The French retreat began on October 6, 2012. It was fraught with fear, disappointment, hunger and enormous quantities of loot.
Guerrillas attacked them almost at once. Cossacks in disguise sneaked into the city and the enemy soon found themselves short of several men, horses and weapons.
The poet Denis Davidov was a master of guerrilla warfare. He appears, thinly disguised, in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, as Denisov.
Meanwhile, Napoleon had brewed a plan of revenge. He tasked Marshal Mortier to stay on in Moscow and blow up the Kremlin. The Novodevichy Convent, too, was in his sights, as well as the General Post Office, and other surviving important buildings.
[Translated excerpts from КНИЖКА С КАРТИНКАМИ.]