France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established.
The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.
In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks
Battle of Mir (1812)
The Battle of Mir took place on 9 and 10 July 1812 during Napoleons invasion of Russia. Three Polish Lancers divisions battled against Russian cavalry, ending in the first major Russian victory in the French invasion of Russia, the Polish general Alexander Rosnieckis forces clashed with Russian Alexander Vasilchikovs cavalry, resulting in hand-to-hand combat with fairly even losses. Followed by Uhlans, they swept through the village, attacking Platovs main force, a third Polish brigade attempting to join the fight was encircled and broken by Cossacks, after which the entire Polish force gave ground, driven back with the aid of Russian Hussars. After the arrival of Vasilchikovs Akhtyrka Hussars and other reinforcements, platov defeated the enemy there, and moved on to Mir, where he inflicted further losses on the enemy before tactically withdrawing. A complete rout was only averted by Tyszkiewiczs brigade, which covered the Polish retreat. The town of Mir and fort ruins were used as a headquarters by Jérôme Bonaparte, until he decided or had to leave the army, after retreating, the Mir Castle was destroyed with gunpowder
French invasion of Russia
Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia, Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions. The Grande Armée was a large force, numbering 680,000 soldiers. Napoleon hoped the battle would mean an end of the march into Russia, plans Napoleon had made to quarter at Smolensk were abandoned, and he pressed his army on after the Russians. As the Russian army fell back, Cossacks were given the task of burning villages and this was intended to deny the invaders the option of living off the land. The actions forced the French to rely on a system that was incapable of feeding the large army in the field. Starvation and privation compelled French soldiers to leave their camps at night in search of food and these men were frequently confronted by parties of Cossacks, who captured or killed them.
The Russian army retreated into Russia for almost three months, the continual retreat and the loss of lands to the French upset the Russian nobility. They pressured Alexander I to relieve the commander of the Russian army, Alexander I complied, appointing an old veteran, Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, to take over command of the army. However, for two more weeks Kutuzov continued to retreat as his predecessor had done, on 7 September, the French caught up with the Russian army which had dug itself in on hillsides before a small town called Borodino, seventy miles west of Moscow. The battle that followed was the bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars until that point, involving more than 250,000 soldiers, the French gained a tactical victory, but at the cost of 49 general officers and thousands of men. The Russian army was able to extricate itself and withdrew the following day, Napoleon entered Moscow a week later. In another turn of events the French found puzzling, there was no delegation to meet the Emperor, the Russians had evacuated the city, and the citys governor, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, ordered several strategic points in Moscow set ablaze.
Napoleons hopes had been set upon an end to his campaign. The loss of Moscow did not compel Alexander I to sue for peace, Napoleon stayed on in Moscow looking to negotiate a peace, his hopes fed in part by a disinformation campaign informing the Emperor of supposed discontent and fading morale in the Russian camp. After staying a month Napoleon moved his army out southwest toward Kaluga, the French advance toward Kaluga was checked by a Russian corps. Napoleon tried once more to engage the Russian army for an action at the Battle of Maloyaroslavets. Despite holding a position, the Russians retreated following a sharp engagement
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, one of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleons political and cultural legacy has ensured his status as one of the most celebrated and he was born Napoleone di Buonaparte in Corsica to a relatively modest family from the minor nobility. When the Revolution broke out in 1789, Napoleon was serving as an officer in the French army. Seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution, he rose through the ranks of the military. The Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents, in 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power.
He engineered a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic and his ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and in 1804 he became the first Emperor of the French. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805, in 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, marched the Grand Army deep into Eastern Europe, France forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high watermark of the French Empire, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia and declared his brother Joseph the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support, the Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies.
The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia, unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System and enticed Napoleon into another war. The French launched an invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse of the Grand Army, the destruction of Russian cities, in 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, the Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbons were restored to power, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June, the British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years at the age of 51
Vitebsk or Vitsebsk, is a city in Belarus. The capital of the Vitebsk Region, in 2004 it had 342,381 inhabitants and it is served by Vitebsk Vostochny Airport and Vitebsk air base. Vitebsk developed from a harbor where the Vitba River flows into the larger Western Dvina. Archaeological research indicates that at the mouth of Vitba there were settlements by Baltic tribes, according to the Chronicle of Michael Brigandine, Vitebsk was founded by Princess Olga of Kiev in 974. Other versions give 947 or 914, academician Boris Rybakov and historian Leonid Alekseyev, based on the chronicles, have come to the conclusion that Princess Olga of Kiev could have established Vitebsk in 947. Leonid Alekseyev suggested that the chroniclers, moving the date from the account of the Byzantine era to a new era, got the year 947, but mistakenly written in copying manuscripts 974. In the 12th and 13th centuries Vitebsk was the capital of the Principality of Vitebsk, in 1320 the city was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a dowry of the Princess Maria, the first wife of Grand Duke of Lithuania Algirdas.
