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John Sloan

This page displays photos taken on the battlefield at Borodino, Russia, where the Russian army under Marshal Kutuzov fought the French and Allied army of Napoleon in 1812, as well as related photos from several military museums and photos of current Russian Napoleonic society reenactors. Attached are tables showing the chronology of the campaign and of the battle as well as a text narrative of the campaign based on Clausewitz. We have added a review of the book, Borodino, by Alexander Mikaberidze.
The Xenophon Group International conducts tours to the battlefield and museums as well as to other historical and contemporary military locations in Russia and Ukraine, including the Hermitage and Artillery Museum in St. Petersburg and the museum of Soviet aircraft at Monino and museum of armored forces at Kubinka. For information on future tours please contact Xenophon. The page was last edited on 25 March 2009. Return to the main page on the 1812 campaign.

Borodino is a village 124 km west of Moscow. On August 26, 1812 it was the scene of the most decisive battle of the 1812 War with Napoleon. It was here that the Russian commander-in-chief, Field Marshal Prince Michael Kutuzov, following the surrender of Smolensk to the French forces took a decision to stage a decisive battle against the Napoleonic army. The outcome of the battle was favorable for the Russian army. Russian troops displayed outstanding gallantry. Russia's army corps commanding generals included such outstanding military commanders as Prince Bagration, Marshal Barclay de Tolly, M. Miloradovich, B. Dokhtarov, M. Platov and others. The Russian army had 104,000 men and 627 guns. The French had 124,000 men and 587 guns. The casualties in the Napoleon's army ran as high as over 50,000 dead and wounded (28,000 killed), the Russian casualty figures stood at 44,000. The Battle of Borodino heralded a crisis in Napoleon's strategy of the General Battle. Napoleon failed in this attempt to totally destroy the Russian army, make Russia surrender, and dictate her peace terms. His forces suffered grave losses while the Russian spirit was enhanced. The battle signalled the beginning of the catastrophe that engulfed the Grand Army. Please go to text for a narrative of the campaign. At 1812 there is a chronological table of major events of the campaign. At battle time line is a table showing the hour by hour course of the battle.
In 1941 there was vicious fighting at Borodino between Soviet and German troops. The Borodino field features numerous monuments dedicated to the Russian men in combat as well as the monument to the fallen French soldiers. Today Borodino is an open-air museum spanning the territory of 110 sq kms. The tour of this museum usually starts from the huge poplar that was planted in front of the museum building in 1839 when the ashes of P. I. Bagration were buried in the place of the former Raevsky's battery. Then the tourists would go up to Gorki village where Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov's command post was located. From the hill with the monument to the glorious Russian field marshal on its top, one can observe most of the battlefield, as well as the location of the main operations - the Shevardino redoubt, the Semenovski fleches, and the Ravesky battery. To learn more about our activities and view other locations in Russia, please return to the Xenophon Group main page please go here. Go to reenactment to see photos of the Borodino reenactment of 1999.

Maps of Borodino Battlefield

We are in process of making new maps of the battle and the entire 1812 campaign. Here is a map of the opening days of the campaign.

Selected photographs

Special exhibition on Marshal Kutuzov and leaders.

