Council in Fily took place

13 September 1812

On September 1 (13), 1812 during the Patriotic war in the village of Fily took place a War Council that had to decide whether give battle to Napoleon’s army at the walls of Moscow or leave the city without striking a blow.

After the battle of Borodino the Russian army drew back to Moscow. In the early morning of September 1 (13) it camped near a small village of Fily near Moscow on the position chosen by Bennigsen, the chief of staff of Russian army. The place turned out to be very unfavorable. ‘In case of failure the whole army would have been defeated up to the last man’, wrote later M.B. Barclay de Tolly.

In the evening of the same day in a log hut of Frolov the peasant, a War Council headed by M.I. Kutuzov gathered. It should decide the fate of Moscow. Barclay de Tolly supported the retreat of the army. His arguments were as follows: ‘the danger of the taken position’, ‘superior forces’ of the enemy and also impossibility ‘to defend such a big city with such insignificant forces’. The generals D.S. Dokhturov, N.N. Raevsky and A.P. Ermolov had also supported the retreat; P.P. Konovitsyn and L.L. Bennigsen had stood for battle, the others had chosen a waiting attitude. The final word rested with Kutuzov. Having listened to all the participants the general commander decided for the retreat. ‘The loss of Moscow is not yet the loss of Russia, - he declared.

It was the last retreat of the Russian army during the Patriotic war of 1812.

Before the retreat it was ordered to destroy the depots of ammunition and provisions. The city was set on fire that destroyed over 70% of buildings, all stocks of rations and arms. On September 2 (14) Napoleon entered Moscow. The Frenchmen separated from their rears found themselves actually locked up in broken city. In October of 1812 the French army left Moscow and started to retreat down Kaluga road. But near Maloyaroslavets town Kutuzov blocked the way to Napoleon and forced him to retreat down the broken road of Smolensk. Constant blows of Cossack detachments of Davydov ataman and partisans, as well as hunger and severe cold turned the retreat of the French army into flight. During the battle at Berezina river Napoleon had suffered a crushing defeat and run abandoning the rests of his army.

The log hut of Frolov the peasant was henceforth called Kutuzov’s one and considered as a historical site to be preserved. In 1868 however it was almost entirely destroyed by fire. In 1887 it was restored in accordance with old drafts. The room where a war council had taken place became a museum dedicated to the year of 1812; the other part of the log hut housed the veterans of Pskov infantry regiment n. a. Field Marshal Kutuzov.

After 1917 Kutuzov’s log hut was transformed into a living house.

In 1939 it was resolved to open a historical monument “Kutuzov’s log hut in Fily”.

From 1962 Kutuzov’s log hut is a branch of “The Battle of Borodino” panorama museum.

Lit.: Березин Н. Отечественная война 1812 г.: Военный совет в Филях. М., 1912; Официальный сайт музея-панорамы «Бородинская битва». 2013. URL: http://www.1812panorama.ru/.

From the Presidential library materials:

Белокуров С. А. Письмо императора Александра графу П. А. Толстому по поводу оставления кн. Кутузовым Москвы : (8 сентября 1812 г.). М., 1913;

Депеша министра иностранных дел Н. П. Румянцева посланнику России в Вене Г. О. Штакельбергу : [27 сент. / 9 окт. 1812 г.]. 1812. Л. 138-141 об.;

The Orders of Lenin and the Red Star established // On this day. 6 January 1813;

Patriotic War of 1812: collection;

Переспелов И. М. Кутузовская изба. М., 1900.