Battle of Tarutino
Part of the French invasion of Russia

Battle of Tarutino, by Piter von Hess
Date18 October 1812
Tarutino, Russia
55°10′38″N 37°00′10″E / 55.17722°N 37.00278°E / 55.17722; 37.00278Coordinates: 55°10′38″N 37°00′10″E / 55.17722°N 37.00278°E / 55.17722; 37.00278
Result Russian victory
Russian Empire Russian Empire First French Empire French Empire
Commanders and leaders
Russian Empire von Bennigsen Joachim Murat
10 regiments of Cossacks, 1 regiment of chasseurs and 2 corps[1] 20,000[2]
Casualties and losses
500[3] 2,000-4,000[4][5][3]
French invasion of Russia
Mir Ekau Saltanovka Riga Ostrovno Kobrin Vitebsk Klyastitsy Inkovo Swolna Gorodechno Krasnoi(1) Smolensk Polotsk(1) Valutino Dahlenkirchen Shevardino Borodino Moscow Mesoten Tarutino Polotsk(2) Maloyaroslavets Chashniki Vyazma Liaskowa Smoliani Wolkowisk Kaidanowo Krasnoi(2) Borisov Loschniza Berezina
[Interactive fullscreen map]
Napoleon 2->8
Kutuzov 4578/ Wittgenstein 8/ Chichagov 8

The Battle of Tarutino (Russian: Тарутинo) was a part of Napoleon's invasion of Russia. In the battle Russian troops under the command of Bennigsen defeated French troops under the command of Joachim Murat. [6] The battle is sometimes called the Battle of Vinkovo or the Battle of Chernishnya after the local river. Many historians claim that the latter name is more fitting because the village of Tarutino was 8 km from the described events.

Preceding events

After the battle of Borodino, Kutuzov realized that the Russian army would not survive one more large engagement and ordered his soldiers to retreat to the south of Moscow to reinforce his army. At first it retreated in the south-east direction along the Ryazan road. When the army reached the Moskva River it crossed it and turned to the west to the Old Kaluga road. The army pitched camp in a village of Tarutino near Kaluga. At the same time small units of Cossacks continued moving along the Ryazan road misleading French troops under the command of Murat. When he discovered his error he did not retreat but made camp not far from Tarutino in order to keep his eye on the Russian camp. [7]


On 18 October 1812 Kutuzov ordered Bennigsen and Miloradovich to attack Murat's corps (20,000 men)[2] with two columns stealthily crossing the forest in the dead of night. Bennigsen's main column included three columns led by Vasily Orlov-Denisov, Karl Gustav von Baggehufwudt and Alexander Osterman-Tolstoy respectively. The other column was supposed to play an auxiliary role. In the darkness most of the troops got lost. By the morning only Cossack troops under the command of General Vasily Orlov-Denisov reached the original destination, suddenly attacked the French troops and captured the French camp with transports and cannons. Since other Russian units came late the French were able to recover. When the Russians emerged from the forest they came under French fire and suffered casualties. Murat was forced to retreat to escape being surrounded. The French forces suffered more than 3,000 dead and wounded, 12 cannons, 20 caissons, 30 train-waggons had been taken, two generals killed,[4][5][8] the Russians lost about 500 dead.[9]


Kutuzov had attacked Napoleon's army and won a victory. One day later Napoleon started his own retreat from Moscow on the 19 October 1812 southwards in direction of Kaluga.[10] The next major battle was the Battle of Maloyaroslavets.

In popular culture

The battle is depicted in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.[11]


  1. ^ Wilson 1860, p. 207.
  2. ^ a b Clausewitz 1906, p. 67.
  3. ^ a b Riehn 1990, p. 305.
  4. ^ a b George 1899, p. 236.
  5. ^ a b Ségur 1826, p. 89.
  6. ^ Wilson 1860, p. 209.
  7. ^ Wilson 1860, p. 177.
  8. ^ Chambray 1823, p. 12.
  9. ^ Wilson 1860, p. 305.
  10. ^ Wilson 1860, p. 213.
  11. ^ Tolstoy 1949, p. 587.