The attack orders for the 2nd of December (drawn up by the Austrian general Weyrother, and explained by him to a council of superior officers, of whom some were hostile, the greater part indifferent, and the chief Russian member, General Kutusov, asleep) gave the five columns and the reserve, into which the Austro-Russian army was organized, the following tasks: the first and second (Russians) to move south-westward behind the Pratzen ridge towards Telnitz and Sokolnitz; the third (Russian) to cross the southern end of the plateau, and come into line on the right of the first two; the fourth (Austrians and Russians under Kolowrat) on the right of the third to advance towards Kobelnitz.
The whole plan was based upon defective information and preconceived ideas; it has gone down to history as a classical example of bad generalship, and its author Weyrother, who was perhaps nothing worse than a pedant, as a charlatan.
Kutuzov himself, he was told, was in the house with Prince Bagration and Weyrother.
Weyrother was the Austrian general who had succeeded Schmidt.
We went with Weyrother to survey the dispositions.
But it was the first time he had heard Weyrother's name, or even the term "dispositions."
And Prince Dolgorukov rapidly but indistinctly explained Weyrother's plan of a flanking movement.
Shortly after nine o'clock that evening, Weyrother drove with his plans to Kutuzov's quarters where the council of war was to be held.
Weyrother, who was in full control of the proposed battle, by his eagerness and briskness presented a marked contrast to the dissatisfied and drowsy Kutuzov, who reluctantly played the part of chairman and president of the council of war.
Weyrother evidently felt himself to be at the head of a movement that had already become unrestrainable.
In the large drawing room which had become the commander in chief's office were gathered Kutuzov himself, Weyrother, and the members of the council of war.
"Since Prince Bagration is not coming, we may begin," said Weyrother, hurriedly rising from his seat and going up to the table on which an enormous map of the environs of Brunn was spread out.
At the sound of Weyrother's voice, he opened his one eye with an effort.
Weyrother, with the gesture of a man too busy to lose a moment, glanced at Kutuzov and, having convinced himself that he was asleep, took up a paper and in a loud, monotonous voice began to read out the dispositions for the impending battle, under a heading which he also read out:
The third column marches... and so on, read Weyrother.
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.
He remained stubbornly silent, gazing at Weyrother's face, and only turned away his eyes when the Austrian chief of staff finished reading.
In the middle of one of the longest sentences, he stopped the rotary motion of the snuffbox, raised his head, and with inimical politeness lurking in the corners of his thin lips interrupted Weyrother, wishing to say something.
He asked Weyrother several times to repeat words he had not clearly heard and the difficult names of villages.
Weyrother complied and Dohkturov noted them down.
When the reading which lasted more than an hour was over, Langeron again brought his snuffbox to rest and, without looking at Weyrother or at anyone in particular, began to say how difficult it was to carry out such a plan in which the enemy's position was assumed to be known, whereas it was perhaps not known, since the enemy was in movement.
Langeron's objections were valid but it was obvious that their chief aim was to show General Weyrother--who had read his dispositions with as much self-confidence as if he were addressing school children--that he had to do, not with fools, but with men who could teach him something in military matters.
Langeron, trying as virulently as possible to sting Weyrother's vanity as author of the military plan, argued that Bonaparte might easily attack instead of being attacked, and so render the whole of this plan perfectly worthless.
Whether Dolgorukov and Weyrother, or Kutuzov, Langeron, and the others who did not approve of the plan of attack, were right--he did not know.
He firmly and clearly expresses his opinion to Kutuzov, to Weyrother, and to the Emperors.
There was about him something of Weyrother, Mack, and Schmidt, and many other German theorist-generals whom Prince Andrew had seen in 1805, but he was more typical than any of them.
The dispositions drawn up by Weyrother for the battle of Austerlitz were a model of perfection for that kind of composition, but still they were criticized--criticized for their very perfection, for their excessive minuteness.
Toll, who in this battle played the part of Weyrother at Austerlitz, galloped assiduously from place to place, finding everything upside down everywhere.
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