Chapter 9

PRINCE ANDREY reached the headquarters of the army at the end of June. The first army, with which the Tsar was, was stationed in a fortified camp at Drissa. The second army was retreating, striving to effect a junction with the first army, from which—so it was said—it had been cut off by immense forces of the French. Every one was dissatisfied with the general course of events in the Russian army. But no one even dreamed of any danger of the Russian provinces being invaded, no one imagined the war could extend beyond the frontiers of the western Polish provinces.

Prince Andrey found Barclay de Tolly, to whom he was sent, on the bank of the Drissa. Since there was not one large village nor dwelling-place in the neighbourhood of the camp, the immense multitude of generals and courtiers accompanying the army were distributed about the neighborhood for ten versts round in the best houses of the village on both sides of the river. Barclay de Tolly was staying four versts away from the Tsar. He gave Bolkonsky a dry and frigid reception, and said in his German accent that he would mention him to the Tsar so that a definite appointment might be given him, and that meanwhile he begged him to remain on his staff. Anatole Kuragin, whom Prince Andrey had expected to find in the army, was not here. He was in Petersburg, and Bolkonsky was glad to hear it. He was absorbed in the interest of being at the centre of the immense war that was in progress, and he was relieved to be free for a time from the irritability produced in him by the idea of Kuragin. The first four days, during which he was not called upon to do anything, he spent in riding round the whole of the fortified camp, and by the aid of his experiences and his conversations with persons of greater experience, he tried to form a definite idea about it. But the question whether such a camp were of use at all or not remained an open one in his mind. He had already, from his own military experience, formed the conviction that in war the most deeply meditated plans are of no avail (as he had seen at Austerlitz), that everything depends on how unexpected actions of the enemy, actions that cannot possibly be foreseen, are met; that all depends on how, and by whom, the battle is led. In order to settle this last question to his own satisfaction, Prince Andrey took advantage of his position and his acquaintances to try to get an insight into the character of the persons and parties who had a hand in the organisation of the army. This was the general idea he gained of the position of affairs.

While the Tsar had been at Vilna, the army had been divided into three. The first army was under the command of Barclay de Tolly, the second under the command of Bagration, and the third under the command of Tormasov. The Tsar was with the first army, but not in the capacity of commander-in-chief. In the proclamations, it was announced that the Tsar would be with the army, but it was not announced that he would take the command. Moreover, there was in attendance on the Tsar personally not a commander- in-chief’s staff, but the staff of the imperial headquarters. The chief officer of the imperial staff was General- Quartermaster Volkonsky, and it contained generals, aides-de-camp, diplomatic officials, and an immense number of foreigners, but it was not a military staff. The Tsar had also in attendance on him in no definite capacity, Araktcheev, the late minister of war; Count Bennigsen, by seniority the first of the generals; the Tsarevitch, Konstantin Pavlovitch; Count Rumyantsev, the chancellor; Stein, the former Prussian minister; Armfeldt, the Swedish general; Pfuhl, the chief organiser of the plan of the campaign; Paulucci, a Sardinian refugee, who had been made a general-adjutant; Woltzogen; and many others. Though those personages had no definite posts in the army, yet, from their position, they had influence, and often the commander of a corps, or even one of the commanders-in-chief, did not know in what capacity Bennigsen or the Tsarevitch or Araktcheev or Prince Volkonsky addressed some advice or inquiry to him, and could not tell whether some command in the form of advice came directly from the person who got it or through him from the Tsar, and whether he ought or ought not to obey it. But all this formed simply the external aspect of the situation; the inner import of the presence of the Tsar and all these great personages was, from a courtier’s point of view (and in the presence of a monarch all men become courtiers), plain to all. All grasped the fact that though the Tsar was not formally assuming the position of commander-in-chief, he did, in fact, hold the supreme control of all the armies in his hands, and the persons about him were his councillors. Araktcheev was a trusty administrator, a stern upholder of discipline, and careful of the safety of the Tsar. Bennigsen was a land-holder in the neighbourhood, and seemed to feel it his function to entertain the Tsar there; while he was in reality, too, a good general, useful as an adviser, and useful to have in readiness to replace Barclay at any time. The Tsarevitch was there because he thought fit to be. The former Prussian minister, Stein, was there because his advice might be useful, and the Emperor

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