The night he received the news, Kutuzov sent Bagration’s vanguard, four thousand strong, to the right across the hills from the Krems-Znaim to the Vienna-Znaim road.
The troops of the vanguard were stationed before Wischau, within sight of the enemy’s lines, which all day long had yielded ground to us at the least firing.
The Emperor’s gratitude was announced to the vanguard, rewards were promised, and the men received a double ration of vodka.
The younger Emperor could not restrain his wish to be present at the battle and, in spite of the remonstrances of his courtiers, at twelve o’clock left the third column with which he had been and galloped toward the vanguard.
But instead of that, at the next village the sentinels of Davout’s infantry corps detained him as the pickets of the vanguard had done, and an adjutant of the corps commander, who was fetched, conducted him into the village to Marshal Davout.
The very day that Napoleon issued the order to cross the Niemen, and his vanguard, driving off the Cossacks, crossed the Russian frontier, Alexander spent the evening at the entertainment given by his aides-de-camp at Bennigsen’s country house.
The officer snatched a little food at a comrade’s, and rode again to the vanguard to find Miloradovich.
And here as in a game of blindman’s buff the French ran into our vanguard.
The prisoner said that the troops that had entered Forminsk that day were the vanguard of the whole army, that Napoleon was there and the whole army had left Moscow four days previously.
For the last three days Bogucharovo had lain between the two hostile armies, so that it was as easy for the Russian rearguard to get to it as for the French vanguard; Rostov, as a careful squadron commander, wished to take such provisions as remained at Bogucharovo before the French could get them.
But the baggage trains stretched out so that the last of Beauharnais’ train had not yet got out of Moscow and reached the Kaluga road when the vanguard of Ney’s army was already emerging from the Great Ordynka Street.
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Our company is at the vanguard of the green movement.