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The Napoleon Series > Military Information > Virtual Battlefields

Borodino Tour

By Robert Mosher

On September 7 (August 26 on the Russian calendar), the main Russian army under General Prince Mikhayl Kutuzov made a stand near the small village of Borodino placing themselves between the city of Moscow - 124 kilometers to the east - and the advancing French army under Napoleon. In this vicinity, for over 15 hours, more than a quarter of a million men and over a 1,000 cannon were engaged in one of the greatest battles of history. Afterwards, Kutuzov withdrew beyond Moscow and the French entered the city - but Russia and Tsar Alexander I refused to surrender or discuss any terms. This is when one usually says, "the rest is history" - but what history!

In 1912, Tsar Nicholas II oversaw a huge commemorative effort that saw cathedrals and memorials erected across Russia. That year, he also visited the battlefield at Borodino and saw the many monuments that still mark it today - as well as one erected in his own honor. In 1941, this field again saw conflict as Soviet and Nazi forces repeated the assault on and defense of what was now Soviet Russia's capital - Moscow. This time, the Russians did not fall back and the enemy never entered the city. Today, every year on the anniversary of the 1812 battle, hundreds of Russian reenactors and thousands of observers gather on the battlefield for a "reenactment" of the battle. The following pictures were taken one week after the 1999 reenactment and show a number of key points and views from the battlefield as well as some of the many monuments erected to the men, regiments, officers, and commanders of that Russian army of 1812. I hope you enjoy the view.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: April 2000