August 19th, 1812
On August 18th Barclay de Tolly decided to pull out of the battle of Smolensk, and continue the retreat towards Moscow. The main road from Smolensk to Moscow ran on the North side of the Dnieper River. So as to not let Napoleon know they had departed, they burned the bridge over the Dnieper and marched that night in a Northerly direction. They intended to swing to the East to catch the main road after the Dnieper bent southeast. Unfortunately the army got lost in the rough wooded terrain and after marching for over 7 miles were in the AM only about 1.5 miles from Smolensk.
In the AM, Marshal Ney’s III Corps was able to get a vanguard across the burnt bridges (Legere Regiment) and push the rear guard back. They repaired the bridge and started to advance along the Smolensk – Moscow road.
Tolly feared that the French may cut off his army sent another rear guard Tuchkov III, with elements Russian III Corps to the Village of Valutino. This force was the 20 & 21 Jager regiments, Revel Infantry regiment and the Elisabeth Hussars with one light battery of 12 guns. In the early afternoon, leading elements of Ney’s III Corps engaged Tuchkov III rear guard and they fell back across the Stragen river (fordable) to the high ground above Valutina-Gora.
After marching 10 hours through the night, General Osterm-Tolstoy’s IV Corps finds Ney’s column near the Moscow road, Tolstoy moves east and joins Tuchkov at Valutina-Gora. Upon hearing that Ney is so close to flank of the line of retreat for the army through Loubino to the Moscow road, General Barclay De Tolly rushed forward himself to rally the troops, reinforced and steadied the position. He and the staff realized they must stop the French before they can reach the retreating columns of the army and crush them as they did at Austerlitz.
Meanwhile, Ney’s III Corps is marching towards the west bank of the Stragen (Reke Stroganka) and forming up for an assault. Ney requests assistance and Napoleon sends Gudin and Morand’s divisions from Davouts I Corps. Marching behind Ney’s III Corps is Murat with the I & III Reserve Cavalry Corps. Junot’s VIII Corps is marching on the South Bank of the Dnieper and crosses at Prudechevo to the North bank. Karpov’s Cossacks are screening and monitoring the progress of the Westphalians from the South.
The start of the game is 17:00 19.8.1812. The game will last for six (6) hours (23:00 darkness). The game will be in twilight at 22:00.