War and Peace Volume 4, Part 2, Chapter 18 Summary
From this moment on, Kutuzov’s main goal is to hold the Russian army back as much as he can and not needlessly engage the French.
The French army, meanwhile, is hemorrhaging men – a third have already left Moscow.
But still, they aren’t fleeing yet. For that to happen, first this has to happen:
Napoleon rides out for some reason – inspecting troops or something – when a bunch of Russian soldiers who have been looting the French nearly capture him. Yup, just like that – a random band of Russian soldiers out to grab a little booty, and Napoleon just barely escapes.
Which means, if this kind of crazy thing can happen right in the middle of the French army...well, then, there pretty much is no French army anymore.