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At Napoleon's Side in Russia
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My notes were made everywhere, at my desk and in my camp, every day and at all times of day . . . More than once it occurred to me that this journal, written under the very eyes of the Emperor, might fall into his hands; but that reflection did not check my pen' - Armand de Caulaincourt Nowhere is the tragedy of Napoleon's Russian campaign described as clearly as in the memoirs of Armand de Caulaincourt. He was an aristocrat of the ancien regime who had come to terms with the French Revolution and was ready to serve the new Emperor. Riding day by day at Napoleon's side, de Caulaincourt witnessed the growing horror of defeat which culminated in the Grande Armee's disastrous retreat from the vast expanses of Russia. The Grande Armee had entered Russia triumphantly on 18 June, 1812 with as many as 600,000 men, while the remnants that staggered out of Russia in December of that year were a mere few thousand. In every sense it was a catastrophe; the recent discovery of mass graves in Vilnius, Lithuania, bear testimony to the terrible human cost of the campaign. De Caulaincourt's account brings vividly to life the impact of such a loss had on Napoleon and his Grand Armee, and allows the reader a rare glimpse into the innermost thoughts of one of history's greatest military leaders.
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Armand de Caulaincourt, as Master of the Horse, was one of the highest officials in the French Empire, riding constantly at Napoleon's side and was one of his closest confidantes.

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