Emperor had ordered that his household and all his office
staff should be sent from Moscow on the 23rd of October
and join him at Mojaisk. It is impossible to give any
idea of the rapidity of the execution of his orders. The
preparations for this move were completed in three hours.
went to the house of our princess, and there we found
some good horses, which had been concealed in a cellar.
We mounted two superb ones, and immediately hitched them
to a fine carriage.
this was being done, I got the provisions ready: about
ten loaves of sugar, a good-sized box of tea, some elegant
cups, and a copper to melt the sugar in. We had a carriage
load of provisions.
three o'clock we left Moscow. It was scarcely possible
to make our way, for the road was blocked up with carriages
and all the army plunderers were there in great numbers.
we had gone about three leagues from Moscow we heard a
tremendous report. The shock was so great that the earth
shook under our feet. It was said that there were sixty
tons of powder under the Kremlin, with seven trains of
powder, and some sort of contrivance fixed on the casks.
700 brigands, who had been captured match in hand, met
their just punishment. They were all criminals from the
was a line of carriages on the road twelve leagues long.
By the time I had reached our first halting place, I had
had carriage enough. I had all our provisions put on horses
and burned up the carriage. After that we could pass everywhere.
was with the greatest possible difficulty that we at last
reached the headquarters beyond Mojaisk. The next day
the Emperor went over the battlefield of the Moskwa (Borodino)
and sighed when he saw the dead still unburied.
the 31st of October, at four o'clock in the afternoon,
he reached Wiazma.
The Russian winter set in with all its severity on the
6th of November.
Emperor made frequent marches in the midst of his guard
following his carriage on foot, with an iron-shod cane
in his hand; and we went along the side of the road with
the cavalry officers.
In a dispirited condition we reached Smolensk on the 9th
of November. The halting places were miserably supplied;
the horses died of hunger and cold, and when we came to
any cottages, they devoured the thatch.
cold was already intense, seventeen degrees below zero.
This occasioned great losses to the army.