“We Thought of Ourselves Alone”

Faber du Faur with the IIIrd Corps arrived in Smolensk on the 12th of November.  He writes about the effect of the disappointment at the lack of supplies to be found there.

In the Suburbs of Smolensk,
On the Right Bank of the Borysthene,
12 November
by Faber du Faur

In the Suburbs of Smolensk, On the Right Bank of the Borysthene
“We arrived at Smolensk after twenty days’ marching.  We had marched through this town in triumph only two and a half months before, but now we entered it covered in rags.  We had redoubled our efforts to reach this place, bourne by hope of rest and succor   But our illusions were soon shattered.  There was no food, no clothing – not even a shelter from the rigors of the cold.  Here the final binds of order and discipline were cast aside; from now on we thought of ourselves alone and sought to prolong our own existence.”

“At Smolensk we broke up the last of our gun carriages, dragged there with so much effort.  We threw the barrels into the Dnieper.  Imagine the despair of the poor gunner who, having sworn to remain true to his gun, now has to cast it aside having survived together through so many hazards of war.”

With Napoleon in Russia, The Illustrated Memoirs of Major Faber du Faur, 1812, Edited by Jonathan North

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