Napoleon after the capture of Moscow and months of fruitless waiting in her wish for peace made the decision to leave the devastated town. Capital trap big game, staged in chief of the Russian Army Prince Kutuzov Misha Golenischev-in which hit ruler of France has fulfilled its function. During the time spent in a deserted and burnt Pervoprestolnoj Bonaparte had lost not only the hope of a noble world, but have not received even an insignificant truce. He remained only an illusion.
Alexander I, frankly weak military leader, has shown itself in these days are as good diplomat, tough and fundamentally policies. He was honorably kept his word transmitted to them through their own militia Minister General Balashov Bonaparte, immediately after crossing the border so much: "If Napoleon wants to negotiate, they currently can start with one condition, but indisputable, in other words, that the army it went abroad, in an embarrassing case, sir, give him the floor, up to where at least one armed with a Frenchman will be in Russia, do not read and do not accept any of the 1st word of the world. " Bonaparte during the rest of the capital three times tried to venture talks with Alexander on the most profitable for the criteria, but the Russian government has not responded to the proposals.
In addition to losses diplomatically and political, Napoleon during the aimless seat in Moscow also suffered considerable military losses. Its more than half a million army with which he invaded Russian territory, melted as the first snow that fell this year by the end of October. According to historians, even in those days when no battles were fought, the French army lost more than 300 people every day. During his stay in Moscow, Napoleon had lost more than 26 thousand dead, missing and dead from wounds.
From the trap
From Moscow, the ruler of France went from 100 thousand fighter. From their 20-30 thousand people were Guard, which the governor could absolutely rely on. The rest of the army — it deceived men. The Army has lost sight of in the combat power and discipline.
First fight as a large Maloyaroslavets showed that the Russian army did not lose time in vain. Eight times the town passed from hand to hand, but the road to Kaluga and remained closed for the French. Then Napoleon, on the views of the majority of historians, for the first time in 15 years, own a victorious career evaded decisive battle, turning on the war-ravaged, an old Smolensk road — wherever this intensively kept urging his enemy. Invincible ruler of France felt that the stronger opponent in front of him on his spirit. In addition, Russian Army increased and numerically.
On the other hand, it would be an exaggeration to state that Russia strengthened so that they could seriously threaten Napoleon. In the conditions of the war, the occupation of the enemy terrain, thoroughly disorganized mobilization system and the presence of severe differences in the rate of formation of military recruitment Kutuzov went to bolshennymi difficulties. With all this constant Russian army experienced much of the same tasks as the French: the lack of a proper amount of warm some clothes and provisions, forage, honey bad software, loss of horsepower. At the time of presentation of Tarutino camp in October Kutuzov was under the gun, as calculated by the famous historian Yevgeny Tarle, 97 thousand and 667 guns. And by the middle of December to the walls of Vilna, he has already led least 27 thousand people and a total of 200 guns.
Although Napoleon did not know that the Russian are in such a deplorable situation, he rightly believed that bring the resources and strength to the enemy — a question of time, and the timely arrival of reinforcements from Europe was in question because of a very stretched communications. But the captain, according to witnesses, did not lose his presence of mind, was usually cool-headed and just beyond the ordinary thoughtful. Initially, he planned to make a stop and regroup in Smolensk, but do it in a ruined town he could not — and quartermaster foragers failed to provide food starved army. Remained one way — to the west.
Even after crossing the Berezina River, where the French are believed to have suffered a disastrous defeat, losing 30 to 40 thousand people, Napoleon remained optimistic.
Wilensky HOPE Bonaparte
What is the real cause is so stoic behavior of the conqueror of Europe? With detailed study of historical documents it is possible to realize. The fact is that Napoleon meant that tattered army could gain a foothold in Vilna, where, in his opinion, it features a large in store supplies and replenishment. And it will give her the opportunity to return the power to make up resources, and even winter. These Napoleonic plans known to us on the diaries accompanied him in the campaign of the former French ambassador to the Russian Federation, General Armand de Caulaincourt.
"In Vilna has excellent food stocks, and everything will come back in order, — shared his plans with him Bonaparte. — In Vilna more money than necessary to repel the enemy … If the Neapolitan master (Myurat. — RI) is not'll do stupid things, then reorganized all very soon, Russian stop and the Cossacks have to stay away a bit when they see, they show their teeth. If the Poles will support me, and our homeland does not enter into the world of today's winter, you will see what will happen to it in July. "
Why is it Napoleon so count on Vilna? Ah well Caulaincourt answers us to this question: "He (Napoleon) said that the army have countless and still has more than 150 thousand people (that given the estimated reserves correspond to reality. — RI). He said that the army will stay in position in Vilnius … Yet in the middle of December, all the arguments of the ruler justify it … stubbornly continues to think that the Vilna warehouses once again gathered his army into a unified whole. "
What did was a Vilna? It was a city with a well-fortified fortress, which became part of the Russian Empire in the second half of the XVIII century, after the partition of Poland. Population — mostly Poles, who belonged to the invaders completely loyal. The garrison, commanded by the governor general of Napoleon in Lithuania van Hogendorp was pretty untold. In his particular leadership were 6 thousand people. In addition, he obeyed the Italian part of the composition of the 11th Corps generals Francesca and Coutard (up to 8 thousand), and Division of General Loison (up to 9 thousand). Total: 23 thousand new and well-fed soldier to which the plan of Napoleon had to go up the remnants of the main combat-ready forces of his army. All together, the plan of Napoleon, had to stop at the walls of the Vilna head bloodless persecution of Russian parts.