By 1351 the city had erected a stone Upper and Lower Castle, in 1410 Vitebsk participated in the Battle of Grunwald. In 1597, the townsfolk of Vitebsk were privileged with Magdeburg rights, the rights were taken away in 1623 after the citizens revolted against the imposed Union of Brest and killed Archbishop Josaphat Kuntsevych. During the First Partition of Poland in 1772, Vitebsk was annexed by the Russian Empire, under the Russian Empire the historic centre of Vitebsk was rebuilt with Neoclassical architecture. By World War II, Vitebsk had a significant Jewish population, according to Russian census of 1897, out of the population of 65,900. The most famous of its Jewish natives was the painter Marc Chagall, in 1924, it was returned to the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. During World War II, the city was under Nazi Germany occupation, much of the old city was destroyed in the ensuing battles between the Germans and the Red Army soldiers. Most of the local Jews perished in the Vitebsk Ghetto massacre, in the first postwar five-year period the city was rebuilt.
In the structure of its industrial complex stands machinery and light industry, in 1959, a TV tower was commissioned and started broadcasting the 1st Central Television program. In the same year during excavations on the Liberation Square, a scroll was found dating from the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. It read, From Stpana to Nezhilovi, also, if hast sold trousers, buy me rye for 6 hryvnia. And if some didst not sold, send to my person, and if thou hast sold, do good to buy rye for me In January 1991, Vitebsk celebrated the first Marc Chagall Festival
Battle of Maloyaroslavets
On 19 October, Napoleon evacuated Moscow and marched south-west to Kaluga, de Beauharnais leading the advance. While on the road, Dokhturov learned this force was the Grande Armée and decided to hold out until reinforcements came at the junction and town of Maloyaroslavets. Dokhturov entered the town from the south and found the French spearhead had seized a bridgehead, fierce fighting began, the town changed hands five times. General Raevski arrived with 10,000 more Russians, once more took the town. De Beauharnais threw in his 15th division, under Domenico Pino, in fact, this battle is remembered as the Battle of the Italians. Marshal Kutuzov arrived and decided against a battle with the Grand Army the next day. The mainly French and Italian forces won a victory on the day and this allowed Kutuzov to fulfill his strategic plans to force Napoleon on the way of retreat in the north, through Mozhaisk and Smolensk, the route of his advance that he had wished to avoid. French casualties were about 5,000, including Delzons killed, after the withdrawal of Kutusov it became clear to Napoleon that he would be unable to force the Russian army into a decisive battle.
Though a victory, Napoleon did not feel it was on a large scale to counter the news of Murats earlier defeat at Vinkovo. Following the battle Napoleon turned the Grande Army west to Borowsk where the part of the artillery. This would be the first step in an away from the Russians. Map of Battle of Yaroslavets,1812 Chandler, David
Battle of Borodino
The Battle of Borodino was a battle fought on 7 September 1812 in the Napoleonic Wars during the French invasion of Russia. The fighting involved around 250,000 troops and left at least 70,000 casualties, Napoleons Grande Armée launched an attack against the Russian army, driving it back from its initial positions but failing to gain a decisive victory. Both armies were exhausted after the battle and the Russians withdrew from the field the following day, Borodino represented the last Russian effort at stopping the French advance on Moscow, which fell a week later. After a series of Russian retreats at the beginning of the campaign, Mikhail Kutuzov was appointed as his replacement. In a final attempt to save Moscow, the Russians made a stand near the village of Borodino and they fortified their positions and waited for the French to attack. The Russian right wing occupied ideal defensive terrain, so the French tried to press the Russian left for much of the battle, the highlight of the fighting became the bloody struggle for the large Raevsky redoubt near the village of Borodino.
