The main forces of Napoleon went to Smolensk October 28, 1812. At this point, Russian forces inflicted a series of personal failures. On October 26 (November 7), stormed the vanguard Miloradovicha housing Ney at Dorogobuzh. October 28 combined forces of the army guerrilla DV Davydov, AN Seslavin, A. Figner and cavalry detachment Vladimir Orlov-Denisov defeated the French brigade General PF Augerau under Lyakhovo (Elninsky district of Smolensk province ). On the same day Platov's Cossacks stormed the body of Italian viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais the river Vop, and then pursued the enemy directly to Smolensk.
After the fight Viaz'ma on October 22 (November 3), the main forces of the Russian army moved in the direction of Elnya. Some Russian generals, including Toll, believed that Napoleon would try to get away with the Smolensk road and depart on another road, where the terrain is not ravaged by war. So he could go through Dorogobuzh Yelnya and Mstislavl to Mogilev. Because Misha army Kutuzov should have been able to discard the enemy devastated huge Smolensk road. Avangard Miloradovich Cossacks Platov and volatile guerrillas harassed the enemy from the rear and flanks.
Kutuzov, to close the French way south, ordered Tula governor with the militias to go Roslavlev. Kaluga militia enhanced with 2 shelves and the Don part of the permanent cavalry, was ordered to go to Elnya, together with Smolensk militia there and go to Mstislavl. Earl Gudovich from Chernihiv and Poltava militias were instructed to approach Belarus. Ertel's squad was ordered to move from Mozyr to Bobruisk. Admiral Chichagov had to move with all haste to Minsk to Borisov.
The French army came to Smolensk to a large extent already been reincarnated in a poorly organized mass. The troops were ordered to the brakes before reaching the town and expected deliveries of food supplies stores. Napoleon feared that the warehouses just smash. After Viaz'ma, the level of discipline fell in most parts to critical. Russian terror attacks, including farmers (they took no prisoners), the lack of regular supply, which began winter — the temperature fell to minus 12, demoralized Europeans. LeAnn has led to the loss of a significant part of the remaining horses, wagons, guns. The fallen and the wounded horses here butchered. At a speech nights, parking areas now designated the army corpses, as the battlefield. All the great mass of Europeans behind the army, some were wounded, and other unhealthy, others simply refuses to wage war. Russian troops often do not even take them captive, there was no need. Many peasants were killed, others killed hunger and cold, became part of the "sharomyzhnikami" (Translated from French. Cher ami «dear friend," the proclamation of Napoleon's army retreating fighter for help, mercy, etc.).
Smolensk seemed to promise the French place where they will be able to eat normally and relax languid field transition. Napoleon himself wanted to convince others to support the dying spirit of the army. But the orders were not able to stop mass. Soon Smolensk was filled with masses of hungry, ragged, lost the human way of looters. In addition, the distribution of food supplies was very unfair. Napoleon wanted to keep the first guard — she gave the order to give food supplies for two weeks, and the other troops — to 6 days. While the food received Guards, the other parts were bound to expect. Began mess. Crowds of rabid, hungry obodrantsev besieged shops, attacked those who were given bread to the commissaries. Security drives them away from the shops, mercilessly beaten. Another reason for the unrest was the distribution of wine troops.
Defect in the harness horses forced the French to throw a piece of artillery in Smolensk, burn the carriages, some charging trucks, carriages and a large number of luxury goods. Many threw the loot, the main concern was to get food. Walking wounded were taken out of town, and all the wounded and other patients left — about 5 thousand people, because all the doctors and bureaucrats have left the army.
Quest for Dorogobuzh October 26 (November 7)
After the fight at Vyazma, Platov immediately went after the enemy, captured many prisoners. Avangard Miloradovicha followed Platov to Semlevo there Cossacks turned to the right to Dorogobuzh. October 26 (November 7) Miloradovich overtaking the enemy at p. Osmium, stormed his vanguard of Major General Yurkovsky (1st and 4th Chasseurs, Elisavetgrad Hussars). The French were overturned.
Marshal Michel Ney, whose body was in the rearguard of the retreating army, decided to allow time for the main force to cross the Dnieper in Solovyov and detain position at Dorogobuzh. The 11th Division, Baron Jean Raza was to defend the town. Two guns from the cover of the 4th Regiment of the Line defended the entrance to the city, on the left side of the bridge over the Dnieper was a company of the 18th Regiment on the right, on the hill near the church — part of the 4th Regiment, Raza with the basic forces — to height, which strengthened the palisades. The 10th Infantry Division François Ledru was placed behind the town, in reserve.
