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War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Part 22 out of 34

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matters stand?... You know, Count, there'll be a battle tomorrow.
Out of an army of a hundred thousand we must expect at least twenty
thousand wounded, and we haven't stretchers, or bunks, or dressers, or
doctors enough for six thousand. We have ten thousand carts, but we
need other things as well- we must manage as best we can!"

The strange thought that of the thousands of men, young and old, who
had stared with merry surprise at his hat (perhaps the very men he had
noticed), twenty thousand were inevitably doomed to wounds and death
amazed Pierre.

"They may die tomorrow; why are they thinking of anything but
death?" And by some latent sequence of thought the descent of the
Mozhaysk hill, the carts with the wounded, the ringing bells, the
slanting rays of the sun, and the songs of the cavalrymen vividly
recurred to his mind.

"The cavalry ride to battle and meet the wounded and do not for a
moment think of what awaits them, but pass by, winking at the wounded.
Yet from among these men twenty thousand are doomed to die, and they
wonder at my hat! Strange!" thought Pierre, continuing his way to

In front of a landowner's house to the left of the road stood
carriages, wagons, and crowds of orderlies and sentinels. The
commander in chief was putting up there, but just when Pierre
arrived he was not in and hardly any of the staff were there- they had
gone to the church service. Pierre drove on toward Gorki.

When he had ascended the hill and reached the little village street,
he saw for the first time peasant militiamen in their white shirts and
with crosses on their caps, who, talking and laughing loudly, animated
and perspiring, were at work on a huge knoll overgrown with grass to
the right of the road.

Some of them were digging, others were wheeling barrowloads of earth
along planks, while others stood about doing nothing.

Two officers were standing on the knoll, directing the men. On
seeing these peasants, who were evidently still amused by the
novelty of their position as soldiers, Pierre once more thought of the
wounded men at Mozhaysk and understood what the soldier had meant when
he said: "They want the whole nation to fall on them." The sight of
these bearded peasants at work on the battlefield, with their queer,
clumsy boots and perspiring necks, and their shirts opening from the
left toward the middle, unfastened, exposing their sunburned
collarbones, impressed Pierre more strongly with the solemnity and
importance of the moment than anything he had yet seen or heard.


Pierre stepped out of his carriage and, passing the toiling
militiamen, ascended the knoll from which, according to the doctor,
the battlefield could be seen.

It was about eleven o'clock. The sun shone somewhat to the left
and behind him and brightly lit up the enormous panorama which, rising
like an amphitheater, extended before him in the clear rarefied

From above on the left, bisecting that amphitheater, wound the
Smolensk highroad, passing through a village with a white church
some five hundred paces in front of the knoll and below it. This was
Borodino. Below the village the road crossed the river by a bridge
and, winding down and up, rose higher and higher to the village of
Valuevo visible about four miles away, where Napoleon was then
stationed. Beyond Valuevo the road disappeared into a yellowing forest
on the horizon. Far in the distance in that birch and fir forest to
the right of the road, the cross and belfry of the Kolocha Monastery
gleamed in the sun. Here and there over the whole of that blue
expanse, to right and left of the forest and the road, smoking
campfires could be seen and indefinite masses of troops- ours and
the enemy's. The ground to the right- along the course of the
Kolocha and Moskva rivers- was broken and hilly. Between the hollows
the villages of Bezubova and Zakharino showed in the distance. On
the left the ground was more level; there were fields of grain, and
the smoking ruins of Semenovsk, which had been burned down, could be

All that Pierre saw was so indefinite that neither the left nor
the right side of the field fully satisfied his expectations.
Nowhere could he see the battlefield he had expected to find, but only
fields, meadows, troops, woods, the smoke of campfires, villages,
mounds, and streams; and try as he would he could descry no military
"position" in this place which teemed with life, nor could he even
distinguish our troops from the enemy's.

"I must ask someone who knows," he thought, and addressed an officer
who was looking with curiosity at his huge unmilitary figure.

"May I ask you," said Pierre, "what village that is in front?"

"Burdino, isn't it?" said the officer, turning to his companion.

"Borodino," the other corrected him.

The officer, evidently glad of an opportunity for a talk, moved up
to Pierre.

"Are those our men there?" Pierre inquired.

"Yes, and there, further on, are the French," said the officer.
"There they are, there... you can see them."

"Where? Where?" asked Pierre.

"One can see them with the naked eye... Why, there!"

The officer pointed with his hand to the smoke visible on the left
beyond the river, and the same stern and serious expression that
Pierre had noticed on many of the faces he had met came into his face.

"Ah, those are the French! And over there?..." Pierre pointed to a
knoll on the left, near which some troops could be seen.

"Those are ours."

"Ah, ours! And there?..." Pierre pointed to another knoll in the
distance with a big tree on it, near a village that lay in a hollow
where also some campfires were smoking and something black was

"That's his again," said the officer. (It was the Shevardino
Redoubt.) "It was ours yesterday, but now it is his."

"Then how about our position?"

"Our position?" replied the officer with a smile of satisfaction. "I
can tell you quite clearly, because I constructed nearly all our
entrenchments. There, you see? There's our center, at Borodino, just
there," and he pointed to the village in front of them with the
white church. "That's where one crosses the Kolocha. You see down
there where the rows of hay are lying in the hollow, there's the
bridge. That's our center. Our right flank is over there"- he
pointed sharply to the right, far away in the broken ground- "That's
where the Moskva River is, and we have thrown up three redoubts there,
very strong ones. The left flank..." here the officer paused. "Well,
you see, that's difficult to explain.... Yesterday our left flank
was there at Shevardino, you see, where the oak is, but now we have
withdrawn our left wing- now it is over there, do you see that village
and the smoke? That's Semenovsk, yes, there," he pointed to
Raevski's knoll. "But the battle will hardly be there. His having
moved his troops there is only a ruse; he will probably pass round
to the right of the Moskva. But wherever it may be, many a man will be
missing tomorrow!" he remarked.

An elderly sergeant who had approached the officer while he was
giving these explanations had waited in silence for him to finish
speaking, but at this point, evidently not liking the officer's
remark, interrupted him.

"Gabions must be sent for," said he sternly.

The officer appeared abashed, as though he understood that one might
think of how many men would be missing tomorrow but ought not to speak
to speak of it.

"Well, send number three company again," the officer replied

"And you, are you one of the doctors?"

"No, I've come on my own," answered Pierre, and he went down the
hill again, passing the militiamen.

"Oh, those damned fellows!" muttered the officer who followed him,
holding his nose as he ran past the men at work.

"There they are... bringing her, coming... There they are... They'll
be here in a minute..." voices were suddenly heard saying; and
officers, soldiers, and militiamen began running forward along the

A church procession was coming up the hill from Borodino. First
along the dusty road came the infantry in ranks, bareheaded and with
arms reversed. From behind them came the sound of church singing.

Soldiers and militiamen ran bareheaded past Pierre toward the

"They are bringing her, our Protectress!... The Iberian Mother of
God!" someone cried.

"The Smolensk Mother of God," another corrected him.

The militiamen, both those who had been in the village and those who
had been at work on the battery, threw down their spades and ran to
meet the church procession. Following the battalion that marched along
the dusty road came priests in their vestments- one little old man
in a hood with attendants and singers. Behind them soldiers and
officers bore a large, dark-faced icon with an embossed metal cover.
This was the icon that had been brought from and had since accompanied
the army. Behind, before, and on both sides, crowds of militiamen with
bared heads walked, ran, and bowed to the ground.

At the summit of the hill they stopped with the icon; the men who
had been holding it up by the linen bands attached to it were relieved
by others, the chanters relit their censers, and service began. The
hot rays of the sun beat down vertically and a fresh soft wind
played with the hair of the bared heads and with the ribbons
decorating the icon. The singing did not sound loud under the open
sky. An immense crowd of bareheaded officers, soldiers, and militiamen
surrounded the icon. Behind the priest and a chanter stood the
notabilities on a spot reserved for them. A bald general with
general with a St. George's Cross on his neck stood just behind the
priest's back, and without crossing himself (he was evidently a
German) patiently awaited the end of the service, which he
considered it necessary to hear to the end, probably to arouse the
patriotism of the Russian people. Another general stood in a martial
pose, crossing himself by shaking his hand in front of his chest while
looking about him. Standing among the crowd of peasants, Pierre
recognized several acquaintances among these notables, but did not
look at them- his whole attention was absorbed in watching the serious
expression on the faces of the crowd of soldiers and militiamen who
were all gazing eagerly at the icon. As soon as the tired chanters,
who were singing the service for the twentieth time that day, began
lazily and mechanically to sing: "Save from calamity Thy servants, O
Mother of God," and the priest and deacon chimed in: "For to Thee
under God we all flee as to an inviolable bulwark and protection,"
there again kindled in all those faces the same expression of
consciousness of the solemnity of the impending moment that Pierre had
seen on the faces at the foot of the hill at Mozhaysk and
momentarily on many and many faces he had met that morning; and
heads were bowed more frequently and hair tossed back, and sighs and
the sound men made as they crossed themselves were heard.

The crowd round the icon suddenly parted and pressed against Pierre.
Someone, a very important personage judging by the haste with which
way was made for him, was approaching the icon.

