William Godwin's Diary


Napoleon defeated the Russians at Borodino, approximately 70 miles from Moscow. It was a ferocious battle with the French losing 30,000 (of 130,000) and the Russians losing 40,000 (of 120,000). After the defeat, the Russians retreated to Moscow which they subsequently abandoned and set on fire. The French occupied the city on 14 September, but Napoleon had pushed his invasion too far. The city was abandoned and his lines of communication and supplies were harried by peasants and Cossacks. Forced to retreat, Napoleon’s army was utterly destroyed due to a lack of morale and organisation as well as the severe weather and enemy actions culminating in a series of skirmishes around Krasnoi. He is believed to have lost over 500,000 men; Russian losses are estimated at 150,000.

See Rory Muir, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807-1815 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996) pp. 224-25.