BOOK THIRTEEN: 1812
3. CHAPTER III
The Russian army was commanded by Kutuzov and his staff, and also by
the Emperor from Petersburg. Before the news of the abandonment of
Moscow had been received in Petersburg, a detailed plan of the whole
campaign had been drawn up and sent to Kutuzov for his guidance.
Though this plan had been drawn up on the supposition that Moscow
was still in our hands, it was approved by the staff and accepted as a
basis for action. Kutuzov only replied that movements arranged from
a distance were always difficult to execute. So fresh instructions
were sent for the solution of difficulties that might be
encountered, as well as fresh people who were to watch Kutuzov's
actions and report upon them.
Besides this, the whole staff of the Russian army was now
reorganized. The posts left vacant by Bagration, who had been
killed, and by Barclay, who had gone away in dudgeon, had to be
filled. Very serious consideration was given to the question whether
it would be better to put A in B's place and B in D's, or on the
contrary to put D in A's place, and so on- as if anything more than
A's or B's satisfaction depended on this.
As a result of the hostility between Kutuzov and Bennigsen, his
Chief of Staff, the presence of confidential representatives of the
Emperor, and these transfers, a more than usually complicated play
of parties was going on among the staff of the army. A was undermining
B, D was undermining C, and so on in all possible combinations and
permutations. In all these plottings the subject of intrigue was
generally the conduct of the war, which all these men believed they
were directing; but this affair of the war went on independently of
them, as it had to go: that is, never in the way people devised, but
flowing always from the essential attitude of the masses. Only in
the highest spheres did all these schemes, crossings, and
interminglings appear to be a true reflection of what had to happen.