The Battle of Krasnoi
) (November 15 to 18, 1812) was a series of skirmishes fought in the final stage of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. This encounter was noteworthy because of the heavy losses inflicted on the remnants of the Grande Armée by the Russians under General Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov
Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov was a Field Marshal of the Russian Empire. He served as one of the finest military officers and diplomats of Russia under the reign of three Romanov Tsars: Catherine II, Paul I and Alexander I...
. Lacking sufficient artillery, cavalry and supplies to wage battle, Napoleon's object at Krasnoi was to collect his scattered troops and to resume his retreat. Despite the vast superiority of his forces, Kutusov refrained from launching a full-scale offensive during the four days of fighting.
The climax of the engagement occurred on November 17, when an aggressive feint by the French Imperial Guard induced Kutusov to delay a potentially decisive final Russian attack. Napoleon was thus able to withdraw part of his army before the Russians seized Krasnoi.
Despite Napoleon's success in saving part of his army from destruction at Krasnoi, overall the encounter was ruinous to the French. During the four days of combat Napoleon's subordinate commanders suffered heavy defeats in individual actions, and large numbers of French stragglers were captured by the Russians. The Grande Armée was also compelled to abandon much of its remaining artillery and baggage train.
Napoleon retreats from Smolensk
After departing from Moscow on October 18 with 100,000 combat-ready but undersupplied troops, Napoleon's strategic object was to quarter his army for the winter at the closest French supply depot, which was at Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...
, 270 miles to the west. During the three-week march to Smolensk, however, the Grande Armée was devastated by a combination of factors: starvation, demoralization, breakdown in troop discipline, a crippling loss of horses and essential supplies, attacks from the Russian army and constant harassment by its Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...
irregulars and partisans
A partisan is a member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation by some kind of insurgent activity...
The condition of the Grande Armée was further deteriorated by sub-zero temperatures in the first two weeks of November (see "General Winter").
By the time the French arrived at Smolensk on November 9, the strategic situation in Russia had turned decisively against Napoleon. Only 40% of the Grande Armée was still under arms at this point. Due to the ravaged condition of his forces and French defeats on other fronts
The Second Battle of Polotsk took place during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. In this encounter the Russians under General Peter Wittgenstein attacked and defeated a Franco-Bavarian force under Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr. In the aftermath of this success, the Russians took Polotsk and dismantled...
, Napoleon realized his position at Smolensk was untenable, and chose to continue his retreat. The new strategic goal was to put the Grande Armée into winter quarters further west, in the area of the massive French supply depot of Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...
Having lost contact with Kutusov during the previous two weeks, Napoleon incorrectly believed that the Russian army must have been as devastated by the elements as his own. Not expecting an offensive by Kutusov, Napoleon made the strategic mistake of resuming his retreat by dispatching the Grande Armée's corps separately from Smolensk on successive days, starting on November 11. Thus the French approached Krasny in a 40-mile-long column of disconnected corps, not massed together in preparation for battle.
On November 14, the corps of Poniatowski
Poniatowski is an aristocratic family in Poland. Because Polish adjectives have different forms for the genders, Poniatowska is the same name for a female family member.-History:...
and Junot, at the helm of the retreating French army, passed through Krasny and continued marching west to Orsha
Orsha is a city in Belarus in Vitebsk voblast on the fork of the Dnieper and Arshytsa rivers.-Facts:*Location: *Population: 125,000 *Phone code: +375 216*Postal codes: 211030, 211381–211394, 211396–211398-History:...
. The next day, November 15, Napoleon himself arrived at Krasny with his 16,000-strong Imperial Guard. There Napoleon planned to remain for several days so that the 6,000 troops of Eugène's IV Corps, the 9,000 troops of Davout's I Corps, and the 8,000 troops of Ney's
Michel Ney , 1st Duc d'Elchingen, 1st Prince de la Moskowa was a French soldier and military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of France created by Napoleon I...
III Corps could unite with him before he resumed his retreat. Ney's corps formed the rearguard and was not to leave Smolensk until November 17.
Marching between and around these French corps were nearly 40,000 troops who had devolved into mobs of unarmed, disorganized stragglers.