It was Kutuzov, who had been riding round the position and on his
way back to Tatarinova had stopped where the service was being held.
Pierre recognized him at once by his peculiar figure, which
distinguished him from everybody else.

With a long overcoat on his his exceedingly stout,
round-shouldered body, with uncovered white head and puffy face
showing the white ball of the eye he had lost, Kutuzov walked with
plunging, swaying gait into the crowd and stopped behind the priest.
He crossed himself with an accustomed movement, bent till he touched
the ground with his hand, and bowed his white head with a deep sigh.
Behind Kutuzov was Bennigsen and the suite. Despite the presence of
the commander in chief, who attracted the attention of all the
superior officers, the militiamen and soldiers continued their prayers
without looking at him.

When the service was over, Kutuzov stepped up to the icon, sank
heavily to his knees, bowed to the ground, and for a long time tried
vainly to rise, but could not do so on account of his weakness and
weight. His white head twitched with the effort. At last he rose,
kissed the icon as a child does with naively pouting lips, and again
bowed till he touched the ground with his hand. The other generals
followed his example, then the officers, and after them with excited
faces, pressing on one another, crowding, panting, and pushing,
scrambled the soldiers and militiamen.


Staggering amid the crush, Pierre looked about him.

"Count Peter Kirilovich! How did you get here?" said a voice.

Pierre looked round. Boris Drubetskoy, brushing his knees with his
hand (he had probably soiled them when he, too, had knelt before the
icon), came up to him smiling. Boris was elegantly dressed, with a
slightly martial touch appropriate to a campaign. He wore a long
coat and like Kutuzov had a whip slung across his shoulder.

Meanwhile Kutuzov had reached the village and seated himself in
the shade of the nearest house, on a bench which one Cossack had run
to fetch and another had hastily covered with a rug. An immense and
brilliant suite surrounded him.

The icon was carried further, accompanied by the throng. Pierre
stopped some thirty paces from Kutuzov, talking to Boris.

He explained his wish to be present at the battle and to see the

"This is what you must do," said Boris. "I will do the honors of the
camp to you. You will see everything best from where Count Bennigsen
will be. I am in attendance on him, you know; I'll mention it to
him. But if you want to ride round the position, come along with us.
We are just going to the left flank. Then when we get back, do spend
the night with me and we'll arrange a game of cards. Of course you
know Dmitri Sergeevich? Those are his quarters," and he pointed to the
third house in the village of Gorki.

"But I should like to see the right flank. They say it's very
strong," said Pierre. "I should like to start from the Moskva River
and ride round the whole position."

"Well, you can do that later, but the chief thing is the left

"Yes, yes. But where is Prince Bolkonski's regiment? Can you point
it out to me?"

"Prince Andrew's? We shall pass it and I'll take you to him."

What about the left flank?" asked Pierre

"To tell you the truth, between ourselves, God only knows what state
our left flank is in," said Boris confidentially lowering his voice.
"It is not at all what Count Bennigsen intended. He meant to fortify
that knoll quite differently, but..." Boris shrugged his shoulders,
"his Serene Highness would not have it, or someone persuaded him.
You see..." but Boris did not finish, for at that moment Kaysarov,
Kutuzov's adjutant, came up to Pierre. "Ah, Kaysarov!" said Boris,
addressing him with an unembarrassed smile, "I was just trying to
explain our position to the count. It is amazing how his Serene
Highness could so the intentions of the French!"

"You mean the left flank?" asked Kaysarov.

"Yes, exactly; the left flank is now extremely strong."

Though Kutuzov had dismissed all unnecessary men from the staff,
Boris had contrived to remain at headquarters after the changes. He
had established himself with Count Bennigsen, who, like all on whom
Boris had been in attendance, considered young Prince Drubetskoy an
invaluable man.

In the higher command there were two sharply defined parties:
Kutuzov's party and that of Bennigsen, the chief of staff. Boris
belonged to the latter and no one else, while showing servile
respect to Kutuzov, could so create an impression that the old
fellow was not much good and that Bennigsen managed everything. Now
the decisive moment of battle had come when Kutuzov would be destroyed
and the power pass to Bennigsen, or even if Kutuzov won the battle
it would be felt that everything was done by Bennigsen. In any case
many great rewards would have to be given for tomorrow's action, and
new men would come to the front. So Boris was full of nervous vivacity
all day.

After Kaysarov, others whom Pierre knew came up to him, and he had
not time to reply to all the questions about Moscow that were showered
upon him, or to listen to all that was told him. The faces all
expressed animation and apprehension, but it seemed to Pierre that the
cause of the excitement shown in some of these faces lay chiefly in
questions of personal success; his mind, however, was occupied by
the different expression he saw on other faces- an expression that
spoke not of personal matters but of the universal questions of life
and death. Kutuzov noticed Pierre's figure and the group gathered
round him.

"Call him to me," said Kutuzov.

An adjutant told Pierre of his Serene Highness' wish, and Pierre
went toward Kutuzov's bench. But a militiaman got there before him. It
was Dolokhov.

"How did that fellow get here?" asked Pierre.

"He's a creature that wriggles in anywhere!" was the answer. "He has
been degraded, you know. Now he wants to bob up again. He's been
proposing some scheme or other and has crawled into the enemy's picket
line at night.... He's a brave fellow."

Pierre took off his hat and bowed respectfully to Kutuzov.

"I concluded that if I reported to your Serene Highness you might
send me away or say that you knew what I was reporting, but then I
shouldn't lose anything..." Dolokhov was saying.

"Yes, yes."

"But if I were right, I should be rendering a service to my
Fatherland for which I am ready to die."

"Yes, yes."

"And should your Serene Highness require a man who will not spare
his skin, please think of me.... Perhaps I may prove useful to your
Serene Highness."

"Yes... Yes..." Kutuzov repeated, his laughing eye narrowing more
and more as he looked at Pierre.

Just then Boris, with his courtierlike adroitness, stepped up to
Pierre's side near Kutuzov and in a most natural manner, without
raising his voice, said to Pierre, as though continuing an interrupted

"The militia have put on clean white shirts to be ready to die. What
heroism, Count!"

Boris evidently said this to Pierre in order to be overheard by
his Serene Highness. He knew Kutuzov's attention would be caught by
those words, and so it was.

"What are you saying about the militia?" he asked Boris.

"Preparing for tomorrow, your Serene Highness- for death- they
have put on clean shirts."

"Ah... a wonderful, a matchless people!" said Kutuzov; and he closed
his eyes and swayed his head. "A matchless people!" he repeated with a

"So you want to smell gunpowder?" he said to Pierre. "Yes, it's a
pleasant smell. I have the honor to be one of your wife's adorers.
Is she well? My quarters are at your service."

And as often happens with old people, Kutuzov began looking about
absent-mindedly as if forgetting all he wanted to say or do.

Then, evidently remembering what he wanted, he beckoned to Andrew
Kaysarov, his adjutant's brother.

"Those verses... those verses of Marin's... how do they go, eh?
Those he wrote about Gerakov: 'Lectures for the corps inditing'...
Recite them, recite them!" said he, evidently preparing to laugh.

Kaysarov recited.... Kutuzov smilingly nodded his head to the rhythm
of the verses.

When Pierre had left Kutuzov, Dolokhov came up to him and took his

"I am very glad to meet you here, Count," he said aloud,
regardless of the presence of strangers and in a particularly resolute
and solemn tone. "On the eve of a day when God alone knows who of us
is fated to survive, I am glad of this opportunity to tell you that
I regret the misunderstandings that occurred between us and should
wish you not to have any ill feeling for me. I beg you to forgive me."

Pierre looked at Dolokhov with a smile, not knowing what to say to
him. With tears in his eyes Dolokhov embraced Pierre and kissed him.

Boris said a few words to his general, and Count Bennigsen turned to
Pierre and proposed that he should ride with him along the line.

"It will interest you," said he.

"Yes, very much," replied Pierre.

Half an hour later Kutuzov left for Tatarinova, and Bennigsen and
his suite, with Pierre among them, set out on their ride along the


From Gorki, Bennigsen descended the highroad to the bridge which,
when they had looked it from the hill, the officer had pointed out
as being the center of our position and where rows of fragrant
new-mown hay lay by the riverside. They rode across that bridge into
the village of Borodino and thence turned to the left, passing an
enormous number of troops and guns, and came to a high knoll where
militiamen were digging. This was the redoubt, as yet unnamed, which
afterwards became known as the Raevski Redoubt, or the Knoll
Battery, but Pierre paid no special attention to it. He did not know
that it would become more memorable to him than any other spot on
the plain of Borodino.

They then crossed the hollow to Semenovsk, where the soldiers were
dragging away the last logs from the huts and barns. Then they rode
downhill and uphill, across a ryefield trodden and beaten down as if
by hail, following a track freshly made by the artillery over the
furrows of the plowed land, and reached some fleches* which were still
being dug.

*A kind of entrenchment.

At the fleches Bennigsen stopped and began looking at the Shevardino
Redoubt opposite, which had been ours the day before and where several
horsemen could be descried. The officers said that either Napoleon
or Murat was there, and they all gazed eagerly at this little group of
horsemen. Pierre also looked at them, trying to guess which of the
scarcely discernible figures was Napoleon. At last those mounted men
rode away from the mound and disappeared.

