Faber du Faur painted a scene of the encampment of Ney’s III Corps on August 31, 1812. The scene seems in contrast to many of the descriptions of the destruction of the countryside leading up to Borodino. Faur’s painting shows a standing field of grain and houses and buildings untouched upon the arrival of the French. Unfortunately, what had been spared by the Russians, was soon destroyed by the French. The following description accompanies the painting.
“From Viasma onwards the land became more and more fertile, and our march through Gjatsk took us through rolling countryside and well-constructed villages. Most of these villages, which the Russians had not destroyed as they fell back before us, would soon be submerged under the torrent of the retreating French army and would disappear without a trace.”
“Here we find III Corps, camped in the fields to the left of the main road, close by a stately country seat soon to become Marshal Ney’s headquarters. The fields, cultivated with so much care, the houses, so clean and tidy, and the château, so charming and fine, all bore testament to the affluence and comfort of the inhabitants, all of whom had fled. Within one day of our arrival, all this prosperity had vanished, destroyed and trampled by out troops. By 1 September the charming scene depicted here had been entirely erased.”
Source: With Naopoleon In Russia: The Illustrated Memoirs of Major Faber du Faur, 1812, Edited and Translated by Jonathan North