Tag Archives: Valutina

All Struggling Forward in the Same Direction

Faber du Faur’s unit was given three days rest after the battle of Valutino-Gora.  But once camp was broken, conditions became harsh and du Faur’s description of them is almost the same as Jakob Walter’s during the same period.

Here is du Faur’s description which accompanies his painting: “After our three-day halt at Valutina-Gora, we broke camp on the 23rd and followed the Russian army, making arduous marches along the main road and braving the heat and enormous clouds of dust, and being jostled by swarms of other troops all struggling forward in the same direction.”

Between Dorogobouye and Slavkovo, 27 August
by Faber du Faur
Note the weary expressions on the men around the fire and the oriental look of the building in the background

“Thus it was that, in the afternoon of the 26th, we reached Dorogobouye on the left bank of the Dnepr; this town was, like Smolensk and so many others, the victim of flames and was soon reduced to ashes.  We only remained here a few hours, and camped a few miles further on, continuing our march, on the 27th, towards Viasma.  Swarms of stragglers, who either could not keep up or who were charged with obtaining food, milled about and bore stark witness to the disorder besetting the army.  The disappearance of the Jews and the oriental appearance of the architecture indicated that we were now gracing the soil of ancient Muscovy.”

In Camp Before Valuntina-Gora

In contrast to Jakob Walter’s description of a swift pursuit of the Russians after Smolensk, Faber du Faur writes about three days of rest.  While they were both in Ney’s IIIrd Corps, it appears that du Faur was involved in the action at Valutina-Gora while Walter was not.  This most likely explains the rest given to du Faur’s unit.

du Faur provides the following description for his painting:  “On the 20th, the day after the battle, we quitted the battlefield and made camp on the plateau, just to the right of the main road.  Three days of rest followed, drawing to a close a bloody period of fighting.”

In Camp Before Valutina-Gora, 22 August
by Faber du Faur

“We heard that we were to be reviewed by the Emperor, who had, the day after the fighting at Valutina, already reviewed Ney’s other divisions and that of [General Charles-Étienne] Gudin.  Our days of rest were marked by the occasional return of a few inhabitants who had fled during the fighting.  Some of them came over to our camp, meeting our curious troops who, by means of signs, gestures and a little Russian they had picked up, attempted to communicate with them.”