Bennigsen spoke to a general who approached him, and began
explaining the whole position of our troops. Pierre listened to him,
straining each faculty to understand the essential points of the
impending battle, but was mortified to feel that his mental capacity
was inadequate for the task. He could make nothing of it. Bennigsen
stopped speaking and, noticing that Pierre was listening, suddenly
said to him:

"I don't think this interests you?"

"On the contrary it's very interesting!" replied Pierre not quite

From the fleches they rode still farther to the left, along a road
winding through a thick, low-growing birch wood. In the middle of
the wood a brown hare with white feet sprang out and, scared by the
tramp of the many horses, grew so confused that it leaped along the
road in front of them for some time, arousing general attention and
laughter, and only when several voices shouted at it did it dart to
one side and disappear in the thicket. After going through the wood
for about a mile and a half they came out on a glade where troops of
Tuchkov's corps were stationed to defend the left flank.

Here, at the extreme left flank, Bennigsen talked a great deal and
with much heat, and, as it seemed to Pierre, gave orders of great
military importance. In front of Tuchkov's troops was some high ground
not occupied by troops. Bennigsen loudly criticized this mistake,
saying that it was madness to leave a height which commanded the
country around unoccupied and to place troops below it. Some of the
generals expressed the same opinion. One in particular declared with
martial heat that they were put there to be slaughtered. Bennigsen
on his own authority ordered the troops to occupy the high ground.
This disposition on the left flank increased Pierre's doubt of his own
capacity to understand military matters. Listening to Bennigsen and
the generals criticizing the position of the troops behind the hill,
he quite understood them and shared their opinion, but for that very
reason he could not understand how the man who put them there behind
the hill could have made so gross and palpable a blunder.

Pierre did not know that these troops were not, as Bennigsen
supposed, put there to defend the position, but were in a concealed
position as an ambush, that they should not be seen and might be
able to strike an approaching enemy unexpectedly. Bennigsen did not
know this and moved the troops forward according to his own ideas
without mentioning the matter to the commander in chief.


On that bright evening of August 25, Prince Andrew lay leaning on
his elbow in a broken-down shed in the village of Knyazkovo at the
further end of his regiment's encampment. Through a gap in the
broken wall he could see, beside the wooden fence, a row of thirty
year-old birches with their lower branches lopped off, a field on
which shocks of oats were standing, and some bushes near which rose
the smoke of campfires- the soldiers' kitchens.

Narrow and burdensome and useless to anyone as his life now seemed
to him, Prince Andrew on the eve of battle felt agitated and irritable
as he had done seven years before at Austerlitz.

He had received and given the orders for next day's battle and had
nothing more to do. But his thoughts- the simplest, clearest, and
therefore most terrible thoughts- would give him no peace. He knew
that tomorrow's battle would be the most terrible of all he had
taken part in, and for the first time in his life the possibility of
death presented itself to him- not in relation to any worldly matter
or with reference to its effect on others, but simply in relation to
himself, to his own soul- vividly, plainly, terribly, and almost as
a certainty. And from the height of this perception all that had
previously tormented and preoccupied him suddenly became illumined
by a cold white light without shadows, without perspective, without
distinction of outline. All life appeared to him like magic-lantern
pictures at which he had long been gazing by artificial light
through a glass. Now he suddenly saw those badly daubed pictures in
clear daylight and without a glass. "Yes, yes! There they are, those
false images that agitated, enraptured, and tormented me," said he
to himself, passing in review the principal pictures of the magic
lantern of life and regarding them now in the cold white daylight of
his clear perception of death. "There they are, those rudely painted
figures that once seemed splendid and mysterious. Glory, the good of
society, love of a woman, the Fatherland itself- how important these
pictures appeared to me, with what profound meaning they seemed to
be filled! And it is all so simple, pale, and crude in the cold
white light of this morning which I feel is dawning for me." The three
great sorrows of his life held his attention in particular: his love
for a woman, his father's death, and the French invasion which had
overrun half Russia. "Love... that little girl who seemed to me
brimming over with mystic forces! Yes, indeed, I loved her. I made
romantic plans of love and happiness with her! Oh, what a boy I
was!" he said aloud bitterly. "Ah me! I believed in some ideal love
which was to keep her faithful to me for the whole year of my absence!
Like the gentle dove in the fable she was to pine apart from me....
But it was much simpler really.... It was all very simple and

"When my father built Bald Hills he thought the place was his: his
land, his air, his peasants. But Napoleon came and swept him aside,
unconscious of his existence, as he might brush a chip from his
path, and his Bald Hills and his whole life fell to pieces. Princess
Mary says it is a trial sent from above. What is the trial for, when
he is not here and will never return? He is not here! For whom then is
the trial intended? The Fatherland, the destruction of Moscow! And
tomorrow I shall be killed, perhaps not even by a Frenchman but by one
of our own men, by a soldier discharging a musket close to my ear as
one of them did yesterday, and the French will come and take me by
head and heels and fling me into a hole that I may not stink under
their noses, and new conditions of life will arise, which will seem
quite ordinary to others and about which I shall know nothing. I shall
not exist..."

He looked at the row of birches shining in the sunshine, with
their motionless green and yellow foliage and white bark. "To die...
to be killed tomorrow... That I should not exist... That all this
should still be, but no me...."

And the birches with their light and shade, the curly clouds, the
smoke of the campfires, and all that was around him changed and seemed
terrible and menacing. A cold shiver ran down his spine. He rose
quickly, went out of the shed, and began to walk about.

After he had returned, voices were heard outside the shed. "Who's
that?" he cried.

The red-nosed Captain Timokhin, formerly Dolokhov's squadron
commander, but now from lack of officers a battalion commander,
shyly entered the shed followed by an adjutant and the regimental

Prince Andrew rose hastily, listened to the business they had come
about, gave them some further instructions, and was about to dismiss
them when he heard a familiar, lisping, voice behind the shed.

"Devil take it!" said the voice of a man stumbling over something.

Prince Andrew looked out of the shed and saw Pierre, who had tripped
over a pole on the ground and had nearly fallen, coming his way. It
was unpleasant to Prince Andrew to meet people of his own set in
general, and Pierre especially, for he reminded him of all the painful
moments of his last visit to Moscow.

"You? What a surprise!" said he. "What brings you here? This is

As he said this his eyes and face expressed more than coldness- they
expressed hostility, which Pierre noticed at once. He had approached
the shed full of animation, but on seeing Prince Andrew's face he felt
constrained and ill at ease.

"I have come... simply... you know... come... it interests me," said
Pierre, who had so often that day senselessly repeated that word
"interesting." "I wish to see the battle."

"Oh yes, and what do the Masonic brothers say about war? How would
they stop it?" said Prince Andrew sarcastically. "Well, and how's
Moscow? And my people? Have they reached Moscow at last?" he asked

"Yes, they have. Julie Drubetskaya told me so. I went to see them,
but missed them. They have gone to your estate near Moscow."


The officers were about to take leave, but Prince Andrew, apparently
reluctant to be left alone with his friend, asked them to stay and
have tea. Seats were brought in and so was the tea. The officers gazed
with surprise at Pierre's huge stout figure and listened to his talk
of Moscow and the position of our army, round which he had ridden.
Prince Andrew remained silent, and his expression was so forbidding
that Pierre addressed his remarks chiefly to the good-natured
battalion commander.

"So you understand the whole position of our troops?" Prince
Andrew interrupted him.

"Yes- that is, how do you mean?" said Pierre. "Not being a
military man I can't say I have understood it fully, but I
understand the general position."

"Well, then, you know more than anyone else, be it who it may," said
Prince Andrew.

"Oh!" said Pierre, looking over his spectacles in perplexity at
Prince Andrew. "Well, and what do think of Kutuzov's appointment?"
he asked.

"I was very glad of his appointment, that's all I know," replied
Prince Andrew.

"And tell me your opinion of Barclay de Tolly. In Moscow they are
saying heaven knows what about him.... What do you think of him?"

"Ask them," replied Prince Andrew, indicating the officers.

Pierre looked at Timokhin with the condescendingly interrogative
smile with which everybody involuntarily addressed that officer.

"We see light again, since his Serenity has been appointed, your
excellency," said Timokhin timidly, and continually turning to
glance at his colonel.

"Why so?" asked Pierre.

"Well, to mention only firewood and fodder, let me inform you.
Why, when we were retreating from Sventsyani we dare not touch a stick
or a wisp of hay or anything. You see, we were going away, so he would
get it all; wasn't it so, your excellency?" and again Timokhin
turned to the prince. "But we daren't. In our regiment two officers
were court-martialed for that kind of thing. But when his Serenity
took command everything became straight forward. Now we see light..."

"Then why was it forbidden?"

Timokhin looked about in confusion, not knowing what or how to
answer such a question. Pierre put the same question to Prince Andrew.

