Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Liveblogging Napoleon's Russian Invasion:
Advancing on Vilna

Napoleon's Army presses its advance on Vilna, with high hopes of a major engagement. Napoleon discovers to his dismay that the Russian army is surprisingly hard to catch:
A few enemy patrols we encountered on our way made off speedily without risking an engagement. On the evening of [June] 26th there were many more of them but they, too, melted away when we prepared to attack them. On the 27th the whole army regrouped for a battle with the Russian main force at Vilna, but the Russians merely set fire to the city's warehouses, destroyed the bridge across the Vilna river and allowed the Grand Army to enter the place practically unopposed on the 29th. The Grand Army now pressed on with all possible speed along two roads to catch up with the elusive Russians, who were retiring towards Dunsberg. ....every day the enemy's light horse seemed on the point of making a stand and did, in fact, engage us in occasional skirmishes. Losses on both sides were negligible, but the Russians achieved their aim of slowing our advance.

--Lt. H.A. Vossler, With Napoleon in Russia 1812, 46 (Folio ed. 1998)

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