyes filled with tears.

Wolzogen, shrugging his shoulders and curling his lips, stepped
silently aside, marveling at "the old gentleman's" conceited

"Ah, here he is, my hero!" said Kutuzov to a portly, handsome,
dark-haired general who was just ascending the knoll.

This was Raevski, who had spent the whole day at the most
important part of the field of Borodino.

Raevski reported that the troops were firmly holding their ground
and that the French no longer ventured to attack.

After hearing him, Kutuzov said in French:

"Then you do not think, like some others, that we must retreat?"

"On the contrary, your Highness, in indecisive actions it is
always the most stubborn who remain victors," replied Raevski, "and in
my opinion..."

"Kaysarov!" Kutuzov called to his adjutant. "Sit down and write
out the order of the day for tomorrow. And you," he continued,
addressing another, "ride along the line and that tomorrow we attack."

While Kutuzov was talking to Raevski and dictating the order of
the day, Wolzogen returned from Barclay and said that General
Barclay wished to have written confirmation of the order the field
marshal had given.

Kutuzov, without looking at Wolzogen, gave directions for the
order to be written out which the former commander in chief, to
avoid personal responsibility, very judiciously wished to receive.

And by means of that mysterious indefinable bond which maintains
throughout an army one and the same temper, known as "the spirit of
the army," and which constitutes the sinew of war, Kutuzov's words,
his order for a battle next day, immediately became known from one end
of the army to the other.

It was far from being the same words or the same order that
reached the farthest links of that chain. The tales passing from mouth
to mouth at different ends of the army did not even resemble what
Kutuzov had said, but the sense of his words spread everywhere because
what he said was not the outcome of cunning calculations, but of a
feeling that lay in the commander in chief's soul as in that of
every Russian.

And on learning that tomorrow they were to attack the enemy, and
hearing from the highest quarters a confirmation of what they wanted
to believe, the exhausted, wavering men felt comforted and inspirited.

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War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 36 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 36

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 36
Prince Andrew's regiment was among the reserves which till after oneo'clock were stationed inactive behind Semenovsk, under heavyartillery fire. Toward two o'clock the regiment, having already lostmore than two hundred men, was moved forward into a trampledoatfield in the gap between Semenovsk and the Knoll Battery thousands of men perished that day and on which an intense,concentrated fire from several hundred enemy guns was directed betweenone and two o'clock.Without moving from that spot or firing a single shot the regimenthere lost another third of its men. From in front and especiallyfrom the right, in the unlifting smoke the guns boomed, and

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 34 War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 34

War And Peace - Book Ten: 1812 - Chapter 34
Napoleon's generals- Davout, Ney, and Murat, who were near thatregion of fire and sometimes even entered it- repeatedly led into ithuge masses of well-ordered troops. But contrary to what had alwayshappened in their former battles, instead of the news they expected ofthe enemy's flight, these orderly masses returned thence asdisorganized and terrified mobs. The generals re-formed them, buttheir numbers constantly decreased. In the middle of the day Muratsent his adjutant to Napoleon to demand reinforcements.Napoleon sat at the foot of the knoll, drinking punch, whenMurat's adjutant galloped up with an assurance that the Russians wouldbe routed if His Majesty would let