“Hurrah!” rang out in the wood, and the Cossacks, with spears lowered, flew gaily, one hundred after another, across the stream into the camp, as though they were being shot out of a sack.

One desperate, frightened scream from the first Frenchman who caught sight of the Cossacks, and every creature in the camp, undressed and half-asleep, was running away, abandoning cannons, muskets, and horses.

If the Cossacks had pursued the French without regard to what they left all around and behind them, they could have captured Murat and all there was there. Their commanding officers tried to make them do so. But there was no making the Cossacks budge when they had got booty and prisoners. No one heeded the word of command. They had taken fifteen hundred prisoners, thirty-eight cannons, flags, and, what was of most consequence in the eyes of the Cossacks, horses, saddles, coverings and various other objects. All of this they wanted to see after, to secure the prisoners and the cannons, to divide the booty, to shout at and even fight with one another over the spoils; and all this absorbed the Cossacks’ attention. The Frenchmen, finding themselves not pursued further, began to rally; they formed into companies and began firing. Orlov-Denisov still expected the other columns to arrive, and did not advance further.

Meanwhile, in accordance with the disposition—“die erste Colonne marschirt,” and so on—the infantry regiments of the belated columns, under the command of Bennigsen and the direction of Toll, had started off in due course, and had, in the usual way, arrived somewhere, but not where they were intended to arrive. In the usual way too, the soldiers who had set off gaily, began to halt; there were murmurs of dissatisfaction and a sense of muddle, and they were marched back to some point. Adjutants and generals galloped to and fro, shouting angrily, quarrelling, declaring they had come utterly wrong and were too late, upbraiding some one, and so on; and finally, all washed their hands of the business in despair, and marched on simply in order to get somewhere. “We must arrive somewhere sooner or later!” And so they did, in fact, arrive somewhere, but not where they were wanted. And some did even reach their destination, but reached it so late that their doing so was of no use at all, and only resulted in their being fired at for nothing. Toll, who in this battle played the part of Weierother in the battle of Austerlitz, galloped with unflagging energy from one part of the field to another, and found everything at sixes and sevens everywhere. So, for instance, he found Bagovut’s corps in the wood, when it was broad daylight, though the corps ought to have been there long before, and to have gone to support Orlov-Denisov. Disappointed and excited at the failure, and supposing some one must be to blame for it, Toll galloped up to the general in command of the corps, and began sternly reprimanding him, declaring that he deserved to be shot. Bagovut, a sturdy old general of placid disposition, had been worried too by all the delays, the muddles, and the contradictory orders, and, to the amazement of everybody, he flew into a violent rage, quite out of keeping with his character, and said some very nasty things to Toll.

“I am not going to be taught my duty by anybody, but I can face death with my men as well as any one,” he said, and he marched forward with one division. The valiant Bagovut, not considering in his excitement whether his advance into action now with a single division was likely to be of use or not, marched his men straight forward into the enemy’s fire. Danger, shells, and bullets were just what he wanted in his fury. One of the first bullets killed him, the other bullets killed many of his men. And his division remained for some time under fire for no object whatever.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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