Battle of Borodino, 1812.
Bataille de la Moskowa.
"Of all my 50 battles, the most terrible was
the one I fought at Moscow (Borodino)"
- Napoleon

Battle of Borodino 1812.
Fight for the Great Redoubt. 
by Oleg Parkhaiev, Russia. 1. Invasion of Russia, 1812.
- - - Causes of war. >
- - - The Second Polish War. >
- - - The Great Patriotic War. >
- - - "The majestic migration'". >
2. Armies at Borodino.
- - - French Order of Battle. >
- - - Russian Order of Battle. >
3. "The Chessmen Are Set Up,
- - the Game Will Begin Tomorrow !"

- - - After the Battle of Shevardino, the Russians
- - - found themselves without a position for
- - - their left flank, and were forced to bend it back. > - -'The approaches, the ditches and the redoubt itself had disappeared
- - - Kutuzov. > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - under a mound of dead and dying, of an average depth of 6 to 8
- - - Napoleon. > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - men, heaped one upon the other."
- - - Map. >
4. The battle begins.
- - - Northern Flank: Eugene attacks Borodino village. >
- - - Southern Flank: Davout attacks Bagration Fleches. >
5. Six attacks on Bagration Fleches.
6. Fight for Raievski Redoubt.
7. Charge of the Saxons.
8. Russian Guard Infantry.
9. Poniatowski on the flank.
10. Breakthrough ?
11. Cossacks' Raid.
12. Grand Cavalry Charge. Capture of Raievski Redoubt.
13. Napoleon was in the state of extreme depression.
- - - Casualties. >
- - - March on Moscow. >
14. Sources and Links.

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In March 1811 a comet was seen over Europe.
By autumn it lit up the sky from Lisbon to Moscow.
The people prepared themselves for some
extraordinary event.

Napoleon's Invasion of Russia, 1812
In 1812 France's position was one of unprecedented power.
It was, in all probability, the highest point of Napoleon's glory.
"Now begins the finest epoch of my reign" - Napoleon exclaimed.

Napoleon and his battle-hardened 
generals, by Meissonier The year of 1812 was full of events taking place all around the world. In February Russia established fur trading colonies in California and Oregon.
In June 1812 began war between USA (population 6 millions) and Great Britain (18 millions). Napoleon said: "If this rupture had occurred earlier it might perhaps have contributed to keep Tsar Alexander inside the Continental System !" And in fact an American army will shortly - if not very successfully - be invading Canada. []

Only few countries in Europe remained independent from France. England and Sweden were protected by water, but Russia not. "In 1811 the Emperor's power over the continent, as far as the frontier of Russia, was, in fact, absolute; and in France internal prosperity was enjoyed with external glory. But the Emperor of Russia, stimulated by English diplomacy and by a personal discontent, in dread also of his nobles, who were impatient under the losses which the continental system inflictem upon them, was plainly in opposition to the ascendency of France ... " (Napier - Vol III, p 192)

In 1812 France's position was one of unprecedented power. It was, in all probability, the highest point of Napoleon's glory. "Now begins the finest epoch of my reign" - he exclaimed. Over the past decade he had turned France into an Empire which included the whole of Belgium, Holland and the North Sea coast uo to Hamburg, the Rhineland, the whole Switzerland, Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany, the Papal States, Illyria and Catalonia, and ruled directly over some 45 million people. The French Empire was surrounded by a number of dependent states.
"He (Napoleon) had managed to destroy the unity of purpose which had fed the coalitions against France for so long. Austria, Russia and Prussia were now as ready to fight each other as to fight France, the original repugnance to treat with 'the Corsican upstart' had largely evaporated, his imperial title was recognised across the Continent, and the Bourbon pretender Louis XVIII was beginning to look like an anachronism. Yet Napoleon was keenly aware of his continuing vulnerability, for nothing had been finally settled ... The real problem facing Napoleon was how to achieve some kind of finality and to fill his conquests into a system that would guarantee his and his successors' position. While others regarded him as a megalomaniac bent on conquering all, he saw his wars as defensive, aimed at guaranteeing France's security as well as his own." (Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812" pp 10-11)

Political causes of War in 1812.
Russia's commitment to Napoleon's Continental System was a mere lip-service.
Differences between France and Russia over influence in Poland and the Balkans.

- Russia's commitment to Napoleon's Continental System was a mere lip-service.
The Continental System was embargo of British goods adopted by Napoleon in his economic warfare with Britain. It caused great hardship in England, there was a spate of business failures and strikes throughout the country. Large-scale smuggling thrived all along the European coast. The Continental System was ruinous not only for the British but also for the Russians. In 1807 Tsar promised to implement it but Russia chafed under the embargo, and in 1812 reopened trade with Britain. Napoleon dreamed about crushing the British economical empire. Napoleon: "Imagine Moscow taken - Russia crushed - the Tsar reconciled or dead in some palace conspiracy ... And tell me whether we a great army of Frenchmen and auxiliaries from Tiflis would have to do more than touch the Ganges River with a French sword for the whole scafolding of Britain's mercantile greatness to collapse." (- Austin "1812: The March on Moscow" p 31)

- Differences between France and Russia over influence in Poland and the Balkans.
Russia under Peter the Great expanded westward towards Europe, absorbing Poland and Lithuania. Under Napoleon however the Polish Grand Duchy of Warsaw was created. According to Adam Zamojski Napoleon was determined to hold the possibility of the reunification of the Kingdom of Poland as a carrot before the Poles, a semi-sincere promise to ensure loyalty. Alexander, on the other hand, saw a reunified Poland as a serious threat to the integrity of Russia.

'The Second Polish War'
Napoleon proclaimed 'Second Polish War' and the Poles
waited for the moment when Napoleon would pronounce
the sacred words "independent Poland" but he never
uttered these words.

Napoleon proclaimed 'Second Polish war' but against expectations of Poles that gave 100,000 soldiers to his army he avoided any concessions toward Poland having in mind further negotations with Russia. But with the reconquered Russian lands, Poland would have recovered all of her former domains. The Duchy of Warsaw became a bastion of France, and 100,000 Polish troops stood ready to fight for Napoleon and independence. The Poles waited for the moment when Napoleon would pronounce the sacred words "independent Poland" but he never uttered these words.

In spite of his continuous assurances that "the dangerous Polish dreams" as Alexander called them, would never be permitted realization, the Russian monarch was forever restive. He demanded that the word "Poles" be not used in public documents, that Polish orders be abolished and that the Polish army be considered as a part of that of Saxony. When Napoleon appeared at Kovno he wore the cap and uniform of a Polish officer. The dispersion, however, of the Polish regiments among the various French corps was strongly resented by the Poles.

For nowhere else had Napoleon a more loyal and devoted ally than the Poles who stood by him through thick and thin and did not abandon him until his very last hour. They formed a striking contrast to the Prussians under Yorck, who as soon as Napoleon's defeat became known joined the Russians, as did also the Austrians.] The Polish populace considered Napoleon and his troops as friends and liberators. This is confirmed by many French offices who campaigned in Poland. Parquin writes: "After our passage of the [Vistula] river ... the enemy [Russians] gave way and we occupied the Polish villages, where we were received like brothers by the people, miserably poor though they were." (Parquin - "Napoleon's Victories" p 63)

'The Great Patriotic War'
(For the Russians Otechestvennaya Voyna)

Russian army in 1812, 
by Parhaiev Actually Russia fought two great patriotic wars, one against Napoleon and his Grand Army in 1812, another against Hitler and the mighty German Wehrmacht between 1941-5.

In 1812 the Russian armies opposing Napoleon sought to avoid open battle and turned to attrition warfare. They left nothing behind that was of use, burned crops and villages, while the bold Cossacks constantly harassed the invaders. Chlapowski of Guard Lancers writes: "As the Russian Army retreated, they were burning most of the villages and forcing the inhabitants to load up their carts with their pitiful belongings and flee with their livestock to Moscow." (Chlapowski, - p 115)

Russian strategy of retreat and scorched earth was very tough on Napoleon's soldiers. The Russians fell back but as the summer wore on, Napoleon's supply and communication lines were stretched to maximum. By September without having engaged in a major battle, Napoleon's army had been reduced by more than half from fatigue, hunger, desertion, and relentless raids by Cossacks.

"The 'majestic migration' - advanced eastward in silence"
Napoleon on the Niemen River. The Beginning of the War.

Napoleon's Grande Armee of 1812 included Germans from the states of the Confederation of the Rhine, Poles, Spanish, Portuguese, Austrians, Prussians and Italians, by 'fear or favor' all allied with the French under the 'Emperor of Battles' to fight the eastern nemisis.

The massive Napoleonic army moved from Germany to Prussia and Poland. In March the main Napoleon's forces were massed between Gdansk (Danzig) and Warsaw, along the banks of the Vistula River. "On 23 June 1812 a closed carriage drawn by 6 horses suddenly appeared in the middle of the bivouac of the 6th (Polish) Uhlan Regiment. The troopers were even more startled when it stopped and Napoleon, himself, climbed out. Spotting a major, Napoleon approached him, asking to see the regiment's commander. ... Napoleon asked the route to the Niemen River and the location of the most advanced Polish outposts. The next request was the most surprising. Napoleon requested Polish uniforms for himself and his staff. ... Napoleon did not wish to warn the Russians of the pending invasion. Napoleon and his staff quickly exchanged their uniforms with some very surprised Polish officers and headed for the border. ... Napoleon carefully examined the terrain. ...
At 10 PM General Morand [of Davout's I Corps] passed three companies of the 13th Legere across the Niemen in small boats so they could serve as a screen to protect General Eble's engineers as they raised the pontoon bridges. At the sight of this crossing, a group of Polish uhlans, probably belonging to the 6th Uhlans, spurred their mounts froward into the river, hoping to seize the honor of being the first to be on Russian soil. Unfortunately, the current proved too swift and they were quickly swept downstream, engulfed by the river. As the men slipped beneath its waters they were clearly heard to cry, 'Vive l'Empereur !'
Meanwhile elements of the 13th Legere landed and began spreading across the far bank. They quickly encountered a company of Russian hussars. A Russian officer advanced and challenged the French skirmishers. They responded to this challenge with musketry." (Nafziger - "Napoleon's Invasion of Russia" pp 114-5, 1998)
The war with Russia began.

Multinational Grande Armee enters Russia in 1812. 
Britten Austin - The March on Moscow Grande Armée, 600,000 men (270,000 French) strong was assembled along the line of the Niemen River. These troops were all well provisioned and mounted and all flushed with the successes of the previous campaigns. "The 'majestic migration' - in the words of Louis Madelin - advanced eastward in silence, if not in secret. " (Lachoque - "The Anatomy of Glory" p 217)

Article: Napoleon's Invasion of Russia, 1812


Armies at Borodino.
French and Russian Order of Battle.

Napoleon's army at Borodino was very strong, 120.000-135.000 men and 584 guns. Below we have averaged army's strength from several western sources:
- 84.500 infantry in 203 battalions
- 21.500 cavalry in 230 squadrons
- 16.000 gunners and engineers with 500-550 guns
Total of approx. 122.000 men.
Russian researchers A. Vassiliev and A. Popov give Napoleon 132,000 men.
They estimate Russian army at 155,000 men (121,000 regulars and 34,000 irregulars).
Other researchers gives Kutuzov 115.000 regulars, 9.500 Cossacks and 30.500 militia. Total of 155.000 men and 600 guns.

French (70 %)
+ Wirtembergians
+ Hessians
+ Spanish
+ Poruguese
+ Croats

French (55 %)
+ Saxons
+ Westphalians
+ Prussians

French order of battle.

