War and Peace Volume 1, Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary
Meanwhile, all hell is breaking loose as the rest of the Russian soldiers from Rostov’s regiment realize that they are cut off from an orderly retreat and just start making a run for it.
One of the two guys arguing about who’s in charge realizes that his derriere is on the line and starts to try to calm down the runners.
It’s no use.
Then, out of nowhere, the small force of Russian soldiers that Nikolai Rostov found in the bushes busts out with so much psychotic energy and fearless insanity that even though there aren’t that many of them, they scatter the advancing French.
One these guys is Dolokhov (the bear-policeman guy who’s trying to get his rank back through bravery). He's wounded, but he still kills a couple of guys lickety-split, then takes a French officer prisoner. So we guess he’s going to get his rank back after all.
Meanwhile, everyone’s forgotten until now about Captain Tushin and his amazing cannonaders, who have been hammering away at the French from a nearby hill.
Even though a bunch of them are dying and getting wounded left and right, everyone in the battery is feeling no pain and no fear and is having the time of their lives.
Tushin is in some kind of alternate world where the French are ants and their cannons are pipes or something. It’s how he’s coping with the stress of the situation.
Finally, someone remembers them. Actually, it’s more like someone rides through the rain of bullets to get to them. Turns out they were supposed to get an order to retreat from the scaredy-cat messenger who couldn’t hack it at the beginning of the last chapter.
Andrei rides up to tell them to retreat too. We suddenly see the scene through his eyes. It’s gory and gross and littered with dismembered body parts. This is pretty shocking, coming as it does right after Tushin's battle-glory point of view.
Anyway, Andrei sticks around until all the cannon guns are removed and the men leave. This kind of makes him awesome, and he and Tushin have a little moment as they say good-bye.