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War And Peace 469


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rode over the plain and surveyed the locality with a profound air and in silence, nodded with approval or shook his head dubiously, and without communicating to the generals around him the profound course of ideas which guided his decisions merely gave them his final conclusions in the form of commands. Having listened to a suggestion from Davout, who was now called Prince dEckmuhl, to turn the Russian left wing, Napoleon said it should not be done, without explaining why not. To a proposal made by General Campan (who was to attack the fleches) to lead his division through the woods, Napoleon agreed, though the so-called Duke of Elchingen (Ney) ventured to remark that a movement through the woods was dangerous and might disorder the division. Having inspected the country opposite the Shevardino Redoubt, Napoleon pondered a little in silence and then indicated the spots where two batteries should be set up by the morrow to act against the Russian entrenchments, and the places where, in line with them, the field artillery should be placed. After giving these and other commands he returned to his tent, and the dispositions for the battle were written down from his dictation. These dispositions, of which the French historians write with enthusiasm and other historians with profound respect, were as follows: At dawn the two new batteries established during the night on the plain occupied by the Prince dEckmuhl will open fire on the opposing batteries of the enemy. At the same time the commander of the artillery of the 1st Corps, General Pernetti, with thirty cannon of Campans division and all the howitzers of Dessaixs and Friants divisions, will move forward, open fire, and overwhelm with shellfire the enemys battery, against which will operate: 24 guns of the artillery of the Guards 30 guns of Campans division and 8 guns of Friants and Dessaixs divisions -- in all 62 guns. The commander of the artillery of the 3rd Corps, General Fouche, will place the howitzers of the 3rd and 8th Corps, sixteen in all, on the flanks of the battery that is to bombard the entrenchment on the left, which will have forty guns in all directed against it. General Sorbier must be ready at the first order to advance with all the howitzers of the Guards artillery against either one or other of the entrenchments. During the cannonade Prince Poniatowski is to advance through the wood on the village and turn the enemys position. General Campan will move through the wood to seize the first fortification. After the advance has begun in this manner, orders will be given in accordance with the enemys movements. The cannonade on the left flank will begin as soon as the guns of the right wing are heard. The sharpshooters of Morands division and of the vice-Kings division will open a heavy fire on seeing the attack commence on the right wing. The vice-King will occupy the village and cross by its three bridges, advancing to the same heights as Morands and Gibrards divisions, which under his leadership will be directed against the redoubt and come into line with the rest of the forces. All this must be done in good order (le tout se fera avec ordre et methode) as far as possible retaining troops in reserve. The Imperial Camp near Mozhaysk, September, 6, 1812. These dispositions, which are very obscure and confused if one allows oneself to regard the arrangements without religious awe of his genius, related to Napoleons orders to deal with four points--four different orders. Not one of these was, or could be, carried out. In the disposition it is said first that the batteries placed on the spot chosen by Napoleon, with the guns of Pernetti and Fouche; which were to come in line with them, 102 guns in all, were to open fire and shower shells on the Russian fleches and redoubts. This could not be done, as from the spots selected by Napoleon the projectiles did not carry to the Russian works, and those 102 guns shot into the air until the nearest commander, contrary to Napoleons instructions, moved them forward. The second order was that Poniatowski, moving to the village through the wood, should turn the Russian left flank. This could not be done and was not done, because Poniatowski, advancing on the village through the wood, met Tuchkov there barring his way, and could not and did not

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