French Order of Battle

Emperor Napoleon
Emperor Napoleon

Marshal Berthier
Marshal Berthier

- - - 1st Infantry Division - Morand
- - - 2nd Infantry Division - Friant
- - - 3rd Infantry Division - Gerard
- - - 4th Infantry Division - Desaix
- - - 5th Infantry Division - Compans
- - - Light Cavalry Division - Girardin
- - - 10th Infantry Division - Ledru
- - - 11th Infantry Division - Razout
- - - 25th Infantry Division - Marchand
- - - Light Cavalry Division - Beurmann
IV ARMY CORPS - General Eugene
- - - 13th Infantry Division - Delzons
- - - 14th Infantry Division - Broussier
- - - Light Cavalry Division - Ornano
- - - Light Cavalry Division - Preysing-Moos
- - - Italian Royal Guard - Lecchi
V ARMY CORPS - General Poniatowski
- - - 16th Infantry Division - Krasinski
- - - 18th Infantry Division - Kniaziewicz
- - - Light Cavalry Division - Kaminski
VII ARMY CORPS - General Junot
- - - 23th Infantry Division - Tharreau
- - - 24th Infantry Division - Ochs
- - - Light Cavalry Division - Hammerstein

I CAVALRY CORPS - General Nansouty
- - - 1st Light Cavalry Division - Bruyeres
- - - 1st Heavy Cavalry Division - St.Germaine
- - - 5th Heavy Cavalry Division - Valence
II CAVALRY CORPS - General Montbrun
- - - 2nd Light Cavalry Division - Pajol
- - - 2nd Heavy Cavalry Division -
- - - 4th Heavy Cavalry Division - Defrance
III CAVALRY CORPS - General Grouchy
- - - 3rd Light Cavalry Division - Chastel
- - - 6th Heavy Cavalry Division - Lahussaye
IV CAVALRY CORPS - General Latour-Maubourg
- - - 4th Light Cavalry Division - Rozniecki
- - - 7th Heavy Cavalry Division - Lorge


- - - Old Guard Infantry Division - Curial
- - - Young Guard Infantry Division - Roguet
- - - Young Guard Infantry Division - Delaborde
- - - Vistula Legion Infantry Division
- - - Guard Heavy Cavalry Division
- - - Guard Light Cavalry Division

Russian order of battle.

Russian Order of Battle

General Kutuzov

General Bennigsen
General Bennigsen

GUARDS - Lavrov




Barclay de Tolly The First Western Army was commanded by General Barclay de Tolly. Barclay de Tolly, a member of the Scottisdh Clan Barclay, was born in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (in present-day Pakroujis district of Lithuania) and raised in the Baltic Province of Livonia, which then belonged to Russia. He distinguished himself in 1806-1807 and in 1809. "In the end of December, 1809 Barclay was called to St.Petersburg, and on January,20,1810 he was nominated the War Minister. On this post he improved the fortifications of fortresses of Kiev and Riga and began to built two new fortrsses in Bobruysk and Dinaburg. ... In 1812 ... he was appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the First Western Army being the War Minister in the same time." (- Nikolai Mozhak, Russia)
In the Russian court and among the aristocrats however he was always a stranger. He could not be proud of his long and rich genealogy as Kutuzov, or as a descendant of Georgian aristocrats as was Prince Bagration. Nor did he own huge estates and luxurious palaces like Bennigsen and many others. Barclay de Tolly was best known for his cool head in battle, sound tactics and humane treatment of the soldier.
General de Tolly's strategy of avoiding battle aroused grudges from most of the generals and soldiers. Therefore, when Prince Golenishchev-Kutuzov was appointed commander-in-chief and arrived to the army, he was greeted with delight. The army was overjoyed.

Bagration General Petr Bagration commanded the Second Western Army. He was descendant of the Georgian royal family of the Bagrations. Bagration was born in northern Caucasus and entered the Russian army in 1782. According to Alexander Mikaberidze, the Russian soldiers called him "The Eagle." Everything about him seemed to evoke vigilance, self-reliance, and the grim business of war. Bagration was a master of rear-guard fighting, and was a tactically aggressive commander. In April 1799, Bagration captured Brescia in Italy, then defeated French general Serurier and forced Moreau to retreat to Marengo. At Trebia he commanded advance guard. In 1805 Bagration commanded advance guard of Kutuzov's army and then its rear guard. In 1806 and 1807 he was placed in the most dangerous situations, where everybody knew it would be necessary to fight against overwhelming odds.


"Soldiers !
This is the battle that you have
looked forward to so much !
... let people say of you:
"He was at that great battle fought
under the walls of Moscow!"
- Napoleon

"The Chessmen Are Set Up,
the Game Will Begin Tomorrow !"

- Napoleon

Russian infantry before battle,
picture by Chagadayev. While pursuing the Russian rear guard Napoleon's advance guard came at Shevardino. It was on the left flank of the Russian army deployed behind Kolocha River to prevent the French from advancing along the Smolensk road to Moscow. Davout's and Murat's troops attacked the Russian rear guard at Shevardino. Poniatowski drove the Russians out of Yelnia and joined Davout and Murat. Murat, Poniatowski and Compans (of Davout's corps) attacked Russian rear guard and the redoubt the greencoats occupied. They fight was long and bitter.

Night fell, but it did not end the battle. The French began to turn the redoubt's flank. By this time the redoubt had been half destroyed by the French artillery. Prince Bagration received the order to withdraw his troops. The withdrawal was made under the cover of a cuirassier division and a single infantry battalion. The Russian battalion raised their voices and beat their drums as loudly as possible in an effort to exaggerate their numbers in the darkness, while the cuirassiers advanced to meet the French. The engagement was fought in total darkness, and in its confusion the Russians managed to complete their withdrawal.

March of the French troops to Shevardino (reenactment).
On map below: Battle of Shevardino (5 Sept).
Battle of Shevardino 1812 French forces at Shevardino: Marshal Murat with Nansouty's I Cavalry Corps and Montbrun's II Cavalry Corps, Marshal Davout with Compan's 5th Infantry Division (two more infantry divisions came later), and Poniatowski with his V Corps.
Russians: VIII Infantry Corps, 2nd Cuirassier Division, and few cavalry regiments.

"Napoleon, riding to Valuievo on the twenty-fourth, did not see (as the history books say he did) the position of the Russians from Utitsa to Borodino (he could not have seen that position because it did not exist), nor did he see an advanced post of the Russian army, but while pursuing the Russian rearguard he came upon the left flank of the Russian position- at the Shevardino Redoubt- and unexpectedly for the Russians moved his army across the Kolocha. And the Russians, not having time to begin a general engagement, withdrew their left wing from the position they had intended to occupy and took up a new position which had not been foreseen and was not fortified. By crossing to the other side of the Kolocha to the left of the highroad, Napoleon shifted the whole forthcoming battle from right to left (looking from the Russian side) and transferred it to the plain between Utitza, Semenovskaia, and Borodino .." ( - Leo Tolstoy)

After the Battle of Shevardino, the Russians found themselves
without a position for their left flank, and were forced
to bend it back and hastily entrench it where it chanced to be.

After the Battle of Shevardino, the Russians found themselves on the next morning without a position for their left flank, and were forced to bend it back and hastily entrench it where it chanced to be.
On Sep 7th the Battle of Borodino begun.

Kutuzov and his staff at redoubt 
before the battle of Borodino Kutuzov ordered Bagration to defend the southern part of the front. Here were built several v-shaped field fortifications known as the 'Bagration Fleches'. The fourth earthwork was slightly to the north, by Semonovskaia village. The village of Semenovskaia being of totally wooden construction it had been dismantled and burned to provide a clear field of fire.

North of Bagration Fleches stood so-called Raievski Redoubt, also called Great Redoubt or Death Redoubt. Tolstoy descrided it: "... on to the high knoll on which militiamen were at work excavating. This was the redoubt, as yet unnamed, afterwards called Raievski's redoubt, or the battery on the mound." and "The redoubt consisted of a mound, with trenches dug out on three sides of it. In the entrenchments stood 10 cannons, firing through the gaps left in the earthworks. In a line with the redoubt on both sides stood cannons."

Lieutenant Bogdanov (of pioneers) left us more detailed description of the most known redoubt of the Napoleonic Wars: "At 11 PM, I was ordered to ride to general raievski. I found him at a battery built in consequence of an order he had issued. The battery was completely finished, and artillery pieces were in their places; it comprised almost a straight line, so that its front angle was more than 160 degrees and was pointed to the junction of the Eemenovskii Brook with the Kolocha River. Its right face extended in the direction of two batteries near Gorki village and the artillery of ythe VI Infantry Corps, and on the left face, it dropped to the line of the VII Infantry Corps where it was protected by its artillery pieces and by an open battery of 60 pieces placed near Semonovskoie village; because of all this, the whole space in front of it was protected by a heavy crossfire.
General Raievski met me with the following words: 'We have built this battery ourselves; your commander, visiting me, praised our work and its placement, but as the open and flat terrain can be accessed by cavalry, so he advised us to dig a line of wolf-pits at 50 sazhen in front of the battery; we have done this; now, the one and most important problem remains: the enemy can outflank us and take the battery from the rear; it is necessary to make a strong obstacle to him. Inspect all and tell me what and how to do.
The battery had 19 artillery pieces, the length of the front line was up to 60 sazhen; the width of the moath was 3,5 sazhen; the depth near the counterscarpe up to 1,5 sazhen ... It was necessary, despite the lack of time, to add two epaulments of ramparts and a moat on the flanks, and to cover the rear with double palisade with two passages with palisaded gateways in them; ... the fortification ... was finished by half-past four in the morning."

In front of Bagration Fleches stood the Shevardino Redoubt. It was erected to provide early warning of French advance from that direction. During battle of Borodino here was Napoleon's headquarter.

Before the battle, on the Russian side, took place a religious ceremony. It was great for the morale of the Russian soldiers. "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 opolchenie ran bareheaded toward the procession. .... The opolchenie, 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. ... Behind, before, and on both sides, crowds of opolchenie 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 opolchenie surrounded the icon. Behind the priest and a chanter stood the notabilities on a spot reserved for them. ...
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 Tatarinovo had stopped where the service was being held. ...
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 opolchenie." (Leo Tolstoy - "War and Peace" Book X, Chapter 21)

"It was as though some kind of power
emanated from the venerable commander,
inspiring all those around him."

Kutuzov at Borodino Kutuzov was in front of the village of Gorki, sitting on a folding chair brought by a Cossack. He could not see the battlefield from where he was, but his mere presence was enough. Officer Mitarevski wrote about Kutuzov: "It was as though some kind of power emanated from the venerable commander, inspiring all those around him."
Among Russian generals Kutuzov has been held second only to his teacher Suvorov. Pushkin addressed the old commander in the famous elegy on Kutuzov's sepulchre, and he also figures as a patient and wise leader in Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace". In 1941-45, the Soviet government established the Order of Kutuzov which, among several other decorations, was preserved in Russia upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union, thus remaining of the highest military awards in Russia.

He listened to a suggestion from Davout
to outflank the Russian left wing
but said it should not be done.

Napoleon, and the Guard at Borodino.
By Vereshchagin, Russia. In 1812 Napoleon put on weight, and he developed a paunch. Those close to him noted that his eyes grew less piercing and he spoke more slowly. He also took longer to make decisions. Those used to his fits of fury were surprised to find him growing more pensive. His enemies noted that his victories were no longer as resounding as they had been.

Caulaincourt's Itineraire records that the Emperor that day rode three of his horses: Luzelberg, Emir and Courtois. "Napoleon was in the saddle by 3 am in the morning, and rode over to the Shevardino redoubt. The troops were already moving up to their positions, cheering as they passed their Emperor. 'It's the entusiasm of Austerlitz !' Napoleon observed to Rapp. By half past 5, all the units were in their designated positions, drawn up as if on parade. 'Never has there been a finer force than the French army had on that day' - recalled Colonel Seruzier ... The commanding officers of every unit then read out a proclamation penned by Napoleon the night before ... "Soldiers ! This is the battle that you have looked forward to so much ! Now victory depends on you: we need it. ... "
Napoleon had taken up position on the rise at the back of the Shevardino redoubt, from where he could see the entire battlefield. Flize writes: "I moved a little closer to the Emperor who'd not ceased peering at the battlefield through his spyglass. He was wearing his grey uniform and spoke little. Sometime a cannonball came rolling towards his feet, but he merely stepped aside, as we did who were standing behind him." The Imperial Guard was drawn up alongside and behind him. He was brought a folding camp chair, which he turned back to front and sat astride, leaning his arms on its back. Behind him stood Berthier and Bessieres, and behind them a swarm of aides-de-camp and duty officers. Before him he could see a formidable sight." (Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812" pp 265-266)

Lejeune writes: "The appearance of all these crack troops, beautiful to behold in their impatience to go into action and secure a victory, made a most imposing spectacle." Despite the devastating losses earlier in the war, French morale remained excellent. Indeed, the battle looked like an easy victory for Napoleon and his Guard being present. Napoleon spent the previous day on horseback inspecting the own troops, considering plans and giving commands to generals. At dawn the Emperor mounted and rode to the front line where he had a good view of the Russian positions. The Emperor reviewed the Russian positions and returned to his staff. He listened to a suggestion from Davout to outflank the Russian left wing but said it should not be done.

