It was not Napoleon alone who had that nightmare feeling that the mighty arm was stricken powerless: all the generals, all the soldiers of the French army, those who fought and those who did not, after all their experiences of previous battles (when after one-tenth of the effort the enemy had always run), showed the feeling of horror before this foe, who, after losing ONE HALF of the army, still stood its ground as dauntless at the end as at the beginning of the battle. The moral force of the French, the attacking army, was exhausted. Not the victory, signalised by the capture of rags on the end of sticks, called flags, or of the ground on which the troops were standing, but a moral victory, that which compels the enemy to recognise the moral superiority of his opponent, and his own impotence, was won by the Russians at Borodino. The French invading army, like a ravening beast that has received its death-wound in its onslaught, felt its end near. But it could not stop, no more than the Russian army—of half its strength—could help retreating. After that check, the French army could still drag on to Moscow, but there, without fresh effort on the part of the Russian army, its ruin was inevitable, as its life-blood ebbed away from the deadly wound dealt it at Borodino. The direct consequence of the battle of Borodino was Napoleon’s cause-less flight from Moscow, his return by the old Smolensk road, the ruin of the invading army of five hundred thousand men, and the downfall of the Napoleonic rule, on which, for the first time at Borodino, was laid the hand of a foe of stronger spirit.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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