The infantry regiments that had been caught unawares in the outskirts of th_ood ran out of it, the different companies getting mixed, and retreated as _isorderly crowd. One soldier, in his fear, uttered the senseless cry, "Cu_ff!" that is so terrible in battle, and that word infected the whole crow_ith a feeling of panic.
"Surrounded! Cut off? We're lost!" shouted the fugitives.
The moment he heard the firing and the cry from behind, the general realize_hat something dreadful had happened to his regiment, and the thought that he,
an exemplary officer of many years' service who had never been to blame, migh_e held responsible at headquarters for negligence or inefficiency s_taggered him that, forgetting the recalcitrant cavalry colonel, his ow_ignity as a general, and above all quite forgetting the danger and all regar_or self-preservation, he clutched the crupper of his saddle and, spurring hi_orse, galloped to the regiment under a hail of bullets which fell around, bu_ortunately missed him. His one desire was to know what was happening and a_ny cost correct, or remedy, the mistake if he had made one, so that he, a_xemplary officer of twenty-two years' service, who had never been censured,
should not be held to blame.
Having galloped safely through the French, he reached a field behind the cops_cross which our men, regardless of orders, were running and descending th_alley. That moment of moral hesitation which decides the fate of battles ha_rrived. Would this disorderly crowd of soldiers attend to the voice of thei_ommander, or would they, disregarding him, continue their flight? Despite hi_esperate shouts that used to seem so terrible to the soldiers, despite hi_urious purple countenance distorted out of all likeness to his former self,
and the flourishing of his saber, the soldiers all continued to run, talking,
firing into the air, and disobeying orders. The moral hesitation which decide_he fate of battles was evidently culminating in a panic.
The general had a fit of coughing as a result of shouting and of the powde_moke and stopped in despair. Everything seemed lost. But at that moment th_rench who were attacking, suddenly and without any apparent reason, ran bac_nd disappeared from the outskirts, and Russian sharpshooters showe_hemselves in the copse. It was Timokhin's company, which alone had maintaine_ts order in the wood and, having lain in ambush in a ditch, now attacked th_rench unexpectedly. Timokhin, armed only with a sword, had rushed at th_nemy with such a desperate cry and such mad, drunken determination that,
taken by surprise, the French had thrown down their muskets and run. Dolokhov,
running beside Timokhin, killed a Frenchman at close quarters and was th_irst to seize the surrendering French officer by his collar. Our fugitive_eturned, the battalions re-formed, and the French who had nearly cut our lef_lank in half were for the moment repulsed. Our reserve units were able t_oin up, and the fight was at an end. The regimental commander and Majo_konomov had stopped beside a bridge, letting the retreating companies pass b_hem, when a soldier came up and took hold of the commander's stirrup, almos_eaning against him. The man was wearing a bluish coat of broadcloth, he ha_o knapsack or cap, his head was bandaged, and over his shoulder a Frenc_unition pouch was slung. He had an officer's sword in his hand. The soldie_as pale, his blue eyes looked impudently into the commander's face, and hi_ips were smiling. Though the commander was occupied in giving instructions t_ajor Ekonomov, he could not help taking notice of the soldier.
"Your excellency, here are two trophies," said Dolokhov, pointing to th_rench sword and pouch. "I have taken an officer prisoner. I stopped th_ompany." Dolokhov breathed heavily from weariness and spoke in abrup_entences. "The whole company can bear witness. I beg you will remember this,
"All right, all right," replied the commander, and turned to Major Ekonomov.
But Dolokhov did not go away; he untied the handkerchief around his head,
pulled it off, and showed the blood congealed on his hair.
"A bayonet wound. I remained at the front. Remember, your excellency!"
Tushin's battery had been forgotten and only at the very end of the action di_rince Bagration, still hearing the cannonade in the center, send his orderl_taff officer, and later Prince Andrew also, to order the battery to retire a_uickly as possible. When the supports attached to Tushin's battery had bee_oved away in the middle of the action by someone's order, the battery ha_ontinued firing and was only not captured by the French because the enem_ould not surmise that anyone could have the effrontery to continue firin_rom four quite undefended guns. On the contrary, the energetic action of tha_attery led the French to suppose that here—in the center- the main Russia_orces were concentrated. Twice they had attempted to attack this point, bu_n each occasion had been driven back by grapeshot from the four isolated gun_n the hillock.
Soon after Prince Bagration had left him, Tushin had succeeded in setting fir_o Schon Grabern.
"Look at them scurrying! It's burning! Just see the smoke! Fine! Grand! Loo_t the smoke, the smoke!" exclaimed the artillerymen, brightening up.
All the guns, without waiting for orders, were being fired in the direction o_he conflagration. As if urging each other on, the soldiers cried at eac_hot: "Fine! That's good! Look at it… Grand!" The fire, fanned by the breeze,
was rapidly spreading. The French columns that had advanced beyond the villag_ent back; but as though in revenge for this failure, the enemy placed te_uns to the right of the village and began firing them at Tushin's battery.
In their childlike glee, aroused by the fire and their luck in successfull_annonading the French, our artillerymen only noticed this battery when tw_alls, and then four more, fell among our guns, one knocking over two horse_nd another tearing off a munition-wagon driver's leg. Their spirits onc_oused were, however, not diminished, but only changed character. The horse_ere replaced by others from a reserve gun carriage, the wounded were carrie_way, and the four guns were turned against the ten-gun battery. Tushin'_ompanion officer had been killed at the beginning of the engagement an_ithin an hour seventeen of the forty men of the guns' crews had bee_isabled, but the artillerymen were still as merry and lively as ever. Twic_hey noticed the French appearing below them, and then they fired grapeshot a_hem.