There is a special exhibition of artifacts related to Kutuzov and the 1812 campaign in the huge Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Troops in St Petersburg and there are more paintings in the Hero's gallery in the Hermitage. We have photos taken during visits from 1992 to 2005.
Marshal Kutuzov The commander of the Russian combined armies at Borodino. This portrait hangs in the 1812 heros gallery in the Winter Palace, (Hermitage Museum) in St Petersburg.
Desk This field desk used by Kutuzov is in the Museum of Artillery, Engineer, and Signal troops in St. Petersburg in a special section devoted to Kutuzov.
Bed Kutuzov's field bed is also located in the special section of the Artillery Museum
A B/W drawing of the marshal in the Xenophon collection.
Portrait of Kutuzov in the Artillery Museum.
Uniforms in the Kutuzov Room.
Pistols and carbines in display cases.
Swords and trumpets on display.
Uniforms from 1812 era.
More uniforms and swords in the Artillery Museum.
Furniture formerly displayed in the special Kutuzov museum in Germany.
Additional furniture in the special exhibition.
Portrait of Barclay de Tolly in the Artillery museum.
Barclay de Tolly
He was the commander of one of the Russian armies at Borodino. This portrait is next to that of Kutuzov in the Hermitage.
Bust of general Barclay de Tolly at the museum on the Borodino battlefield
Bagration He commanded the other Russian field army at Borodino. He was killed in battle, hence his portrait is not in the Hero's hall. This bust is located at the small museum on the Borodino Battlefield.
Painting of 1812 in Artillery Museum.
Painting of the 1812 campaign in the Artillery museum
Cavalry in battle of Borodino.
Artillery and cavalry engaged at Borodino.
Painting of 1812 in Artillery Museum.
Burning village during 1812 campaign.
Picture display on wall of Artillery Museum.
Diorama of the battle made with military miniatures.
Napoleonic era cannon in Artillery museum.
Model in Artillery Museum of memorial to Kutuzov in Germany.
Model of statue of Kutuzov.
Arch Triumphal arch in Moscow near the Panorama museum

Views of the Borodino Battlefield and of the painted scene in the Borodino Panorama Museum in Moscow.

