War and Peace Volume 4, Part 2, Chapter 19 Summary
Finally, the French start to really retreat. They’re going way the heck back to France, but before that they’re going to stop in Smollensk. Mostly because it’s there, and they need to visualize themselves stopping somewhere, since France is so darn far away right now.
They get a move on, but tons of their soldiers just quit and go AWOL.
Meanwhile, Kutuzov is still holding the Russian army back. Why fight and have soldiers die unnecessarily? The French are already doing everything they can to get out. Clearly, they’ve lost the war. But still, the Russian army does end up engaging the French a few times. They win, but lose some men. It’s pointless but unstoppable.