BOOK TEN: 1812
34. CHAPTER XXXIV
Napoleon's generals- Davout, Ney, and Murat, who were near that
region of fire and sometimes even entered it- repeatedly led into it
huge masses of well-ordered troops. But contrary to what had always
happened in their former battles, instead of the news they expected of
the enemy's flight, these orderly masses returned thence as
disorganized and terrified mobs. The generals re-formed them, but
their numbers constantly decreased. In the middle of the day Murat
sent his adjutant to Napoleon to demand reinforcements.
Napoleon sat at the foot of the knoll, drinking punch, when
Murat's adjutant galloped up with an assurance that the Russians would
be routed if His Majesty would let him have another division.
"Reinforcements?" said Napoleon in a tone of stern surprise, looking
at the adjutant- a handsome lad with long black curls arranged like
Murat's own- as though he did not understand his words.
"Reinforcements!" thought Napoleon to himself. "How can they need
reinforcements when they already have half the army directed against a
weak, unentrenched Russian wing?"
"Tell the King of Naples," said he sternly, "that it is not noon
yet, and I don't yet see my chessboard clearly. Go!..."
The handsome boy adjutant with the long hair sighed deeply without
removing his hand from his hat and galloped back to where men were
Napoleon rose and having summoned Caulaincourt and Berthier began
talking to them about matters unconnected with the battle.
In the midst of this conversation, which was beginning to interest
Napoleon, Berthier's eyes turned to look at a general with a suite,
who was galloping toward the knoll on a lathering horse. It was
Belliard. Having dismounted he went up to the Emperor with rapid
strides and in a loud voice began boldly demonstrating the necessity
of sending reinforcements. He swore on his honor that the Russians
were lost if the Emperor would give another division.
Napoleon shrugged his shoulders and continued to pace up and down
without replying. Belliard began talking loudly and eagerly to the
generals of the suite around him.