View from Gorki Kutuzov's field headquarters during the battle was on this small hill to the rear of the right center of the Russian battle line. The most critical part of the battle took place in the far distance on the left side of this photograph.
The view from the mound at Gorki looking more in the direction of Borodino village and the bridge between. Of course these houses were not here during the battle.
Some military historians are visiting the Borodino battlefield and walking to the location of Kutuzov's position at Gorki.
A rainy day for our third visit to the Borodino battlefield - here entering the sector where the French deployed.
View of the French positions around the captured Sheverdino field fortification. Napoleon established his headquarters in this area.
Monument to the French (Allied) army located near where Napoleon sat during the battle, in front of the Sheverdino field fortification.
We are driving on the access road into the area where the French (and allied) forces deployed prior to the battle.
The area of the French army deployment now has many trees.
View from the French monument located where Napoleon sat during the battle, In the distance is the monastery built near the rear of the three Bagration fleches. The trees were not there during the battle. One can get an idea, however, of the distances involved and the very gentle slopes involved.
View from the French monument located where Napoleon sat during the battle, In the distance is the monastery built near the rear of the three Bagration fleches. The trees were not there during the battle. One can get an idea, however, of the distances involved and the very gentle slopes involved. Dense undergrowth has now filled much of the battlefield which was more open during the battle. This area is where the French forces deployed for battle.
Panorama 1 This is one section of the magnificent 360 degree panorama of the battlefield housed in a special museum in Moscow. The perspective is of a person standing in the center of the Russian line at Semenovski village about 12:30 PM at the height of the French assault. They have taken the fletches and have brought the Imperial Guard Foot Artillery forward to nearly point blank range. The Saxon cavalry is attacking to the right of the village and being met by Russian cavalry. In this view we are looking to the left front with the captured fletches in far background.
Panorama 2 Another section of the huge painting. This view is directly to the rear. Note the aid station in tents. The wounded Bragration is in the two wheel cart.
Panorama 3 Another view of the battlefield as depicted in the panorama. The view is to the right with Russian cavalry counter-attacking
Panorama 4 Another view of the battlefield in this marvelous panorama. The view to the right slightly rear with more Russian cavalry approaching.
Panorama 5 It was not possible to photograph every part of this huge painting, but this scene shows yet another aspect of the bloody battlefield. Here the Russian cavalry is engaging the Saxons. The Rayevski redoubt is encased in smoke in the distance.
Monument memorial to Barclay de Tolly with WWII pillbox in front
Another view of the memorial itself.
The monument to Prince Bagration near the Rayevsky redoubt - note the WWII pill box to the left of the tree
Kolotchka stream This view shows the stream just south of the bridge on the country road near the Borodino village. During the battle Eugene captured the bridge initially from Russian jagers but was driven back. The French then had to build several pontoon bridges across this stream. The main Russian positions were along the ridge to the left in the distance in this view.
The Kolotchka stream from the Old Smolensk Road as it crosses on a newer bridge. The Russians managed to burn the old bridge during the battle.
Stream Another view of part of the Kolotchka stream close to the bridge at Borodino.
Dense undergrowth has now filled much of the battlefield which was more open during the battle. This area is near the Kolotchka stream.
Rayevski redoubt Also called the Rayevski battery after the Russian general who supervised its construction and defense. This position on the military crest was the only significant fortification in the Russian line. It was an effective emplacement for artillery from which the Russians managed to repel repeated French attacks on the most critical right center section of their front. It was finally taken, forcing the Russians to withdraw. Note the entrenchments from World War II in the forground.
A baloon excursion is being offered in the field in front of the Rayevski redoubt -seen on the ridge to the left. One can see that the slope up which the French attacked is not very steep. The Russian positions extended past the woods in the far distance.
FletcheThe only other field works of any importance were three open, angle shaped fletches on the left side of the Russian line. This shows the interior of one of them. They were taken by the French after several assaults during the morning.
The Alexander Tuchkov Savior Monastery built by his wife in memory of General Tuchkov IV, whose body was never found after he died on the battlefield. He disappeared while leading a counter attack of the Revelskii Infantry Regiment near this spot by the rearmost of the three fleches. One of his brothers also was killed in this battle and another was wounded at Smolensk. Margarita Mikhilovna Tuchkova spent her remainding life memoralizing her lost husband. First she built The Church of the Savior as the first monument constructed on the battlefield. The church was later expanded into the Borodino Savior Monastery (convent) in 1838 of which Margarita was the first mother superior. The buildings were damaged during the battle here in WW II and restored in 1962. It is now an active monastery.
The General Alexander Tuchkov and Borodino Savior Monastery.
The monastery built on the Borodino battlefield. Touring group of military historians are checking it out. Note the end of one of the fleches at the right.
The forward face of the fleche - these were surprisingly large positions, to enable the deployment of cannon and infantry support.
Ditch This shows the ditch just outside one wall of one of the three fletches. They were simple earthen ramparts thrown up from the dirt out of the ditch, with embrasures for cannon.
