The historians consider that, next to the battle of Borodino and the occupation of Moscow by the enemy and its destruction by fire, the most important episode of the war of 1812 was the movement of the Russian army from the Ryazana to the Kaluga road and to the Tarutino camp--the so-called flank march across the Krasnaya Pakhra River.
When he sat with his elbows on the dusty writing table in the deathlike stillness of the study, calm and significant memories of the last few days rose one after another in his imagination, particularly of the battle of Borodino and of that vague sense of his own insignificance and insincerity compared with the truth, simplicity, and strength of the class of men he mentally classed as they.
At the battle of Borodino Napoleon shot at no one and killed no one.
On the twenty-fourth of August the battle of the Shevardino Redoubt was fought, on the twenty-fifth not a shot was fired by either side, and on the twenty-sixth the battle of Borodino itself took place.
Strange as at first glance it may seem to suppose that the Massacre of St. Bartholomew was not due to Charles IX's will, though he gave the order for it and thought it was done as a result of that order; and strange as it may seem to suppose that the slaughter of eighty thousand men at Borodino was not due to Napoleon's will, though he ordered the commencement and conduct of the battle and thought it was done because he ordered it; strange as these suppositions appear, yet human dignity-- which tells me that each of us is, if not more at least not less a man than the great Napoleon--demands the acceptance of that solution of the question, and historic investigation abundantly confirms it.
He alone then understood the meaning of the French army's inactivity, he alone continued to assert that the battle of Borodino had been a victory, he alone--who as commander-in-chief might have been expected to be eager to attack--employed his whole strength to restrain the Russian army from useless engagements.
In the Spanish campaign of 1810 and 1811 he gained special distinction at the battle of Fuentes d'Onor; and in the expedition to Russia he was present at Smolensk and Valutina, and displayed such bravery and ability in the battle of Borodino that he was made general of division.
The undecided question as to whether the wound inflicted at Borodino was mortal or not had hung over Kutuzov's head for a whole month.
In the more congenial grande guerre of Russia and Germany he was in his element, and at Smolensk, Borodino and Leipzig he did brilliant service.
Before the battle of Borodino our strength in proportion to the French was about as five to six, but after that battle it was little more than one to two: previously we had a hundred thousand against a hundred and twenty thousand; afterwards little more than fifty thousand against a hundred thousand.