"Why, so as not to lay waste the country we were abandoning to the
enemy," said Prince Andrew with venomous irony. "It is very sound: one
can't permit the land to be pillaged and accustom the troops to
marauding. At Smolensk too he judged correctly that the French might
outflank us, as they had larger forces. But he could not understand
this," cried Prince Andrew in a shrill voice that seemed to escape him
involuntarily: "he could not understand that there, for the first
time, we were fighting for Russian soil, and that there was a spirit
in the men such as I had never seen before, that we had held the
French for two days, and that that success had increased our
strength tenfold. He ordered us to retreat, and all our efforts and
losses went for nothing. He had no thought of betraying us, he tried
to do the best he could, he thought out everything, and that is why he
is unsuitable. He is unsuitable now, just because he plans out
everything very thoroughly and accurately as every German has to.
How can I explain?... Well, say your father has a German valet, and he
is a splendid valet and satisfies your father's requirements better
than you could, then it's all right to let him serve. But if your
father is mortally sick you'll send the valet away and attend to
your father with your own unpracticed, awkward hands, and will
soothe him better than a skilled man who is a stranger could. So it
has been with Barclay. While Russia was well, a foreigner could
serve her and be a splendid minister; but as soon as she is in
danger she needs one of her own kin. But in your Club they have been
making him out a traitor! They slander him as a traitor, and the
only result will be that afterwards, ashamed of their false
accusations, they will make him out a hero or a genius instead of a
traitor, and that will be still more unjust. He is an honest and
very punctilious German."

"And they say he's a skillful commander," rejoined Pierre.

"I don't understand what is meant by 'a skillful commander,'"
replied Prince Andrew ironically.

"A skillful commander?" replied Pierre. "Why, one who foresees all
contingencies... and foresees the adversary's intentions."

"But that's impossible," said Prince Andrew as if it were a matter
settled long ago.

Pierre looked at him in surprise.

"And yet they say that war is like a game of chess?" he remarked.

"Yes," replied Prince Andrew, "but with this little difference, that
in chess you may think over each move as long as you please and are
not limited for time, and with this difference too, that a knight is
always stronger than a pawn, and two pawns are always stronger than
one, while in war a battalion is sometimes stronger than a division
and sometimes weaker than a company. The relative strength of bodies
of troops can never be known to anyone. Believe me," he went on, "if
things depended on arrangements made by the staff, I should be there
making arrangements, but instead of that I have the honor to serve
here in the regiment with these gentlemen, and I consider that on us
tomorrow's battle will depend and not on those others.... Success
never depends, and never will depend, on position, or equipment, or
even on numbers, and least of all on position."

"But on what then?"

"On the feeling that is in me and in him," he pointed to Timokhin,
"and in each soldier."

Prince Andrew glanced at Timokhin, who looked at his commander in
alarm and bewilderment. In contrast to his former reticent taciturnity
Prince Andrew now seemed excited. He could apparently not refrain from
expressing the thoughts that had suddenly occurred to him.

"A battle is won by those who firmly resolve to win it! Why did we
lose the battle at Austerlitz? The French losses were almost equal
to ours, but very early we said to ourselves that we were losing the
battle, and we did lose it. And we said so because we had nothing to
fight for there, we wanted to get away from the battlefield as soon as
we could. 'We've lost, so let us run,' and we ran. If we had not
said that till the evening, heaven knows what might not have happened.
But tomorrow we shan't say it! You talk about our position, the left
flank weak and the right flank too extended," he went on. "That's
all nonsense, there's nothing of the kind. But what awaits us
tomorrow? A hundred million most diverse chances which will be decided
on the instant by the fact that our men or theirs run or do not run,
and that this man or that man is killed, but all that is being done at
present is only play. The fact is that those men with whom you have
ridden round the position not only do not help matters, but hinder.
They are only concerned with their own petty interests."

"At such a moment?" said Pierre reproachfully.

"At such a moment!" Prince Andrew repeated. "To them it is only a
moment affording opportunities to undermine a rival and obtain an
extra cross or ribbon. For me tomorrow means this: a Russian army of a
hundred thousand and a French army of a hundred thousand have met to
fight, and the thing is that these two hundred thousand men will fight
and the side that fights more fiercely and spares itself least will
win. And if you like I will tell you that whatever happens and
whatever muddles those at the top may make, we shall win tomorrow's
battle. Tomorrow, happen what may, we shall win!"

"There now, your excellency! That's the truth, the real truth," said
Timokhin. "Who would spare himself now? The soldiers in my
battalion, believe me, wouldn't drink their vodka! 'It's not the day
for that!' they say."

All were silent. The officers rose. Prince Andrew went out of the
shed with them, giving final orders to the adjutant. After they had
gone Pierre approached Prince Andrew and was about to start a
conversation when they heard the clatter of three horses' hoofs on the
road not far from the shed, and looking in that direction Prince
Andrew recognized Wolzogen and Clausewitz accompanied by a Cossack.
They rode close by continuing to converse, and Prince Andrew
involuntarily heard these words:

"Der Krieg muss in Raum verlegt werden. Der Ansicht kann ich nicht
genug Preis geben,"* said one of them.

*"The war must be extended widely. I cannot sufficiently commend
that view."

"Oh, ja," said the other, "der Zweck ist nur den Feind zu schwachen,
so kann man gewiss nicht den Verlust der Privat-Personen in Achtung

*"Oh, yes, the only aim is to weaken the enemy, so of course one
cannot take into account the loss of private individuals."

"Oh, no," agreed the other.

"Extend widely!" said Prince Andrew with an angry snort, when they
had ridden past. "In that 'extend' were my father, son, and sister, at
Bald Hills. That's all the same to him! That's what I was saying to
you- those German gentlemen won't win the battle tomorrow but will
only make all the mess they can, because they have nothing in their
German heads but theories not worth an empty eggshell and haven't in
their hearts the one thing needed tomorrow- that which Timokhin has.
They have yielded up all Europe to him, and have now come to teach us.
Fine teachers!" and again his voice grew shrill.

"So you think we shall win tomorrow's battle?" asked Pierre.

"Yes, yes," answered Prince Andrew absently. "One thing I would do
if I had the power," he began again, "I would not take prisoners.
Why take prisoners? It's chivalry! The French have destroyed my home
and are on their way to destroy Moscow, they have outraged and are
outraging me every moment. They are my enemies. In my opinion they are
all criminals. And so thinks Timokhin and the whole army. They
should be executed! Since they are my foes they cannot be my
friends, whatever may have been said at Tilsit."

"Yes, yes," muttered Pierre, looking with shining eyes at Prince
Andrew. "I quite agree with you!"

The question that had perturbed Pierre on the Mozhaysk hill and
all that day now seemed to him quite clear and completely solved. He
now understood the whole meaning and importance of this war and of the
impending battle. All he had seen that day, all the significant and
stern expressions on the faces he had seen in passing, were lit up for
him by a new light. He understood that latent heat (as they say in
physics) of patriotism which was present in all these men he had seen,
and this explained to him why they all prepared for death calmly,
and as it were lightheartedly.

"Not take prisoners," Prince Andrew continued: "That by itself would
quite change the whole war and make it less cruel. As it is we have
played at war- that's what's vile! We play at magnanimity and all that
stuff. Such magnanimity and sensibility are like the magnanimity and
sensibility of a lady who faints when she sees a calf being killed:
she is so kind-hearted that she can't look at blood, but enjoys eating
the calf served up with sauce. They talk to us of the rules of war, of
chivalry, of flags of truce, of mercy to the unfortunate and so on.
It's all rubbish! I saw chivalry and flags of truce in 1805; they
humbugged us and we humbugged them. They plunder other people's
houses, issue false paper money, and worst of all they kill my
children and my father, and then talk of rules of war and
magnanimity to foes! Take no prisoners, but kill and be killed! He who
has come to this as I have through the same sufferings..."

Prince Andrew, who had thought it was all the same to him whether or
not Moscow was taken as Smolensk had been, was suddenly checked in his
speech by an unexpected cramp in his throat. He paced up and down a
few times in silence, but his eyes glittered feverishly and his lips
quivered as he began speaking.

"If there was none of this magnanimity in war, we should go to war
only when it was worth while going to certain death, as now. Then
there would not be war because Paul Ivanovich had offended Michael
Ivanovich. And when there was a war, like this one, it would be war!
And then the determination of the troops would be quite different.
Then all these Westphalians and Hessians whom Napoleon is leading
would not follow him into Russia, and we should not go to fight in
Austria and Prussia without knowing why. War is not courtesy but the
most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that and not
play at war. We ought to accept this terrible necessity sternly and
seriously. It all lies in that: get rid of falsehood and let war be
war and not a game. As it is now, war is the favorite pastime of the
idle and frivolous. The military calling is the most highly honored.

"But what is war? What is needed for success in warfare? What are
the habits of the military? The aim of war is murder; the methods of
war are spying, treachery, and their encouragement, the ruin of a
country's inhabitants, robbing them or stealing to provision the army,
and fraud and falsehood termed military craft. The habits of the
military class are the absence of freedom, that is, discipline,
idleness, ignorance, cruelty, debauchery, and drunkenness. And in
spite of all this it is the highest class, respected by everyone.
All the kings, except the Chinese, wear military uniforms, and he
who kills most people receives the highest rewards.

"They meet, as we shall meet tomorrow, to murder one another; they
kill and maim tens of thousands, and then have thanksgiving services
for having killed so many people (they even exaggerate the number),
and they announce a victory, supposing that the more people they
have killed the greater their achievement. How does God above look
at them and hear them?" exclaimed Prince Andrew in a shrill,
piercing voice. "Ah, my friend, it has of late become hard for me to
live. I see that I have begun to understand too much. And it doesn't
do for man to taste of the tree of knowledge of good and evil....
Ah, well, it's not for long!" he added.

