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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 4
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War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 4 Post by :bannerca Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :2330

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War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 4

Bennigsen's note and the Cossack's information that the left flank
of the French was unguarded were merely final indications that it
was necessary to order an attack, and it was fixed for the fifth of

On the morning of the fourth of October Kutuzov signed the
dispositions. Toll read them to Ermolov, asking him to attend to the
further arrangements.

"All right- all right. I haven't time just now," replied Ermolov,
and left the hut.

The dispositions drawn up by Toll were very good. As in the
Austerlitz dispositions, it was written- though not in German this

"The First Column will march here and here," "the Second Column will
march there and there," and so on; and on paper, all these columns
arrived at their places at the appointed time and destroyed the enemy.
Everything had been admirably thought out as is usual in dispositions,
and as is always the case, not a single column reached its place at
the appointed time.

When the necessary number of copies of the dispositions had been
prepared, an officer was summoned and sent to deliver them to
Ermolov to deal with. A young officer of the Horse Guards, Kutuzov's
orderly, pleased at the importance of the mission entrusted to him,
went to Ermolov's quarters.

"Gone away," said Ermolov's orderly.

The officer of the Horse Guards went to a general with whom
Ermolov was often to be found.

"No, and the general's out too."

The officer, mounting his horse, rode off to someone else.

"No, he's gone out."

"If only they don't make me responsible for this delay! What a
nuisance it is!" thought the officer, and he rode round the whole
camp. One man said he had seen Ermolov ride past with some other
generals, others said he must have returned home. The officer searched
till six o'clock in the evening without even stopping to eat.
Ermolov was nowhere to be found and no one knew where he was. The
officer snatched a little food at a comrade's, and rode again to the
vanguard to find Miloradovich. Miloradovich too was away, but here
he was told that he had gone to a ball at General Kikin's and that
Ermolov was probably there too.

"But where is it?"

"Why, there, over at Echkino," said a Cossack officer, pointing to a
country house in the far distance.

"What, outside our line?"

"They've put two regiments as outposts, and they're having such a
spree there, it's awful! Two bands and three sets of singers!"

The officer rode out beyond our lines to Echkino. While still at a
distance he heard as he rode the merry sounds of a soldier's dance
song proceeding from the house.

"In the meadows... in the meadows!" he heard, accompanied by
whistling and the sound of a torban, drowned every now and then by
shouts. These sounds made his spirits rise, but at the same time he
was afraid that he would be blamed for not having executed sooner
the important order entrusted to him. It was already past eight
o'clock. He dismounted and went up into the porch of a large country
house which had remained intact between the Russian and French forces.
In the refreshment room and the hall, footmen were bustling about with
wine and viands. Groups of singers stood outside the windows. The
officer was admitted and immediately saw all the chief generals of the
army together, and among them Ermolov's big imposing figure. They
all had their coats unbuttoned and were standing in a semicircle
with flushed and animated faces, laughing loudly. In the middle of the
room a short handsome general with a red face was dancing the trepak
with much spirit and agility.

"Ha, ha, ha! Bravo, Nicholas Ivanych! Ha, ha, ha!"

The officer felt that by arriving with important orders at such a
moment he was doubly to blame, and he would have preferred to wait;
but one of the generals espied him and, hearing what he had come
about, informed Ermolov.

Ermolov came forward with a frown on his face and, hearing what
the officer had to say, took the papers from him without a word.

"You think he went off just by chance?" said a comrade, who was on
the staff that evening, to the officer of the Horse Guards,
referring to Ermolov. "It was a trick. It was done on purpose to get
Konovnitsyn into trouble. You'll see what a mess there'll be

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War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 5 War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 5

War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 5
Next day the decrepit Kutuzov, having given orders to be calledearly, said his prayers, dressed, and, with an unpleasantconsciousness of having to direct a battle he did not approve of,got into his caleche and drove from Letashovka (a village three anda half miles from Tarutino) to the place where the attacking columnswere to meet. He sat in the caleche, dozing and waking up by turns,and listening for any sound of firing on the right as an indicationthat the action had begun. But all was still quiet. A damp dull autumnmorning was just dawning. On approaching Tarutino Kutuzov noticedcavalrymen leading their horses

War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 3 War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 3

War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 3
The Russian army was commanded by Kutuzov and his staff, and also bythe Emperor from Petersburg. Before the news of the abandonment ofMoscow had been received in Petersburg, a detailed plan of the wholecampaign had been drawn up and sent to Kutuzov for his guidance.Though this plan had been drawn up on the supposition that Moscowwas still in our hands, it was approved by the staff and accepted as abasis for action. Kutuzov only replied that movements arranged froma distance were always difficult to execute. So fresh instructionswere sent for the solution of difficulties that might beencountered, as well as fresh