Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
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
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
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
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
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