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War and Peace — Book One, Part Two
The attack of the Sixth Chasseurs secured the retreat of our right flank. In the center Túshin’s forgotten battery, which had managed to set fire to the Schön Grabern village, delayed the French advance. The French were putting out the fire which the wind was spreading, and thus gave us time to retreat. The retirement of the center to the other side of the dip in the ground at the rear was hurried and noisy, but the different companies did not get mixed. But our left — which consisted of the Azóv and Podólsk infantry and the Pávlograd hussars — was simultaneously attacked and outflanked by superior French forces under Lannes and was thrown into confusion. Bagratión had sent Zherkóv to the general commanding that left flank with orders to retreat immediately.
Zherkóv, not removing his hand from his cap, turned his horse about and galloped off. But no sooner had he left Bagratión than his courage failed him. He was seized by panic and could not go where it was dangerous.
Having reached the left flank, instead of going to the front where the firing was, he began to look for the general and his staff where they could not possibly be, and so did not deliver the order.
The command of the left flank belonged by seniority to the commander of the regiment Kutúzov had reviewed at Braunau and in which Dólokhov was serving as a private. But the command of the extreme left flank had been assigned to the commander of the Pávlograd regiment in which Rostóv was serving, and a misunderstanding arose. The two commanders were much exasperated with one…