Napoleon Series Archive 2015

prisonniers oubliés de la campagne de Russie

Les prisonniers oubliés de la campagne de Russie
Régis Baty

On 24 June 1812 and in the days that followed, an army of more than 500,000 men crossed the Niemen in order to compel Tsarist Russia to comply with the System that Napoleon wanted to impose on the rest of Europe. Five months and some days later, amid extreme temperatures, the remains of the Grand Army managed with difficulty to extract themselves from the eastern banks of the Bérézina. In the weeks that followed, some of the survivors of this battle, which allowed the French army to escape an encirclement that would have been fatal, would still die of cold, exhaustion and disease. How many of those who do not regain the western shores of the Niemen were captured by the Russians? What was their fate in the Russia of Alexander I? And what traces have they left in the archives and in collective memory?