Little Tushin, moving feebly and awkwardly, kept telling his orderly to
"refill my pipe for that one!" and then, scattering sparks from it, ra_orward shading his eyes with his small hand to look at the French.
"Smack at 'em, lads!" he kept saying, seizing the guns by the wheels an_orking the screws himself.
Amid the smoke, deafened by the incessant reports which always made him jump,
Tushin not taking his pipe from his mouth ran from gun to gun, now aiming, no_ounting the charges, now giving orders about replacing dead or wounded horse_nd harnessing fresh ones, and shouting in his feeble voice, so high pitche_nd irresolute. His face grew more and more animated. Only when a man wa_illed or wounded did he frown and turn away from the sight, shouting angril_t the men who, as is always the case, hesitated about lifting the injured o_ead. The soldiers, for the most part handsome fellows and, as is always th_ase in an artillery company, a head and shoulders taller and twice as broa_s their officer—all looked at their commander like children in a_mbarrassing situation, and the expression on his face was invariabl_eflected on theirs.
Owing to the terrible uproar and the necessity for concentration and activity,
Tushin did not experience the slightest unpleasant sense of fear, and th_hought that he might be killed or badly wounded never occurred to him. On th_ontrary, he became more and more elated. It seemed to him that it was a ver_ong time ago, almost a day, since he had first seen the enemy and fired th_irst shot, and that the corner of the field he stood on was well-known an_amiliar ground. Though he thought of everything, considered everything, an_id everything the best of officers could do in his position, he was in _tate akin to feverish delirium or drunkenness.
From the deafening sounds of his own guns around him, the whistle and thud o_he enemy's cannon balls, from the flushed and perspiring faces of the cre_ustling round the guns, from the sight of the blood of men and horses, fro_he little puffs of smoke on the enemy's side (always followed by a bal_lying past and striking the earth, a man, a gun, a horse), from the sight o_ll these things a fantastic world of his own had taken possession of hi_rain and at that moment afforded him pleasure. The enemy's guns were in hi_ancy not guns but pipes from which occasional puffs were blown by a_nvisible smoker.
"There… he's puffing again," muttered Tushin to himself, as a small cloud ros_rom the hill and was borne in a streak to the left by the wind.
"Now look out for the ball… we'll throw it back."
"What do you want, your honor?" asked an artilleryman, standing close by, wh_eard him muttering.
"Nothing… only a shell… " he answered.
"Come along, our Matvevna!" he said to himself.
"Matvevna"[](footnotes.xml#footnote_36) was the name his fancy gave to th_arthest gun of the battery, which was large and of an old pattern. The Frenc_warming round their guns seemed to him like ants. In that world, the handsom_runkard Number One of the second gun's crew was "uncle"; Tushin looked at hi_ore often than at anyone else and took delight in his every movement. Th_ound of musketry at the foot of the hill, now diminishing, now increasing,
seemed like someone's breathing. He listened intently to the ebb and flow o_hese sounds. "Ah! Breathing again, breathing!" he muttered to himself. H_magined himself as an enormously tall, powerful man who was throwing canno_alls at the French with both hands. "Now then, Matvevna, dear old lady, don'_et me down!" he was saying as he moved from the gun, when a strange,
unfamiliar voice called above his head: "Captain Tushin! Captain!" Tushi_urned round in dismay. It was the staff officer who had turned him out of th_ooth at Grunth. He was shouting in a gasping voice: "Are you mad? You hav_wice been ordered to retreat, and you… " "Why are they down on me?" though_ushin, looking in alarm at his superior. "I… don't… " he muttered, holding u_wo fingers to his cap. "I… " But the staff officer did not finish what h_anted to say. A cannon ball, flying close to him, caused him to duck and ben_ver his horse. He paused, and just as he was about to say something more,
another ball stopped him. He turned his horse and galloped off. "Retire! Al_o retire!" he shouted from a distance. The soldiers laughed. A moment later,
an adjutant arrived with the same order. It was Prince Andrew. The first thin_e saw on riding up to the space where Tushin's guns were stationed was a_nharnessed horse with a broken leg, that lay screaming piteously beside th_arnessed horses. Blood was gushing from its leg as from a spring. Among th_imbers lay several dead men. One ball after another passed over as h_pproached and he felt a nervous shudder run down his spine. But the mer_hought of being afraid roused him again. "I cannot be afraid," thought he,
and dismounted slowly among the guns. He delivered the order and did not leav_he battery. He decided to have the guns removed from their positions an_ithdrawn in his presence. Together with Tushin, stepping across the bodie_nd under a terrible fire from the French, he attended to the removal of th_uns. "A staff officer was here a minute ago, but skipped off," said a_rtilleryman to Prince Andrew. "Not like your honor!" Prince Andrew sai_othing to Tushin. They were both so busy as to seem not to notice on_nother. When having limbered up the only two cannon that remained uninjure_ut of the four, they began moving down the hill (one shattered gun and on_nicorn were left behind), Prince Andrew rode up to Tushin. "Well, till w_eet again… " he said, holding out his hand to Tushin. "Good-by, my dea_ellow," said Tushin. "Dear soul! Good-by, my dear fellow!" and for som_nknown reason tears suddenly filled his eyes.