“The Russian Army covered with an unfading glory, as in those days the attacks inflicted on the enemy were the most severe during the whole campaign”.
M. I. Kutuzov
During the Patriotic War of 1812 by Krasnoye village near Smolensk were fought two bloody battles between the Russian Army and French troops. The first one took place on August 2 (14), when Napoleon was advancing on Smolensk on the old road. Here the way of French soldiers was blocked by 27th infantry division under command of the General D.P. Neverovsky. Having repelled 45 attacks during a day, the division stopped the advance of the enemy’s forces, thus enabling the Russian command to draw up forces to Smolensk and block the road to Moscow.
The second battle was held on November 3 (15)-6 (18) 1812 during the Napoleon’s army retreat from Smolensk.
After the Battle of Tarutino (September 5-21 (September 17 — October 3)) the strategic situation changed in favor of the Russian Army: not only did our troops manage to break away from the French Army, but they also got an opportunity to get prepared for the counter offensive.
On October 6 (18) was fought the battle of Tarutino, then the battle for Maloyaroslavets on October 11-12 (23-24). On October 14 (26) the army of Napoleon retreated to Vereya and pursued by the Russian army undertook a quick retreat to Smolensk.
On October 28 (November 9) Napoleon reached Smolensk, where for five days the French army was resting and building up its strength. However, fearing of being encircled — from the north towards Borisov following the order of M. I. Kutuzov was moving the army of P. H. Wittgenstein, while from the south in the same direction was moving P. V. Chichagov with the Danube Army — French left Smolensk and moved further to the west.
On November 3 (15) by the village Krasnoye the unit of the General M. A. Miloradovich took advantage of the fact that when leaving Smolensk Napoleon divided his army into four columns, attacked French and captured 2 000 men and 11 guns. This made Napoleon stop further advance in order to bring up other echelons. However when on November 4 (16) the Corps of Yevgeny Bogarne was approaching Krasnoye village, it suffered a strong attack inflicted by Miloradovich and was defeated. The same fate awaited Corps under Davout and Ney. Without waiting for Ney’s rearguard, the French Emperor jointly with the Old Guard with the rest of the Davout’s Corps broke through the cover of Tormasov’s troops and moved to Orsha.
The battle resulted into a convincing victory of Kutuzov’s Army. On the way from Smolensk to Krasnoye village the French Army lost more than 6 000 dead and 26 000 prisoners, and was practically deprived of the whole artillery and cavalry. In the battle was captured Marshal Davout’s baton. 4th Italian Corps under Beauharnais and the Corps under Marshal Ney were practically destroyed.
For the victory of the Russian Army near Smolensk the Emperor Alexander I by the Decree of December 6 (18) 1812 bestowed Prince Golenishchev-Kutuzov the title of Smolensky. About the battle of Krasnoye on November 3 (15)-6 (18) Kutuzov wrote: “The Russian Army covered with an unfading glory, as in those days the attacks inflicted on the enemy were the most severe during the whole campaign”.
In 1847 to mark 35th anniversary of the November battle near Krasnoye, by the Losvinka River (at the entrance to Krasnoye from Smolensk) was solemnly opened a cast-iron monument to the design of Antonio Adamini. The column reaching 26 m in height was cast in St. Petersburg at the Alexandrovsky foundry. The monument bore the following inscriptions: “The Battle of Krasnoye on November 3, 4, 5 and 6 1812. The defeat of Ney”, “Captured 26 000 men, 116 guns”. On the front side was placed the icon of Archangel Michael. The monument was blown up in 1931.
From the Presidential library materials:
Депеша министра иностранных дел Н. П. Румянцева посланнику в Константинополе А. Я. Италинскому о поражении французских войск при городе Красном и освобождении Смоленска : 15/27 нояб. 1812 г. СПб., 1812. Л. 265-267;