Marshal Ney ToL90 20
The Retreat from Russia 1812On November 17, Napoleon decided to relieve the pressure on his army by leading his elite guardsmen in a southward attack in the direction of the main body of Russian troops led by Kutusov. Kutusov, not wishing to engage in a general battle with Napoleon, ordered all Russian troops, including those of Miloradovich, to retreat slightly to the south, thus leaving the road clear for the French to continue their retreat. Napoleon capitalized on this success by garnering as many of his forces as possible, and then retreated from Krasnoi unharried by the Russians. The French rearguard, however, led by Marshal Ney, was still too far to the east to be saved, and was abandoned by Napoleon to its fate. On November 18, the Russians again occupied the road, and then completely destroyed Neys corps in a torrid infantry engagement. Ney himself won renown in this encounter because of his refusal to surrender, escaping into the forest with a handful of survivors.