Napoleon ordered to place all the 16 howitzers of the III and VIII Corps, on the flanks of the 40-gun battery that is to bombard the fleches. He also ordered Sorbier to be ready to advance with all the howitzers of the Guard`s artillery against either one or other of the fleches. On returning from a second inspection of the lines, Napoleon said "The chessmen are set up, the game will begin tomorrow!" In the night he anxiously asked whether the Russians had not withdrawn, and was told that the enemy`s campfires were still in the same place. Satisfied he went to sleep.

Thousands of smoking campfires could be seen everywhere.

Map of Battle of Borodino, 1812
Map of the Battle of Borodino, 1812.
N - Napoleon, K - Kutuzov,

Ext.links: maps of Borodino - 1 , - 2 , - 3 .

"At 6 AM, the French guns opened up, the Russians answered
... to those present, even those who had been in battle before,
it seemed as though all hell had been let loose."
- Zamoyski "Moscow 1812"

The battle begins.
Shouts were heard through the firing,
but for a while it was impossible to tell
what was being done there.

The sun brightly lit up the enormous panorama which, rising like an amphitheater, extended before both armies. The Smolensk highway with two rows of birches on both sides passed through the village of Borodino where stood a white church. Below Borodino the highway crossed the Kolocha river by a bridge and, winding down and up, led to the village of Valuievo, where Napoleon was then stationed. The ground along the Kolocha River was broken. The rest of the battlefield was carpeted with meadows and small fields of rye. Only the southern part - around the village of Utitza - was wooded. In every direction were seen indefinite masses of infantry and the clatter of horses` hoofs was heard everywhere. In the sea of men and animals groups of birches shined in the sunshine, with their green and yellow foliage and white bark.

"Before dawn on 7 Sept the bands on the right flank began playing the reveillle to wake up the infantry, and it was gradually picked up all along the line. They pleyed the most rousing pieces. Music does a great deal to prepare the spirit for battle. ... As soon as it was light, a short imperial proclamation was read out to each battalion. Soon after, the cannon opened fire on the left flank ..." (Chlapowski, - p 116)

French artillery at Borodino The deep-throated ‘boom’ of cannons rang out across the countryside. The first shots had not yet ceased to reverberate before others rang out and yet more were heard mingling with and overtaking one another. "At 6 AM, the French guns opened up, the Russians answered, and as nearly a thousand cannon spewed out their charges, to those present, even those who had been in battle before, it seemed as though all hell had been let loose." (Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812" p 267)
Soltyk, watching from a few paces behind Napoleon, has "never heard anything like it. At moments the uproar was so terrible it was more like broadsides discharged from warships than a land artillery engagement."

It was quickly discovered the 102 guns Napoleon had ordered formed on the 6th were too far away from the Russians. The guns were limbered up and moved forward. The artillery fire quickly spread down the line to the I and III Corps and the Russian Second Western Army. It was without doubt the heaviest concentrated cannonade of the war so far. The gun smoke spread out over the whole space.
The artillery barrage signalled the attack of infantry. In the center part of Davout's infantry (5th Division) moved against the fleches, on the northern flank part of Eugene's corps attacked Borodino.

Northern Flank: Eugene attacks Borodino village.
The French drove the enemy out of the village and pursued across the river.
The Russians furiously counterattacked and threw them back.

Borodino was a small village of several wooden buildings and a white church. The Smolensk highway passed through the village. Below Borodino the highway crossed the river by a bridge and, winding down and up, rose higher and higher to the village of Valuievo visible about 4 miles away, where Napoleon was then stationed. Beyond Valuievo the road disappeared into a forest on the horizon. Above Borodino was the village of Gorki.

Eugene sent part of his cavalry to the east, near the villages of Loginovo and Bezzubovo, to protect his flank. It was an open area although partially marshy.
Meanwhile Eugene's infantry attacked the village of Borodino defended by 3 battalions of the Lifeguard Jäger Regiment, detached from the Guard Infantry Division, Kutuzov's elite reserve. This unit was formed in 1806 from several guard detachments and in contrast to other guard regiments, they wore no mustaches. The three battalions were deployed as follow: one battalion under Richter defended Borodino itself, two battalions were formed in columns behind the village and near the bridge. Not far from the bridge stood 2 guns of Guard Equipage Artillery.
Numerous skirmishers were deployed along Kolocha River. Between Borodino and Gorki was GM Balla's Jäger Brigade (2 battalions of 11th and two battalions of 36th Jäger Regiment) and 8-12 heavy guns (VII Position Battery).
Tolstoy's IV Infantry Corps stood north of Gorki, with its 8 battalions formed in two lines of closed platoon columns. From each battalion tens of sharpshooters advanced about 200m and formed a skirnish chain along the river. Kaptzevich's VI Infantry Corps stood south of Gorki, and close to the Great Redoubt. It was also formed in two lines of closed platoon columns and with sharpshooters forming the skirmish chain up in front.

Map of attack on Borodino village. Delzon's 13th Division advanced with elan, despite the musketballs hissing and whistling everywhere. They drove the Russians out of the village and pursued across the river. The Lifeguard Jagers suffered very heavy casulaties before the crossing was completed. They were so hard-pressed by the enemy that they were unable to destroy the bridges.

According to Zhmodikov, it was the 1st Jagers that was ordered to attack the French and drive them back behind Kolocha River. The commander of this regiment, went forward, together with both his battalion commanders, Petrov and Sibirtsev, to observe the French and the point of attack from behind a narrow and long mound not far from the bridge.
Petrov wrote: "When the Lifeguard Jagers, having pulled together upon signal, marched from the Kolocha River to the rear of the V Corps (Guard), Colonel Karpenko (of 1st Jagers) then deployed my I Battalion from column into line and brought up Mjr Sibirtsev's III Battalion [formed] in column of attack at a distance of 15 paces from the rear rank of my battalion. The mound, or more accurately, the narrow oblong ridge, projecting to the left from the road towards the confluence of the Stonetz Brook [with Kolocha] lays with its top at the distance of a pistol shot from the right end of the upper bridge and at [a distance of a] musket [shot] from the lower pontoon one, in front of which the enemy troops stood, having just crossed [the river].
Russians versus French 
by the wooden bridge near Borodino.
Picture by Kellerman. Col. Karpenko ( with my battalion ... having run up at the mound, fired an aimed volley at the enemy with the whole line while smoke from the volley was still curling in the face of the enemy and their men, stricken and bewildered by the volley of my battalion, were in confusion, our jagers ... charged with the bayonet.
Since the Lifeguard Jagers, wanting to destroy the bridges after them [i.e.after they had crossed the river], had removed about 10 beams at the middle of the upper bridge standing on piles, we pressed the French to the gap and into the slimy river.
At the same time, our III Battalion ... being half-wheeled to the right, rushed from behind of mine [battalion] to the lower pontoon bridge, which was 40 paces from the upper one and, also after a volley by the front company, charged with the bayonet, so we exterminated all enemy troops [which had crossed the river] together with their general and officers and having marched to the left bank of the Kolocha River into Borodino, drove the enemy from it by our united regiment."

The Lifeguard Jagers were moved back to the reserves were they joined Yermolov's Guard Infantry Division. Then the 1st Jagers were ordered to abandon Borodino village, to go back across the river and to destroy the bridges, and that was done under heavy enemey artillery and musket fire.

Eugene ordered to bring more artillery and formed a large battery to fire on the Russians. In the next hour Kaptzevich's VI Infantry Corps (7th and 24th Infantry Division) suffered substantial casualties. The artillery of VI Infantry Corps answered the French guns immediately. Vasili Grigorievich Kostenetzki was the chief of artillery in this sector of the battlefield. He was very popular among the gunners. This colossus could break a horseshoe with his bare hands ! He also carried a pallash of enormous size and length which he used at Borodino against the French infantry.

Southern Flank: Davout attacks Bagration Fleches.
Davout's horse was hit and threw to the ground.
The Iron Marshal was stunned.

The Russians heavily defended the Fleches. In the right fleche stood Taube's III Position Battery, in the left and center fleches stood Boguslavski's XI Position Battery, and in the left fleche stood Billingshausen's XXXII Position Battery. Thse forces were supported by 4 guns of XXI Light Battery. On both sides of the redoubt behind the stream stood artillery: Apuskin's XXXI Position Battery (to left) and half of Bogdanovich's superb I Position Battery (to right).
The artillery was not alone, they were joined by Borosdin's corps (Vorontzov's Grenadier and Neverovski's 27th Infantry Division). In each fleche stood one grenadier battalion, and seven grenadier battalions stood behind, formed in one line of battalion columns. It was Vorontzov's Grenadier Division. In reserve stood Neverovski's 27th Infantry Division (8 battalions.

Near the fleches was a road winding through a thick, low-growing birch woods. The woods and small ravines were occupied by jagers. In front of Bagration's flank was a knoll not occupied by the troops and Bennigsen (chief-of-staff) criticized it. The troops were hidden behind the knoll and Bennigsen on his own authority ordered them to deploy on the knoll without even mentioning the matter to Kutuzov ! Bennigsen didn't know that the troops were in a concealed position as an ambush, that they should not be seen and might be able to strike an approaching attackers unexpectedly.

The French attacked fleches with part of Davout's I Army Corps (Dessaix's, Compans' and Friant's Infantry Divisions). The famous 57th Line Regiment was part of Compans' division and was nicknamed "The Terrible" for their ferocity in combat. Another splendid unit of Compans' division was the 25th Light Infantry Regiment.

About half an hour after the initial cannon shots had been fired MdE Davout’s I Corps attacked the southern most of the Bagration Fleches. Compans' 5th Infantry Division and 30 guns moved against these earthworks. The infantry columns disappeared amid the smoke but their rapid musketry firing could still be heard. They moved through the wood, their voltigeurs brushed aside Russian skirmishers, and the entire division pushed along the southern edge of the wood. The trees gave some protection against artillery fire and musketry and the attackers got very close to the earthworks. (As we see Davout made some good use of terrain, in contrast Ney will attack head on, frontally.)

The right of Bagration Fleches Russian 24 cannons and musket fire shattered the advancing French infantry. The gun smoke spread out covering big part of the battlefield. Shouts were heard through the firing, but for a while it was impossible to tell what was being done there. GdD Compans was wounded, MdE Davout's horse was hit and threw to the ground. The Iron Marshal was stunned. The 57th Regiment "The Terrible" advanced far ahead and took the westernmost earthwork. One of the Frenchmen wrote: "A brave officer of that nation [Russia], seeing his men about to fall back, placed himself across the entrance to the redoubt and did everything he could to prevent them leaving it, but was shot through the body. Our men rushing forward with the bayonet, I ran towards this officer to protect him if he was still alive, but he died shortly after."

French infantry at Borodino,
part of Borodino Panorama The 57th Regiment couldn't hold the earthwork and was thrown back. Compans' division was in disorder, scattered around in the wood, bushes and folds of the ground. The wounded men staggered along or were lying with their heads thrown awkwardly back and their shakos off. Compans' battered 5th Division was replaced by Dessaix's 4th Division.
Probably surprised by the steady volume of fire that poured forth from the fleches, the French finally pulled back. Finding they could not enter the earthwork, they retired. There is nothing to indicate just how long the attack lasted, but it probably seemed longer to the defenders than it was in actuality.

Prince Poniatowski During the cannonade and Davout's first attack on the fleches, Poniatowski advanced along the road from Elnia to Utitza and through the large forest to turn the Russians' position. (Before battle Marshal Davout proposed an outflanking movement by his I Corps and Poniatowski's V Corps to roll up the Russian line but Napoleon agreed only on the V Corps).
Between Poniatowski and Davout was a big gap and Napoleon sent Junot's VII Corps to protect Davout's flank. Jean-Andoche Junot had also to link up with Poniatowski. Junot's Westphalians entered the wood south of Bagration Fleches, attacked Russian jagers (three regiments) and pushed them to the south. Junot - at least temporarily - secured Davout's flank.


"Actually, it was a walk into Hell. ...
In this order we went straight for the enemy mass,
while the huge battery hurled its balls at us."
- Prince of Wirtemberg

Six Attacks on 'Bagration Fleches'
Ney complained bitterly about being made
to 'take the bull by the horns'.

