A fire has broken out at a busy building supplies market just outside of Moscow to the north-west. Plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the site, with around 55, square meters of the premises reportedly ablaze, Russia Today reported on Sunday.
Under public pressure, Alexander named General Mikhail Kutuzov supreme commander in August, but the veteran of earlier defeats against Napoleon continued the retreat. Finally, Kutuzov agreed to halt at the town of Borodino, about 70 miles west of Moscow, and engage the French. The result was a bloody and narrow victory and another retreat by the Russian army.
Although disturbed by the progress of the campaign, Napoleon was sure that once Moscow was taken Alexander would be forced to capitulate. On September 14, the French entered a deserted Moscow. Napoleon retired to a house on the outskirts of the city for the night, but two hours after midnight he was informed that a fire had broken out in the city. He went to the Kremlin, where he watched the flames continue to grow. Strange reports began to come in telling of Russians starting the fires and stoking the flames.
Suddenly a fire broke out within the Kremlin, apparently set by a Russian military policeman who was immediately executed.
When the flames died down three days later, more than two-thirds of the city was destroyed. In the aftermath of the calamity, Napoleon still hoped Alexander would ask for peace. In a letter to the czar he wrote: Beautiful, magical Moscow exists no more. How could you consign to destruction the loveliest city in the world, a city that has taken hundreds of years to build?
After waiting a month for a surrender that never came, Napoleon was forced to lead his starving army out of the ruined city. Stalked by hunger, subzero temperatures, and the deadly lances of the Cossacks, the decimated army reached the Berezina River late in November, near the border with French-occupied Lithuania.
However, the river was unexpectedly thawed, and the Russians had destroyed the bridges at Borisov. On November 29, the Russians pressed from the east, and the French were forced to burn the bridges, leaving some 10, stragglers on the other side.
The Russians largely abandoned their pursuit after that point, but thousands of French troops continued to succumb to hunger, exhaustion, and the cold. In December, Napoleon abandoned what remained of his army and raced back to Paris, where people were saying he had died and a general had led an unsuccessful coup. He traveled incognito across Europe with a few cohorts and reached the capital of his empire on December With Europe emboldened by his catastrophic failure in Russia, an allied force rose up to defeat Napoleon in Exiled to the island of Elba, he escaped to France in early and raised a new army that enjoyed fleeting success before its crushing defeat at Waterloo in June Napoleon was then exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena, where he died six years later.
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Under public pressure, Alexander named General Mikhail Kutuzov supreme commander in August, but the veteran of earlier defeats against Napoleon continued the retreat.