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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary

  • Let’s take a quick look at the big picture now.
  • The Russian army is retreating all the way back up the Danube River. The French army is following them.  Whenever they catch up, there’s a battle between the French front and the Russian rear guard.  But these battles are small, and Kutuzov fights as little as possible in order to get more and more distance between the armies.
  • Then, on October 28, Kutuzov and the Russian army cross the Danube.
  • The Russians are on the left side of the river. The French are mostly on the right side. But there is one French division, led by Mortier, on the side with the Russians.
  • On October 30, Kutuzov attacks this one sad lonely French division and shellacs them good.
  • Woo-hoo! The army morale goes back up, and the soldiers even start spreading rumors of other victories and of backup forces coming to their aid. Neither is true, but anything that ups morale is good, obviously.
  • That’s what’s happening on the broader scale. Now let’s zoom back down to see what’s up with the characters we know and love. Like, say, Andrei.
  • Andrei was assisting the Austrian general Schmidt at the battle with Mortier. Schmidt was killed and Andrei had his horse shot out from under him and got a bullet graze on his arm.
  • As a reward for awesomeness, Andrei now gets to go as a courier to the Austrian emperor to tell them the good news about this victory.  Why is this a reward?  Well, first of all, he’ll get to sleep and be fed well in town rather than roughing it with the army.  And also, it’ll look good on his resume and hopefully will get him promoted lickety-split.
  • Andrei is loving life.  He rides his horse to town, reliving the battle in his head and generally feeling great.
  • On the way he passes a wagon with some wounded soldiers and gives them money.
  • Finally, he gets to the city of Brunn, where the court is temporarily located. His imagination is running wild with how he is going to be treated, how the emperor is immediately going to want to see him, and just generally how he is about to be a huge VIP.
  • But no dice.
  • He gets taken to see the minister of war (kind of like our Secretary of Defense), a civilian who has never seen combat. That guy is all, oh, a victory, very nice. But then again, you guys lost Schmidt and you didn’t actually capture Mortier himself. Oh well. Still, good job…I guess.
  • Andrei is furious but he can’t really do anything about it. He just tries to get over having all of his illusions shattered. Meanwhile, the minister of war tells him to stick around because maybe the emperor will want to talk to him the next day. Maybe.

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