Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns


The Battle of Borodino: Reports

By Alexander Mikaberidze

Mikhail Kutuzov to Emperor Alexander, 27 August [8 September] 1812, from the position at Borodino

After my earlier report that the enemy attacked with considerable forces the left flank of my army on 24 August [5 September], the day of 25 August [6 September] passed without any significant incidents. However, yesterday [7 September], taking advantage of a morning fog, at dawn around 4 a.m., the enemy directed all his forces against the left flank of our army. A general battle ensued and continued under the nightfall. The losses are enormous on both sides. The enemy casualties, judging from his resolute attacks on our fortified positions, must have exceeded our losses. The troops of Your Imperial Majesty fought with incredible gallantry. The batteries changed hands repeatedly but the battles ended with the enemy failing to gain even a single step of the ground in spite of his numerical superiority Your Imperial Majesty will agree that after this bloodiest battle, which continued for 15 hours, both our and enemy armies could not but become disordered and due to the losses suffered this day, the position, earlier occupied [by the army] now became too vast and inappropriate [for the remaining forces.] Therefore, when our goal is not claim glory in winning battles but rather to gain complete destruction of the French army, I, having spent the night on the battle field, decided to retreat six versts to a new position behind Mozhaisk, where, having rallied my troops and replenished my artillery and the Moscow opolchenye and remain hopeful in the help from the Lord and trusting the incredible courage of our troops, I will determine my next actions against the enemy. Sadly, Prince Peter Ivanovich Bagration was wounded by a bullet to his left leg. Lieutenant Generals [Nikolai] Tuchkov and Prince [Andrei] Gorchakov, Major Generals [Nikolai and Aleksei] Bakhmetyevs, Count [Mikhail] Vorontsov and [Nikolai] Kretov are wounded. The enemy lost men, cannons and one brigadier general captured. It is already late at night and I cannot determine the exact losses on our side.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2007

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