BOOK THREE: 1805
11. CHAPTER XI
The next day the Emperor stopped at Wischau, and Villier, his
physician, was repeatedly summoned to see him. At headquarters and
among the troops near by the news spread that the Emperor was
unwell. He ate nothing and had slept badly that night, those around
him reported. The cause of this indisposition was the strong
impression made on his sensitive mind by the sight of the killed and
At daybreak on the seventeenth, a French officer who had come with a
flag of truce, demanding an audience with the Russian Emperor, was
brought into Wischau from our outposts. This officer was Savary. The
Emperor had only just fallen asleep and so Savary had to wait. At
midday he was admitted to the Emperor, and an hour later he rode off
with Prince Dolgorukov to the advanced post of the French army.
It was rumored that Savary had been sent to propose to Alexander a
meeting with Napoleon. To the joy and pride of the whole army, a
personal interview was refused, and instead of the Sovereign, Prince
Dolgorukov, the victor at Wischau, was sent with Savary to negotiate
with Napoleon if, contrary to expectations, these negotiations were
actuated by a real desire for peace.
Toward evening Dolgorukov came back, went straight to the Tsar,
and remained alone with him for a long time.
On the eighteenth and nineteenth of November, the army advanced
two days' march and the enemy's outposts after a brief interchange
of shots retreated. In the highest army circles from midday on the
nineteenth, a great, excitedly bustling activity began which lasted
till the morning of the twentieth, when the memorable battle of
Austerlitz was fought.
Till midday on the nineteenth, the activity- the eager talk, running
to and fro, and dispatching of adjutants- was confined to the
Emperor's headquarters. But on the afternoon of that day, this
activity reached Kutiizov's headquarters and the staffs of the
commanders of columns. By evening, the adjutants had spread it to
all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from the nineteenth
to the twentieth, the whole eighty thousand allied troops rose from
their bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and started
in one enormous mass six miles long.