Krasnoi, Battles of


Krasnoi, Battles of
(1812)
   A series of running skirmishes fought around Krasnoye Selo, southwest of St. Petersburg** (see below), during Napoleon Bonaparte ’s retreat from Moscow. As Napoleon closed in on Smolensk in August, he sent Murat’s cavalry against Neveroski’s division of Barclay’s Russian army. Murat’s attacks were foiled by the Russian formation of a large square, and the lack of infantry or artillery support doomed his efforts. The Russians withdrew to Smolensk, and Napoleon’s delay in pursuit allowed the Russians to strengthen their defensive positions.
   Toward the end of the French army’s withdrawal from Moscow, Kutuzov’s Russian forces were pressing Napoleon and threatening to block the road between Smolensk and Krasnoi, thus dividing Napoleon’s strung-out army. Napoleon had one good fighting unit left - the Imperial Guard - and he sent its 18,000 men against Kutuzov’s 35,000 on November 17. The Russians were completely surprised and quickly retreated. This cleared the road and allowed the French army to consolidate by late in the day, and they moved on, leaving behind only Ney’s missing rearguard.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Palmer, Alan. Napoleon in Russia. London: Andre Deutsch, 1967.
   J. DAVID MARKHAM
   **---Notes by EdwART (VI.2013): It’s great error made by author of article. Krasnoi (Krasny) – is small village near Smolensk (45 km), isn’t Krasnoe Selo (Sanct-Petersburg)

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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