Miloradovich coming to town, thrown in the 30th and 48th Chasseurs. But the French defended stubbornly and Miloradovich sent the 4th Division of Württemberg to the left, to bypass the enemy. The French were obliged to clean up the city. In pursuit of the enemy were captured 6 guns. Leaving the town, the French tried to burn it, but heavy snow and acts Russian fighter prevented this.
A powerful snowstorm forced to suspend Miloradovicha troops in the town. The persecution was entrusted orders of General and Colonel Yurkovsky Vasilchikova 2nd of Cossacks part of the permanent cavalry. After his release Dorogobuzh received the news of the retreat of the body of Italian viceroy on the way to Dukhovshchina. For his persecution was directed Platov with six Cossack regiments, the 20th regiment of Chasseurs Don and horse artillery. By Smolensk was oriented squad Grekova with five Cossack regiments.
Miloradovich Kutuzov was instructed to get close to the main forces of the army. On the rear of the enemy continued to pursue an easy squad to Solovevoj crossing was oriented squad Yurkovsky.
The battle near the village of Lyakhovo October 28 (November 9)
Flying squad AP Ozharovski moving forward army, October 27 Roslavlsky went on the road. Groups Orlov-Denisov, Davydova, Seslavin and Figner were between Alekseev and elnenskoy expensive.
For a few days before the arrival of the Russian army to Elnya, placed there with Prince Yashvil part of the militia of the Kaluga province. After learning about the coming of the city Brigade Jean-Pierre Augereau, he left the city. Departing to Kaluga, Napoleon gave the order to advance to the Victor Elnya division Baraguay de Illiers who was given the task to open a message between Smolensk and Kaluga, ensure the defense of the south. The division commander has not received a new order for the withdrawal, due to changing circumstances. Not knowing that Napoleon's troops hurriedly away from Smolensk and Russian troops were near, he calmly positioned his forces in Dolgomoste, LYAKHOVA and pitting.
Yashvil forces were overtaken and were obliged to fight. Squad Yashvil rescued Orlov-Denisov. Augereau was obliged to depart, and is lo
cated near the village of Lyakhovo. Bad state of the French cavalry is not allowed to organize a proper exploration and outposts, the concentration of guerrilla groups had seen the enemy.
In the night from 26 to 27 October patrols expelled Davydov told about the location of a strong French squad in LYAKHOVA. This information was confirmed by the prisoner occupied, he said that Augereau two thousand infantry and cavalry errant number. On the basis of these data, Davydov, Seslavin and Figner decided to storm the enemy. But under them were only about 1,200 people, with 4 guns, because the rescue squad was called by foot Orlov-Denisov (under him were 6 Cossack regiments and Nezhinskoye dragoons, only about 2 million people). October 27 Orlov-Denisov informed them about what is going to help.
October 28 guerrillas secretly went to Liakhov, catching a few 10 s enemy foragers. Soon arrived shelves Orlov-Denisov. To cut off the enemy from the other French troops, our troops have taken elnenskuyu road. At the forefront was a detachment Davydova, he began to fight with the enemy. Seslavin took the road to pitting, which also housed the French, advanced weapons and opened fire on the village. Orlov-Denisov Seslavin located to the right, taking the path on Dolgomoste where there were major forces of the division Baraguay de Illiers (two infantry brigades, and cavalry). Figner remained in reserve.
The French, in spite of artillery fire, counter-shelf Orlov-Denisov, trying to break into the side Dolgomostya. Seslavin at this time overthrew the French cavalry cleared the forest from the French skirmishers and pushed the gun closer to the village. Warriors Davydova burned in separately standing near the village of sheds hundreds of French skirmishers.
At this time, the rescue team Augerau of Dolgomostya acted about 2 thousand French cuirassiers. Orlov-Denisov, having learned about the performance of the opponent Dolgomostya, put a barrier under the colonel Byhalova with 2 Cossack regiments. But the Cossacks before the superior forces of the enemy were obliged to withdraw. Then Orlov-Denisov led the French cavalry against all own team. Cuirassiers were attacked Nezhin Dragoons and 2 Cossack regiments, supported by fire six guns. The enemy does not stand the pressure and retreated. About 7 hundred opponents were killed. Byhalovu was entrusted with the Cossacks pursuit of the enemy. Orlov-Denisov with his dragoons returned under Lyakhovo.
