Fire of Moscow 1812
When Russians talk about the war of 1812 they do not mean the war in which Washington was burned by the British, but the war in which, apparently, the Russians burned Moscow. This war between the French republican empire and the Russian Tsarist Empire was as remarkable a high - spot in the history of the latter as it was a low - spot in the history of Napoleon. For Russia, it was one of those rare moments in history when almost all people, serfs and lords, merchants and bureaucrats, put aside their enmities and realized that they were all Russians. Russia, sometimes called ‘a state without a people’, seemed to become, for a few precious months, one people, and never quite forgot the experience.
Following the French victory at Borodino, Napoleon set his sights on Moscow. The French army had marched the seventy - five miles from Borodino to Moscow without resistance and found the city undefended and almost deserted. Before dawn on 14 Sep...