"However, you're sleepy, and it's time for me to sleep. Go back to
Gorki!" said Prince Andrew suddenly.

"Oh no!" Pierre replied, looking at Prince Andrew with frightened,
compassionate eyes.

"Go, go! Before a battle one must have one's sleep out," repeated
Prince Andrew.

He came quickly up to Pierre and embraced and kissed him.
"Good-by, be off!" he shouted. "Whether we meet again or not..."
and turning away hurriedly he entered the shed.

It was already dark, and Pierre could not make out whether the
expression of Prince Andrew's face was angry or tender.

For some time he stood in silence considering whether he should
follow him or go away. "No, he does not want it!" Pierre concluded.
"And I know that this is our last meeting!" He sighed deeply and
rode back to Gorki.

On re-entering the shed Prince Andrew lay down on a rug, but he
could not sleep.

He closed his eyes. One picture succeeded another in his
imagination. On one of them he dwelt long and joyfully. He vividly
recalled an evening in Petersburg. Natasha with animated and excited
face was telling him how she had gone to look for mushrooms the
previous summer and had lost her way in the big forest. She
incoherently described the depths of the forest, her feelings, and a
talk with a beekeeper she met, and constantly interrupted her story to
say: "No, I can't! I'm not telling it right; no, you don't
understand," though he encouraged her by saying that he did
understand, and he really had understood all she wanted to say. But
Natasha was not satisfied with her own words: she felt that they did
not convey the passionately poetic feeling she had experienced that
day and wished to convey. "He was such a delightful old man, and it
was so dark in the forest... and he had such kind... No, I can't
describe it," she had said, flushed and excited. Prince Andrew
smiled now the same happy smile as then when he had looked into her
eyes. "I understood her," he thought. "I not only understood her,
but it was just that inner, spiritual force, that sincerity, that
frankness of soul- that very soul of hers which seemed to be
fettered by her body- it was that soul I loved in her... loved so
strongly and happily..." and suddenly he remembered how his love had
ended. "He did not need anything of that kind. He neither saw nor
understood anything of the sort. He only saw in her a pretty and fresh
young girl, with whom he did not deign to unite his fate. And I?...
and he is still alive and gay!"

Prince Andrew jumped up as if someone had burned him, and again
began pacing up and down in front of the shed.


On August 25, the eve of the battle of Borodino, M. de Beausset,
prefect of the French Emperor's palace, arrived at Napoleon's quarters
at Valuevo with Colonel Fabvier, the former from Paris and the
latter from Madrid.

Donning his court uniform, M. de Beausset ordered a box he had
brought for the Emperor to be carried before him and entered the first
compartment of Napoleon's tent, where he began opening the box while
conversing with Napoleon's aides-de-camp who surrounded him.

Fabvier, not entering the tent, remained at the entrance talking
to some generals of his acquaintance.

The Emperor Napoleon had not yet left his bedroom and was
finishing his toilet. Slightly snorting and grunting, he presented now
his back and now his plump hairy chest to the brush with which his
valet was rubbing him down. Another valet, with his finger over the
mouth of a bottle, was sprinkling Eau de Cologne on the Emperor's
pampered body with an expression which seemed to say that he alone
knew where and how much Eau de Cologne should be sprinkled. Napoleon's
short hair was wet and matted on the forehead, but his face, though
puffy and yellow, expressed physical satisfaction. "Go on, harder,
go on!" he muttered to the valet who was rubbing him, slightly
twitching and grunting. An aide-de-camp, who had entered the bedroom
to report to the Emperor the number of prisoners taken in
yesterday's action, was standing by the door after delivering his
message, awaiting permission to withdraw. Napoleon, frowning, looked
at him from under his brows.

"No prisoners!" said he, repeating the aide-de-camp's words. "They
are forcing us to exterminate them. So much the worse for the
Russian army.... Go on... harder, harder!" he muttered, hunching his
back and presenting his fat shoulders.

"All right. Let Monsieur de Beausset enter, and Fabvier too," he
said, nodding to the aide-de-camp.

"Yes, sire," and the aide-de-camp disappeared through the door of
the tent.

Two valets rapidly dressed His Majesty, and wearing the blue uniform
of the Guards he went with firm quick steps to the reception room.

De Beausset's hands meanwhile were busily engaged arranging the
present he had brought from the Empress, on two chairs directly in
front of the entrance. But Napoleon had dressed and come out with such
unexpected rapidity that he had not time to finish arranging the

Napoleon noticed at once what they were about and guessed that
they were not ready. He did not wish to deprive them of the pleasure
of giving him a surprise, so he pretended not to see de Beausset and
called Fabvier to him, listening silently and with a stern frown to
what Fabvier told him of the heroism and devotion of his troops
fighting at Salamanca, at the other end of Europe, with but one
thought- to be worthy of their Emperor- and but one fear- to fail to
please him. The result of that battle had been deplorable. Napoleon
made ironic remarks during Fabvier's account, as if he had not
expected that matters could go otherwise in his absence.

"I must make up for that in Moscow," said Napoleon. "I'll see you
later," he added, and summoned de Beausset, who by that time had
prepared the surprise, having placed something on the chairs and
covered it with a cloth.

De Beausset bowed low, with that courtly French bow which only the
old retainers of the Bourbons knew how to make, and approached him,
presenting an envelope.

Napoleon turned to him gaily and pulled his ear.

"You have hurried here. I am very glad. Well, what is Paris saying?"
he asked, suddenly changing his former stern expression for a most
cordial tone.

"Sire, all Paris regrets your absence," replied de Beausset as was

But though Napoleon knew that de Beausset had to say something of
this kind, and though in his lucid moments he knew it was untrue, he
was pleased to hear it from him. Again he honored him by touching
his ear.

"I am very sorry to have made you travel so far," said he.

"Sire, I expected nothing less than to find you at the gates of
Moscow," replied de Beausset.

Napoleon smiled and, lifting his head absentmindedly, glanced to the
right. An aide-de-camp approached with gliding steps and offered him a
gold snuffbox, which he took.

"Yes, it has happened luckily for you," he said, raising the open
snuffbox to his nose. "You are fond of travel, and in three days you
will see Moscow. You surely did not expect to see that Asiatic
capital. You will have a pleasant journey."

De Beausset bowed gratefully at this regard for his taste for travel
(of which he had not till then been aware).

"Ha, what's this?" asked Napoleon, noticing that all the courtiers
were looking at something concealed under a cloth.

With courtly adroitness de Beausset half turned and without
turning his back to the Emperor retired two steps, twitching off the
cloth at the same time, and said:

"A present to Your Majesty from the Empress."

It was a portrait, painted in bright colors by Gerard, of the son
borne to Napoleon by the daughter of the Emperor of Austria, the boy
whom for some reason everyone called "The King of Rome."

A very pretty curly-headed boy with a look of the Christ in the
Sistine Madonna was depicted playing at stick and ball. The ball
represented the terrestrial globe and the stick in his other hand a

Though it was not clear what the artist meant to express by
depicting the so-called King of Rome spiking the earth with a stick,
the allegory apparently seemed to Napoleon, as it had done to all
who had seen it in Paris, quite clear and very pleasing.

"The King of Rome!" he said, pointing to the portrait with a
graceful gesture. "Admirable!"

With the natural capacity of an Italian for changing the
expression of his face at will, he drew nearer to the portrait and
assumed a look of pensive tenderness. He felt that what he now said
and did would be historical, and it seemed to him that it would now be
best for him- whose grandeur enabled his son to play stick and ball
with the terrestrial globe- to show, in contrast to that grandeur, the
simplest paternal tenderness. His eyes grew dim, he moved forward,
glanced round at a chair (which seemed to place itself under him), and
sat down on it before the portrait. At a single gesture from him
everyone went out on tiptoe, leaving the great man to himself and
his emotion.

Having sat still for a while he touched- himself not knowing why-
the thick spot of paint representing the highest light in the
portrait, rose, and recalled de Beausset and the officer on duty. He
ordered the portrait to be carried outside his tent, that the Old
Guard, stationed round it, might not be deprived of the pleasure of
seeing the King of Rome, the son and heir of their adored monarch.

And while he was doing M. de Beausset the honor of breakfasting with
him, they heard, as Napoleon had anticipated, the rapturous cries of
the officers and men of the Old Guard who had run up to see the

"Vive l'Empereur! Vive le roi de Rome! Vive l'Empereur!" came
those ecstatic cries.

After breakfast Napoleon in de Beausset's presence dictated his
order of the day to the army.

"Short and energetic!" he remarked when he had read over the
proclamation which he had dictated straight off without corrections.
It ran:

Soldiers! This is the battle you have so longed for. Victory depends
on you. It is essential for us; it will give us all we need:
comfortable quarters and a speedy return to our country. Behave as you
did at Austerlitz, Friedland, Vitebsk, and Smolensk. Let our
remotest posterity recall your achievements this day with pride. Let
it be said of each of you: "He was in the great battle before Moscow!"

"Before Moscow!" repeated Napoleon, and inviting M. de Beausset, who
was so fond of travel, to accompany him on his ride, he went out of
the tent to where the horses stood saddled.

"Your Majesty is too kind!" replied de Beausset to the invitation to
accompany the Emperor; he wanted to sleep, did not know how to ride
and was afraid of doing so.