French artillery at Borodino The booming cannonade was growing more intense over the whole battlefield. Approx. 100 French cannons targeted Bagration Fleches, Raievski Redoubt and the village of Borodino. Approx. 40 more guns were deployed against Bagration Fleches. The number of artillery pieces rapidly increased within next few hours. Part of the battlefield was covered with gun smoke. The French infantry rushed against the Russian field fortifications. The Russians did not however obligingly sit and wait and launched their own attack against the enemy. Prince of Wirtemberg's infantry division (8 battalions formed in two line of columns) eagerly counterattacked. The Prince wrote: "Actually, it was a walk into Hell. ... In this order we went straight for the enemy mass, while the huge battery hurled its balls at us."

General Sievers GM Karl-Karlovich Sievers' IV Cavalry Corps (16 dragoon, 8 uhlan and 8 hussar squadrons) having ridden in the smoke past the infantry, which had been moved forward and was in action, attacked Compans' division. The Russian horsemen captured 12 guns and sabered the infantry. Taking advantage of the chaos caused by Sievers' cavalry, Vorontzov's division of converged grenadiers re-established themselves in the fleches.

The Wirtembergian cavalry charged and recaptured the 12 lost guns. They also pushed Sievers' cavalry back but the fleches remained in Russian hands. Behind Davout's and Ney's infantry appeared mass of German, French, and Polish cavalry. Antoni Rozwadowski of Polish 8th Uhlans described fighting with the Russian cavalry: “On that day (Sep 5th) the 6th Uhlans formed the first line, and we the 8th were formed in echelon” when Russian dragoons attacked. According to Rozwadowski the soil was dry and a huge, thick cloud of dust made his 8th invisible to the enemy. The Russians continued their advance against the 6th before the 8th attacked the left flank of the dragoons. The enemy fled in disorder.

After this action the 8th and 6th Uhlans moved to a new position behind a wood. There the regiments were formed in column, one after another and only the brigades stood in echelon. Soon the uhlans noticed Russian cavalry again charging against them. At a long distance the enemy looked similar to the dragoons just recently defeated and the Poles rushed forward certain of victory. When both sides were closer the uhlans realized that these “dragoons” were cuirassiers and the 6th fled toward the 8th. The 8th became disordered and both regiments fled and broke the Prussian hussars who stood in the rear. Only the next cavalry brigade who stood in echelon to the Poles counterattacked and threw the Russian cuirassiers back. (Rozwadowski - “Memoir” Biblioteka Zakladu Ossolinskich, rekopis 7994)

Bagration's infantry at Borodino, 
picture by Roubaud Artillery on both sides went beserk relentlessly punding the infantry. By now the French had deployed approx. 200 guns against Bagration Fleches. The Russians responded with 150 pieces. Prince Petr Bagration had Konovnitzin's 3rd Infantry Division and Neverovski's 27th Infantry Division. (During the army maneuvers in May 1812 the 3rd Infantry Division under Konovnitzin was held up as a model for the army.) He also brought up the second line of Raievski's Corps: Vasilchikov's 12th Division, and Paskevich's 26th Division. These forces deployed behind Vorontzov's 2nd Converged Grenadiers Division that defended the earthworks. Prince von Mecklenburg-Schwerin's 2nd Grenadier Division began moving behind the village of Semonovskaia. It was one of the top divisions of the Russian infantry with such regiments like Moscow Grenadiers, Kiev Grenadiers and the Siberian Grenadiers. The 2nd Grenadier Division was deployed in two lines east of Semenovskaia.

Marshal Ney Now it was Ney's time to attack. At Borodino Ney complained bitterly about being made to 'take the bull by the horns'. Marshal Ney was called Le Rougeaud ("the ruddy") and le Brave des Braves ("the bravest of the brave"). He is known for epitomizing the soldierly virtue of "leading from the front". Octave Levavasseur writes: "Nature had given Ney an iron body, a soul of fire. His build was athletic.... His physiognomy was reminiscent of the Nordic type. His voice resonant. He only had to give an order for you to feel brave. ... No matter how brave you were or wished to appear, if this man was near you in the midst of a fight you had to confess him your master. Even under grapeshot his laughter and pleasantries seemed to defy the death all around him. His recognized superiority made everyone obey his orders." But Ney was an average tacticians and a hothead. Jomini wrote: "Ney's best qualities ... diminished in the same proportion that the extent of his command increased his responsibility."

Around 9 am GdD Ledru's 10th Division of Ney's III Army Corps attacked the fleches from the north. In the same time half of 4th Division attacked from the south. The two divisions disappeared as the others had done into the smoke of the battlefield. The fight went on for a while before Ledru's men drove off the converged grenadiers and captured the two or three fleches. (Bagration Fleches consisted of two big and one small earthwork). The French realized that there was a fourth earthwork, and not far away from the fleches.

Bagration saw the converged grenadiers being pushed out the fleches and quickly decided the time was ripe for a strong counterattack. Masses of Russian infantry poured into the combat zone under a withering fire, bending their faces before the seething storm of lead. They were supported by part of Sievers' cavalry and the 2nd Cuirassier Division. Ledru's infantry division rapidly fell back and the Russians retook much ground. The Wirtembergian cavalry under Beurmann and some French light cavalry did all they could to protect Ledru's and Dessaix's divisions. They charged and brought to a halt the Russian infantry.

Russian cavalry in reenactment 
of Borodino Part of Duja's 2nd Cuirassier Division then came forward and swept them away. The Russian heavies captured 6 guns and sabered Desaix's infantry. The French and the Wirtembergians fled with the cuirassiers hot on their heels. French artillery fired canister at the pursuers. GdD Rózniecki’s Polish uhlans with fluttering pennants took on the Russians. Lance is not a very effective weapon in a jammed fight, especially against the armor. The fight was desperate but short and no quarters were given. The uhlans suffered badly and were thrown back. It seemed as disaster had befallen as the Russians could congratulate themselves with raised sabers and loud cheers if they had a moment to do that. The time was not handed to them and the French cuirassiers led by GdD Nansouty and 100 volunteers from the Polish 6th Uhlans dashed at Duka's heavies, ovethrew and pursued them.

The French artillery fire cut furrows in the packed Russian battalions. The flat ground allowed the cannonballs to ricochet or to roll unimeded. The Russian cuirassiers attacked several times the artillery. Girod de l’Ain described one of such episodes: “… we saw a charge of Russian cuirassiers coming at us like a tempest. They weren’t aiming exactly at us but at a battery of 30 of our guns…. Although this charge suffered from our fire as it passed us, it didn’t slow them down, any more than discharges of grapeshot from our battery, which they overthrew... But soon they were thrown back by cavalry squadrons….”

Counterattack of Russian infantry at Borodino.
Picture by Grekhov. Over fields the balls of smoke were continually appearing and the sun's rays struck straight into Napoleon's face as, shading his eyes with his hand, he looked through a field glass at the Bagration Fleches. He saw smoke and men, sometimes his own and sometimes Russians, the smoke of the firing made it difficult to distinguish anything.

Around 10 am Ledru's division again attacked and captured one fleche. A few minutes later disordered troops followed by groups of wounded men uttering cries came back from that direction. Russian 3rd Infantry Division and Sievers' two dragoon and two hussar regiments counterattacked and retook the earthwork.
The flamboyant Murat took one battalion of Marchand's 25th Division (of Ney's III Corps) and rushed against the southernmost fleche. Before they reached their target they were charged by Duka's cuirassiers and Murat was forced to run for life. The remainder of Marchand's weak division and Wirtembergian cavalry advanced to save their fellows. In regimental history of the Wirtembergian Chevauxlegere-Reg. Prinz Adam No1 is description of their participation at Borodino. They attacked the Russian infantry and artillery and captured 2 guns before being struck in the flank and back by Russian cuirassiers. The Wirtembergians fled or as said more politely “withdrew hastily.” Their horse battery had to run for life too, and have part of their crew cut up. In Bagration Fleches took refuge group of Wirtembergians. There was however an opening in the back of the earthwork and a group of Russian cuirassiers rode in. Another group of cuirassiers rushed against the Wirtembergian battalions deployed nearby. Here however the musket shots repulsed the heavies. The chevauxlegeres took advantage of this situation and brought back the previously lost guns.

General Friant Because Ney's two divisions (Ledru's 10th and Marchand's 25th) made no progress, Napoleon ordered Friant's 2nd Infantry Division to support them. At 11 am Friant's men stormed into the earthworks amid savage fighting and heavy losses and captured them. It was the fifth attempt against Bagration Fleches and short lived. Bagration counter-attacked with 2nd Grenadier and 27th Infantry Division. Friant's infantrymen were thrown out of the fleches. The officers re-formed them and brought them back to the fire. The French infantry ran forward over the killed comrades and abandoned weapons, stumbling, tripping up and shouting. At 11:30 am the earthworks were finally captured.

The 4 hours of savage fighting against Davout's and Ney's infantry took a heavy toll on the Russians. Approx. 300 French guns inflicted horrible casualties on the defenders of the fleches, the fourth earthwork and Semenovskaia village. (For comparison, at Waterloo Napoleon had 246 guns spread along the entire frontline. They divided their fire between Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte, and Plancenoit where Blucher's Prussians attacked.)

General Konovnitzyn Bagration withdrew the 3rd Infantry Division some distance to the rear. This unit was commanded by GL Petr Konovnitzyn (see picture) one of the best divisional commanders. During the army maneuvers in May his 3rd Division was held up as a model for the army.
Borosdin's VIII Infantry Corps (2nd Grenadier, 2nd Converged Grenadier and 27th Infantry Division) was decimated, to say the least. The 2nd Grenadier Division shrinked into a size of single regiment. The 2nd Converged Grenadier and 27th Infantry Division almost ceased to exist.
Murat thinking that the Russians were ready to crack, called for a massive cavalry charge.


Despite heavy artillery fire the French infantry
pressed forward, rolled over the redoubt's walls
and a bloody bayonet battle ensued.

Fight for the Raievski Redoubt.
Ermolov took a handful of crosses of the Order of St. George
and threw them into the redoubt to encourage the defenders.

Russian General Raievski Raievski's VII Infantry Corps had been assigned to defend the Great Redoubt and the area to the south. Raievski's artillery chief was GM Otto Ivanovich Bucholtz (Baron Karl Fedorovich Klodt von Urgensburg was quartermaster of the corps). The VII Infantry Corps had two divisions; Vasilchikov's 12th and GM Paskevich's 26th. Raievski occupied the ravine of Semenovskaia Stream and the wood in front with jagers formed in thick skirmish chain. The remaining battalions were formed in columns in two lines. When Prince Bagration was wounded and the Fleches were captured by the French, Raievski assumed his command and began to move to the village of Semenovskaia. He also took the battalion columns of second line. Soon however the French opened fire on his troops and the Redoubt and he decided it was too dangerous for him to leave his corps.
Behind Kaptzevich's infantry was deployed Korf's III Cavalry Corps, and behind Raievski's corps stood Sievers' IV Cavalry Corps. Korf had 16 dragoon and 16 hussar squadrons, and Sievers had 16 dragoon, 8 uhlans and 8 hussar squadrons. Each cavalry corps was formed in two lines of squadron columns.

French and Russians 
fighting in Raievski Redoubt Before 10 AM the French artillery opened fire and their skirmishers advanced against the Russians. Raievski's jagers threw back the French reconnaissance in force.
At 11:00 AM Morand's 1st Infantry Division (of Davout's I Army Corps) orders were sent to GdD Morand, whose infantry was at the base of the mound on which was the redoubt, to take it by assault. It was the key position of the Russians. Morand's men advanced directly on the redoubt. Despite heavy artillery fire the French pressed forward, rolled over the redoubt's walls and a bloody bayonet battle ensued.

Captain Francois writes: "A great number of Frenchmen fall into the wolfpits pell-mell with Russians who're in them already." The attackers swept through and beyond the redoubt, chasing the Russian gunners and some infantry. Three jager regiments (previously deployed as skirmishers) were fleeing. Chief-of-Staff of Russian army, General Ermolov, was nearby and saw the French already in the redoubt. He immediately brought three horse batteries and 2 infantry battalions and counterattacked. Two other battalions attacked from the right. In the fight was killed General Kutaisov, chief of artillery. Raievski rallied his VII Infantry Corps and moved against the enemy in and around the redoubt. The French fled. Only a handful resisted for no more than 10 minutes. Kreutz's III Cavalry Corps advanced against the Italians, stopping their progress. The redoubt was back in Russian hands. Ermolov took a handful of crosses of the Order of St. George and threw them into the redoubt to encourage the defenders.

