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Crossing the Beresina

Battle Name : Crossing the Beresina

Date(s) : 21 November 1812 - 29 November 1812

Part of : The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars , Napoleon's Russian Campaign ,

Outcome : A victory for French Forces over Russian forces

Type of battle : Land


Napoleon's Grande Armée had fallen to between 49,000 and 25,000 effectives [with possibly another 40,000 stragglers following on]. His line of march from Moscow to Minsk lead to a crossing of the river Beresina at Borisov. He had Kutusov with the main Russian army [65,000] in distant pursuit, Wittgenstein's I Corps [30,000] closing from the north and Tshitshagov, Third Army of the West [34,000] approaching from the southwest across the road to Minsk. In a series of actions, by bluff, subterfuge, dogged fighting and brilliant engineering Napoleon was able to extricate a significant body of troops to link up with fresh troops and continue the retreat. Of the Russian high-command Kutusov was laggardly, Tchichagov was hesitant and only Wittgenstein showed spirit and determination.


Centred on the village of Borisov on the river Beresina where the bridge of the old Moscow-Minsk road is located. (Belarus)

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