The Ulla is connected by the Berezina canals.
Several large tributaries: - on the right, the Berezina, connected with the W.
Long., on the right bank of the Berezina river, and on the railway from Libau and Vilna to Ekaterinosla y.
There was erected here, at the confluence of the Bobruiska with the Berezina, nearly a mile from the town, a fort, which successfully withstood a bombardment by Napoleon in 1812, and was made equal to the best in Europe by the emperor Nicholas I.
BEREZINA, a river of Russia, in the government of Minsk, forming a tributary of the Dnieper.
It was just above Borizov that Napoleon's army forced the passage of the Berezina, with enormous losses, on the 26th-28th of November 1812, during the retreat from Moscow.
Of the tributaries of the Dnieper the following are navigable, - the Berezina and the Pripet from the right, and the Sozh and the Desna from the left.
By means of the Dnieper-Bug (King's) canal, and the Berezina and Oginski canals, this river has a sort of water connexion with the Baltic Sea.
As a bleeding, mortally wounded animal licks its wounds, they remained inert in Moscow for five weeks, and then suddenly, with no fresh reason, fled back: they made a dash for the Kaluga road, and (after a victory--for at Malo- Yaroslavets the field of conflict again remained theirs) without undertaking a single serious battle, they fled still more rapidly back to Smolensk, beyond Smolensk, beyond the Berezina, beyond Vilna, and farther still.
The French army melted away and perished at the same rate from Moscow to Vyazma, from Vyazma to Smolensk, from Smolensk to the Berezina, and from the Berezina to Vilna- -independently of the greater or lesser intensity of the cold, the pursuit, the barring of the way, or any other particular conditions.
At the Berezina they again became disorganized, many were drowned and many surrendered, but those who got across the river fled farther.
But even if we admitted that Kutuzov, Chichagov, and others were the cause of the Russian failures, it is still incomprehensible why, the position of the Russian army being what it was at Krasnoe and at the Berezina (in both cases we had superior forces), the French army with its marshals, kings, and Emperor was not captured, if that was what the Russians aimed at.
Why was the Russian army--which with inferior forces had withstood the enemy in full strength at Borodino--defeated at Krasnoe and the Berezina by the disorganized crowds of the French when it was numerically superior?
And in a history recently written by order of the Highest Authorities it is said that Kutuzov was a cunning court liar, frightened of the name of Napoleon, and that by his blunders at Krasnoe and the Berezina he deprived the Russian army of the glory of complete victory over the French. *
The French army melted away at the uniform rate of a mathematical progression; and that crossing of the Berezina about which so much has been written was only one intermediate stage in its destruction, and not at all the decisive episode of the campaign.
The sole importance of the crossing of the Berezina lies in the fact that it plainly and indubitably proved the fallacy of all the plans for cutting off the enemy's retreat and the soundness of the only possible line of action--the one Kutuzov and the general mass of the army demanded--namely, simply to follow the enemy up.
Anticipation that the failure of the Petersburg Berezina plan would be attributed to Kutuzov led to dissatisfaction, contempt, and ridicule, more and more strongly expressed.
Only once, after the affair of the Berezina, did he get angry and write to Bennigsen (who reported separately to the Emperor) the following letter:
When alone with the field marshal the Emperor expressed his dissatisfaction at the slowness of the pursuit and at the mistakes made at Krasnoe and the Berezina, and informed him of his intentions for a future campaign abroad.