French infantry attack
Raievski Redoubt. Captain Francois of 30th Line Infantry Regiment described one of the attacks on Raievski Redoubt:
"Nothing could stop us... We hopped over the roundshots as it bounded through the grass. Whole files and half-platoons fell, leaving great gaps. General Bonamy ... made us halt in a hail of canister shot in order to rally us, and we then went forward at the pas de charge" A line of Russian troops tried to halt us, but we delivered a regimental volley at 30 paces and walked over them. We then hurled ourselves at the redoubt and climbed in by the embrasureds; I myself got in through an embrasure just after its cannon had fired. The Russian gunners tried to beat us back with ramrods and levering spikes. We fought hand-to-hand with them, and they were formidable adversaries."

General Korf GM Fedor Karlovich Korf noticed a strong column of enemy’s infantry, and supported by cavalry moving against the Raievski Redoubt. The Russian foot skirmishers who were in advanced position fled toward their own columns and the situation was getting tense. Korf ordered the Izoum Hussars and the Polish Uhlans to attack the French. The two regiments were about to end their quick preparations and move forward when they were strucked by GdD Grouchy’s dragoons. The situation would quickly get worse if not the timely arrival of the Pskov and Moscow Dragoons. According to Korf these fresh forces threw back and pursued the enemy as far as the positions of the Italian infantry. (Korf’s raport: “Gen. Adj. Baron Korf - Gen. Barklayu de Tolli” in book “Otechestvennaya Voina 1812 Goda.” 1911, Volume XVIII, pages 37-39)

General Grouchy The French attacked again, while the blue-clad infantry marched toward the redoubt with outstretched bayonets, Grouchy's III Cavalry Corps trotted around the fortification. GdD Emmanuel Grouchy had two cavalry divisions in his disposal; Lahussaye's with 7th, 23rd, 28th and 30th Dragoon Regiment, and Chastel's division with 6th Hussars, 6th, 8th and 25th Chasseurs-a-Cheval Regiment. GdD Chastel also had Bavarian and Saxon lighthorsemen.
Grouchy's dragoons raised clouds of dust, which mingled with the smoke from the infantry muskets and was whirled up in dense masses. The dragoons rode with drawn sabers, with their officers up in front. The chasseurs-a-cheval, the hussars and the German lighthorsemen (chevauxlegeres) followed them. Grouchy crossed the river, passed the small wood, and then moved slightly to the right, toward the masses of Russian infantry.

French 1st & 2nd attack on Raievski Redoubt In this moment Olsufiev's 17th Division (of Baggovout's II Infantry Corps from the extreme northern flank) was moving south, toward the hard pressed Bagration Fleches. The 17th Division halted by the redoubt and was resting when Grouchy's cavalry strucked them. Fedor Karlovich Korf's cavalry advanced to assist the infantry and Ermolov turned his guns in the redoubt to fire on Grouchy's cavalrymen to his rear. Grouchy's men had enough and rode away leawing behind the mauled 17th Division. Killed and wounded men and horses carpeted the meadows.


The Saxon Garde du Corps broke one square
formed by Russian infantry and pursued the enemy.
Then they encountered Sievers' dragoons
and furiously threw them back.
The Saxons pressed beyond the village of
Semonovskaia where stood Russian Imperial Guard.

Charge of the Saxons.
“What a bloody fighting! What a cram!” - Glinka

French Marshal Murat.
Commander of Napoleon's cavalry. As the fight for Bagration Fleches and Raievski Redoubt raged, Napoleon ordered Marshal Joachim Murat to take Latour-Maubourg's IV Cavalry Corps and strike the enemy center. In the same time Friant's 2nd Infantry Division was about to attack the village of Semenovskaia in Russian center.

Meanwhile Bagration regrouped his forces. The remains of the 2nd Grenadier Division (formed in two squares) and 2nd Converged Grenadier Division were in and around Semenovskaia. Behind the village stood 6 battalions of Guard formed in squares. They were supported by the splendid 1st Cuirassier Division. The Russian artillery was still strong, numerous batteries were deployed in front of the infantry. There was however a lot of damaged equipment and injured and killed horses.

General Rozniecki.
Polish cavalry. The French artillery opened tremendous fire and Latour-Maubourg's IV Cavalry Corps - formed into two columns - slowly moved forward. The right column consisted of GdD Lorge's 7th Heavy Cavalry Division (8 squadrons of Saxon, 8 Westphalian and 2 squadrons of Polish cuirassiers). The left column was made up of GdD Rozniecki's (see picture) 4th Light Cavalry Division. Rozniecki had 9 squadrons of Polish uhlans, three of them were from the fine 3rd Uhlan Regiment.

The Russian grenadiers and artillery were presented with the amazing sight of several thousands of cavalrymen coming towards them. The green-clad infantry formed squares to create fortresses out of which musket fire could be poured to disrupt or halt the cavalry charge. The square was the classic formation to resist cavalry as horses could not be enticed to charge into tightly formed troops bristling with bayonets. Between and in front of the squares Bagration had deployed artillery. Faced with the enormous force of cavalry massing but 1 km away, the infantry could do nothing but stay in their squares and wait.

In foreground: Saxon heavy cavalry 
in background: Polish uhlans.
Battle of Borodino. In front of the cavalry rode the elite Saxon Garde du Corps, one of the best heavy cavalry regiments in Europe. The Garde du Corps were followed by another Saxon unit, the Zastrow cuirassiers, and then by two regments of Westphalian cuirassiers and two squadrons of Polish heavies. In peacetime the Garde du Corps rode large black horses, officers rode golden bays. In 1812 however the Saxon Garde du Corps and Zastrow Cuirassiers had smaller, though sturdy horses, either black or dark-brown, supplied by dealers as Mecklenburgers. The Garde du Corps wore brass helmets and pale buff tunics. Officers wore gold epaulettes.

The Saxons got under canister fire from horse battery, broke one square and pursued the fleeing enemy. Sievers' dragoons counterattacked to save the infantry but were thrown back. The Saxons went around the village of Semonovskaia and attacked from the rear two Guard infantry regiments (3 battalions each). For an instant the generals had the impression that the Guard had disappeared under the countless whirling sabers. The Guard opened galling fire at close range. Panic-stricken horses, without riders, came neighing and circling the troops.
Other group of Saxons temporarily captured one of the earthworks. The Westphalian cuirassiers attacked infantry squares but without much effect.
Rozniecki's uhlans had become involved in battle around the Raievski Redoubt, where they captured 8 guns.

Russian cuirassiers at Borodino,
part of Borodino Panorama General Borosdin-II brought two crack regiments of Russian heavy cavalry; His Majesty Cuirassiers and Her Majesty Cuirassiers, and threw them at the Saxons. The Astrahan Cuirassiers joined the fight. The Ahtyrka Hussars charged with the utmost fierceness against the flank of the enemy. The clash was very violent. For Officer Glinka it was an unforgettable spectacle: “What a bloody fighting! What a cram!” (Kak oni rezhutsia! Kakaya tesnota!). It was like a clash of armored knights with a frenzy of cutting and thrusting and the fighters going mental. The most miserable however were those who fell under the hooves where their bodies turned into unrecognized bloody pulp. The Saxons suffered in this "cram" for they have left armor in Germany.

While the whole air was reeking with gun smoke, the earth was shaking from thousands of hooves, the Russian 2nd Cuirassier Division drew their sabers, and strucked the Saxons, Poles and Westphalians from the flank and rear. Lorge's cuirassiers resisted the enemy for a few moments before being driven back.
A lull developed as the cavalry withdrew.

General Golitzyn Much credit for the timely cavalry attack belong to the commander of the Russian cavalry, GL Dmitrii Vladimirovich Prince Golitzyn-V (1771-1844). Golitzyn was a seasoned officer, in 1797 became colonel, in 1798 general-major, and in 1800 general-lieutenant. He distingished himself in 1807 at Heilsberg against the French and in 1808-1809 in the war against the Swedes. King of Prussia was so impressed with Golitzyn that he awarded the Russian general with Black Eagle medal. At Borodino Prince Golitzin had his radar twitching for opportunities to use his armored cavalry: 1st and 2nd Cuirassier Division.


"My three battalions were arranged in squares awaiting cavalry
and despite being surrounded by a superior enemy, they met him gallantly,
allowing him to approach to close range before delivering a battalion volley,
and, yelling 'Hurrah!'; they disordered and drove the enemy ...
our soldiers were so incensed that no prisoners were taken."
- Ivan Fedorovich Udom-I

Russian Guard Infantry in Combat.
"The French cuirassiers made a vigorous attack
but quickly paid a heavy price for their audacity."

Lithuanian Lifeguard Regiment at Borodino.
Picture by Chagadayev, Russia. The Russian Guard Infantry - in contrast to the French Guard - participated in the battle. They badly suffered from artillery fire and were repeatedly attacked by large number of Saxon and French cuirassiers.
(See picture -->)
Colonel Alexander Kutuzov wrote to General Lavrov: “Soon, the enemy cavalry appeared to the right from us and forced the I Battalion to leave its position in en echeque and line up with the columns of the II and III Battalions. At the same time, Colonel Hrapovitsky ordered columns to form squares against the cavalry. The enemy cuirassiers made a vigorous attack but quickly paid a heavy price for their audacity.
All squares, acting with firmness, opened fire and delivered battalion volleys from the lateral faces. The enemy's armour proved to be a weak defence against our fire and added no courage to them. The cavalrymen quickly showed us their backs and fled in disorder. ... Around 12 p.m. our gallant commander Colonel Hrapovitsky was wounded in the thigh and ankle by canister … Shortly before that Colonel Kozlyaninov, the acting commander of the regiment, was also wounded by canister. …
After the enemy cavalry was repelled, the enemy resumed artillery fire and his canister showered our immobile columns. On General Konovnitzin's order, Colonel Musin-Pushkin dispatched the III Battalion to occupy the heights to the left. Led by Captain Martynov, the III Battalion captured these heights and sent out skirmishers. Captain Martynov was wounded and his successor Staff Captain Katenin, received order from General Vasilchikov, to make an oblique movement forward and march to cover a battery deployed on battalion’s right flank, about 200 paces away. The enemy artillery fire, which was directed at that battery, did not prevent our column from accomplishing this mission in complete order. While the III Battalion was accomplishing these feats, General Konovnitsyn, remaining with us and sharing the same dangers, ordered to have the columns of the I and II Battalions deployed in oblique … and then formed squares against cavalry.
Russian Guard infantry formed in squares 
repulsed French cuirassiers.
Part of Borodino Panorama. The French cavalry again resumed its charges but was repulsed by the crossfire of these two battalions.
The cavalry did not dare to harass our battalions ever since and only observed us from a distance. The French artillery, however, inflicted horrible casualties on us, but the approaching enemy skirmishers were driven back on multiple occasions. Around 5 p.m. Colonel Musin-Pushkin was wounded in the chest and I assumed the command of both the regiment and brigade. … The darkness descending around 8 p.m. silenced the enemy artillery and the nightfall found out our columns in the same order as they were deployed that morning. … "
(- Colonel Alexander Kutuzov to Lavrov, 1 [13] September 1812)

Udom Ivan Fedorovich Udom-I reported to General Lavrov: “… the Lifeguard Lithuanian Regiment was sent to the Second Western Army of General of Infantry Prince Bagration near the village [of Semeyonovskoie] … On regiment's arrival to this site, the enemy made a strong attack on our battery and, upon being informed by Artillery Colonel Taube, I led the II Battalion of the regiment and drove the enemy back, which, however, was soon reinforced and compelled our entire line to retreat for 50 paces. The enemy showered us with cannonballs and canister and attacked with cavalry. My three battalions were arranged in squares awaiting cavalry and despite being surrounded by a superior enemy, they met him gallantly, allowing him to approach to close range before delivering a battalion volley, and, yelling 'Hurrah!';
Russian infantry.
Picture by Shevchenko, Russia they disordered and drove the enemy, inflicting heavy losses; our soldiers were so incensed that no prisoners were taken. We lost no wounded on that occasion.
The enemy … made a second attack on the regiment, but was met with equal courage and fled to the right, while the height was occupied by the enemy skirmishers. To counter them, I dispatched … the II Battalion to drive the enemy back and capture the heights. Although this was accomplished with considerable success, the enemy was reinforced with several columns in this direction and supported the skirmishers, which made it impossible for my regiment to capture the heights. … I was wounded in the right hand by a bullet. So the regiment was left in the hands of Lt. Col. Schwartz, … [he] charged with the I Battalion to the mentioned heights and, having sent out skirmishers, he captured it. Both sides suffered heavy casualties ... The enemy, meantime, was reinforced again. My regiment had lost too many people by now and on the order of General Vasilchikov … the regiment retreated, fighting back, to the woods, where it dispatched skirmishers for cover and then joined a battalion of the Lifeguard Izmailovsk Regiment. … In this battle, the regiment had 143 NCOs, 53 musicians, 1,543 privates, 1 non-combatant. The regiment lost up to 400 killed and about 443 wounded, with 130 missing in action. “ (- Udom to Lavrov, 31 August [12 Sept] 1812 Borodino)


Poniatowski put infantry in the center,
cavalry on the sides, and himself in front.
He led them up the hill,
the Russians withdrew.

