And in this chapter, we see General Bagration in action. He was a real historical character, which you can read about on Wikipedia (so it must be true).
However, Tolstoy’s portrayal of him is somewhat quirky. Is he grossly incompetent, which is why he gives no orders, but just goes with whatever is happening?
Or is he quite clever – realising that the narrator of this novel doesn’t actually believe Generals have much say in what goes on in the battlefield anyway – and thus not giving any real orders and letting events happen as they will?
Believe it or not, this issue of whether battles are won and lost by the orders of generals vs being won and lost by the hundreds of tiny skirmishes by individual soldiers goes on to become a huge philosophical issue that Tolstoy starts to tackle in the second half of the book. (My apologies is a) you didn’t realise there was going to be any philosophy or b) you really hate philosophy.)
Anyway, what do you think of Bagration’s leadership style?