Monday, August 06, 2012

Counter Offensive - Russia returns fire 200 years ago

The moment appeared propitious for a counteroffensive; Napoleon's impetus had largely died away, his formations were scattered around Vitebsk, and a resolute Russian advance would enable two more Russian formations, the Armies of Finland and Moldavia, both newly liberated from their previous frontier commitments by recent agreements with Sweden and Turkey, to mass in the interior preparatory to entering the campaign against the French.  Accordingly, after holding a council of war on the 6th, Barclay ordered 100,000 infantry, 18,000 regular cavalry and 650 guns to move westward from Smolensk, hoping to forestall any French concentration and catch the enemy scattered and unprepared.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 782-3

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