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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 7
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War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 7 Post by :pcmatt Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1867

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War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 7

Meanwhile another column was to have attacked the French from the
front, but Kutuzov accompanied that column. He well knew that
nothing but confusion would come of this battle undertaken against his
will, and as far as was in his power held the troops back. He did
not advance.

He rode silently on his small gray horse, indolently answering
suggestions that they should attack.

"The word attack is always on your tongue, but you don't see that we
are unable to execute complicated maneuvers," said he to
Miloradovich who asked permission to advance.

"We couldn't take Murat prisoner this morning or get to the place in
time, and nothing can be done now!" he replied to someone else.

When Kutuzov was informed that at the French rear- where according
to the reports of the Cossacks there had previously been nobody- there
were now two battalions of Poles, he gave a sidelong glance at Ermolov
who was behind him and to whom he had not spoken since the previous

"You see! They are asking to attack and making plans of all kinds,
but as soon as one gets to business nothing is ready, and the enemy,
forewarned, takes measures accordingly."

Ermolov screwed up his eyes and smiled faintly on hearing these
words. He understood that for him the storm had blown over, and that
Kutuzov would content himself with that hint.

"He's having a little fun at my expense," said Ermolov softly,
nudging with his knee Raevski who was at his side.

Soon after this, Ermolov moved up to Kutuzov and respectfully

"It is not too late yet, your Highness- the enemy has not gone away-
if you were to order an attack! If not, the Guards will not so much as
see a little smoke."

Kutuzov did not reply, but when they reported to him that Murat's
troops were in retreat he ordered an advance, though at every
hundred paces he halted for three quarters of an hour.

The whole battle consisted in what Orlov-Denisov's Cossacks had
done: the rest of the army merely lost some hundreds of men uselessly.

In consequence of this battle Kutuzov received a diamond decoration,
and Bennigsen some diamonds and a hundred thousand rubles, others also
received pleasant recognitions corresponding to their various
grades, and following the battle fresh changes were made in the staff.

"That's how everything is done with us, all topsy-turvy!" said the
Russian officers and generals after the Tarutino battle, letting it be
understood that some fool there is doing things all wrong but that
we ourselves should not have done so, just as people speak today.
But people who talk like that either do not know what they are talking
about or deliberately deceive themselves. No battle- Tarutino,
Borodino, or Austerlitz- takes place as those who planned it
anticipated. That is an essential condition.

A countless number of free forces (for nowhere is man freer than
during a battle, where it is a question of life and death) influence
the course taken by the fight, and that course never can be known in
advance and never coincides with the direction of any one force.

If many simultaneously and variously directed forces act on a
given body, the direction of its motion cannot coincide with any one
of those forces, but will always be a mean- what in mechanics is
represented by the diagonal of a parallelogram of forces.

If in the descriptions given by historians, especially French
ones, we find their wars and battles carried out in accordance with
previously formed plans, the only conclusion to be drawn is that those
descriptions are false.

The battle of Tarutino obviously did not attain the aim Toll had
in view- to lead the troops into action in the order prescribed by the
dispositions; nor that which Count Orlov-Denisov may have had in view-
to take Murat prisoner; nor the result of immediately destroying the
whole corps, which Bennigsen and others may have had in view; nor
the aim of the officer who wished to go into action to distinguish
himself; nor that of the Cossack who wanted more booty than he got,
and so on. But if the aim of the battle was what actually resulted and
what all the Russians of that day desired- to drive the French out
of Russia and destroy their army- it is quite clear that the battle of
Tarutino, just because of its incongruities, was exactly what was
wanted at that stage of the campaign. It would be difficult and even
impossible to imagine any result more opportune than the actual
outcome of this battle. With a minimum of effort and insignificant
losses, despite the greatest confusion, the most important results
of the whole campaign were attained: the transition from retreat to
advance, an exposure of the weakness of the French, and the
administration of that shock which Napoleon's army had only awaited to
begin its flight.

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War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 8 War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 8

War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 8
Napoleon enters Moscow after the brilliant victory de la Moskowa;there can be no doubt about the victory for the battlefield remains inthe hands of the French. The Russians retreat and abandon theirancient capital. Moscow, abounding in provisions, arms, munitions, andincalculable wealth, is in Napoleon's hands. The Russian army, onlyhalf the strength of the French, does not make a single attempt toattack for a whole month. Napoleon's position is most brilliant. Hecan either fall on the Russian army with double its strength anddestroy it; negotiate an advantageous peace, or in case of a refusalmake a menacing move on Petersburg, or even, in

War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 6 War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 6

War And Peace - Book Thirteen: 1812 - Chapter 6
Next day the troops assembled in their appointed places in theevening and advanced during the night. It was an autumn night withdark purple clouds, but no rain. The ground was damp but not muddy,and the troops advanced noiselessly, only occasionally a jingling ofthe artillery could be faintly heard. The men were forbidden to talkout loud, to smoke their pipes, or to strike a light, and they triedto prevent their horses neighing. The secrecy of the undertakingheightened its charm and they marched gaily. Some columns,supposing. they had reached their destination, halted, piled arms, andsettled down on the cold ground, but the majority