Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
at his feet. But before he
reached the foot of the knoll he was met by a dense crowd of Russian
soldiers who, stumbling, tripping up, and shouting, ran merrily and
wildly toward the battery. (This was the attack for which Ermolov
claimed the credit, declaring that only his courage and good luck made
such a feat possible: it was the attack in which he was said to have
thrown some St. Georges Crosses he had in his pocket into the battery
for the first soldiers to take who got there.)
The French who had occupied the battery fled, and our troops
shouting "Hurrah!" pursued them so far beyond the battery that it
was difficult to call them back.
The prisoners were brought down from the battery and among them
was a wounded French general, whom the officers surrounded. Crowds
of wounded--some known to Pierre and some unknown--Russians and
French, with faces distorted by suffering, walked, crawled, and were
carried on stretchers from the battery. Pierre again went up onto
the knoll where he had spent over an hour, and of that family circle
which had received him as a member he did not find a single one. There
were many dead whom he did not know, but some he recognized. The young
officer still sat in the same way, bent double, in a pool of blood
at the edge of the earth wall. The red-faced man was still
twitching, but they did not carry him away.
Pierre ran down the slope once more.
"Now they will stop it, now they will be horrified at what they have
done!" he thought, aimlessly going toward a crowd of stretcher bearers
moving from the battlefield.
But behind the veil of smoke the sun was still high, and in front
and especially to the left, near Semenovsk, something seemed to be
seething in the smoke, and the roar of cannon and musketry did not
diminish, but even increased to desperation like a man who,
straining himself, shrieks with all his remaining strength.
The chief action of the battle of Borodino was fought within the
seven thousand feet between Borodino and Bagrations fleches. Beyond
that space there was, on the one side, a demonstration made by the
Russians with Uvarovs cavalry at midday, and on the other side,
beyond Utitsa, Poniatowskis collision with Tuchkov; but these two
were detached and feeble actions in comparison with what took place in
the center of the battlefield. On the field between Borodino and the
fleches, beside the wood, the chief action of the day took place on an
open space visible from both sides and was fought in the simplest
and most artless way.
The battle began on both sides with a cannonade from several hundred
Then when the whole field was covered with smoke, two divisions,
Campans and Dessaixs, advanced from the French right, while
Murats troops advanced on Borodino from their left.
From the Shevardino Redoubt where Napoleon was standing the
fleches were two thirds of a mile away, and it was more than a mile as
the crow flies to Borodino, so that Napoleon could not see what was
happening there, especially as the smoke mingling with the mist hid
the whole locality. The soldiers of Dessaixs division advancing
against the fleches could only be seen till they had entered the
hollow that lay between them and the fleches. As soon as they had
descended into that hollow, the smoke of the guns and musketry on
the fleches grew so dense that it covered the whole approach on that
side of it. Through the smoke glimpses could be caught of something
black--probably men--and at times the glint of bayonets. But whether
they were moving or stationary, whether they were French or Russian,
could not be discovered from the Shevardino Redoubt.
The sun had risen brightly and its slanting rays struck straight
into Napoleons face as, shading his eyes with his hand, he looked
at the fleches. The smoke spread out before them, and at times it
looked as if the smoke were moving, at times as if the troops moved.
Sometimes shouts were heard through the firing, but it was
impossible to tell what was being done there.
Napoleon, standing on the knoll, looked through a field glass, and
in its small circlet saw smoke and men, sometimes his own and
sometimes Russians, but when he looked again with the naked eye, he
could not tell where what he had seen was.
He descended the knoll and began walking up and down before it.
Occasionally he stopped, listened to the firing, and
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