Truce in the Ravine

Another informal truce is described by Lieutenant Hubert Lyautey, serving with the Artillery of the Guard:  “We were separated from the Russians by a ravine with a stream of dark muddy water.  The need to water the horses was common to both sides, and each wend down into the ravine.  The horses were unharnessed from half our guns, which were left in battery formation, and I accompanied these horses and some of the gunners, leaving enough men up top to work the guns if need arose.  The Russians drank on one side and we on the other.  We conversed by means of gestures, without understanding each other very well.  We offered drinks and tobacco, and in these we were the richer and more generous side.  Soon afterwards these good friends fired cannon-shots.  I found one officer who spoke French, and we exchanged a few words.”

Blogger’s Note:  I worked this scene into my book, Russian Snows: Coming of Age in Napoleon’s Army.  — Scott Armstrong

Source: 1812: Napoleon’s Defeat in Russia, Antony Brett-James

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