The French managed to capture this redoubt late into the day, the Russians suffered terrible casualties during the fighting, losing over a third of their army. French losses were heavy, exacerbating the logistical difficulties that Napoleon encountered in the campaign. Napoleons Imperial Guard, the unit on the battlefield that saw no fighting, was available to swing into action at a moments notice. In refusing to commit the Guard, some believe, he lost his one chance to destroy the Russian army. The capture of Moscow proved a pyrrhic victory since the Russians had no intention of negotiating with Napoleon for peace. The French evacuated Russias spiritual capital in October and conducted a retreat that only ended in December. Historical reports of the battle differed significantly depending on whether they originated from supporters of the French or Russian side, factional fighting among senior officers within each army led to conflicting accounts and disagreements over the roles of particular officers.
The French Grande Armée began its invasion of Russia on 16 June 1812, in response, Emperor Alexander I proclaimed a Patriotic War and prepared to face the French. However, Phulls plan soon proved to be a mistake, as the enormous Grande Armée was more than enough to separate. Furthermore, the participation of Tsar Alexander I as commander caused more chaos in the Russian army, the Russian forces which were massed along the Polish frontier were obliged to fall back in the face of the swift French advance. Napoleon advanced from Vitebsk, hoping to catch the Russian Army in the open where he could annihilate it, the French army was not positioned well for an extended overland campaign, it was 925 km from its nearest supply base at Kovno. French supply lines were vulnerable and Cossacks, light cavalry, guerrilla forces and even French deserters attacked and seriously depleted French supply columns
First French Empire
The First French Empire, Note 1 was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Its name was a misnomer, as France already had colonies overseas and was short lived compared to the Colonial Empire, a series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence over much of Western Europe and into Poland. The plot included Bonapartes brother Lucien, serving as speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos, another Director, on 9 November 1799 and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control. They dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sieyès, although Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, the Consulate, he was outmaneuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul. He thus became the most powerful person in France, a power that was increased by the Constitution of the Year X, the Battle of Marengo inaugurated the political idea that was to continue its development until Napoleons Moscow campaign.
Napoleon planned only to keep the Duchy of Milan for France, setting aside Austria, the Peace of Amiens, which cost him control of Egypt, was a temporary truce. He gradually extended his authority in Italy by annexing the Piedmont and by acquiring Genoa, Parma and Naples, he laid siege to the Roman state and initiated the Concordat of 1801 to control the material claims of the pope. Napoleon would have ruling elites from a fusion of the new bourgeoisie, on 12 May 1802, the French Tribunat voted unanimously, with exception of Carnot, in favour of the Life Consulship for the leader of France. This action was confirmed by the Corps Législatif, a general plebiscite followed thereafter resulting in 3,653,600 votes aye and 8,272 votes nay. On 2 August 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Consul for life, pro-revolutionary sentiment swept through Germany aided by the Recess of 1803, which brought Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden to Frances side. The memories of imperial Rome were for a time, after Julius Caesar and Charlemagne.
The Treaty of Pressburg, signed on 26 December 1805, did little other than create a more unified Germany to threaten France. On the other hand, Napoleons creation of the Kingdom of Italy, the occupation of Ancona, to create satellite states, Napoleon installed his relatives as rulers of many European states. The Bonapartes began to marry into old European monarchies, gaining sovereignty over many nations, in addition to the vassal titles, Napoleons closest relatives were granted the title of French Prince and formed the Imperial House of France. Met with opposition, Napoleon would not tolerate any neutral power, Prussia had been offered the territory of Hanover to stay out of the Third Coalition. With the diplomatic situation changing, Napoleon offered Great Britain the province as part of a peace proposal and this, combined with growing tensions in Germany over French hegemony, Prussia responded by forming an alliance with Russia and sending troops into Bavaria on 1 October 1806. In this War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon destroyed the armies of Frederick William at Jena-Auerstedt, the Eylau and the Friedland against the Russians finally ruined Frederick the Greats formerly mighty kingdom, obliging Russia and Prussia to make peace with France at Tilsit.
