War and Peace, Volume 2
Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1904. Excerpt: ... XXVII The whole of that day, the 25th of August, Napoleon spent, so his historians relate, on horseback, inspecting the locality, criticising the plans submitted to him by his marshals, and giving commands in person to his generals. The original line of the Russian disposition, along the Kolotcha, had been broken through, and, in consequence of the taking of the Shevardino redoubt on the previous day, part of that line--the left flank--had been drawn further back. That part of the line had not been strengthened, was no longer protected by the river, and more open and level ground lay before it. It was obvious to any man, military or non-military, that it was that part of the line that the French should attack. One would have thought that no great deliberation would be necessary to reach this conclusion; that all the care and anxiety of the Emperor and his marshals were unnecessary, and that there was absolutely no need of that peculiar high degree of talent called genius, which they are so fond of ascribing to Napoleon. But the historians, who described the battle afterwards, and the men surrounding Napoleon at the time, and he himself, thought otherwise. Napoleon rode about the field, gazing with a profound air at the country, wagging his head approvingly or dubiously to himself, and without communicating to the generals around him the profound chain of reasoning that guided him in his decisions, conveyed to them merely the final conclusions in the form of commands. Upon the suggestion being made by Davoust, now styled Duke of Eckmuhl, for turning the Russian left flank, Napoleon said there was no need to do this, without explaining why there was no need. But to the proposal of General Compans (who was to attack the advanced earthworks), to lead his division through the forest, Nap...
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