Augereau during combat troops Orlov-Denisov with cuirassiers could break through, taking advantage of the small number of groups opposing it. But he chose to do nothing. He rejected the first request for surrender, but took second. As a result, surrendered more than 1,600 people.
The battle on the river Vop October 28 (November 9). The persecution of Italian corps Cossacks Platov
On the same day, when the guerrillas were defeated team Augereau battle took place on the river Vop. It was a very tattered body Beauharnais.
Housing Viceroy was directed by Napoleon in Vitebsk to reinforce that garrison. October 26th Corps Beauharnais switched off Dorogobuzh on the right bank of the Dnieper. Walked in intelligence detachment of General Sanson was intercepted by the forces of the Adjutant General Golenisheva-Kutuzov (he moved north of the Smolensk road). October 27 Cossacks Platov overtook the enemy: they acted on the flanks, capturing foraging party, a few guns lupilo the retreating columns. The enemy had to stop a couple of times the battery in order to reflect the Cossack raids. The viceroy sent to Smolensk several couriers, telling about their own difficulties, but they were intercepted.
October 28 opponent went to the river Vop, where engineers have been sent in advance for the guidance of the bridge. But at one point the water had risen broken bridge. The Don Cossacks, litsezrev difficulty enemy artillery opened fire on him and stepped up the pressure on the rear. Once part of the Cossacks crossed the river, and appeared on the reverse side of the river. Beauharnais afraid that will lead to far anticipation of its overall ambience, immediately decided to cross the river at a ford. 14th division, Jean-Baptiste Brousseau had to restrain the pressure of the Cossacks. First crossed the Italian guard, then Beauharnais with the staff and baggage. First wagons and guns were shipped safely, but then on the day or formed potholes, where the remaining stuck artillery. The only available ford was cluttered. At this time, the Cossacks drove out all the stronger rearguard. A huge part of the convoy had to throw. In this situation, part of the soldier lost control, looters began to plunder their own, looking in convoys provisions and vodka. By the evening ferry was completed, only the rearguard continued to restrain Russian.
On the morning of October 29 crossed the river Brousseau. The case has lost more than a third of personnel (under arms have less than 6 thousand people), 64 guns, almost all the baggage. Many of the fighters crossing the river by the throat in the icy water, exhausted strength, threw weapon. Cossacks crossed directly over the enemy and fought off another 23 guns. Brousseau division remained in the rear. The case moved to Dukhovshchina. We blocked the road Dukhovshchina Cossack regiments of Major-General Ilovaisky (vanguard detachment Golenisheva-Kutuzov). The body started to panic, but the Viceroy was able to restore order and gave breakthrough Italian Guard and Bavarian cavalry. Behind them came the crowd is totally frustrated parts. The Cossacks were required to clear the road, but captured 500 prisoners.
The French and Italians are braked in Dukhovshchina. The city even though he was leaving the residents, but in one piece, which gave some supplies of provisions and the opportunity to relax in the warmth. Immediately he sent his own battles with the adjutant of the 15th Division to Smolensk to notify Napoleon's losses. At this time Beauharnais received a message about the capture of Vitebsk Russian and decided to retreat to Smolensk. Soon he received an order of Napoleon and the connection with the main forces.
The performance was scheduled for the night of 30 to October 31 (November 11-12). But around 10:00 pm on Oct. 30 near the town of Cossacks appeared Platov and began shelling enemy positions. Then the viceroy ordered to leave immediately. At night the enemy set fire to city and left him. In the course of the transition to Smolensk, the Cossacks pursued the enemy, capturing small batches French. A few kilometers from Smolensk took another fight, during which the Russian took many prisoners and 2 guns.
Almost Italian corps was defeated, losing only captured more than 3 million people, almost all of the artillery and baggage. Mikhail Kutuzov praised the actions of the Cossacks Platov, informing Sir Alexander: "The Cossacks do wonders beating up on artillery and infantry column."
Tremendous disappointment awaited soldier of the 4th Corps in Smolensk. They expect there food and long measured rest. Having arrived in the city, they found that food supplies have run out, and will continue to march further west.