Reading for Friday, 17 April
A short linking chapter here. The most interesting thing, I thought, was the previously unmentioned (or if he was mentioned, none of us took any notice of him) General Dohturov.
I assume he was a real character – but I couldn’t find anything about him on Wikipedia, so I’m guessing that I’ll just have to take Tolstoy’s word for it (either that or I need to look for a different spelling).
Sorry, also, forgot to mention that this is all against the background of Moscow being even more trashed and burned than it was previously. It’s almost like things have to get darker before they get better.
One thing this chapter did remind me of was one of my favourite films (Gettysburg) and the novel it was based on (The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara). Both of them tell the story of the battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. It was easily the decisive battle of the Civil War and the turning point where the North started to win.
However, much like this battle here, it was never intended to be a full-scale engagement. Gettysburg started when a Confederate general took some soldiers into a little village called Gettysburg in Pennsylvania looking for some shoes. They got attacked by a bunch of Northern cavalry officers. The Southerners for some reason thought that the cavalry were just local militia (townsfolk with guns) and started fighting back.
However, it wasn’t townsfolk – it was Cavalry, and before they knew it, the entire Northern Army converged on the town.
It’s exactly what we see here. Kutuzov sends Dohturov off to have a skirmish with a small group of French – only for him to run into the entire French army.