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War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
Summary / Volume 3, Part 1, Chapter 2
War and Peace Volume 3, Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary
Now that we know that nothing happens for any reason whatsoever, where does that leave us? Oh, right, we still need to know what actually takes place. On May 29, 1812, Napoleon sets out east from Dresden. Even though there’s still diplomacy being conducted, and peace terms are being worked out, he is going out to give orders to the army, which is also moving east. Twelve days later, Napoleon gets to the Niemen River, meets up with the army, and orders them to advance. This is surprising, since there’s still some hope of peace. As the troops cross the river, Napoleon stands on a little hill. As the soldiers see him they go crazy teenage-fan-style. The next day Napoleon gallops ahead and finds a group of Polish soldiers waiting on the banks of the Vilia River. He orders them to take their horse and find a ford (a shallow place where you can wade across a river without needing a bridge). But these are some seriously starstruck guys. Their leader is all, we don’t need a ford! Let’s go for it, boys! And they all jump into the river with their horse and just try to swim for it. The river is deep. The current is strong. These guys are morons. They all drown. Later Napoleon orders their leader to be given the Legion of Honor (a big-deal French medal), posthumously, of course (meaning after his death).
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