Napoleons retreat from Moscow

Napoleons retreat from Moscow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Napoleon‘s Grande Armee began its retreat from Moscow.  The invasion of Russia that June had failed to provide the decisive victory Napoleon sought.  Russian scorched earth tactics and the costly and indecisive Battle of Borodino wekened the French seriously – and that was before they reached Moscow.  Napoleon and his troops captured a deserted Moscow on 15 September – and woke on the following morning to find it in flames.  One month later, with no Russian surrender and General Winter on the horizon Napoleon reluctantly ordered a general retreat.

We’ll probably never know exactly what French losses were.  What is certain is that of the 500,000 men who crossed the River Niemen in June, fewer than 100,000 came home.

On this day in 1812


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