Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

 

The  Battle of Borodino: Reports 

By Alexander Mikaberidze

Rayevsky to Dokhturov, 11 [23] September 1812, No. 280, from Lukovna 

At the Borodino position I was with my corps on the left flank in the first two lines, with my right resting on a large kurgan [mound], on which I placed the battery company of the 26th Brigade. Seeing from the lay of the land that the enemy would attack our flank and that my above-mentioned battery would be the key to the whole position, I fortified the kurgan with a redoubt and reinforced it with guns as much as the place allowed. 

My foresight proved correct. At dawn on the 26th [August] the enemy began to come around my flank and I received an order to change my front, resting my right flank on the mentioned redoubt; four infantry regiments of the 26th Division under the command of Major General Paskevich were assigned to cover it; two infantry regiments from the 12th Division occupied the bushes in front of it. The left flank of both lines rested near the village [of Semeyonovskoye], which was fortified with batteries and where the commander-in-chief of the 2nd Western Army, Prince Bagration, was located. He immediately informed me that if he needed troops, he would take them from my second line. This compelled me to request reinforcements which I received from three jager regiments under the command of Colonel Vuich. I deployed all these troops behind the redoubt in such a manner that when the enemy attacked it, they would take his columns from both flanks, while the regiments in the bushes would occupy their places in the first line. 

The enemy drew up his whole army in front of our eyes in what resembled a single column and came right at our front. On approaching our front, strong columns separated from the enemy's left flank and went right for the redoubt, where, despite the heavy canister fire of my guns, they, without firing a shot, clambered across the breastworks, while at the same time on the right flank, Maj. Gen. Paskevich, with his regiments, launched a bayonet attack on the left flank of the enemy troops which were beyond the redoubt. Maj. Gen. Vasilchikov also struck the enemy's right flank, and Maj. Gen. Yermolov, taking a battalion of jagers from the regiments brought up by Col. Vuich, made a bayonet attack directly onto the redoubt, where they destroyed all the enemy remaining in it and captured the general [Bonnamy] who led the enemy column. Maj. Gens. Vasilchikov and Paskevich then overturned both enemy columns and pursued them to the bushes so rigorously that hardly any of them escaped. 

It remains to add a couple of words on the further actions of my corps, in that after destroying the enemy, it returned back to its places and maintained its position against repeated enemy attacks until it had completely disappeared through losses in killed and wounded. The redoubt was then occupied by Maj. Gen. Likhachev. Your Excellency himself knows that Maj. Gen. Vasil'chikov gathered together the dispersed remnants of the 12th and 27th Divisions and along with the Life Guard Litovskii Regiment held onto the important height on the very left end of our entire line. I do not have the power to describe the deeds of every general and field and company-grade officer, but their exceptional courage is shown in that almost all of them fell where they stood. In respectfully requesting from Your Excellency decorations for the field and company-grade officers whom I have the honor to present to you, I also request that the three generals - Vasilchikov, Yermolov, and Paskevich - be rewarded by being put forward for promotions, which I, as a corps commander, do not have authority to approve. You yourself know that there was no occasion in which they did not demonstrate outstanding courage, effort, and military talents. I have the honor to enclose with this a list of field and company-grade officers who showed themselves to be exceptional. 
 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2007 

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