The view over the top of the rampart, with ditch immediately below, toward the south-west from where the French were attacking this fleche and also through the woods toward the Russian left flank.
Fletche and monastery Another view of one wall of a fletche. In the background is one church built after the battle as part of a monastery constructed on the site.
Buildings of the monastery on the Borodino battlefield.
Borodino fletche The earthen rampart of one fletche.
View of the rear fletch from in front across the ditch to the rampart. A monastery building is behind it.
When standing in the ditch (even though it is no longer as deep) one finds the rampart to be much higher.
FieldA general view of the battlefield looking toward the French lines and Borodino church. Eugene mounted his assault in this area. Note the World War II emplacement. This same field was part of the critical defense line of Moscow during 1941.
WWII emplacement
Another view of the batttlefield focused on the positions built in 1941 along the same line the Russians occupied in 1812.
A WWII pillbox in front of the Rayevski redoubt.
WW II trench Another of the modern entrenchments so prominent on the 1812 battlefield
Another WWII trench
Some WWII trenches and a pillbox on the Borodino battlefield
Another reminder of the Soviet Army defensive positions dug during WWII across the Borodino battlefield.
World War II trench and dugouts on the Borodino battlefield.
Friends visiting the Borodino Military Historical Museum- Preserve on a rainy day. The museum-preserve was created in 1839 to include the Rayevsky redoubt, Prince Bagration's grave and the main part of the battlefield. In 1859 General Tochkov's widow, Margarita's house became a museum. A new museum was built for the centenial in 1912 along with many of the monuments . Its contents were evacuated during WWII but the original building was destroyed. The present building was designed by V. Voyeikov and contains a very extensive collection of original items, including those belonging to Napoleon and Alexander, Kutuzov, Barclay de Tolly, Bagration and others.
A large map of the battlefield on a wall in the Borodino museum
A diorama inside the Borodino museum depicting the Russians defending a fletch with infantry regiments in hand to hand combat. Cannon This display of captured French cannon is at the entrance to the fine museum on the Borodino battlefield.
Cannon - another view of the captured cannon at the Borodino battlefield museum. Many more such cannon are on display in the Kremlin in Moscow and at the Artillery Museum in St. Petersburg.
Painting of the battle in the Borodino museum at the battlefield
This partial circle diorama of Borodino battle is at the museum on the battlefield.
A table top diorama of the Borodino battle. The view is from the north with Borodino village in the lower center, and Gorki (Kutuzov position) to the left and above the Kolotcha streem that flows between them from right to left. The Rayevski redoubt (battery) is directly above Borodino across the stream. The fletches are right of it. Shevardino (Napoleon's position) is on the right border of the photograph near the top.
Another view of part of the same diorama.
Table top diorama with small model soldiers in the Borodino museum - View is from behind Shevardino - the mound with French flag is at center of photo. The French old guard is formed around Napoleon. The reserve cavalry corps are to the right. Directly ahead are the fletches. On the far right beyond the woods is Utitsa and the Polish wing attacking. The white church in Borodino is on the far left edge of the photo with the white New Smolensk Road along the edge.
In this view of the diorama we are almost over the French headquarters and Napoleon, shown by the French flag just to the right of center part way up the photo. The French army is deployed with Old Guard around Napoleon and masses of French and allied reserve cavalry to the right lower part. Borodino church is at the left edge just across the New Smolensk Road. Gorki is above it. The Rayevski battery appears to the right of Borodino and across the stream with masses of Russian infantry on both sides. The Bagration fletches can be seen well in this view directly above the French flag with a path leading between them.
In this view of the diorama we are behind the Russian right flank. Gorki is slightly right of center on the New Smolensk Road. The church of Borodino is right across the stream. The French (allied) forces are at the top of the photo with Eugene's Italians on the right and the mass of cavalry reserve at the far top of the table. The French flag at Napoleon's headquarters can't be seen in this view.
In this view of the table top diorama we are flying over Prince Eugene's Italian Corps a bit noth-west of Borodino village. The French troops are deployed to his right and in the distance we see the French flag over Napoleon's location at the Sheverdino redoubt. Directly above Borodino is Gorki, where Kutuzov remained. The Rayevski battery (redoubt) is easily seen. Two of the Bagration flectches are visible. The remainder of the Russian line is out of the photo. At this time the French are deployed but not yet attacking.
This view is from the south, over the Old Smolensk Road and some of the Polish corps is at the bottom edge of the photo. The three Bagration fletches are in the center just above the woods. Semyenovski ruined village is close above them. Note the stream in a ravine that the French cavalry had to pass through. The Rayevski redoubt is clearly seen and beyond it the church in Borodino village. The diorama table does not include much of the Russian far right and far left positions.
Here we are flying over the battlefield - the church in Borodino is directly ahead - Gorki stands out above and to the right - The Rayevski redoubt is in the center with masses of Russian infantry on both sides and behind it. To the right is Semyenovski and then the Bagration fletches behind the Kanenka stream. This view shows the steep ravine in front of the Russian position at Semyanovskoye.
The table top diorama
A copy of the Verischagin painting of Napoleon seated during the Borodino battle.

