ORSHA (Polish Orsza), a town of Russia, in the government of Mogilev, 74 m.
The Russians besieged Orsha more than once in the 16th and 17th centuries, and finally annexed it in 1772.
In the first part of its course, which may be said to end at Dorogobuzh, it flows through an undulating country of Carboniferous formation; in the second it passes west to Orsha, south through the fertile plain of Chernigov and Kiev, and then southeast across the rocky steppe of the Ukraine to Ekaterinoslay.
The government is divided into eleven districts, of which the chief towns with their populations in 18p7 were: Mogilev-onDnieper, or Mogilev Gubernskiy (47591 in 1900), Chausy (555 o), Cherikov (5250), Homel or Gomel (45,081 in 1900), Gorki (6730), Klimovichi (4706), Mstislavl (10,382 in 1900), Orsha (13,161), Rogachev (9103), Staryi Bykhov (6354), and Syenno (4061).
But after a four days' halt the mob, with no maneuvers or plans, again began running along the beaten track, neither to the right nor to the left but along the old--the worst--road, through Krasnoe and Orsha.
Ney, who had had a corps of ten thousand men, reached Napoleon at Orsha with only one thousand men left, having abandoned all the rest and all his cannon, and having crossed the Dnieper at night by stealth at a wooded spot.
Similarly profound considerations are given for his retreat from Smolensk to Orsha.
Then we are told of the greatness of soul of the marshals, especially of Ney--a greatness of soul consisting in this: that he made his way by night around through the forest and across the Dnieper and escaped to Orsha, abandoning standards, artillery, and nine tenths of his men.
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