The Treaties of Tilsit ended the war between Russia and the French Empire and began an alliance between the two empires that held power of much of the rest of Europe, the two empires secretly agreed to aid each other in disputes
Battle of Valutino
The Russians were strongly posted in marshy ground, protected by a small stream, about 20 Kilometers east of Smolensk. The French, attacking resolutely, carried the Russian position in the face of physical obstacles. Napoleons hopes of trapping General Barclays army were dashed when he discovered that the Russian force awaiting the French was a rearguard under General Tutchkov. Barclays main force of three infantry and one corps was strung out near Smolensk, trying to get away from the French after the Battle of Smolensk. They turned around to fight the French on the Stragan river, after a heavy bombardment, Ney launched an assault against the Russians, crossing the Stragan but failing to capture the crest. Murats cavalry attacks were bogged down in ground and accomplished nothing either. General Junots force was close to the battlefield and was urged to attack the Russians by Murat, but Junot did nothing, a few hours later, Ney launched the last attack. General Gudin led the assault and was killed when a cannonball removed his legs, the French managed to capture the crest after hard fighting, but by that point the majority of Barclays army had escaped and was heading towards Lubino.
French casualties stood at around 7,000, the Russians had lost about 6,000, napoleon was furious after the battle, realizing that another good chance to trap and destroy the Russian army had been lost. New York, Carrol & Graf Publishers, map of Battle of Valutina Gora
Battle of Smoliani
At the Battle of Smoliani, the Russians under General Peter Wittgenstein defeated the French forces of Marshal Claude Victor and Marshal Nicholas Oudinot. This battle was the last effort of the French to reestablish their northern flank in Russia, at the time of the Smoliani encounter, Napoleon was planning on leading his rapidly disintegrating Grande Armée to a safehaven in the west such as Minsk. In order to execute this plan, the Grande Armées planned route of retreat had to be secured, Wittgensteins position at Czasniki was just 40 miles north of Bobruisk, a town Napoleon needed to be secure in order for the main French army to reach Minsk. Victor, per Napoleons orders, was to coordinate the actions of his IX corps with the VI corps and this plan however was scuttled per the insistence of Oudinot, who thought it more advantageous to attack Wittgenstein head on. Going into the action at Smoliani, the French commanders exhibited the hallmarks of leaders setting themselves up for failure, bad planning, historians have criticized Oudinot and Victor for not attempting a flanking maneuver against Wittgenstein.
Victor especially has been criticized for indecision in his planning and execution of the Smoliani attack, previously, at Czasniki, Victor had proven himself over-inclined to retreat in the face of just minor reversals. The mood among the Russian leaders on the eve of the battle stood in stark contrast to that of the French, one notable work on 1812 describes the aura among Wittgenstein and his staff at this juncture as a sense of being morally equal and often superior to the enemy. It is no wonder, that Victor was hesitant in executing the assigned to him by Napoleon. The French cause at Smoliani was undermined by mounting attrition within their ranks, in the two weeks following the action at Czasniki, Victors force had suffered greatly from exposure to frost and disease. By November 10, only 25,000 troops remained until Victors command, the Battle of Smoliani commenced on November 13, at the nearby village of Axenzi, and initially the French were successful. Here the 6,000 troops of General Partenoux attacked Wittgensteins advance guard,6,000 strong, each side lost roughly 500 troops in this encounter, and despite being reinforced, the Russians were forced to retreat to Smoliani.
The next day, November 14, the combat intensified as 5,000 of Victors troops attacked and captured Smoliani, after this, the French attacking force suffered a reversal, being repulsed on the Russian right wing and losing Smoliani to Wittgensteins counterattack. While this action was taking place, a small Russian detachment kept Oudinots superior force in check at the village of Poczavizi, the next day, November 15, Victor retreated 20 miles south to Chereja. That Victor and Oudinot retreated in the face of this big threat to the Grande Armée was another blow to Napoleon. The Battle of Smoliani ended, any hope the French had of reestablishing their northern Dwina Line, John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleons allies, following Napoleons failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna. It covered central and eastern part of present Poland and minor parts of present Lithuania, the area of the duchy had already been liberated by a popular uprising that had escalated from anti-conscription rioting in 1806. One of the first tasks for the new government included providing food to the French army fighting the Russians in East Prussia, the Duchy of Warsaw was officially created by French Emperor Napoleon I, as part of the Treaty of Tilsit with Prussia. Although it was created as a state, it was commonly hoped and believed that with time the nation would be able to regain its former status.
