and the environs were filled with the dead. I took every
possible care of myself.
horses fell down upon the ice. As we were passing a camping
place, I got hold of two axes, and took the shoes off
my horses, and they did not slip any more.
had furnished myself with a little pot for making tea.
When we reached the place where the Emperor stopped, I
built a good fire put my general in front of it to thaw
himself, and then put the copper pan on the fire to melt
some snow. What bad water snow makes when melted in the
midst of smoke!
my water was boiling, I put in a handful of tea. I broke
some sugar, and then the pretty cups did service. We had
our tea every day. All the way to Wilna I did not want
for friends; they followed my boiler, and I had ten loaves
of sugar. There were three captains, and only death separated
us, which means that I alone am left alive.
followed my general, always as near as possible to the
Old Guard and the Emperor.
we were attacked by the Russians it was necessary to concentrate
as much as possible. Every day the Cossacks burst out
with shouts on the road, but, as our men were armed, they
dared not approach us; they merely stationed themselves
along the road to see us pass. But they slept in good
quarters, and we on the snow.
left Smolensk with the Emperor on the 14th of November.
On the 22nd he learned that the Cossacks had just seized
upon the bridgehead at Borisow, and that we should have
to effect the passage of the Beresina.
came out past the great bridge which the Russians had
half burned; they were on the other side waiting for us
in the woods and in the snow. Though we had not exchanged
fire once, we were already in great destitution.
one o'clock in the afternoon of the 26th of November the
right-hand bridge was finished and the Emperor immediately
ordered the Duke of Reggio's corps and Marshal Ney with
the cuirassiers to cross over before him.
artillery of the Guard went over with their two corps,
and crossed a marsh, which was fortunately frozen. In
order to be able to reach a village, they drove the Russians
back into the woods on the left and thus gave the army
time to cross, on the 27th.
Emperor crossed the Beresina at one o'clock in the afternoon
and took up his headquarters in a little hamlet. The army
continued to cross the river during the nights of the
27th and 28th.
Emperor sent for Marshal Davout and I was appointed to
guard the head of the bridge and allow only the artillery
and munition to go over. The marshal was on the right
side and I on the left. When all the munition had gone
over, the marshal said to me, "Come on, my brave fellow;
let us rejoin the Emperor."
crossed the bridge and the frozen marsh; it was strong
enough to bear our ammunition, without which all would
have been lost.
our wearisome watch, Marshal Ney had driven off the Russians,
who came back again in order to cut off our route. Our
troops had surprised them in the midst of the wood, and
that battle cost them dear. Our brave cuirassiers brought
them back all covered with blood; it was pitiful to see