Kutusov's southern march
During the same period, the main Russian army under Kutusov followed the French on a parallel southern road. Because this route passed through countryside not yet economically devastated by previous campaigning, the Russian army approached Krasny much less weakened by attrition than the Grande Armée.
Based on faulty intelligence reports, Kutusov believed that only one third of the French army was retreating through Krasny toward Orsha, with Napoleon and the balance of his forces marching much farther to the north. Kutusov therefore accepted a plan proposed by his staff officer, Colonel Toll, to march on Krasny to destroy what was believed to be an isolated French column.
The Russian position at Krasny began forming on November 15, when the 3,500-strong flying advance guard of Adam Ozharovsky seized the town. The same day, the 17,000 troops of Miloradovich took position alongside the eastern road leading into Krasny from Smolensk. Kutusov himself reached Krasny with the 35,000-strong main army on November 16.
In all, Kutusov had 52,000 to 60,000 regular troops at his disposal at Krasny, including a large cavalry force and approximately 500 cannon. Another 20,000 Cossack irregulars, operating mostly in small bands, supplemented the main army by harassing the French at all points along the forty-mile-long road from Smolensk to Krasny.
November 15: the rout of Ozharovsky
November 15 saw the first actions in and around Krasny as the 16,000-strong Imperial Guard, led personally by Napoleon, marched past Miloradovich's 17,000 troops, who were positioned on the high ground parallel to the road. Impressed by order and composure of the elite guardsmen, Miloradovich decided not to attack them, and settled instead for bombarding the French from afar. The Russian cannonfire inflicted little damage on the Guard, which continued moving toward Krasny.
During the afternoon of the 15th, the Imperial Guard was harassed on the road near Nikolino and Yeskovo by the Cossacks of General Vasily Orlov-Denisov
Vasily Orlov-Denisov was a Cossack Russian general. He was the son of Vasily Petrovich Orlov, Ataman of the Don Cossacks, and grandson of the first Earl of the Cossacks, General of Cavalry, Fedor Petrovich Denisov . In honour of his grandfather he added his surname to his own, becoming...
. The eyewitness description of this encounter by the Russian partisan leader Denis Davidov, which eloquently portrays the comportment of the Old Guard and Napoleon, has become one of the most often quoted in the histories of the 1812 war:
- "...after midday, we sighted the Old Guard, with Napoleon riding in their midst... the enemy troops, sighting our unruly force, got their muskets at the ready and proudly continued on their way without hurrying their step... Like blocks of granite, they remained invulnerable... I shall never forget the unhurried step and awesome resolution of these soldiers, for whom the threat of death was a daily and familiar experience. With their tall bearskin caps, blue uniforms, white belts, red plumes, and epaulettes, they looked like poppies on the snow-covered battlefield... Column followed upon column, dispersing us with musket fire and ridiculing our useless display of chivalry... the Imperial Guard with Napoleon ploughed through our Cossacks like a 100-gun ship through fishing skiffs."
Later that day, Napoleon and his Guard entered Krasny, and his troops chased away the squadrons of Cossacks under Ozharovsky who were in possession of the town. Napoleon promptly made plans to remain in Krasny for several days so that the rest of his army could catch up with him.
Shortly after midnight, Napoleon detected the campfires of Ozharovsky's 3,500-strong force near Kutkovo, south of Krasny. Recognizing that Ozharovsky's position was dangerously isolated from Kutusov's main army, Napoleon dispatched the Young Guard on a sneak attack against the Russian encampment, which was not protected by pickets. The operation was first entrusted to General Jean Rapp
Jean Rapp was a French Army general during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.Rapp was born the son of the janitor of the town-hall of Colmar. He began theological studies to became a clergy man, but with his build and heated character, he was better suited to the military,...
, but at the last moment Napoleon replaced Rapp with General Roguet. Roguet then divided the Guardsmen into three columns and began a silent advance on Ozharovsky's camp. In the ensuing combat, the Russians were taken completely by surprise and, despite their fierce resistance, were totally routed. As many as half of Ozharovsky's troops were killed or captured, and the remainder threw their weapons in a nearby lake and fled south. Lacking cavalry, Roguet was unable to pursue Ozharovsky's remaining troops.