Poniatowski on the Flank.
"Dauntless heroes; Murat, Ney, Poniatowski,
- it is to you the glory is due! "
- Napoleon after Borodino

Reenactors: Polish infantry. On the extreme southern flank Prince Poniatowski's weak corps had advanced to their positions early in the morning. Poniatowski had two infantry divisions led by General Krasinski, and the battle-hardened General Kniaziewicz. The light cavalry was superb and included some of the best regiments: 13th 'Silver' Hussars and the 5th Chasseurs. Officer Chlapowski of Old Guard Lancers writes: "I was most impressed by the appearanace of Prince Sulkowski's cavalry division. They had a good soldierly appearance and their horses were magnificent. ... the 5th Chasseurs, who were very fine and even better mounted than the 13th 'Silver' Hussars." The Polish artillery was numerically weak, but it was superbly led by French General Pelletier.
Poniatowski's infantry (18 battalions) marched in columns screened by skirmishers. The 16th Division fought in the wooded area near Utica having 2/3 of its strength fully in skirmish order. It was about 8:00 a.m. when the Poles encountered Tuchkov's III Infantry Corps.

Tuchkov had been weakened when the 3rd Division was detached north to aid the defenders of Bagration Fleches. He had only the 1st Grenadier Division (12 battalions). commanded by GM Pavel Aleksandrovich Prince Stroganov. This division consisted some of the best regiments in the Russian army: Tzar's Grenadiers and Pavlovsk Grenadiers.

Pavlovsk Grenadier The Pavlovsk Grenadiers (see picture -->) wore old-fashioned mitre-caps until the end of Napoleonic Wars. In 1807 for their gallant fight at Friedland Tzar Alexander ordered that, alone of the infantry, this regiment should henceforth retain its mitres "in the state in which they left the battlefield as visible mark of its bravery and Our grace." J. S. Stanhope wrote: "and the marks made by the musket balls in these caps are considered as so many decorations, and , therefore are never repaired." In 1812 at Loshmiana they met French infantry and soon there were only scattered debris of the enemy. At Kliastitzi the depot battalion of this regiment, while under hail of fire, passed through a flaming bridge at full speed and took by storm all the building defended by the Swiss infantry. In 1813 for their valor in combat the Pavkovsk Grenadiers and Tzar's Grenadiers (Leib Grenadiers) were admitted to the Guard.
In front of the 1st Grenadier Division was wooded area. It was defended by skirmish chain formed by several jager battalions. In the rear, behind the grenadiers stood several thousands of militia armed with pikes. Tuchkov's flank was protected with Karpov's Cossacks and his front with strong artillery. On Utitza Mound stood artillery.

The battle began with a sharp firefight between the Polish and Russian skirmishers. The Poles pushed the enemy skirmishers out of the wood and at 10:30 a.m. Poniatowski moved his artillery forward. More than 20 guns were deployed and directed their fire on Utitza. Kutusov learned about Poniatowski's advance and ordered Baggovout's II Infantry Corps from the extreme northern flank to march south and join Tuchkov's force. II Infantry Corps' Quartermaster was Gabbe, and Officer of the Day was Olszewski. Baggovout left 12 jager battalions along the Kolocha River and with the remaining 16 battalions (GM Prince von Württemberg's 4th and GL Olsufiev's 17th Infantry Division) he moved south. On their way south however Olsufiev's 17th Division was attacked by Grouchy's dragoons.

The rapid advance of the Poniatowski's Poles forced the Russian artillery to withdraw.
Pavlovsk Grenadiers (left) vs Poles at Borodino.
Picture by Oleg Parkhaiev, Russia. Baggovout's infantrymen and Tuchkov's grenadiers counterattacked (see picture --->) and retook te lost terrain as far as the village of Utitza. Tuchkov who led the Pavlovsk Grenadiers, was killed.
General Baggovout GL Karl Fedorovich Baggovout assumed command of the entire southern flank. (According to Nikolai Mozhak, GL Baggowout came of an ancient Norwegian family. As young officer he distinguished himself in war against the Crimean Tatars and against the Turks. Baggovout also fought against the French at Pultusk, Eylau and Friedland.) This brave, fat general and calm man was liked by the soldiers and respected by his peers.

Polish artillery, and two batteries detached from the artillery of the French Imperial Guard, engaged in a 3 hour duel with the numerous Russian guns while Poniatowski prepared a two column attack against the mound. The southern column was a diversion only. Baggovout counterattacked with everything he had: his II Infantry Corps, the 1st Grenadier Division, and Karpov's Cossacks. This force halted the Polish column. But this action exposed Baggovout's northern flank and here was Poniatowski's second column. Poniatowski outsmarted Baggovout. This maneuver obliged the Russian general to fall back and abandon his positions to to the Poles.

Poniatowski's infantry attacked the Utitza Mound while the Polish 'Silver Hussars, and the green-clad chasseurs-a-cheval deployed to the south, facing Karpov's Cossacks. The drums could be heard in the distance as the Polish infantry moved forward. They brushed off enemy skirmishers and advanced against the artillery. While the situation near Utitza became dangerous for the Russians - it was not precarious yet. Baggovout had several battalions in reserve and the militia in the wood. Especially his artillery was powerful.

Karpov's Cossacks caused no real problems and Poniatowski's light cavalry moved along the road. With Bagration mortally wounded, Davout capturing the Fleches, and Poniatowski's strong pressure on the flank, GL Baggovout fell back.

After battle the Red Lancers of Napoleon's Guard spent the night in woods taken by Poniatowskki's infantry. "This part of the field had been taken by the Polish troops of Prince Poniatowski's V Corps. The ground between the trees was so choked with dead men and horses that the Lancers had to lift scores of corpses out of their way before they could clear a space to make their bivouac." (Ronald Pawly - "The Red Lancers" pp 37-38)


A small breech in the Russian line had finally been formed.
Murat and Ney sent an officer to Napoleon asking for
fresh troops and the Guard to make the final breakthrough.

Breakthrough ?
"Soldiers, about face ! Let's go and get killed !" - Murat to Friant's infantry
The plain between Friant and Tolstoy was a hideous charnel house,
strewn with human remains, and corpses of horses whose stiffened limbs
reach up towards the heavens.

Friant's and Tolstoy's troops facing each other. The cavalry withdrew and Friant brought forward half of his 2nd Division near the ruins of Semenovskaia. The village was almost captured before 4 grenadier battalions arrived and put on impressive resistance. Friant's battalions were very discouraged and some wanted to withdraw but Murat arrived with these words "Soldiers, about face ! Let's go and get killed !" Friant's men crushed the grenadiers and swept over the smoking ruins of the village.
A small breech in the Russian battleline had finally been formed. Murat and Ney sent an officer to Napoleon asking for fresh troops to make the final breakthrough. Napoleon initially consented, but he then recanted. GdD Lobau and the Young Guard, disappointed at Napoleon's failure to commit them, slowly edged forward on the pretext of correcting the alignment of their ranks. But Napoleon saw them and brought it to a halt. General Belliard arrived from Murat with a second request for the release of the Young Guard. His request was denied.

Meanwhile Bagration was mortally wounded and Konovnitzin, and then Dohturov took command of his army. The Russina troops were shaken and moved back few hundred paces, with some decimated units withdrawing into the woods in the rear. The casualties were horrific, for example the 6 grenadier battalions that had defended Bagration Fleches were reduced to a total of about 300 men !
The 6 Guard battalions retired in perfect order. Barclay de Tolly moved Tolstoy's IV Infantry Corps into the gap in front of the Semonovskaia village.

Napoleon was unsure of the situation on the smoke-obscured battlefield. "He sat very still most of the time, showing little emotion, even when listening to the reports of panting officers who, without dismounting, retailed news from the front line. He would dismiss them without a word, and then go back to surveying the battlefield through his telescope. He had a glass of punch at 10 am, but brusquely refused all offers of food. He seemed very absorbed ..." (Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812" pp 271-272)

French Guard artillery at Borodino Instead of infantry Napoleon sent Sorbier's 60 pieces of Guard artillery to support Friant. The Guard artillery swiftly deployed and began an enfilading fire on Tolstoy's IV Infantry Corps maneuvering in front of Friant and covering the gap in Russian line. Despite the fire, the Russians marched as if they were on parade ground, filling the gaps the cannonballs and canister ripped in their ranks. Their suffering was incredible.
Neither Ney nor any of his officers had ever before seen such horrors or so many slain in such a small area. (After the battle their positions could still be seen, clearly marked by the dead whose bodies were still arranged in formation.) The cannons were being fired continually one after another with a deafening roar, enveloping the whole neighborhood in powder smoke. But Tolstoy's greencoats redressed their ranks, threw out chests and raised their chins. Their officers called: -Tighten the ranks! Friant's men stayed where they were, in the village.

The plain between Friant and Tolstoy was a hideous charnel house, strewn with human remains, and corpses of horses whose stiffened limbs reach up towards the heavens. But not only the Russians suffered from artillery fire. Latour-Maubourg's IV Cavalry Corps, those magnificent Saxon, Westphalian and Polish heavy cavalry were used to hold the line. They were put under fire of the Russian artillery and were badly mauled as they stood in the open. There was not much infantry around, the foot soldiers took cover in the ravines, woods, folds of terrain etc. Russian cannonballs also reached Montbrun's II Cavalry Corps. The horse carabiniers with their copper armor attracted the attention of enemy gunners. GdD Montbrun was killed and replaced by Gen. August de Caulaincourt.


"... Platov and Uvarov bypassed the left flank of Napoleon's army
and launched a sudden attack in the Valuievo-Bezzubovo area.
The panic among the transport and troops of the left flank
temporarily distracted Napoleon from further attacks
against the Second Western Army for about 2 hours....
During the time thus won, Kutusoff rearranged his forces
and strengthened the center and the left wing."
- Alexander Mikaberidze (Georgia)

Cossacks' Raid.
Word the much feared Cossacks were to the rear
had spread terror as far south as Napoleon's
headquarters in Shevardino Redoubt.

Cossacks at Borodino, 
picture by Zelihmann. On the northern flank stood Platov's Cossack Corps formed in three lines. Platov had 5,600 men in several regiments of Cossacks, Bashkirs and Tartars. The Simferopol Tatars were under Prince Kaya Bey. In contrast to Platov's jackass cavalry, Uvarov had regular troops, including the flower of Russian light cavalry; Lifeguard Hussars and Elisavetgrad Hussars, and the fine horse artillery under Peter Göring.

Karl von Clausewitz writes: "General Platoff had been employed with some 2,000 Cossacks to discover a ford of the Kolotscha on the Russian right, had passed over, and was astonished where he had expected to find the entire left wing of the enemy to meet with few or no troops. ... In short, Platoff despatched the Prince of Hesse Philipsthal, who was with him as a volunteer, to General Kutusov to acquaint him with the discovery he had made, and to make the proposal to throw a considerable body of cavalry over the river by the ford, and fall on the exposed flank of the enemy.
The Prince of Hesse, who was perhaps more taken with the idea than Platoff himself, but was a young officer without experience, betook himself to Colonel Toll, and represented the case with so much liveliness that at first it really had a winning appearance. Colonel Toll was gained over, and rode directly to Kutusov, who was stationed near the village of Gorki. ...
At the same moment arrived an account that in the redoubt of the centre ... the King of Naples had been taken prisoner. The enthusiasm blazed up like lighted straw; several voices proposed to make this known to all the troops; some calmer heads among the general officers thought the fact so improbable as to require further confirmation. ... We now know that it was General Bonami, and not the King, whom the French had left, wounded, in the redoubt.
It was in this enthusiasm, and the belief of a successful turn of affairs, that the proposal of the P.of Hesse was laid before Kutusov by Colonel Toll ... Kutusov, who had been listening to all the reports and discussions like one who did not exactly know whether he stood on his head or his heels, and only from time to time said C'est bon, faites le ! replied also to this proposal C'est bon, prenez le ! The P. of Hesse had offered to guide the corps through the ford to the point in question. General Uvarov, therefore, was ordered to follow his guidance and, when arrived, to fall on the enemy in flank and rear."

