From Gorki, Bennigsen descended the highroad to the bridge which, when the_ad looked it from the hill, the officer had pointed out as being the cente_f our position and where rows of fragrant new-mown hay lay by the riverside.
They rode across that bridge into the village of Borodino and thence turned t_he left, passing an enormous number of troops and guns, and came to a hig_noll where militiamen were digging. This was the redoubt, as yet unnamed,
which afterwards became known as the Raevski Redoubt, or the Knoll Battery,
but Pierre paid no special attention to it. He did not know that it woul_ecome more memorable to him than any other spot on the plain of Borodino.
They then crossed the hollow to Semenovsk, where the soldiers were draggin_way the last logs from the huts and barns. Then they rode downhill an_phill, across a ryefield trodden and beaten down as if by hail, following _rack freshly made by the artillery over the furrows of the plowed land, an_eached some fleches[](footnotes.xml#footnote_87) which were still bein_ug. At the fleches Bennigsen stopped and began looking at the Shevardin_edoubt opposite, which had been ours the day before and where severa_orsemen could be descried. The officers said that either Napoleon or Mura_as there, and they all gazed eagerly at this little group of horsemen. Pierr_lso looked at them, trying to guess which of the scarcely discernible figure_as Napoleon. At last those mounted men rode away from the mound an_isappeared. Bennigsen spoke to a general who approached him, and bega_xplaining the whole position of our troops. Pierre listened to him, strainin_ach faculty to understand the essential points of the impending battle, bu_as mortified to feel that his mental capacity was inadequate for the task. H_ould make nothing of it. Bennigsen stopped speaking and, noticing that Pierr_as listening, suddenly said to him: "I don't think this interests you?" "O_he contrary it's very interesting!" replied Pierre not quite truthfully. Fro_he fleches they rode still farther to the left, along a road winding throug_ thick, low-growing birch wood. In the middle of the wood a brown hare wit_hite feet sprang out and, scared by the tramp of the many horses, grew s_onfused that it leaped along the road in front of them for some time,
arousing general attention and laughter, and only when several voices shoute_t it did it dart to one side and disappear in the thicket. After goin_hrough the wood for about a mile and a half they came out on a glade wher_roops of Tuchkov's corps were stationed to defend the left flank. Here, a_he extreme left flank, Bennigsen talked a great deal and with much heat, and,
as it seemed to Pierre, gave orders of great military importance. In front o_uchkov's troops was some high ground not occupied by troops. Bennigsen loudl_riticized this mistake, saying that it was madness to leave a height whic_ommanded the country around unoccupied and to place troops below it. Some o_he generals expressed the same opinion. One in particular declared wit_artial heat that they were put there to be slaughtered. Bennigsen on his ow_uthority ordered the troops to occupy the high ground. This disposition o_he left flank increased Pierre's doubt of his own capacity to understan_ilitary matters. Listening to Bennigsen and the generals criticizing th_osition of the troops behind the hill, he quite understood them and share_heir opinion, but for that very reason he could not understand how the ma_ho put them there behind the hill could have made so gross and palpable _lunder. Pierre did not know that these troops were not, as Bennigse_upposed, put there to defend the position, but were in a concealed positio_s an ambush, that they should not be seen and might be able to strike a_pproaching enemy unexpectedly. Bennigsen did not know this and moved th_roops forward according to his own ideas without mentioning the matter to th_ommander in chief.