Thursday, August 16, 2012

Battle of Smolensk I - Opening Moves

Murat, King of Naples
Murat's leading patrols were in contact with the Russian outposts from dawn on the 16th, and by 10:00 am all the cavalry and Ney's IIIrd Corps were within range of the defenses.  Murat placed his troopers around the eastern side of the Old City, while Ney deployed opposite the Krasnoe suburb.  Ney, with only 18,000 infantry, did not feel disposed to attempt an immediate assault, but decided to await the arrival of Napoleon and the main body.  The Emperor, however, spent most of the morning west of Smolensk, waiting for the news that the bridge at Katan (which might have been used by Barclay to outflank the Grande Armee before Smolensk) had been destroyed.  Once he was satisfied on this point, he rode on to the city, arriving shortly after 1:00 pm.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p.786

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