About 11 am Platov's Cossacks and Uvarov's I Cavalry Corps moved against French northern flank and rear. These forces moved across the Kolocha River and soon encountered the enemy. Uvarov was halted at Bezzubovo by French 84th Line Infantry (4 battalions) and half of Ornano's cavalry division. The Russian Lifeguard Hussars attacked 84th three times without artillery preparation or success. The Russian guns finally arrived and forced the French to withdraw behind the river. It allowed the remainder of Uvarov's cavalry to drive back the Bavarian and Italian cavalry.

Karl von Clausewitz Prussian officer, Clausewitz, rode with Uvarov: "He [Uvarov] passed the Kolotscha by a ford above Staroie, then brought his right shoulder forward, and took a direction towards Borodino, in pursuing which, however, he was obliged, on account of some marshy rivulets which fall into the Kolotscha, to incline sensibly to the right. The village lay on his left, in which the troops of the vice-king had established themselves; before him was the brook, which runs through swampy meadows. On his side of it stood a couple of regiments of cavalry, and a mass of infantry, which might be a regiment or a strong battalion. The French cavalry retired immediately over a dam, which crosses the brook at about 2000 paces from Borodino. The infantry however, was bold enough to remain and form square with the dam in their rear. General Uvarov attacked.
The Author suggested in vain that the artillery should first open upon them; the Russian officers feared that they would then retire, and escape capture. The Lifeguard Hussars were therefore advanced, and ordered to charge; they made 3 ineffectual attacks; the infantry (Italian troops) lost neither their composure nor their ranks, and returned a steady fire. The Lifeguard Hussars retired, as usually happens in such cases ... General Uvarov then discontinued these not very brilliant attempts, and caused the artillery to open; at the first discharge the enemy retired over the defile. The whole affair then came to an end. ...
General Platoff, with his 2000 Cossacks, was a 1/4 of a league to the right of Uvarov, and looking for a passage over the marshy stream. ... the account soon spread that Platoff had at length found a passage, and with his Cossacks was in the wood on that side. ... the troops immediately in our front feared to be locked in the morass, and made a side movement. The Lifeguard Cossacks attached to Uvarov's corps could stand it no longer -
like a rocket with its tail, they were over the dam like lightning, and into the wood to join their brethren."
Uvarov unquestionably might have followed at this moment, but he had no desire to let himself be squashed in the defile, if repulsed, or to have to make an excentrical retreat en debandade, as the Cossacks are accustomed to do on occasion. ... Before long the Lifeguard Cossacks returned,and with a considerable deficit in killed and wounded. ... At about 3 PM Uvarov received orders to retire, and take up his original position."

Initially Platov's Cossacks moved without major problems, they crossed the Voina River ("War River") further north than Uvarov, and made raid on French rear. Word the much feared Cossacks were to the rear had spread terror as far south as Napoleon's headquarters in Shevardino Redoubt.
Napoleon sent Grouchy's III Cavalry Corps to deal with Uvarov and Platov. It allowed the Italian and Bavarian cavalry to regain composure.

The Emperor also sent the infantry of Vistula Legion into Eugene's rear. The Young Guard had made ready to receive the enemy. Napoleon also shifted his position north, remaining there until about 3:00 p.m. These forces halted the rampaging Cossacks and threw them back. The diversion however had paralyzed the French left and part of the center from about noon to 2:00 p.m.

Kutuzov probably expected more, Platov and Uvarov were the only top commanders which were not submitted by Kutuzov to awards for Borodino. Britten-Austin writes "Ouvarov was severely reprimanded for making such a mess of his diversion. It was only years afterwards that he and his fellow Russian generals realized that he had saved Russia from the disaster which would have overtaken its army had Napoleon, in his usual manner, thrown in the Imperial Guard through the hole that, between 11 and 1 o'clock, had been blasted in the Russian centre. Only the Prussians' timely arrival at Waterloo would save Wellington from exactly the same catastrophe." (Britten-Austin - "1812 The March on Moscow" p 381)

Karl von Clausewitz writes: "A diversion by 2,500 horse could not possibly have a decisive influence on a battle delivered on one side by 130,000 men - it could at best put a spoke in the wheel of their plans for a moment, and astonish them more or less."


The Redoubt was captured by cavalry,
a feat never repeated !

Grand Cavalry Charge
and the Capture of Raievski Redoubt.

The Saxons and French cuirassiers
had the honour of being the first in the redoubt.

Approx. 175 French guns directed its fire on the Redoubt and troosp positioned near it. The earth forming the Raievski Redoubt was blown back into the trench, filling it in. At 2:00 p.m. Eugene's infantry and Grouchy's cavalry were involved in the final attack on this fortification. Chlapowski of Guard Lancers writes: "The redoubt had been so ruined by cannon fire that the Emperor rightly judged cavalry capable of taking it. So we watched the beautiful sight of our cuirassier charge." Before long the Russian gunners and infantrymen heard a new sound. It grew in intensity until suddenly, from the smoke, a huge body of armored cavalry burst onto the plain. The sight chilled Russians' blood.
The cavalry was so numerous that the squadrons extended out to the left and right, threatening not just the infantry deployed in and around the redoubt but also the Russian line all the way to the Semonovskaia village. They were the French, Saxon, and Polish cuirassiers. In the second line were light cavalry. The earth was rumbling under the pounding hooves. General Caulaincourt, with his eyes aflame with the ardor of battle, rode to the front of the cuirassiers and shouted: "Follow me, weep not for him [Montbrun], but come and avenge his death." In reply to Murat's order to enter that redoubt right through the Russian line, he said, "You shall soon see me there, dead or alive." The trumpets sounded the charge, and putting himself at the head of this iron-clad cavalry, he dashed forward.

The Redoubt was attacked from the right by:
- Lahussaye's 6th Heavy Cavalry Division
- Chastel's 3rd Light Cavalry Division
From the left by:
- Wathier's 2nd Heavy Cavalry Division
- Defrance's 4th Heavy Cavalry Division
- Lorge's 7th Heavy Cavalry Division
- Rozniecki's 4th Light Cavalry Division

One can well imagine what it must have been like inside that redoubt as Russian gunners and infantrymen prepared to defend themselves against an attack that was imminent: desperation on the faces of some, determination on others.
Barclay de Tolly, the commander of the First Western Army, had deployed Tolstoy's IV Infantry Corps to the left of the redoubt with its left wing pulled back and facing Friant's division in Semonovskaia. Behind Tolstoy's troops was placed Raievski's battered VII Infantry Corps and 6 Guard battalions.
Barclay de Tolly began forming third line as a reserve with II & III Cavalry Corps and 8 Guard squadrons. Korf's II Cavalry Corps hadn't arrived by the time the French final assault began, and III Cavalry Corps had majority of squadrons engaged around Bagration Fleches.

The cavalrymen pressed on with sabers drawn. The 2nd Heavy Cavalry Division was one of the units which, by-passing the redoubt to its right, have galloped towards a line of Russian guns, supported only 60 or 80 metres away by a line of Russian cuirassiers and dragoons. The cannons are spewing a rolling fire of grape and caseshot at the French. Thirion writes: "Rarely, I declare, have I found myself in so hot a spot. Immobile in front of the Russian guns, we see them loading the projectiles they're going to fire at us ... Happily, they aim too high. ... Finally a Westphalian division puts itself behind us. Separated from the Russians by our two ranks of horses, it imagines itself under cover. But when we, by moving off by platoons to the right, open up a gateway for them to move ahead of us between each platoon, these poor Westphalians, partly recruits, surprised to find themselves so close to thundering guns and to see us making to move off, begin shouting: 'Wir bleiben nicht hier !' [we're not staying here !], and try to follow our withdrawal, which obliges us to retrace our footsteps to support, or rather comfort, this infantry, at whose heels our horses were marching."

Tolstoy's IV Infantry Corps of 16 battalions was attacked by enemy cavalry. (At Borodino, Russian infantry battalion when attacked by cavalry was to form a closed column or battalion square.) The Pernau Infantry and the 33rd Jagers let the enemy come up to 60 paces and then threw them in disorder by a volley. The Pernau Infantry then itself attacked and routed the cavalry with bayonets, some men in the first rank even threw their muskets as javelins at the backs of the cavalrymen ! (Zhmodikov - "Tactics of the Russian Army in the Napoleonic Wars" Vol. II)

Wathier's 2nd Heavy Cavalry Division arrived at the redoubt first, and as they were about to enter its rear they were greeted by a heavy volley from the infantry inside. General Caulaincourt Caulaincourt had been killed at the gorge of the redoubt, as he led the charge. (He was buried in the redoubt he had so nobly won.) Wathier's cuirassiers were repulsed and Lorge's Saxon, Westphalian and Polish heavies and Rozniecki's uhlans moved to fill the gap. The cavalrymen were met by Russian musketry at 60 paces. The fire brought them to a short halt before they resumed their advance. The Saxons drew out to the left and poured up and over the redoubt's earthen walls.

Cuirassiers forced their way through 
the rear and embrasures of the breastwork. 
Picture by Kossak. GdD Defrance and GdD Wathier led 16 squadrons of French cuirassiers and 8 squadrons of horse carabiniers. These iron-clads together with 2 squadrons of the Polish cuirassiers forced their way through the rear and embrasures of the breastwork. A bloody fight ensued in which all discipline and organization disappeared. Three infantry divisions came into the redoubt too: Morand's, Gerard's and Broussieres'.
The Russian gunners fought with ramrods, the French, German and Polish cavalrymen with sabers and lances. Meerheimb writes: "Inside the redoubt, horsemen and foot soldiers, gripped by a frenzy of slaughter, were butchering each other without any semblance of order..."
Despite the furious assault and incredible chaos, the Russian gunners and infantrymen succeeded in withdrawing 6 of the guns from the redoubt and one was thrown into the ditch. The remaining cannons were found dismounted in the redoubt.

French cuirassiers in captured Raievski Redoubt, picture by Roubaud The Raievski Redoubt was captured by cavalry, a feat never repeated !
Colonel Griois watched the cavalry attack: "It would be difficult to convey our feelings as watched this brilliant feat of arms, perhaps without equal in the military annals of nations ... cavalry which we saw leaping over ditches and scrambling up ramparts under a hail of canister shot, and a roar of joy resounded on all sides as they became masters of the redoubt."
"The Raievski Redoubt presented a gruesome sight. 'The redoubt and the area around it offered an aspect which exceeded the worst horrors one could ever dream off,' according to an officer of the Vistula Legion, which had come up in support of the attacking force. 'The approaches, the ditches and the earthwork itself had disappeared under a mound of dead and dying, of an average depth of 6 to 8 men, heaped one upon the other." (Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812" p 281)

Saxon Garde du Corps 
after the capture of Raievski Redoubt. 
Picture by Mark Churms, UK. The achievement of Saxon heavy cavalry at Borodino was belittled by Napoleon's comment "I only see blue cuirassiers". (French cuirassiers wore dark blue). Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Loeffelholtz von Colberg and his proud Garde du Corps, and Günther von Selmitz with the Zastrow Cuirassiers, pushed through the screening Russian infantry and forced their way into the Redoubt. The victory had, however, been dearly bought. Only few men of the Saxon Heavy Cavalry Brigade survived to rally around their standards.
Once the redoubt was captured, Eugene began to mass cavalry behind it. Barclay de Tolly ordered Likhachev's 24th Infantry Division to retake the redoubt but 2 squadrons of Polish cuirassiers attacked and drove back the Russians.

