At Custozza Magyar hussars, Croats from the Military Frontier, and Tirolese sharpshooters had fought side by side.
But this adjutant returned half an hour later with the news that the commander of the dragoons had already retreated beyond the dip in the ground, as a heavy fire had been opened on him and he was losing men uselessly, and so had hastened to throw some sharpshooters into the wood.
Cannon and musketry, mingling together, thundered on the right and in the center, while the capotes of Lannes' sharpshooters were already seen crossing the milldam and forming up within twice the range of a musket shot.
But at that moment the French who were attacking, suddenly and without any apparent reason, ran back and disappeared from the outskirts, and Russian sharpshooters showed themselves in the copse.
"And ask whether sharpshooters have been posted," he added.
Overtaking the battalions that continued to advance, he stopped the third division and convinced himself that there really were no sharpshooters in front of our columns.
Twelve sharpshooters with muskets stepped out of the ranks with a firm regular tread and halted eight paces from the post.
"Sharpshooters of the 86th, forward!" shouted someone.
The twenty-four sharpshooters with discharged muskets, standing in the center of the circle, ran back to their places as the companies passed by.
Pierre gazed now with dazed eyes at these sharpshooters who ran in couples out of the circle.