Other Paintings and displays in the Artillery Museum and Hermitage.

Diorama depicting the final French assault (by cavalry) on the Great (Rayevski) redoubt during Borodino battle. Note the Borodino church in background. This diorama is in the Artillery Museum.
Painting of Kutuzov conference at Fili prior to abandonment of Moscow
Painting Grand Prince, General Constantine Pavlovich, commander of Russian Imperial Guard division at Austerlitz and Borodino. - painting on the 1812 Hall of the Winter Palace.
Portrait of equestrian Emperor of Austria Franz Ferdinand, in the 1812 hall of the Winter Palace. Of course he was not at Borodino and in fact his Austrian army was then allied with Napoleon and fighting Russians far to the west, but, since he was an ally for the final campaigns to defeat Napoleon it was considered politic to include him here.
Equestrian portrait of Prussian King Frederick William, in the 1812 Hall of the Winter Palace. He is here under the same circumstances and for same reason as Franz Ferdinand.
Portraits - A part of one wall of the 1812 Hall showing portraits of Russian general officers who fought at Borodino. - in the Winter Palace.
Portraits of some other generals along one of the walls of the 1812 hall. All the surviving generals are shown and there are spaces for those who died.
One wall in the 1812 Heros gallery with paintings of Russian general officers who fought in 1812 campaign.
New photo from 2005 - Field Marshal, Prince, Kutuzov, commander of Russian combined armies at Borodino, portrait in the 1812 Hall of the Winter Palace.
New photo from 2005 - General Barclay de Tolly, commander of Russian First West Army at Borodino - portrait in the 1812 Hall of the Hermitage.
The Duke of Wellington, commander of British forces at Waterloo, portrait in the 1812 Hall of the Hermitage. Of course he also was no where near Borodino, but at least he was holding many French troops in Spain.
Detail portrait of one of the hussar generals on wall in 1812 room of Hermitage.
Large painting in the Hermitage Hall of 1812 depicting moment at Borodino battle when General Prince Bragration was mortally wounded. He was the hero of the battle, but since he was dead, his formal portrait does not appear in the hall. Also, none of the other generals who had died have their portraits made by English artist, Dawes after the battle are there.
Another Painting depicting the mortal wounding of General Prince Bragation during Borodino battle. This one is in the Artillery Museum
The portrait of Alexander I occupies one end wall of the 1812 memorial hall in the Winter Palace.
Painting depicting Russian army during 1812campaign. This hangs in the Artillery museum
Russian regimental standard from 1812 campaign. It is in the Artillery Museum
Display case containing bust of Napoleon and various weapons and uniforms. It is also in the special Kutuzov room of the Artillery museum
New photo from 2005 - Display of various furniture belonging to Marshal Kutusov during the 1812 campaign - part of large special exhibition in honor of Kutusov.
Another view of the display of various furniture belonging to Marshal Kutusov during the 1812 campaign - part of large special exhibition in honor of Kutusov.
New photo from 2005 - Portrait of General Barclay de Tolly, Russian minister of war and commander of the First West Army during the1812 campaign. It is in the Artillery museum

Photos of Russian Napoleonic era reenactors.

Russian Dragoon A photo of Vadim Grushinin in the uniform of the Moscow Dragoon Regiment. He is a prominent Napoleonic era reenactor who also creates 54 mm model soldiers.
Some of the Moscow Dragoons forming for drill.
Grenadier Regiment in winter overcoats. This famous regiment was the only one to retain their miter caps right up until 1917.
Hussars Reenactors in St. Petersburg wearing hussar uniforms. The major reenactment takes place each year on the first Sunday of September on the battlefield.
French infantry A unit of young Russian reenactors dressed as French Infantry.
French infantry 2 Another view of Russian reenactors practicing their hobby.
Reenactors Another unit of French infantry depicted by Russians in St. Petersburg.
Photos from the reenactment in Sept 1999.
Please check out
for our section on Napoleon and the French Army. We have many illustrations of the uniforms of the Russian army of Alexander I and will post them to this web page as soon as possible. Go to top.

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