BOOK THREE: 1805
18. CHAPTER XVIII
Przebyszewski and his corps had laid down their arms. Other
columns after losing half their men were retreating in disorderly
The remains of Langeron's and Dokhturov's mingled forces were
crowding around the dams and banks of the ponds near the village of
After five o'clock it was only at the Augesd Dam that a hot
cannonade (delivered by the French alone) was still to be heard from
numerous batteries ranged on the slopes of the Pratzen Heights,
directed at our retreating forces.
In the rearguard, Dokhturov and others rallying some battalions kept
up a musketry fire at the French cavalry that was pursuing our troops.
It was growing dusk. On the narrow Augesd Dam where for so many
years the old miller had been accustomed to sit in his tasseled cap
peacefully angling, while his grandson, with shirt sleeves rolled
up, handled the floundering silvery fish in the watering can, on
that dam over which for so many years Moravians in shaggy caps and
blue jackets had peacefully driven their two-horse carts loaded with
wheat and had returned dusty with flour whitening their carts- on that
narrow dam amid the wagons and the cannon, under the horses' hoofs and
between the wagon wheels, men disfigured by fear of death now
crowded together, crushing one another, dying, stepping over the dying
and killing one another, only to move on a few steps and be killed
themselves in the same way.
Every ten seconds a cannon ball flew compressing the air around,
or a shell burst in the midst of that dense throng, killing some and
splashing with blood those near them.
Dolokhov- now an officer- wounded in the arm, and on foot, with
the regimental commander on horseback and some ten men of his company,
represented all that was left of that whole regiment. Impelled by
the crowd, they had got wedged in at the approach to the dam and,
jammed in on all sides, had stopped because a horse in front had
fallen under a cannon and the crowd were dragging it out. A cannon
ball killed someone behind them, another fell in front and splashed
Dolokhov with blood. The crowd, pushing forward desperately,
squeezed together, moved a few steps, and again stopped.