Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns


The  Battle of Borodino: French Reports 

By Alexander Mikaberidze

Marshal Joachim Murat to Alexander Berthier, 9 September 1812, Mozhaisk

On the 4th and 5th, the advance guard of His Majesty's army vigorously drove the rearguard of the enemy and chased it out of all his positions. The enemy showed much resistance on the 5th. Everyone did their duty on the 4th, and Count Perigord, Colonel of the 8th Mounted Chasseurs, distinguished himself in successfully pushing back several charges of a cavalry much stronger than his. That night, His Majesty gave the order to attack the redoubt with the cavalry of the Compans’ division at the Polish corps.

General Compans prepared his attack columns and marched on the village of situated at the foot of the redoubt and of the woods on the right. The cavalry supported it; master of the village and the woods, General Compans ordered a march to the redoubt, which was taken by the 61st Regiment at the end of the bayonet. Meanwhile, several charges of cavalry had taken place and the Russian cuirassiers were overwhelmed by the fire from our infantry and artillery, and by our cavalry.

The enemy returned at a charge with two columns of infantry to retake the redoubt, but it was vigorously received by the Compans division and obliged to retreat after a long fusillade. During this time, Prince Poniatowski repulsed on my right the enemy in front of him and overtook a mountainous position. The combat lasted until ten o'clock at night, and we took position.

The result of this day gives His Majesty a few prisoners, seven pieces of artillery and the position he had wanted to occupy. Everyone did their duty; General Caland and Marquis Gulano, my aides-de- camp, were wounded. I will address to the chief of staff the state of the officers, NCOs and soldiers who distinguished themselves the most, and solicit for them the advancement and rewards they deserve.

[Signed] Joachim Napoleon

[I would like to express my gratitude to J. David Markham for granting me permission to use translations of battle reports from his book Imperial Glory: The Bulletins of Napoleon’s Grand Armée, 1805-1814 (London: Greenhill Books, 2003).]


Placed on the Napoleon Series: April 2008


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