Emperors And Eagles Field Of Glory Napoleonic PDFpdf ((FULL))
The battlefield is, moreover, an open one, and in consequence of thenatural obstacles it presents, may be likened to a forest: thirtyfeet in thickness, with only a single narrow road for the passage ofthe troops and the artillery. The French entered it by surprise, andnot only were they opposed by the Muscovites opposed to them; butthe enemy's cavalry still more embarrassed them. Suddenly, day hadcome, and the enemy could not, at the moment, perceive the movementof the French. The emperor however had passed, at an early hour, infront of the Russian left, and penetrated the thicket of the forest;and then the misfortune of the day occurred. General Marmont, whoseorders were to attack the enemy in his rear, did not come up in time.The emperor, taking advantage of the moment when all was confusion andconfusion created by the clash of opposing columns, suddenly threwhimself on the enemy's flank, and with two columns, vigorously pushedin, crushed that of the Russian right. Thus the course of the day wascut short. The Russians had only been beaten out of the field ofbattle.
The emperor, though not only not defeated, but not even wounded, hastaken one of the most singular steps of his career. He had begun byadvancing in the face of the enemy's fire, and was more than oncealmost in the power of his enemy. At the moment, however, when he hadthe most reason to distrust the result, he had resolved to take afull advantage of the situation. To the orders given by him, his army gavean example of unexampled valour. On all sides the heart of the Frenchemperor was touched and his own was in no doubt. Those who had long beendiscouraged by the resistance of the Russians, were now themselves filledwith courage by the sight of his example, and by the joy of being in thepresence of a general who had so much personal courage as to advance,with a small force, in the face of the enemy.
Tired of having given the viceroy time to get clear of the danger,the emperor, on the 21st, took the field. The darkness of theevening enabled him to be beyond this army, which he had, however,passed on the preceding evening. The rain did not cease. It rained andsleeted. The roads were miserable, and the emperor, less familiarwith them than the plains of Marengo, where he had passed the night ofthe 18th, ordered the regiments to halt at the villages of Semenovat andKrajinets, more especially as he did not wish to expose his friends orthose of the viceroy to such a risk. Having halted at the second ofthese villages, the emperor left him with the guards, and, takingthe right of the road, the viceroy was to follow him. But he soon foundhimself alone; this was the second time, that on this day, the emperorhad passed him. At the evening halt, the viceroy was still on theroad, but the emperor had left him again, on crossing the Dnieper, togo into Smolensk. He had marched, and was only separated by a fewhundred paces from that capital, and this he had done on purpose toplay one of those games of chance, by which he so often amused hisfortunes, and which we shall see him sometimes risk, and sometimeswin, without hesitation. 827ec27edc