The French and German cavalry repeatedly attacked Kaptzevich's 7th Infantry Division but without success and had to fall back all along their front. Murat brought up Defrance's 4th Heavy Cavalry Division and finally the giant French carabiniers (8 squadrons) broke two squares and sabered the gunners of Guard horse battery. Thier victory was however very short-lived as Russian 8 Guard squadrons (4 sq. of Guard Cavalry Regiment and 4 sq. of Lifeguard Horse Regiment) counter-charged and retook the battery. The Russian Guard charged and drove the French carabiniers and the Saxons back.

According to the Russians, the Guard Cavalry (Chevaliers) stood in squadron columns with intervals; in the first line were I and IV Squadron, and in the second the III and V. The Lifeguard Horse was deployed to the left of the Guard Cavalry. Its four (I, III, IV, V) squadrons were formed in one line, squadron by squadron with intervals. When the trumpets crashed out with brazen voice the two outfits began their magnificient advance. The fighting itself took place on a rye field and the onrush on both sides was so terrific that some of the most forward horses and men went down like poppies in a hurricane. The two squadrons of Poles moved to the right in an attempt to protect the flank of the Saxons against the Guard Cavalry (Chevaliers). The Saxons and Poles were utterly discomfited. They were pursued until the positions of the French artillery and to make things worse the fleeing Saxon Zastrow cuirassiers were mistakenly attacked by the French horse carabiniers.

French carabiniers vs Russian hussars.
Battle of Borodino 1812.
Picture by Keith Rocco, USA. Korf's II Cavalry Corps arrived and attacked Wathier's and Defrance's cuirassiers and carabiniers but without success. The French iron-clads threw them back. After this combat a large cavalry battle ensued around Raievski Redoubt.
Squadrons of French, German, Polish and Italian cavalry intermingled with the squadrons of Korf's II and III Cavalry Corps and Sievers' IV Cavalry Corps. Dust rose obscuring all vision. Groups of cuirassiers, dragoons, uhlans, and colorful hussars pulled into and out of the melee to reorganize and charge back into the fray. All control of the fighting passed from the hands of the officers into the small battle groups.
The gigantic cavalry melee was the last major fighting in this battle.


'The approaches, the ditches and the Raievski Redoubt itself
had disappeared under a mound of dead and dying,
of an average depth of 6 to 8 men, heaped one upon the other."
- H. Brandt of the Vistula Legion

In the end of battle Napoleon was in a state of extreme depression.
At daybreak, de Tolly, seeing the French had abandoned the Raievski Redoubt,
sent several battalions and a battery, to reoccupy the fortification.

Benedikt Peter from the Jäger-Regiment zu Pferd König No 4, wrote that in the last stages of the battle Murat’s cavalry stood behind French artillery. They were under heavy cannonade from the Russian guns and looked like “smashed battleship of which only separate and broken parts are seen on the water.” The acrid odor of expended gunpowder, mingled with the stench of smoldering grass, combined to create a thirst among the soldiers.
Meanwhile the Russian cavalry appeared advancing out of the wood in threatening deep columns. The French cannons began firing on them and the columns halted. The iron missiles bowled down the horses and riders, but their officers shouted orders and the gaps after killed and wounded were filled. It was a delightful picture for Benedikt Peter to see that also the enemy suffers. Finally the Russian columns had enough and withdrew out of the inferno.

Russian infantry, 
picture by Tzygankov. General de Tolly was on horseback, erect, unmoved by all confusion among the hundreds of retreating and well-nigh worn out soldiers. He sent officer to Kutusov to inform him of the dramatic situation on the battlefield. De Tolly asked the officer to be sure to get any orders in writing, fearing Kutusov might otherwise give instructions he would later deny having issued, in an effort to blame de Tolly for any failure that might result.
Kutusov ordered de Tolly to move the army about 1,000 paces to the rear and assume a new position. Kapzevich's VI Infantry Corps moved between the villages of Gorki and Semenovskaia; Tolstoy's IV Infantry Corps occupied the area in front of Bagration Fleches. More to the south stood 6 Guard battalions. Baggovout's II Infantry Corps fell back from Utitza to the Old Smolensk Road, where it was joined by Tuchkov's III Infantry Corps. The I, II, III and IV Cavalry Corps stood behind infantry. All these troops were exhausted. In worst shape was the infantry. Raievski's VII Infantry Corps was down to 700 men !

The only Russian troops still in good shape were: Lavrov's V Infantry Corps (the remaining 12 Guard battalions), Platov's Cossack Corps, 1st Cuirassier Division, and 8-12 jager battalions that were detached to defend the Kolocha River along the northern flank. These 15.000-20.000 troops had either not taken part in the battle, or if they did it was on small scale.
Kutusov sent a report to Tsar Alexander. “After my earlier report that the enemy attacked with considerable forces the left flank of my army on 24 August [5 September], the day of 25 August [6 September] passed without any significant incidents. However, yesterday [7 September], taking advantage of a morning fog, at dawn around 4 a.m., the enemy directed all his forces against the left flank of our army. A general battle ensued and continued under the nightfall. The losses are enormous on both sides. The enemy casualties, judging from his resolute attacks on our fortified positions, must have exceeded our losses. The troops of Your Imperial Majesty fought with incredible gallantry. The batteries changed hands repeatedly but the battle ended with the enemy failing to gain even a single step of the ground in spite of his numerical superiority …. Sadly, Prince Bagration was wounded by a bullet to his left leg. … It is already late at night and I cannot determine the exact losses on our side.” (- Kutuzov to Tsar Alexander, 27 August [8 September] 1812, from Borodino)
Kutuzov noticed that many men left the ranks under pretexts of helping the wounded or lack of ammunition.

On the following morning Kutusov decided to retreat, he explained his action to the Tzar as necessary for regrouping and reforming his troops after such intense, day long battle. The next day the Russians actually returned several troops to the battlefield.

General Barclay de Tolly.
Commander of the First Western Army
in the Battle of Borodino. At daybreak, de Tolly (see picture), seeing the French had abandoned the Raievski Redoubt, sent several battalions and a battery, to reoccupy the fortification. Zamoyski wrote: "Although the Russian front line had been withdrawn that evening some 2 km back from its positions in the morning, the French did not follow it, and as soon as night fell Cossacks, singly or in groups, ranged over the battlefield in search of booty ... The French did not post forward pickets or fortify their line, as, having beaten and pushed back the Russians, they felt no need to do so. They just camped where they were. For obvious reasons, nobody bedded down in the charnel house of the Raievski Redoubt, and this permitted a small party of Russian troops to 'reoccupy it briefly." (Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812" p 285)

Meanwhile the Russian baggages, ammunition wagons and artillery had slowly moved down the road to Mozhaisk. They were followed by the exhausted infantry. Some cavalry however stayed behind, ready to fend off any pursuit.
Napoleon retained some 20,000-30.000 fresh troops (Imperial Guard, the Vistula Legion and I Cavalry Corps) but the remaining forces were exhausted physically and mentally. The French spent the day after the battle tending wounded and resting. Napoleon was in a state of extreme depression. Napoleon and his marshals were amazed at the stubborness of the Russians and feared the prospect of meeting them again. On Septemner 8th Murat began pursuit but soon was stopped by the Russian cavalry near Mozhaisk.

Casualties at Borodino.
Neither Napoleon nor any of his generals
had ever before seen such horrors
or so many slain in such a small area.

Killed and wounded soldiers
on the battlefield at Borodino. The battlefield was covered with blood, with horses and men lying singly or in heaps. Dumonceau wrote: "Passing behind the Grand Redoubt we saw its broad interior sloping sharply down towards us, all encumbered with corpses and dead horses jumbled up with overturned cannon, cuirasses, helmets and all sorts of scattered wreckage in an indescribable confusion and disorder." It was not until the end of battle that many of the bodies could be recovered from No Man's Land having laid there for several hours. Neither Napoleon nor any of his generals had ever before seen such horrors or so many slain in such a small area.

David Chandler writes: "The French had lost an estimated 33,000 casualties; the Russians all of 44,000. It had been a desperate day, and the result was inconclusive." (Chandler - "Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars" p 67)
There were probably at least 70,000-85,000 killed and wounded.
- Kutuzov's losses: 40.000-45.000 killed and wounded, including 23 generals.
- Napoleon's losses: 30.000-40.000 killed and wounded, including 36 generals.
Inspector of Reviews Deniee, totting up the losses, finds among the casualties no fewer than 14 generals of division, 33 generals of brigade, 37 colonels and 86 ADCs.
"Next year the peasants would have to bury a total of 58,521 corpses and the carcasses of 35,478 horses." (Britten-Austin - "1812 The March on Moscow" p 383)
There were at least 58,000 killed and lethaly wounded who died on the battlefield. How many were wounded but died later we can only speculate. There were also thousands of those who were wounded but survived. Surgeon Roos writes: "The numbers of wounded turning up were enormous." (Britten-Austin - "1812 The March on Moscow" p 283)
Labaume inspected the battlefield and saw "mounds of wounded, and the little spaces where there weren't any were covered with debris of arms, lances, helmets or cuirasses, or by cannonballs as numerous as hailstones after a violent storm."

The battle was a bloody meat grinder, devoid of the subtle strokes so common in Napoleon's earlier victories in Italy, at Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland. Later, during his exile, the deposed French Emperor stated that out of the 50 battles he had fought, it was at Borodino that "The greatest valour was displayed and the least success gained."

March on Moscow.
Moscow was in Napoleon's hands but Tzar Alexander
refused to negotiate a truce.

French soldiers drinking and looting
in Moscow, 1812 During the next weeks Kutuzov needed to get Napoleon off his tail, and he could only do that by distracting him with something else. "In the only brilliant decision he made during the whole campaign, Kutuzov resolved to sacrifice Moscow in order to save his army. 'Napoleon is like a torrent which we are still too weak to stem' he explained to Toll. 'Moscow is the sponge which will suck him in.' He therefore fell back on Moscow." (Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812" p 289)

The Polish 10th Hussar Regiment was the first Napoleonic unit to enter Mocow in 1812. They were followed by Prussian uhlans, Wirtembergian chasseurs and Pajol's French hussars and chasseurs. The French entered Moscow in good marching order but the city itself was deserted and there was hardly anyone in the streets. The gates and shops were all closed.

Moscow was in Napoleon's hands but Tzar Alexander refused to negotiate a truce. Napoleon left Moscow and began a long retreat. Napoleon suffered his first of this scale defeat and the old general Kutuzov was the first general before whom Napoleon was fleeing. Russia had withstood Napoleon's best punch and returned to him a deathblow in the next years crowned with marching into Paris and occupation of France.

Of the 680,500 men that Napoleon had organized for his invasion of Russia in 1812, barely 93,000 remained. Napoleon had taken 176,850 horses with him, and barely any of them survived the campaign. Of the 1,800 cannon taken, the Russians reported capturing 929 of them, and only 250 were brought out. During the winter retreat from Russia thousands of soldiers died of exhaustion and cold.
Polish senior officer, Sokolnicki, was French army's intelligence chief. He thought that having thousands of warm uniforms stored in depots even before the campaign started was a must. Nobody listened to him.

Sources and Links.
Recommended Reading.

Photos by korfilm and Moscow Times
Britten-Austin - "1812: The March on Moscow"
Zamoyski - "Moscow 1812"
George Nafziger - "Napoleon's Invasion of Russia, 1812"
Marian Kukiel - "1812"
Karl von Clausewitz - "1812"
Leo Tolstoy - "War and Peace"
Chlapowski - "Memoirs of a Polish Lancer" Translated by Tim Simmons
Napier - "History of the War in the Peninsula 1807-1814" Vol I-V
The Department of History at the US Military Academy - series of campaign atlases
The Battle of Borodino, 1812.
Detailed Russian order of battle, Borodino.
Kutuzov on postal stamp.
Fight at Borodino - chess.
Exquisite Russian chess set - Borodino.
Reenactment of Borodino , 2003.
Diorama of Battle of Borodino (Francis Long, UK)
Photos from a wargame ' Borodino' held in the late 1980's. (hundreds of 15mm figures)
"... we played a game of Napoleons Battles. The scenario was Borodino 1812..."
Museum-Panorama of Battle of Borodino.
The huge panorama (115 m x 15 m) "The Battle of Borodino" was created in 1912 by Franz Roubaut and presents the height of battle. Admission: $ 0.7 (in 2005)

Monument on the Borodino battlefield
Monument on the Borodino battlefield.

Reenactment of the battle of Borodino
Reenactment of the battle of Borodino, with tens of thousands of spectators
and with reenactors from Russia, France, Poland and Germany

Napoleon, His Army and Enemies