Abbildungen der Seite

Moskwa, and their left upon the heights on the left bank of the Kologha : a division also occupied a fine position in front flanked by two woods. Bonaparte saw the importance of this height, and immediately determined to take it, which his' troops effected after a severe contest that lasted three hours. Two other heights crowned with redoubts, 100 paces distant, still rendered the position of the Russians strong and favourable; but the redoubts were scarcely half formed, and the Russian army was inuch inferior to Napoleon's, which might be reckoned at 150,000 men.

The emperor having carefully reconnoitred the Russian line during the 5th, was on the 7th, at two in the morning, surrounded by the marshals in the position taken the evening before. At half past five o'clock the sun rose without clouds; it had rained the preceding evening. “This is the sun of Austerlitz,' said Bonaparte. Though but the month of September, it was as cold as a December in Moravia. The army received the omen, the drum beat, and the following order of the day was read:

Soldiers ! behold the field of battle you have so much desired! henceforth victory depends on you; it is necessary to us; it will give us plenty, good quarters for the winter, and a speedy return to our country. Behave yourselves as you did at Austerlitz, at Friedland, at Vitepsk, at Smolensko; and that the latest posterity may speak of your conduct this day with pride that it may say of you, 'He was at that great battle under the walls of Moscow.' • At the Imperial Camp on the Heights of Borodino,

7th Sept. Two o'clock A. M.

The army answered with reiterated acclamations. The ground on which the army stood was spread with the dead bodies of the Russians killed the preceding day.

At six o'clock this dreadful battle, which can scarcely be equalled in the annals of history, commenced. A thousand

pieces of cannon spread death through the Russian ranks, who from their commanding heights dealt equal destruction among the French columns. But superior numbers and discipline prevailed, and in two hours the Russian positions in the centre were carried, and every effort to retake them frustrated. However, the French troops that stormed the redoubts to the right were successfully attacked and defeated. At this critical moment the Russian cominander brought forward his reserve, and commenced a most furious attack op the centre; but the French withstood the repeated shocks they sustained, and at two o'clock in the afternoon the Russians ceased their efforts. The cannonade still continued, but the battle in effect was closed.

It is extremely difficult to estimate the loss of the contending parties, as the French accounts are proverbial for exaggeration; nor does the Russian seem to deserve implicit belief. By taking a medium, the loss of Bonaparte might amount to about 20,000 men, in killed, wounded, and prisoners; that of the Russians to about 30,000. The emperor himself acknowledges that his loss would have been greater than the Russians, had not the latter persisted so long in their attacks upon the commanding positions he had gained.

Both armies immediately after the combat seem to have paused, in order to reorganize their shattered divisions. The Russian army was commanded by the gailant Kutousoff,* who

Field Marshal Prince Kutusoff, the saviour of Russia, the conqueror of Bonaparte, and the worthy rival of our own Wellington, is a Prince of the Russian empire by hereditary descent, and the representative of one of its most ancient and honourable families. He is on all hands acknowledged to be an officer of great experience, and of undoubted bravery, active, vigilant, and enterprising ; yet, like the guardian genius of the Peninsula, well qualified by prudent coolness to adopt measures of a very different tendency when absolutely necessary.

In Russia, civil rank is nothing except when regulated by the gradations of the military scale; nor will personal or hereditary nobility give muy precedence at court, unless accompanied by military rank-a regu

had joined the army a few days preceding, bringing with him his veterans from Turkey, with whom the Emperor Alexander had judiciously concluded a peace. Kutousoff, however, after this battle, found his positions occupied ; and as there

lation established by the Great Peter, whose comprehensive mind ...most foresaw the events of later days.

In consequence of this, the young Prince Kutousoff entered very early into the army, proceeding regularly through the various gradations, in which he had many opportunities of secing service during the campaigns in Poland, in 1769, and a few years afterwards in the Turkish war, under Romanzow and Gallitzin. In those campaigns he also had the advantages of forming his military character under the Princes Dolgorucki and Repnin, and General Milarodowitz, whose con has since so gallantly seconded him in the late glorious events.

Through scenes like these he, though little known in England till of late years, has risen in his native country to the character of an old and tried veteran, a true Russian patriot, beloved by all ranks of his countrymen, and adored by the soldiers who followed his fortunes, thus fitting himself for that choice which adopted him as the worthiest competitor of Bonaparte himself.

