French Invasion of Russia

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1812 Aug 16

Battle of Smolensk

Smolensk, Russia

Political pressure on Barclay to give battle and the general's continuing reluctance to do so(viewed as intransigence by the Russian nobility) led to his removal.He was replaced in his position as commander-in-chief by the popular, veteran Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov. Kutuzov, however, continued much along the line of the general Russian strategy, fighting the occasional defensive engagement but being careful not to risk the army in an open battle.Instead, the Russian Army fell back ever deeper into Russia's interior. Following a defeat at Smolensk on August 16–18 he continued the move east. Unwilling to give up Moscow without a fight, Kutuzov took up a defensive position some 75 miles before Moscow at Borodino. Meanwhile, French plans to quarter at Smolensk were abandoned, and Napoleon pressed his army on after the Russians."

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Last Updated: Sun Jul 10 2022