The next day, November 16, however, went much better for the Russians as Miloradovich's soldiers cut the road leading to Krasny and inflicted heavy losses on the French corps of Prince Eugène de Beauharnais
Eugène Rose de Beauharnais, Prince Français, Prince of Venice, Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy, Hereditary Grand Duke of Frankfurt, 1st Duke of Leuchtenberg and 1st Prince of Eichstätt ad personam was the first child and only son of Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la...
. In this skirmishing, Eugène's IV Corps lost one third of its original force of 6,000, as well as its baggage train and artillery. Eugène was saved from total destruction only because Kutusov, who didn't want the skirmishing to expand into a full scale battle, ordered Miloradovich to restrain himself and reposition his troops closer to the main army at Shilova. A force of Cossacks was left to harass Eugène while Miloradovich's final attack was postponed to the next day.
Kutusov at Shilova
Earlier that day, Kutusov's main army finally arrived within five miles of Krasny, taking up positions around the villages of Novoselki and Shilova. Kutusov could have attacked Krasny immediately, but he chose not to.
That evening, under pressure from his aggressive subordinate generals to move decisively against the French, Kutusov finally made plans for an offensive, but he firmly forbade his commanders from executing the attack until daylight on November 17, which meant the French would have the entire evening to evacuate Krasny unharrassed by the Russians.
The Russian battle plan called for the army to execute a three pronged attack on Krasny. Miloradovich was to remain east of the town near Yeskovo, and attack Eugène's IV Corps and Davout's I Corps. The main army at Novoselki and Shilova would break into two groups: Prince Golitsyn
Serene Prince Dmitriy Vladimirovich Golitsyn was a Russian cavalry general prominent during the Napoleonic Wars, statesman and military writer....
would advance directly north through Uvarovo against Krasny with 15,000 troops. Alexander Tormasov
Count Alexander Petrovich Tormasov was a Russian cavalry general prominent during the Napoleonic Wars....
with 20,000 troops was to encircle Krasny from the west by marching through Kutkovo to Dobroye, where they would cut the French retreat route to Orsha. Ozharovsky's flying column—reinforced since its drubbing by the Young Guard—would operate independently west and north of Krasny.
Sometime after 1:00 a.m. on November 17, Kutusov learned from prisoners that Napoleon would be remaining in Krasny, and not withdrawing before the Russian attack as Kutusov had expected. Kutusov now had second thoughts about executing the Russian army's planned offensive.
Davout in peril
At 3:00 a.m. on November 17, the 9,000 troops of Davout's I Corps decamped from their bivouac near Rzhavka and began a rushed march to Krasny. The reports of Eugène's defeat the previous day were so dismaying that Davout felt it necessary to abandon his original plan of postponing his movement until Ney's III Corps, still at Smolensk, had caught up with him.
Miloradovich, permitted by Kutusov to recommence his attack, opened a massive artillery barrage on Davout near Yeskovo. The panicked French troops began fleeing from the road, and as Russian infantry and cavalry attacks were likely to follow, the I Corps was soon threatened with destruction.
Davout's peril, and the distressing developments of the previous day had alerted Napoleon to the grave danger confronting the Grande Armée. Waiting for Davout and Ney in Krasny was no longer feasible, given that any kind of determined attack by Kutusov would destroy the Grande Armée. The starving French troops also needed to reach their closest supply source—25 miles west at Orsha—before the Russians captured the town ahead of him.
At this critical juncture, Napoleon's sense of initiative returned to him for the first time in weeks. In Caulaincourt's words: "This turn of events, which upset all the Emperor's calculations... would have overwhelmed any other general. But the Emperor was stronger than adversity, and became the more stubborn as danger seemed more imminent
Immediately, before daylight, Napoleon prepared his Imperial Guard to make an aggressive feint against Miloradovich and the main Russian army, gambling that this unexpected maneuver would discourage the Russians from attacking Davout. The Grande Armée's remaining artillery was massed for combat, and the Guardsmen formed themselves into attack columns.