Anxious to ward off the blow, negociations were begun by the Ottoman Porte, but failed ; and in 1787, the war commenced. The Rus. sian army, headed by Prince Potemkin in person, proceeded towards the Crimea, to attack the Turkish and Tartar force assembled near Babada, and was divided into six columns, one of which was led by the gallant Kutusoff. The first column of the army, commanded by Rebinder, came singly in sight of the enemy. They found the Tartar chief with about six hundred of his troops separated from the rest, and entrenched behind their waggons. These, upon the approach of the Russians, repeated a short prayer, and displayed great courage, but it was of no avail, for the trenches were carried, and 400 of their small number Jeft dead upon the spot. The Tartar chief still undaunted, 'after his escape, collected his whole force during the night, and boldly returned to the charge the next day, and, without regard to their artillery, bad the hardihood to attack the Russians in their camp. He was, however, repulsed; but the contest was not yet ended. It seem. ed, indeed, as if the Tartar courage rose superior to disaster, and the chief having received reinforcements, was proceeding to fresh hostilities, when Major-General Prince Kurusoff coming up with his column, a ibird action took place, and he gained a complete and signal victory. .

were no place that he could safely occupy between Mojdisk and Moscow, which is twenty-five leagues distant, he determined to abandon the capital to its fate, and to wait for reinforcements.

After this victory, the inhabitants of the Tartar chief, and of his Dobility, together with all the Tartar villages within reach, were plundered and destroyed by fire ; and it is a curious fact, that the Russian accounts in detailing the plunder, enumerated ten thousand pints of butter, and a large quantity of barley, as the rural spoil upon this occasion.

Early in 1788, Russia began her preparations for the ensuing cam. paign, directing her views principally towards the Black Sea, and in the month of June, a vast army of 150,000 men, pushed on for the Turkish frontiers, under the command of Prince Potemkin, the gallant Suwarrow leading the left wing, and the other officers of note consisting of Romanzow, Repnin, Stoltikow, Prince Kutousoff, &c. This immense force was accompanied by a field train of 140 pieces of artillery, and supported by an arıned flotilla under the command of the Prince of Nassau.

Early in July, Prince Potemkin invested Ochzakow, but as his heavy artillery was not arrived, he did not immediately commence active operations, but merely assailed the garrison at different times, particuJarly in the night, when repeated attacks, in many of which Kutousoff bore a distinguished part. The garrison consisted of 20,000 chosen troops, and when the siege actually commenced, every foot of ground was bravely disputed, and dearly purchased by the assailants. The siege lasted until December, during which time Kutousoff had many opportunities of signalizing himself; but the winter being then set in, the sufferings of the Russian army were so great, that they were on the point of retiring with disgrace, when Potemkin, on the 17th of that month, ordered a general bombardment with red hot shot and shells, when a red hot shot falling on the grand magazines, it instantly blew up, and demolishing a great portion of the wall, an assault was ordered. The Turks defended the breach, and after it was forced, fought in the streets with the greatest bravery, and refusing all quarter, were cut 10 pieces. The Russian loss was 4000 killed and wounded; 200 officers fell, and Kutousoff, who led the storming party, was wounded in a most extraordinary manner, a musket-ball having passed through both temples, when he fell from the top of the wall into the ditch. His

e occupied several years before it was complete, and, in fact, asto

Bonaparte pushed forward with great rapidity, and his advanced guard reached Moscow on the 14th of September; and, after a short resistance, Murat took possession of the Kremlin. But this great city exhibited a scene of confusion,

nished even his medical attendants; but the use of one of his eyes he never recovered.

Yet, even whilst under the hands of the surgeons, he resumed his command in 1790, when the gallant Suwarrow led the Russian army against Ismail. During this bloody siege, Kutousoff commanded the left of the inain army. At the assault he led the sixth column, to which was attached the body of reserve. On the fall of the place, he was appointed by Suwarrow governor of that fortress, and remained there at the close of the campaign with his four battalions of Buch Chasseurs, two regiments of infantry, and four of Don Cossacs, whilst the other troops went into winter quarters ; but on the commencement of negociations, was called from his military command, and sent ambassador to Constantinople, where he displayed diplomatic abilities in the cabinet, commensurate with his powers in the field.

In the subsequent operations of the Russian armies in Poland, &c. he was always actively employed, but there were no occurrences which in this slight sketch deserve particular notice.

He thus went on progressively rising in rank until the year 1805, when Russia took part in the German war, at which time, and indeed always, he entertained the most determined hatred against the French, both in their practice and principles, and was then appointed to the command of the Russian army destined for active operations. Immediately after the capitulation of Ulm by the infamous Mack, the most active exertions were made by the French, for the further prosecution of the campaign ; and about that period the first division of the Russian forces, under the immediate command of Kutousoff, had already arrived upon the banks of the Inn, and uniting itself with the Austrians, under Kienmeyer, in that quarter, formed an army of 70,000 men.

To give copious details is here unnecessary; it is sufficient to observe, that it was of great importance to the French to attack this army before the arrival of the second division of Russians ; accordingly, Bernadotte with his corps, aided by Marmont, &c. passed the Danube, and on the 27th of November got to Aliemarkt, but found the bridge broken down, the Russians being thus obliged to retreat before a superior force, retiring towards Vienna, and having evacuated Brannau, afterwards received a severe check from Murat on the heights of Ried,

« ZurückWeiter »