But Napoleon nodded to the traveler, and de Beausset had to mount.
When Napoleon came out of the tent the shouting of the Guards before
his son's portrait grew still louder. Napoleon frowned.

"Take him away!" he said, pointing with a gracefully majestic
gesture to the portrait. "It is too soon for him to see a field of

De Beausset closed his eyes, bowed his head, and sighed deeply, to
indicate how profoundly he valued and comprehended the Emperor's


On the twenty-fifth of August, so his historians tell us, Napoleon
spent the whole day on horseback inspecting the locality,
considering plans submitted to him by his marshals, and personally
giving commands to his generals.

The original line of the Russian forces along the river Kolocha
had been dislocated by the capture of the Shevardino Redoubt on the
twenty-fourth, and part of the line- the left flank- had been drawn
back. That part of the line was not entrenched and in front of it
the ground was more open and level than elsewhere. It was evident to
anyone, military or not, that it was here the French should attack. It
would seem that not much consideration was needed to reach this
conclusion, nor any particular care or trouble on the part of the
Emperor and his marshals, nor was there any need of that special and
supreme quality called genius that people are so apt to ascribe to
Napoleon; yet the historians who described the event later and the men
who then surrounded Napoleon, and he himself, thought otherwise.

Napoleon 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 d'Eckmuhl, 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 d'Eckmuhl 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 Campan's division and all
the howitzers of Dessaix's and Friant's divisions, will move
forward, open fire, and overwhelm with shellfire the enemy's
battery, against which will operate:

24 guns of the artillery of the Guards
30 guns of Campan's division

and 8 guns of Friant's and Dessaix's 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 Guard's 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 enemy's 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 enemy's movements.

The cannonade on the left flank will begin as soon as the guns of
the right wing are heard. The sharpshooters of Morand's division and
of the vice-King's 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 Morand's and Gibrard's
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 Napoleon's 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 Napoleon's 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
did not turn the Russian position.

The third order was: General Campan will move through the wood to
seize the first fortification. General Campan's division did not seize
the first fortification but was driven back, for on emerging from
the wood it had to reform under grapeshot, of which Napoleon was

The fourth order was: The vice-King will occupy the village
(Borodino) and cross by its three bridges, advancing to the same
heights as Morand's and Gdrard's divisions (for whose movements no
directions are given), which under his leadership will be directed
against the redoubt and come into line with the rest of the forces.

As far as one can make out, not so much from this unintelligible
sentence as from the attempts the vice-King made to execute the orders
given him, he was to advance from the left through Borodino to the
redoubt while the divisions of Morand and Gerard were to advance
simultaneously from the front.

All this, like the other parts of the disposition, was not and could
not be executed. After passing through Borodino the vice-King was
driven back to the Kolocha and could get no farther; while the
divisions of Morand and Gerard did not take the redoubt but were
driven back, and the redoubt was only taken at the end of the battle
by the cavalry (a thing probably unforeseen and not heard of by
Napoleon). So not one of the orders in the disposition was, or could
be, executed. But in the disposition it is said that, after the
fight has commenced in this manner, orders will be given in accordance
with the enemy's movements, and so it might be supposed that all
necessary arrangements would be made by Napoleon during the battle.
But this was not and could not be done, for during the whole battle
Napoleon was so far away that, as appeared later, he could not know
the course of the battle and not one of his orders during the fight
could be executed.


Many historians say that the French did not win the battle of
Borodino because Napoleon had a cold, and that if he had not had a
cold the orders he gave before and during the battle would have been
still more full of genius and Russia would have been lost and the face
of the world have been changed. To historians who believe that
Russia was shaped by the will of one man- Peter the Great- and that
France from a republic became an empire and French armies went to
Russia at the will of one man- Napoleon- to say that Russia remained a
power because Napoleon had a bad cold on the twenty-fourth of August
may seem logical and convincing.

If it had depended on Napoleon's will to fight or not to fight the
battle of Borodino, and if this or that other arrangement depended
on his will, then evidently a cold affecting the manifestation of
his will might have saved Russia, and consequently the valet who
omitted to bring Napoleon his waterproof boots on the twenty-fourth
would have been the savior of Russia. Along that line of thought
such a deduction is indubitable, as indubitable as the deduction
Voltaire made in jest (without knowing what he was jesting at) when he
saw that the Massacre of St. Bartholomew was due to Charles IX's
stomach being deranged. But to men who do not admit that Russia was
formed by the will of one man, Peter I, or that the French Empire
was formed and the war with Russia begun by the will of one man,
Napoleon, that argument seems not merely untrue and irrational, but
contrary to all human reality. To the question of what causes historic
events another answer presents itself, namely, that the course of
human events is predetermined from on high- depends on the coincidence
of the wills of all who take part in the events, and that a Napoleon's
influence on the course of these events is purely external and

Strange as at first glance it may seem to suppose that the
Massacre of St. Bartholomew was not due to Charles IX's will, though
he gave the order for it and thought it was done as a result of that
order; and strange as it may seem to suppose that the slaughter of
eighty thousand men at Borodino was not due to Napoleon's will, though
he ordered the commencement and conduct of the battle and thought it
was done because he ordered it; strange as these suppositions
appear, yet human dignity- which tells me that each of us is, if not
more at least not less a man than the great Napoleon- demands the
acceptance of that solution of the question, and historic
investigation abundantly confirms it.

At the battle of Borodino Napoleon shot at no one and killed no one.
That was all done by the soldiers. Therefore it was not he who
killed people.

The French soldiers went to kill and be killed at the battle of
Borodino not because of Napoleon's orders but by their own volition.
The whole army- French, Italian, German, Polish, and Dutch- hungry,
ragged, and weary of the campaign, felt at the sight of an army
blocking their road to Moscow that the wine was drawn and must be
drunk. Had Napoleon then forbidden them to fight the Russians, they
would have killed him and have proceeded to fight the Russians because
it was inevitable.

When they heard Napoleon's proclamation offering them, as
compensation for mutilation and death, the words of posterity about
their having been in the battle before Moscow, they cried "Vive
l'Empereur!" just as they had cried "Vive l'Empereur!" at the sight of
the portrait of the boy piercing the terrestrial globe with a toy
stick, and just as they would have cried "Vive l'Empereur!" at any
nonsense that might be told them. There was nothing left for them to
do but cry "Vive l'Empereur!" and go to fight, in order to get food
and rest as conquerors in Moscow. So it was not because of
Napoleon's commands that they killed their fellow men.

And it was not Napoleon who directed the course of the battle, for
none of his orders were executed and during the battle he did not know
what was going on before him. So the way in which these people
killed one another was not decided by Napoleon's will but occurred
independently of him, in accord with the will of hundreds of thousands
of people who took part in the common action. It only seemed to
Napoleon that it all took place by his will. And so the question
whether he had or had not a cold has no more historic interest than
the cold of the least of the transport soldiers.

Moreover, the assertion made by various writers that his cold was
the cause of his dispositions not being as well planned as on former
occasions, and of his orders during the battle not being as good as
previously, is quite baseless, which again shows that Napoleon's
cold on the twenty-sixth of August was unimportant.

The dispositions cited above are not at all worse, but are even
better, than previous dispositions by which he had won victories.
His pseudo-orders during the battle were also no worse than
formerly, but much the same as usual. These dispositions and orders
only seem worse than previous ones because the battle of Borodino
was the first Napoleon did not win. The profoundest and most excellent
dispositions and orders seem very bad, and every learned militarist
criticizes them with looks of importance, when they relate to a
battle that has been lost, and the very worst dispositions and
orders seem very good, and serious people fill whole volumes to
demonstrate their merits, when they relate to a battle that has been

The dispositions drawn up by Weyrother for the battle of
Austerlitz were a model of perfection for that kind of composition,
but still they were criticized- criticized for their very
perfection, for their excessive minuteness.

Napoleon at the battle of Borodino fulfilled his office as
representative of authority as well as, and even better than, at other
battles. He did nothing harmful to the progress of the battle; he
inclined to the most reasonable opinions, he made no confusion, did
not contradict himself, did not get frightened or run away from the
field of battle, but with his great tact and military experience
carried out his role of appearing to command, calmly and with dignity.


On returning from a second inspection of the lines, Napoleon

"The chessmen are set up, the game will begin tomorrow!"

Having ordered punch and summoned de Beausset, he began to talk to
him about Paris and about some changes he meant to make the Empress'
household, surprising the prefect by his memory of minute details
relating to the court.

He showed an interest in trifles, joked about de Beausset's love
of travel, and chatted carelessly, as a famous, self-confident surgeon
who knows his job does when turning up his sleeves and putting on
his apron while a patient is being strapped to the operating table.
"The matter is in my hands and is clear and definite in my head.
When the times comes to set to work I shall do it as no one else
could, but now I can jest, and the more I jest and the calmer I am the
more tranquil and confident you ought to be, and the more amazed at my

Having finished his second glass of punch, Napoleon went to rest
before the serious business which, he considered, awaited him next
day. He was so much interested in that task that he was unable to
sleep, and in spite of his cold which had grown worse from the
dampness of the evening, he went into the large division of the tent
at three o'clock in the morning, loudly blowing his nose. He asked
whether the Russians had not withdrawn, and was told that the
enemy's fires were still in the same places. He nodded approval.

The adjutant in attendance came into the tent.