Simultaneously, the remnant of Eugène's IV Corps was ordered to advance west from Krasny, to secure the Grande Armée's escape route to Orsha.
Napoleon's hope was to fend off the Russians just long enough to collect Davout's and Ney's troops, and to immediately resume his retreat before Kutusov attacked or outflanked him by moving on Orsha.
The Guard advances
At 5:00 a.m., 11,000 Imperial Guardsman marched out of Krasny intending to secure the terrain immediately east and southeast of the town. These troops split into two columns: one 5,000 strong moving along the road to Smolensk, the other 6,000 Young Guardsmen led by Roguet, marching south of the road toward Uvarovo. The left flank of the Young Guard's column was protected by a battalion of elite Old Guard grenadiers, described by Segur as forming a "fortress like square
." Stationed on the right of these columns were the weak remnants of the Guard's cavalry. Overall direction of the operation was entrusted to Marshal Mortier.
This bold, unexpected feint of the Guard was lent additional melodrama by the personal presence of Napoleon. With his birch bark walking stick in hand, Napoleon placed himself at the helm of his Old Guard grenadiers, declaring "I have played the Emperor long enough! It is time to play general
Facing the tattered but resolute Imperial Guardsmen were densely concentrated Russian infantry columns to the south and east, supported by massive, powerful artillery batteries.
Lacking sufficient cannon of their own, the Guardsmen were badly outgunned by the enemy. As described by Segur: "Russian battalions and batteries barred the horizon on all three sides—in front, on our right, and behind us
Kutusov's reaction to the Imperial Guard's forward movement led to the most decisive and controversial development of the battle: he promptly cancelled his army's planned offensive, even in spite of the Russians' overwhelming superiority in strength.
For most of the rest of this day, the Russians remained at a safe distance from the Guard, beyond the reach of French muskets and bayonets, and simply blasted the enemy with cannonfire from afar.
Combat near Uvarovo
The limited close quarters combat that did occur on this day unfolded throughout the morning and early afternoon around Uvarovo. The Imperial Guard attacked Uvarovo in order to use the village to cover Davout's retreat into Krasny.
Uvarovo was held by two battalions of Galitzin's infantry, which formed a weak forward outpost in advance of the rest of the Russian army. The Russians were soon driven from Uvarovo, as Kutusov forbade Galitzin from reinforcing his troops. Galitzin reacted by commencing a devastating artillery barrage on Uvarovo, which took a terrible toll on the Young Guardsmen.
Kutusov, in order to mass as much strength as possible behind Galitzin, at this point ordered Miloradovich to shift his position west, so that it linked with Galitzin's lines. Kutusov's decision to realign Miloradovich's troops is remarkable, as the bulk of the Russian army—Galitzin's and Tormasov's commands—were already merged in a powerful defensive position. Miloradovich was thus denied the chance to complete the destruction of Davout.
Meanwhile, to the north, Davout's troops began streaming into Krasny, harassed by swarms of Cossacks who made no serious attempt to stop them. The Russian artillery continued to pound Davout's corps with grapeshot, inflicting ruinous casualties on the I Corps. Most of Davout's baggage train was lost, but a significant number of his infantrymen had been saved, and they were rallied by their officers in Krasny.
Next, General Bennigsen
Levin August Gottlieb Theophil , Count von Bennigsen was a German general in the service of the Russian Empire....
, second in seniority only to Kutusov among Russian generals, ordered Galitzin to recapture Uvarovo. Galitzin's attack was met by a simultaneous counterattack by a column of the Guard's voltigeurs.
Galitzin attacked the voltigeurs with two regiments of cuirassiers; the French formed squares and repelled the attack. A third Russian attack, however, punctured the French square, and soon the entire contingent of Guardsmen was killed or captured. A second line of French troops, which had been advancing to support the voltigeurs, then fell back under heavy Russian cannonfire.
