September 01, 2002

September and October in History



1812

september 8

On this day, the Battle of Borodino began—a bloody, brutal battle between Napoleon’s troops (which had begun the war numbering 600,000) and the army of General Kutuzov. The outcome was at best a draw, but it proved a victory for Russia, which kept Napoleon from achieving his goal of decimating the main Russian army. In fact, it bled Napoleon’s forces dry. Because of Russia’s huge losses in reserves, Moscow had to be evacuated and Napoleon occupied the capital until an early winter and Tsar Alexander’s refusal to capitulate forced him to retreat. Dogged by Kutuzov, he left Russia with less than 100,000 troops (only 30,000 made it back to France). Soon thereafter, Russian forces played a prominent role in Napoleon’s downfall and in 1814 occupied Paris along with its allies.


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