At the gates of Moscow, Napoleon’s Grand Army prepares to enter in triumphal procession. But what it finds is a city abandoned by its inhabitants – save only the men who emerge to fan the flames as incendiary fuses hidden throughout the empty buildings of Moscow set the city alight. For three days Moscow burned, while looters dodged the fires to plunder and pillage. And so begins 1812: Napoleon in Moscow, Paul Britten Austin’s atmospheric second volume in his acclaimed trilogy on Napoleon’s catastrophic invasion of Russia.
After the fires died down the army settled in the ruins of Moscow; for five weeks Napoleon waited at the Kremlin, expecting his ‘brother the Tsar’ in St Petersburg to capitulate and make peace, while in fact the Russian Army was gathering its strength. At the same time Murat’s cavalry, the advance guard, was encamped in dreadful conditions three days’ march away at Winkowo, where it was being starved to death. When Napoleon eventually realized the futility of his plans and prepared to leave Moscow, his advance guard was surprised by a Russian attack. The most astounding exodus in modern times ensued.
1812: Napoleon in Moscow follows on from the brilliant 1812: The March on Moscow, which took Napoleon’s army across Europe to the great city. Paul Britten Austin brings this next phase of the epic campaign to life with characteristic verve. Drawing on hundreds of eyewitness accounts by French and allied soldiers of Napoleon’s army, this brilliant study recreates this disastrous military campaign in all its death and glory.