Nearby, another skirmish took place, where the Dutch division of the Old Guard was driven from a critical defensive position with massive casualties, due mostly to cannonfire. Roguet attempted to support the Dutch by attacking the Russian artillery batteries with the Guard's 1st Light Infantry, but this offensive was atomized by Russian grapeshot and cavalry charges. Only fifty soldiers and eleven officers in the 1st Light Infantry survived this encounter.
Around 11:00 a.m., as the Imperial Guard was holding firm near Uvarovo despite its withering losses, Napoleon received intelligence reports that Tormasov's troops were readying to march west of Krasny. This news, coupled with the Young Guard's mounting casualties, forced Napoleon to abandon his ultimate object of standing down Kutusov long enough for Ney's III Corps to arrive in Krasny. If Kutusov opted to attack, the Grande Armée would be encircled and destroyed. Napoleon immediately ordered the Old Guard to fall back on Krasny, and then join Eugène's IV Corps in marching west toward Liady and Orsha
Orsha is a city in Belarus in Vitebsk voblast on the fork of the Dnieper and Arshytsa rivers.-Facts:*Location: *Population: 125,000 *Phone code: +375 216*Postal codes: 211030, 211381–211394, 211396–211398-History:...
. The Young Guard, nearing its breaking point, would remain near Uvarovo
Uvarovo is a town in Tambov Oblast, Russia, located on the right bank of the Vorona River , southeast of Tambov. Population:...
, to be relieved shortly thereafter by Davout's reorganized troops from Krasny.
Napoleon's decision was not an easy one to make. Segur describes the beleaguered Emperor's predicament as follows:
- "So the 1st Corps was saved; but at the same time we learned that our rear guard was at the end of its resistance at Krasny, that Ney had probably not left Smolensk yet, and that we ought to give up all idea of waiting for him. Still, Napoleon hesitated, unable to bring himself to make this great sacrifice. But finally, as everything seemed lost, he decided what to do. He called Mortier to him, took his hand kindly, and told him, 'There is not a minute to lose! The enemy is breaking through on every side. Kutusov may reach Liady, even Orsha and the last bend of the Dnieper before me. I must move rapidly with the Old Guard to occupy that passage. Davout will relieve you. Together you must try to hold out at Krasny until nightfall. Then you will rejoin me.' His heart heavy with despair at having to abandon the unfortunate Ney, he withdrew slowly from the field of battle, entered Krasny where he made a brief halt, then cut his way through as far as Liady"
In short order, the Old Guard was following the IV Corps moving west out of Krasny, and the road to Orsha was clogged with soldiers and their wagonry. Huge mobs of civilians, fugitives, and stragglers preceded the retreating French troops.
Meanwhile, near Uvarovo the Young Guard's capacity to resist the Russians was deteriorating rapidly, and Mortier ordered a retreat before his remaining troops were surrounded and destroyed. As if on parade ground drill, the perfectly disciplined Guardsmen then turned about face and marched back to Krasny, absorbing a final, terrible barrage of Russian cannonshot as they retired.
Only 3,000 of the Young Guard's original 6,000 troops had survived the Russian shelling near Uvarovo. November 17 may have been the bloodiest day in the Young Guard's entire history.
The Young Guard's retreat did not end once it returned to Krasny. Mortier and Davout were so wary of the possibility that the inert Kutusov might attack that they immediately joined the throng of troops, mobs and wagons rushing that moment to Liady. Only a weak rearguard under General Friedrich was left to hold Krasny. Ney's III Corps, having departed Smolensk only that morning, would not find Davout's I Corps in Krasny awaiting him.
Kutusov delays the pursuit
Miloradovich and Galitzin were not permitted by Kutusov to attack Krasny for several more hours.
At 2:00 p.m., satisfied that the French were in full retreat and not intending to resist his troops' advance, Kutusov finally allowed Tormasov to begin his enveloping movement west through Kutkovo and north to Dobroye. It would take Tormasov two hours to reach his destination, however, by which time the opportunity to encircle and destroy the Grande Armée would be passed.
Sometime around 3:00 p.m., Galitzin's troops rushed into Krasny like a torrent, and Friedrich's rearguard quickly crumbled.
