St Hilaire's (the right centre) division was fiercely engaged by Kolowrat's column, General Miloradovich opposed the left centre attack under Vandamme, but the French leaders were two of the best fighting generals in their army.
It is not true; there are now two Russians, Miloradovich, and Dokhturov, and there would be a third, Count Arakcheev, if his nerves were not too weak.
Exactly opposite Weyrother, with his glistening wide-open eyes fixed upon him and his mustache twisted upwards, sat the ruddy Miloradovich in a military pose, his elbows turned outwards, his hands on his knees, and his shoulders raised.
Then Miloradovich looked round significantly at the other generals.
Langeron lifted his eyes with an expression of perplexity, turned round to Miloradovich as if seeking an explanation, but meeting the latter's impressive but meaningless gaze drooped his eyes sadly and again took to twirling his snuffbox.
"In that case he is inviting his doom by awaiting our attack," said Langeron, with a subtly ironical smile, again glancing round for support to Miloradovich who was near him.
But Miloradovich was at that moment evidently thinking of anything rather than of what the generals were disputing about.
He touched his horse and having called Miloradovich, the commander of the column, gave him the order to advance.
Miloradovich wheeled his horse sharply and stationed himself a little behind the Emperor.
They did not stop at any one of these positions because Kutuzov did not wish to occupy a position he had not himself chosen, because the popular demand for a battle had not yet expressed itself strongly enough, and because Miloradovich had not yet arrived with the militia, and for many other reasons.
For instance, on the twenty-eighth it is suggested to him to cross to the Kaluga road, but just then an adjutant gallops up from Miloradovich asking whether he is to engage the French or retire.
"The word attack is always on your tongue, but you don't see that we are unable to execute complicated maneuvers," said he to Miloradovich who asked permission to advance.
Ermolov, Miloradovich, Platov, and others in proximity to the French near Vyazma could not resist their desire to cut off and break up two French corps, and by way of reporting their intention to Kutuzov they sent him a blank sheet of paper in an envelope.
To them the words of Miloradovich seem very interesting, and so do their surmises and the rewards this or that general received; but the question of those fifty thousand men who were left in hospitals and in graves does not even interest them, for it does not come within the range of their investigation.
Miloradovich, who said he did not want to know anything about the commissariat affairs of his detachment, and could never be found when he was wanted--that chevalier sans peur et sans reproche * as he styled himself--who was fond of parleys with the French, sent envoys demanding their surrender, wasted time, and did not do what he was ordered to do.