Saturday, July 21, 2012

Elusive foe ... a tale from two centuries ago.

Napoleon believed that Barclay would now make his own way down the Orsha road to hasten the junction with his colleague, and accordingly all units were ordered to concentrate at Kamen, ready to fight the long-sought battle.

Napoleon considers his next move.

Once again, however, the Emperor's intuition proved wrong.  True, the Russians were straining every nerve to reunite thier forces, but their designated place of meeting was Vitebsk, and not Polotsk as had hitherto been assumed by Napoleon.  By the 21st he had recognized his error, whereupon he ordered his troops to move from Kamen to Biechenkovski, which they were to reach by the 24th.  But nothing appeared certain.  "Will the foe come to Biechenkovski or move straight to Vitebsk?" he asked himself in a letter to Eugene.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon p778

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