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his noises, and the air issuing through a wound in his side, distressed me greatly, the latter circumstance most of all, as the case was my own. not a dark night, and the Prussians were wandering about to plunder (and the scene in Ferdinand Count Fathom came into my mind, though no women, I believe, were there) ; several of them came and looked at me, and passed on; at length one stopped to examine me. I told as well as I could (for I could say but little in German), that I was a British officer, and had been plundered already ; he did not desist, however, but pulled me about roughly before he left me.
About an hour before midnight, I saw a soldier in an English uniform coming towards me; he was,
suppose, on the same errand. He came and looked on my face; I spoke instantly, telling him who I was, and assuring him of a reward if he would remain by me. He said he belonged to the 40th regiment, but had missed it. He released me from the dying man: being unarmed, he took up a sword from the ground, and stood over me, pacing backwards and forwards. At eight o'clock in the morning, some English were seen at a distance ; he ran to them, and a messenger was sent off to Hervey. A cart came for me; I was placed in it, and carried to a farm-house about a mile and a half distant, and laid on the bed from which poor Gordon, as I understood afterwards, had been just carried out. The jolting of the cart, and the difficulty of breathing,
were very painful. I had received seven wounds; a surgeon slept in my room, and I was saved by continual bleeding—one hundred and twenty ounces in two days, besides the great loss of blood on the field.
The lances, from their length and weight, would have struck down my sword long before I lost it, if it had not been bound to my hand. What became of my borse I know not; it was the best I ever had.
The man from the Royals was still breathing when I was removed in the morning, and was soon after taken to the hospital.
Sir Denis Pack said, the greatest risk he ran the the whole day was in stopping his men, who were firing on me and my men when we began to charge. The French make a great clamour in the action, the English only shout.
Much confusion arose, and many mistakes, from similarity of dress. The Belgians, in particular, suffered greatly from their resemblance to the French, being still in the very same clothes they had served in under Buonaparte.
Burning of Moscow.*
On the fifteenth of September, 1812, our corps left the village where it had encamped at an early hour, and marched to Moscow. As we approached the city, we saw that it had no walls, and that a simple parapet of earth was the only work which constituted the outer enclosure. Nothing indicated that the town was inhabited ; and the road by which we arrived was so deserted, that we saw neither Russian nor French soldiers. No cry, no noise was heard in the midst of this awful solitude. We pursued our march, a prey to the utmost anxiety, and that anxiety was redoubled when we perceived a thick smoke, which arose in the form of a column from the centre of the town. It was at first believed that the Russians had, as usual, set fire to some
• It had been clearly ascertained that the destruction of Moscow was the work of the Russians and not of the French. It was a dreadful act of patriotism, dictated by the profoundest policy. The unexpected destruction of the vast magazines which the city contained, rendered the stay of the French during the wiuter absolutely impossible, and compelled them to retreat at a time when cold and famine would thin their ranks more rapidly than the sword of the enemy. It is said that Buonaparte has acknowledged that all his plans were disconcerted by this unlooked for evil, and that it was impossible for him to be prepared for it, as it is without a parallel in either ancient or modern times.
magazines in their retreat; but when we recollected the recital of the inhabitant of Moscow, we feared that his prediction was about to be fulfilled. Eager to know the cause of this conflagration, we in vain endeavoured to find some one who might satisfy our irrepressible curiosity, and the impossibility of satisfying it increased our impatience, and augmented our alarm.
Although Moscow had been entered by some of our troops the preceding day, so extensive and so deserted was the town, that no soldier had yet penetrated into the quarter which we were to occupy. The most intrepid minds were affected by this loneliness. The streets were so long, that our cavalry could not recognise each other from the opposite extremities. The different parties advanced with caution, and then suddenly fled from each other, though they were all enlisted under the same banners. In proportion as a new quarter was occupied, reconnoitring parties were sent forward to examine the palaces and the churches. In the former were found only old men and children, or Russian officers who had been wounded in the preceding engagements ; in the latter, the altars were decorated as if for a festival ; a thousand lighted tapers, burning in honour of the patron saint of the country, attested that the pious Moscovites had not ceased to invoke him till the moment of their departure. This solemn and religious spectacle rendered the people whom we had
conquered powerful and respectable in our estimation, and filled us with that consternation which is the offspring of injustice. We advanced with fearful steps through this awful solitude, often stopping and looking, trembling, behind us; then, struck with sudden terror, we eagerly listened to every sound; for the imagination, frightened at the very magnitude of our conquest, made us apprehensive of treachery in every place. At the least noise we fancied that we heard the clashing of arms and the cries of the wounded.
On the following morning, the most heart-rending scene which my imagination had ever conceived, far surpassing the saddest story in ancient or modern history, now presented itself to my eyes. A great part of the population of Moscow, terrified at our arrival, bad concealed themselves in cellars or secret recesses of their houses. As the fire spread around we saw them rushing in despair from their various asylumns. They uttered no imprecation, they breathed no complaint ; fear had rendered them dumb : and hastily snatching up their precious effects, they fed before the flames. Others of greater sensibility, and actuated by the genuine feelings of nature, saved only their parents, or their infants, who were closely clasped in their arms. They were followed by their other children, running as fast as their little strength would permit, and with all the wildness of childish terror, vociferating the beloved name of mother. The