The Melee

The Melee

By: Keith Rocco

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500 Signed and Numbered Canvases - 20" x 25"

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French Carabiniers and Russian Hussars at the Battle of Borodino

Following the capture of the Raevsky Redoubt sometime after 2:00P.M. on 7 September 1812, Napoleon's forces were on the verge of a victory on the road to Moscow.

As the clouds of black powder smoke darkened the mid-afternoon sky, Prince Eugene de Beauharnais gathered all the available cavalry of the Grande Armee, and hurled them at the already badly mauled Russian forces standing behind the smashed earthen fortification. Passing by the Raevsky Redoubt and flooding the plateau beyond, French cavalry consisting of elements of Montbrun's 2nd Reserve Cavalry Corps and Grouchy's 3rd Reserve Cavalry Corps became embroiled with Russian regiments of horse in a fight that General Barclay de Tolly described as "one of the most stubborn cavalry battles of history." During the ebb-and-flow of this two-hour contest for the control of the Russian center, the French 1st Carabinier Regiment was pitted against the Iziumsk Hussars of Major General Korff's Russian II Cavalry Corps.

Finally, after suffering severe casualities that seemed to mirror the carnage strewn across the entire battlefield of Borodino, the cavalry action receded without either side claiming a clear-cut victory.