Provided transportation for residues own army combat-ready units of the Berezina, December 5, Napoleon, transferred command to one of its own best generals Marshal Joachim Murat, hastily left Russia. This act of the ruler of France should not be considered either a sign of cowardice or an act of desperation. In Paris, during his absence, attempted coup municipal, and he had a great sense of urgency to depart the capital. In addition, we made sure from the diary of Caulaincourt, Bonaparte was delirious revenge, and he could not wait as soon as possible to gather the latest army. Make it better and faster than it was just some. So at the moment the war in Russia, he did not consider to be lost. This
was reason for optimism majestic leader and strategist that remains little known fact. Problem was, in his opinion, ordinary and accomplished: stand in Lithuania until spring. And he laid it on his own pet Murat.
But these plans were not realized it was fate, and loyal generals, perhaps, for the first time since the beginning of his conquests (unprecedented rudeness!) Showed disobedience and openly ignored his orders. The main reason here, of course, one — Lofty expansion of the invading army at the time headed for its own peak and panic before the Russian, French presence is felt everywhere, pursued the invaders from Moscow itself. Exacerbated the decadent mood and would-be conquerors unprecedented frosts. The mercury temperature gauge has gone down dramatically. November 30, he showed 25 degrees below zero, December 2 — 30 degrees, and on December 5, just a day out Bonaparte — 34 degrees. The next day the temperature gauge showed minus 37. Such cold weather kept at least another week.
That is the general climate and psychological background against which the sluggish, hungry and shivering to the bone of the army entered majestically in the end of Vilna. Rumors about leaving the army Napoleon rapidly spread in the middle of the demoralized parts, and the upcoming process was simply out of control. All harvested purveyance was suddenly sacked, pillaged and destroyed. There was a no discipline, no teams, no honor, to which most trusted and Napoleon.
And what about Murat, this invincible and vsesuschy horseman, the commander of the 28 thousandth of a cavalry corps and the permanent head of the vanguard of the army stateliness, beauty and pride of Napoleonic France? Slightly received command of the army of the ruler, he is openly expressed, that does not consider possible delay Vilna than has further increased the panic. Even without trying to somehow make the defense of the walled city, the marshal took the battle horse and headed west, giving the abandoned "on the farm" Ney any orders or decrees. Do I need to state that none of the countless pretty garrison town not even tried to provide resistance to approach Russian parts.
Now fleeing remnants of the French army was complete and shameful. She ran even "old guard" — Napoleon's favorite child; elite, composed of personally loyal soldier, which he strove, as their own children. Ran, losing on the move their famous bearskin hats, which later were long-run local people who used them instead of boots. Perfectly recognizable in the West on both sides of the ocean cry "Russian are coming!" For the first time sounded throughout its own fullness, perhaps, that's when.
Napoleon only in the mid 20 days of December vyznat the fall of Vilna (in reality, the city fell a further 10 December), the death of the army and the flight (now a very real), it remains beyond the Niemen. Learning of this, cool and reserved Bonaparte was so impressed that he could not hide it from those around him at the moment people. "He was not able to believe in this event — says Caulaincourt — which, in his view, went beyond the boundaries of any potential and upsetting all his calculations. At least, if not more, he was shocked day or two later, when learned that occurred in the Kovno (border town. — RI), and how she behaved Guard … The time has come the most difficult trials, when all illusions have been Finding time to collapse … the evacuation of Vilna, the ruler of the hour is to realize all the consequences that it might bring. "
"The spectacle of Death HIS TROOPS Indescribable!"
Here is a brief chronology of the statistics and the disaster had befallen the army as it melted after the Berezina. About the size of losses in the coldest days of strshnye number they say: in three of the frosty days of the 15 th Fighter garrison emerged to meet the retreating remnants of the army of the Berezina, killing more than 10.8 thousand, and another 2 thousand surrendered. In particular, such an impressive fact is that allocated to escort their own suzerainty 200 Neapolitan cavalry, went up to meet Murat from Vilna, chilled in transit.
By estimates of Russian historians, in the hurried evacuation of the occupying troops from Vilna orderly reached the Niemen only 2.5 million under the Kovno were joined by another 1.8 million people — what's left of the main forces of the army majestically crossed the Berezina River. However, some sources say that the Niemen December 14 crossed over less than 800 preserved remains of discipline and combat effectiveness of a fighter. As it is true, just now, perhaps, and not know, but who and when the last of Napoleon's marshals left the Russian land is clear — it did Marshal Ney at eight in the evening on December 14.
Still some time the scattered remnants of the individual parts of the French army in various places to move to the other side of the river, and December 25 (on a brand new style of January 6) in the liberated Vilna, on Christmas Eve, the ruler Alexander issued a manifesto on the release of of the invasion motley array. In it, Alexander said: "Now with joy of heart and bitterness thanks to God We declare our loyal razlyubeznym that the event has overshadowed even the most hope of ours, and that declared by us, at the opening of the war still above measures fulfilled: there is no single enemy on the face Our land, or better said, they were all here, but how? The dead, wounded and prisoners. The very proud ruler and leader of their little bureaucrats with their overarching henceforth could gallop, having lost all his army, and all brought with them guns, which more than a thousand, not counting the buried and sunk them, repulsed him and are in our hands.
The spectacle of the death of his army indescribable! You can hardly believe his displeased her. Who would do these things? Without lifting a decent fame nor the Commander of the troops Our famous leader who brought the immortal Fatherland awards, nor other qualitative and courageous leaders and military commanders that marked themselves fervor and zeal, nor even in this brave our troops, we can say that their actions they have above forces of humanity … "
So ended the Russian horror of Napoleon.
Already being deposed, being on the peninsula St. Lena, the French government admitted: "Russia — a power that cyclopean steps and walks with the greatest certainty for world domination." Do not let it seek its an old and new enemies.