Friday, October 19, 2012

Exit Moscow

French depart Moscow after 35 days
News of the day's fighting galvanized Napoleon into activity.  believing that 10,000 fresh cavalry had recently joined Kutusov from Wallachia, he felt that not a moment was to be lost in getting his army onto the road.  He was also determined to avenge Murat's defeat and to make it clear that the army's impending retreat was not caused by Kutusov's minor success.Accordingly, he brought forward the movement order by twenty-four hours, and early on the morning of the 19th Napoleon and his staff passed through the gates of Moscow after a stay of thirty-five days, at the head of 95,000 men, 500 cannon, and, according to Marbot, as many as 40,000 wagons and other conveyances (even wheelbarrows) piled high with loot, supplies, large numbers of wounded and camp followers.  "A few Russian girls, voluntary captives, aslo followed," recorded de Segur.  "It looked like a caravan, a wandering nation, or rather one of those armies of antiquity returning with slaves and spoil after a great devastation."

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 819-820

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