The newly created state was formally an independent duchy, allied to France, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony was compelled by Napoleon to make his new realm a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament. The most important person in the duchy was in fact the French ambassador, based in the duchys capital, the duchy lacked its own diplomatic representation abroad. In 1809, a war with Austria started. During the war the German colonists settled by Prussia during Partitions openly rose up against Polish government. After the Battle of Wagram, the ensuing Treaty of Schönbrunn allowed for a significant expansion of the Duchys territory southwards with the regaining of once-Polish, Napoleon did not want to make a permanent decision that would tie his hands before his anticipated peace settlement with Russia. Nevertheless, he proclaimed the attack on Russia as a second Polish war and that peace settlement was not to be, however. The failed campaign against Russia proved to be a turning point in Napoleons fortunes.
After Napoleons defeat in the east, most of the territory of the Duchy of Warsaw was retaken by Russia in January 1813 during their advance on France, the rest of the Duchy was restored to Prussia. Although several isolated fortresses held out for more than a year, Alexander I of Russia created a Provisional Highest Council of the Duchy of Warsaw to govern the area through his generals. Although many European states and ex-rulers were represented at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and it was perhaps inevitable, that both Prussia and Russia would effectively partition Poland between them, Austria was to more-or-less retain its gains of the First Partition of 1772. Russia demanded to gain all territories of Duchy of Warsaw and it kept all its gains from the three previous partitions, together with Białystok and the surrounding territory that it had obtained in 1807. Its demands for the whole Duchy of Warsaw were denied by other European powers, Prussia regained territory it had first gained in the First Partition, but had had to give up to the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807.
It regained as the Grand Duchy of Posen some of the territory it had conquered in the Second Partition and this territory formed an area approximately 29,000 km² in size. The citys territory measured some 1164 km², and had a population of about 88,000 people, the city was eventually annexed by Austria in 1846
Pyotr Bagration was a Russian general and prince of Georgian origin, prominent during the Napoleonic Wars. Bagration was born in Kizlyar or Tbilisi to a family, part of the Bagrationi dynasty and his father was an officer in the Imperial Russian Army, which Bagration enlisted in 1782. Bagration began his career serving in the Russo-Circassian War for a couple years, afterwards he participated in a war against the Ottomans and the capture of Ochakov in 1788. Later he helped suppress the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794 in Poland, during the Italian and Swiss campaigns of 1799 against the French, he served with distinction under Alexander Suvorov. In 1805, Russia joined the coalition against Napoleon, the combined Russo-Austrian army was defeated at the Battle of Austerlitz in December, where Bagration commanded the right wing against the French under Jean Lannes. Years he commanded Russian troops in the Finnish War against Sweden, during the French invasion of Russia in 1812, Bagration commanded one of two large Russian armies, the other commanded by Barclay de Tolly, fighting a series of rear-guard actions.
The Russians failed to stop the French advance at the Battle of Smolensk, Barclay had proposed a scorched earth retreat that was approved by Alexander I, although Bagration preferred to confront the French in a major battle. Mikhail Kutuzov succeeded Barclay as Commander-in-Chief and continued his policy until the Battle of Borodino near Moscow, Bagration commanded the left wing, called the Bagration flèches, at Borodino, where he was mortally wounded and died a few weeks later. He was originally buried at a church, but in 1839 was reburied on the battlefield of Borodino. He studied Russian and German and was taught Persian, Armenian, unlike many other Russian aristocrats, he did not know French. Bagration personally identified himself as a pure Russian, Pyotr joined the Imperial Russian Army in 1782, enlisting as a sergeant in the Kavsansk Rifles of the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment. His younger brother Roman joined the Chuguevsk Cossack regiment as a uryadnik at the age of thirteen in 1791, both would go on to become generals of the Imperial Russian Army.
Bagration served for years in the Russian-Circassian War. He participated in the Siege of Ochakov, in 1792 he was commissioned as a Captain and transferred to the Kiev Cavalry Regiment that year as a second Major, transferring as a full first Major to the Sofiiskii Carabineers on 15 May 1794. He served in the campaign to suppress the Polish Kościuszko Uprising of 1794. He received successive promotions to Lieutenant-Colonel, to Colonel and to Major-General and his merits were recognized by Suvorov, whom he accompanied in the Italian and Swiss campaigns of 1799, winning particular distinction by the capture of the town of Brescia. From 1798 to 1799, he commanded the 6th Chasseurs, from 1801 to 1802, he commanded the Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard, from 1802 to 1805 and he was the alleged lover of Emperor Pauls daughter Catherine. Bagration and Catherine had been involved, but the marriage was a failure