"Well, Rapp, do you think we shall do good business today?" Napoleon
asked him.

"Without doubt, sire," replied Rapp.

Napoleon looked at him.

"Do you remember, sire, what you did me the honor to say at
Smolensk?" continued Rapp. "The wine is drawn and must be drunk."

Napoleon frowned and sat silent for a long time leaning his head
on his hand.

"This poor army!" he suddenly remarked. "It has diminished greatly
since Smolensk. Fortune is frankly a courtesan, Rapp. I have always
said so and I am beginning to experience it. But the Guards, Rapp, the
Guards are intact?" he remarked interrogatively.

"Yes, sire," replied Rapp.

Napoleon took a lozenge, put it in his mouth, and glanced at his
watch. He was not sleepy and it was still not nearly morning. It was
impossible to give further orders for the sake of killing time, for
the orders had all been given and were now being executed.

"Have the biscuits and rice been served out to the regiments of
the Guards?" asked Napoleon sternly.

"Yes, sire."

"The rice too?"

Rapp replied that he had given the Emperor's order about the rice,
but Napoleon shook his head in dissatisfaction as if not believing
that his order had been executed. An attendant came in with punch.
Napoleon ordered another glass to be brought for Rapp, and silently
sipped his own.

"I have neither taste nor smell," he remarked, sniffing at his
glass. "This cold is tiresome. They talk about medicine- what is the
good of medicine when it can't cure a cold! Corvisart gave me these
lozenges but they don't help at all. What can doctors cure? One
can't cure anything. Our body is a machine for living. It is organized
for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it
defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyze it by
encumbering it with remedies. Our body is like a perfect watch that
should go for a certain time; watchmaker cannot open it, he can only
adjust it by fumbling, and that blindfold.... Yes, our body is just
a machine for living, that is all."

And having entered on the path of definition, of which he was
fond, Napoleon suddenly and unexpectedly gave a new one.

"Do you know, Rapp, what military art is?" asked he. "It is the
art of being stronger than the enemy at a given moment. That's all."

Rapp made no reply.

"Tomorrow we shall have to deal with Kutuzov!" said Napoleon. "We
shall see! Do you remember at Braunau he commanded an army for three
weeks and did not once mount a horse to inspect his
entrenchments.... We shall see!"

He looked at his watch. It was still only four o'clock. He did not
feel sleepy. The punch was finished and there was still nothing to do.
He rose, walked to and fro, put on a warm overcoat and a hat, and went
out of the tent. The night was dark and damp, a scarcely perceptible
moisture was descending from above. Near by, the campfires were
dimly burning among the French Guards, and in the distance those of
the Russian line shone through the smoke. The weather was calm, and
the rustle and tramp of the French troops already beginning to move to
take up their positions were clearly audible.

Napoleon walked about in front of his tent, looked at the fires
and listened to these sounds, and as he was passing a tall guardsman
in a shaggy cap, who was standing sentinel before his tent and had
drawn himself up like a black pillar at sight of the Emperor, Napoleon
stopped in front of him.

"What year did you enter the service?" he asked with that
affectation of military bluntness and geniality with which he always
addressed the soldiers.

The man answered the question.

"Ah! One of the old ones! Has your regiment had its rice?"

"It has, Your Majesty."

Napoleon nodded and walked away.

At half-past five Napoleon rode to the village of Shevardino.

It was growing light, the sky was clearing, only a single cloud
lay in the east. The abandoned campfires were burning themselves out
in the faint morning light.

On the right a single deep report of a cannon resounded and died
away in the prevailing silence. Some minutes passed. A second and a
third report shook the air, then a fourth and a fifth boomed
solemnly near by on the right.

The first shots had not yet ceased to reverberate before others rang
out and yet more were heard mingling with and overtaking one another.

Napoleon with his suite rode up to the Shevardino Redoubt where he
dismounted. The game had begun.


On returning to Gorki after having seen Prince Andrew, Pierre
ordered his groom to get the horses ready and to call him early in the
morning, and then immediately fell asleep behind a partition in a
corner Boris had given up to him.

Before he was thoroughly awake next morning everybody had already
left the hut. The panes were rattling in the little windows and his
groom was shaking him.

"Your excellency! Your excellency! Your excellency!" he kept
repeating pertinaciously while he shook Pierre by the shoulder without
looking at him, having apparently lost hope of getting him to wake up.

"What? Has it begun? Is it time?" Pierre asked, waking up.

"Hear the firing," said the groom, a discharged soldier. "All the
gentlemen have gone out, and his Serene Highness himself rode past
long ago."

Pierre dressed hastily and ran out to the porch. Outside all was
bright, fresh, dewy, and cheerful. The sun, just bursting forth from
behind a cloud that had concealed it, was shining, with rays still
half broken by the clouds, over the roofs of the street opposite, on
the dew-besprinkled dust of the road, on the walls of the houses, on
the windows, the fence, and on Pierre's horses standing before the
hut. The roar of guns sounded more distinct outside. An adjutant
accompanied by a Cossack passed by at a sharp trot.

"It's time, Count; it's time!" cried the adjutant.

Telling the groom to follow him with the horses, Pierre went down
the street to the knoll from which he had looked at the field of
battle the day before. A crowd of military men was assembled there,
members of the staff could be heard conversing in French, and
Kutuzov's gray head in a white cap with a red band was visible, his
gray nape sunk between his shoulders. He was looking through a field
glass down the highroad before him.

Mounting the steps to the knoll Pierre looked at the scene before
him, spellbound by beauty. It was the same panorama he had admired
from that spot the day before, but now the whole place was full of
troops and covered by smoke clouds from the guns, and the slanting
rays of the bright sun, rising slightly to the left behind Pierre,
cast upon it through the clear morning air penetrating streaks of
rosy, golden tinted light and long dark shadows. The forest at the
farthest extremity of the panorama seemed carved in some precious
stone of a yellowish-green color; its undulating outline was
silhouetted against the horizon and was pierced beyond Valuevo by
the Smolensk highroad crowded with troops. Nearer at hand glittered
golden cornfields interspersed with copses. There were troops to be
seen everywhere, in front and to the right and left. All this was
vivid, majestic, and unexpected; but what impressed Pierre most of all
was the view of the battlefield itself, of Borodino and the hollows on
both sides of the Kolocha.

Above the Kolocha, in Borodino and on both sides of it, especially
to the left where the Voyna flowing between its marshy banks falls
into the Kolocha, a mist had spread which seemed to melt, to dissolve,
and to become translucent when the brilliant sun appeared and
magically colored and outlined everything. The smoke of the guns
mingled with this mist, and over the whole expanse and through that
mist the rays of the morning sun were reflected, flashing back like
lightning from the water, from the dew, and from the bayonets of the
troops crowded together by the riverbanks and in Borodino. A white
church could be seen through the mist, and here and there the roofs of
huts in Borodino as well as dense masses of soldiers, or green
ammunition chests and ordnance. And all this moved, or seemed to move,
as the smoke and mist spread out over the whole space. Just as in
the mist-enveloped hollow near Borodino, so along the entire line
outside and above it and especially in the woods and fields to the
left, in the valleys and on the summits of the high ground, clouds
of powder smoke seemed continually to spring up out of nothing, now
singly, now several at a time, some translucent, others dense,
which, swelling, growing, rolling, and blending, extended over the
whole expanse.

These puffs of smoke and (strange to say) the sound of
the firing produced the chief beauty of the spectacle.

"Puff!"- suddenly a round compact cloud of smoke was seen merging
from violet into gray and milky white, and "boom!" came the report a
second later.

"Puff! puff!"- and two clouds arose pushing one another and blending
together; and "boom, boom!" came the sounds confirming what the eye
had seen.

Pierre glanced round at the first cloud, which he had seen as a
round compact ball, and in its place already were balloons of smoke
floating to one side, and- "puff" (with a pause)- "puff, puff!"
three and then four more appeared and then from each, with the same
interval- "boom- boom, boom!" came the fine, firm, precise sounds in
reply. It seemed as if those smoke clouds sometimes ran and
sometimes stood still while woods, fields, and glittering bayonets ran
past them. From the left, over fields and bushes, those large balls of
smoke were continually appearing followed by their solemn reports,
while nearer still, in the hollows and woods, there burst from the
muskets small cloudlets that had no time to become balls, but had
their little echoes in just the same way. "Trakh-ta-ta-takh!" came the
frequent crackle of musketry, but it was irregular and feeble in
comparison with the reports of the cannon.

Pierre wished to be there with that smoke, those shining bayonets,
that movement, and those sounds. He turned to look at Kutuzov and
his suite, to compare his impressions with those of others. They
were all looking at the field of battle as he was, and, as it seemed
to him, with the same feelings. All their faces were now shining
with that latent warmth of feeling Pierre had noticed the day before
and had fully understood after his talk with Prince Andrew.

"Go, my dear fellow, go... and Christ be with you!" Kutuzov was
saying to a general who stood beside him, not taking his eye from
the battlefield.

Having received this order the general passed by Pierre on his way
down the knoll.

"To the crossing!" said the general coldly and sternly in reply to
one of the staff who asked where he was going.

