BOOK THREE: 1805
18. CHAPTER XVIII
"Move on a hundred yards and we are certainly saved, remain here
another two minutes and it is certain death," thought each one.
Dolokhov who was in the midst of the crowd forced his way to the
edge of the dam, throwing two soldiers off their feet, and ran onto
the slippery ice that covered the millpool.
"Turn this way!" he shouted, jumping over the ice which creaked
under him; "turn this way!" he shouted to those with the gun. "It
The ice bore him but it swayed and creaked, and it was plain that it
would give way not only under a cannon or a crowd, but very soon
even under his weight alone. The men looked at him and pressed to
the bank, hesitating to step onto the ice. The general on horseback at
the entrance to the dam raised his hand and opened his mouth to
address Dolokhov. Suddenly a cannon ball hissed so low above the crowd
that everyone ducked. It flopped into something moist, and the general
fell from his horse in a pool of blood. Nobody gave him a look or
thought of raising him.
"Get onto the ice, over the ice! Go on! Turn! Don't you hear? Go
on!" innumerable voices suddenly shouted after the ball had struck the
general, the men themselves not knowing what, or why, they were
One of the hindmost guns that was going onto the dam turned off onto
the ice. Crowds of soldiers from the dam began running onto the frozen
pond. The ice gave way under one of the foremost soldiers, and one leg
slipped into the water. He tried to right himself but fell in up to
his waist. The nearest soldiers shrank back, the gun driver stopped
his horse, but from behind still came the shouts: "Onto the ice, why
do you stop? Go on! Go on!" And cries of horror were heard in the
crowd. The soldiers near the gun waved their arms and beat the
horses to make them turn and move on. The horses moved off the bank.
The ice, that had held under those on foot, collapsed in a great mass,
and some forty men who were on it dashed, some forward and some
back, drowning one another.