This chapter details very simply a journey by Prince Andrei from the field of battle where the Russians finally won their first (albeit minor) victory against the French. After lots of retreats and with the Russians and Austrians getting whupped on all sides, to the Russians, it was all very exciting to finally win a skirmish.
But as Prince Andrey sets out on his coach ride to visit the Austrian emperor, the battlefield falls further and further behind. And then, much to his annoyance, the Austrians don’t even seem to care about the message . . .
This is another of the strands of Tolstoy’s philosophy of war that will become more developed later – there is a vast gap between the reality of what actually happens on the battlefield and what happens in official reports.
Most often, his point is made with grand strategies being pronounced successful, when the reality was everything was in a shambles. But in this case, there was a victory, but it’s a victory to no one but the Russians. The Austrians don’t really acknowledge it. Why? That’s the next chapter.