"I'll go there too, I too!" thought Pierre, and followed the

The general mounted a horse a Cossack had brought him. Pierre went
to his groom who was holding his horses and, asking which was the
quietest, clambered onto it, seized it by the mane, and turning out
his toes pressed his heels against its sides and, feeling that his
spectacles were slipping off but unable to let go of the mane and
reins, he galloped after the general, causing the staff officers to
smile as they watched him from the knoll.


Having descended the hill the general after whom Pierre was
galloping turned sharply to the left, and Pierre, losing sight of him,
galloped in among some ranks of infantry marching ahead of him. He
tried to pass either in front of them or to the right or left, but
there were soldiers everywhere, all with expression and busy with some
unseen but evidently important task. They all gazed with the same
dissatisfied and inquiring expression at this stout man in a white
hat, who for some unknown reason threatened to trample them under
his horse's hoofs.

"Why ride into the middle of the battalion?" one of them shouted
at him.

Another prodded his horse with the butt end of a musket, and Pierre,
bending over his saddlebow and hardly able to control his shying
horse, galloped ahead of the soldiers where there was a free space.

There was a bridge ahead of him, where other soldiers stood
firing. Pierre rode up to them. Without being aware of it he had
come to the bridge across the Kolocha between Gorki and Borodino,
which the French (having occupied Borodino) were attacking in the
first phase of the battle. Pierre saw that there was a bridge in front
of him and that soldiers were doing something on both sides of it
and in the meadow, among the rows of new-mown hay which he had taken
no notice of amid the smoke of the campfires the day before; but
despite the incessant firing going on there he had no idea that this
was the field of battle. He did not notice the sound of the bullets
whistling from every side, or the projectiles that flew over him,
did not see the enemy on the other side of the river, and for a long
time did not notice the killed and wounded, though many fell near him.
He looked about him with a smile which did not leave his face.

"Why's that fellow in front of the line?" shouted somebody at him

"To the left!... Keep to the right!" the men shouted to him.

Pierre went to the right, and unexpectedly encountered one of
Raevski's adjutants whom he knew. The adjutant looked angrily at
him, evidently also intending to shout at him, but on recognizing
him he nodded.

"How have you got here?" he said, and galloped on.

Pierre, feeling out of place there, having nothing to do, and afraid
of getting in someone's way again, galloped after the adjutant.

"What's happening here? May I come with you?" he asked.

"One moment, one moment!" replied the adjutant, and riding up to a
stout colonel who was standing in the meadow, he gave him some message
and then addressed Pierre.

"Why have you come here, Count?" he asked with a smile. "Still

"Yes, yes," assented Pierre.

But the adjutant turned his horse about and rode on.

"Here it's tolerable," said he, "but with Bagration on the left
flank they're getting it frightfully hot."

"Really?" said Pierre. "Where is that?"

"Come along with me to our knoll. We can get a view from there and
in our battery it is still bearable," said the adjutant. "Will you

"Yes, I'll come with you," replied Pierre, looking round for his

It was only now that he noticed wounded men staggering along or
being carried on stretchers. On that very meadow he had ridden over
the day before, a soldier was lying athwart the rows of scented hay,
with his head thrown awkwardly back and his shako off.

"Why haven't they carried him away?" Pierre was about to ask, but
seeing the stern expression of the adjutant who was also looking
that way, he checked himself.

Pierre did not find his groom and rode along the hollow with the
adjutant to Raevski's Redoubt. His horse lagged behind the
adjutant's and jolted him at every step.

"You don't seem to be used to riding, Count?" remarked the adjutant.

"No it's not that, but her action seems so jerky," said Pierre in
a puzzled tone.

"Why... she's wounded!" said the adjutant. "In the off foreleg above
the knee. A bullet, no doubt. I congratulate you, Count, on your
baptism of fire!"

Having ridden in the smoke past the Sixth Corps, behind the
artillery which had been moved forward and was in action, deafening
them with the noise of firing, they came to a small wood. There it was
cool and quiet, with a scent of autumn. Pierre and the adjutant
dismounted and walked up the hill on foot.

"Is the general here?" asked the adjutant on reaching the knoll.

"He was here a minute ago but has just gone that way," someone
told him, pointing to the right.

The adjutant looked at Pierre as if puzzled what to do with him now.

"Don't trouble about me," said Pierre. "I'll go up onto the knoll if
I may?"

"Yes, do. You'll see everything from there and it's less
dangerous, and I'll come for you."

Pierre went to the battery and the adjutant rode on. They did not
meet again, and only much later did Pierre learn that he lost an arm
that day.

The knoll to which Pierre ascended was that famous one afterwards
known to the Russians as the Knoll Battery or Raevski's Redoubt, and
to the French as la grande redoute, la fatale redoute, la redoute du
centre, around which tens of thousands fell, and which the French
regarded as the key to the whole position.

This redoubt consisted of a knoll, on three sides of which
trenches had been dug. Within the entrenchment stood ten guns that
were being fired through openings in the earthwork.

In line with the knoll on both sides stood other guns which also
fired incessantly. A little behind the guns stood infantry. When
ascending that knoll Pierre had no notion that this spot, on which
small trenches had been dug and from which a few guns were firing, was
the most important point of the battle.

On the contrary, just because he happened to be there he thought
it one of the least significant parts of the field.

Having reached the knoll, Pierre sat down at one end of a trench
surrounding the battery and gazed at what was going on around him with
an unconsciously happy smile. Occasionally he rose and walked about
the battery still with that same smile, trying not to obstruct the
soldiers who were loading, hauling the guns, and continually running
past him with bags and charges. The guns of that battery were being
fired continually one after another with a deafening roar,
enveloping the whole neighborhood in powder smoke.

In contrast with the dread felt by the infantrymen placed in
support, here in the battery where a small number of men busy at their
work were separated from the rest by a trench, everyone experienced
a common and as it were family feeling of animation.

The intrusion of Pierre's nonmilitary figure in a white hat made
an unpleasant impression at first. The soldiers looked askance at
him with surprise and even alarm as they went past him. The senior
artillery officer, a tall, long-legged, pockmarked man, moved over
to Pierre as if to see the action of the farthest gun and looked at
him with curiosity.

A young round-faced officer, quite a boy still and evidently only
just out of the Cadet College, who was zealously commanding the two
guns entrusted to him, addressed Pierre sternly.

"Sir," he said, "permit me to ask you to stand aside. You must not
be here."

The soldiers shook their heads disapprovingly as they looked at
Pierre. But when they had convinced themselves that this man in the
white hat was doing no harm, but either sat quietly on the slope of
the trench with a shy smile or, politely making way for the
soldiers, paced up and down the battery under fire as calmly as if
he were on a boulevard, their feeling of hostile distrust gradually
began to change into a kindly and bantering sympathy, such as soldiers
feel for their dogs, cocks, goats, and in general for the animals that
live with the regiment. The men soon accepted Pierre into their
family, adopted him, gave him a nickname ("our gentleman"), and made
kindly fun of him among themselves.

A shell tore up the earth two paces from Pierre and he looked around
with a smile as he brushed from his clothes some earth it had thrown

"And how's it you're not afraid, sir, really now?" a red-faced,
broad-shouldered soldier asked Pierre, with a grin that disclosed a
set of sound, white teeth.

"Are you afraid, then?" said Pierre.

"What else do you expect?" answered the soldier. "She has no
mercy, you know! When she comes spluttering down, out go your innards.
One can't help being afraid," he said laughing.

Several of the men, with bright kindly faces, stopped beside Pierre.
They seemed not to have expected him to talk like anybody else, and
the discovery that he did so delighted them.

"It's the business of us soldiers. But in a gentleman it's
wonderful! There's a gentleman for you!"

"To your places!" cried the young officer to the men gathered
round Pierre.

The young officer was evidently exercising his duties for the
first or second time and therefore treated both his superiors and
the men with great precision and formality.

The booming cannonade and the fusillade of musketry were growing
more intense over the whole field, especially to the left where
Bagration's fleches were, but where Pierre was the smoke of the firing
made it almost impossible to distinguish anything. Moreover, his whole
attention was engrossed by watching the family circle- separated
from all else- formed by the men in the battery. His first unconscious
feeling of joyful animation produced by the sights and sounds of the
battlefield was now replaced by another, especially since he had
seen that soldier lying alone in the hayfield. Now, seated on the
slope of the trench, he observed the faces of those around him.

By ten o'clock some twenty men had already been carried away from
the battery; two guns were smashed and cannon balls fell more and more
frequently on the battery and spent bullets buzzed and whistled
around. But the men in the battery seemed not to notice this, and
merry voices and jokes were heard on all sides.

"A live one!" shouted a man as a whistling shell approached.

"Not this way! To the infantry!" added another with loud laughter,
seeing the shell fly past and fall into the ranks of the supports.

"Are you bowing to a friend, eh?" remarked another, chaffing a
peasant who ducked low as a cannon ball flew over.

Several soldiers gathered by the wall of the trench, looking out
to see what was happening in front.

"They've withdrawn the front line, it has retired," said they,
pointing over the earthwork.

"Mind your own business," an old sergeant shouted at them. "If
they've retired it's because there's work for them to do farther

And the sergeant, taking one of the men by the shoulders, gave him a
shove with his knee. This was followed by a burst of laughter.

"To the fifth gun, wheel it up!" came shouts from one side.

"Now then, all together, like bargees!" rose the merry voices of
those who were moving the gun.

"Oh, she nearly knocked our gentleman's hat off!" cried the

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