Simultaneously, on the western road to Liady, the French initially encountered an ambush by the small detachments of Ozharovsky and Rosen. A bedlam of exploding grapeshot, overturned wagons, careening carriages, and mobs of fugitives rushing in panic ensued. But the troops of Cobert and Latour-Maubourg forced the Russians aside, and Napoleon was finally marching on Orsha.
The final noteworthy event of the day occurred in Dobroye, when the hind end of the I Corps baggage train, including Davout's personal carriages, fell to the Cossacks. Among the booty captured by the Russians were Davout's war chest, a plethora of maps of the Middle East, Central Asia and India, and Davout's Marshal's baton.
By nightfall on November 17, Kutusov had occupied Krasny and its surroundings with his 70,000 troops. Marshal Ney, still advancing on Krasny from the east, was not yet aware the Grande Armée was no longer in Krasny to receive his III Corps.
November 18: the destruction of Ney
At 3:00 p.m. on November 18, Ney's III Corps finally made contact with Miloradovich, who had posted 12,000 troops on a hill overlooking a deep ravine. Ney had 8,000 combatants and 7,000 stragglers under his command at this point.
Believing that Davout was still in Krasny, directly behind Miloradovich's columns, Ney turned down a Russian offer of honorable surrender, and boldy attempted to ram his way through the enemy. The dogged French troops then succeeded in piercing the first two lines of Russian infantry. The third line, however, proved indominatable, and at the decisive moment, the Russians counterattacked. An eyewitness to this engagement, the English General Sir Robert Wilson
General Sir Robert Thomas Wilson Kt was a British general and politician who served in Egypt, Prussia, and was seconded to the Imperial Russian Army in 1812. He sat as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Southwark from 1818 to 1831...
, describes it thusly:
- Forty pieces of cannon loaded with grape, simultaneously on the instant, vomited their flames and poured their deadly shower on the French assailants. The Russians most in advance, shouting their "huzza", sprang forward with fixed bayonets, and without firing a musket. A sanguinary but short struggle ensued; the enemy could not maintain their footing, and were driven headlong down the ravine. The brow and sides of the hill were covered with French dead and dying, all the Russian arms were dripping with gore, and the wounded, as they lay bleeding and shivering on the snow, called for "death", as the greatest mercy that could be ministered in their hopeless state.
The terrible defeat of the III Corps was thorough enough to induce the chivalrous Miloradovich to extend another honorable surrender to Ney. Again, Ney refused to submit, and with 2,000 refugees—all that remained of his corps—he absconded into the forests pursued by Platov's Cossacks.
For the next two days Ney's small party bravely stood off Cossack attacks as it marched westward via footpaths in search of Napoleon's army. The elements and the Cossacks soon reduced Ney's contingent to only 800 diehards. On November 20, Ney and Napoleon were reunited near Orsha, an event which the demoralized French troops regarded as the emotional equivalent of a great victory.
At Krasny, Ney's steely courage in defeat immortalized him in the annals of military history, leading Napoleon to bestow upon him the sobriquet of "Bravest of the Brave."
Summary of results
Total French losses in the Krasny skirmishes are estimated between 6,000 and 13,000 killed and wounded, with another 20,000 to 26,000 lost as prisoners to the Russians. Almost all of the French prisoners were stragglers. The French also lost close to 130 artillery pieces and a huge portion of their supply train. Russian losses are estimated to have been no more than 5,000 killed and wounded.
Significant however was that Napoleon successfully led 75% of the combatants of the I and IV Corps and the Imperial Guard out of Krasny, thus salvaging his hope of using these troops as a nucleus around which he could rebuild his army the following year.
Krasny was a Russian victory, but a highly unsatisfactory one. Tsar Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....
was enraged with Kutusov upon learning of the old field marshal's failure to totally destroy the French. Nonetheless, owing to Kutusov's immense popularity with the Russian aristocracy, Alexander gave him the victory title
A victory title is an honorific title adopted by a successful military commander to commemorate his defeat of an enemy nation. This practice was first used by Ancient Rome and is still most commonly associated with the Romans, but it has also been adopted as a practice by many modern empires,...
of Prince of Smolensk for what had been accomplished in this battle.