History of the Expedition to Russia
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It is a history book. I have undertaken the task of tracing the History of the Grand Army and its Leader during the year 1812. I address it to such of you as the Ices of the North have disarmed, and who can no longer serve their country, but by the recollections of their misfortunes and their glory. Stopped short in your noble career, your existence is much more in the past than in the present ; but when the recollections are so great, it is allowable to live solely on them. I am not afraid, therefore, of troubling that repose which you have so dearly purchased, by placing before you the most fatal of your deeds of arms. Who is there of us but knows, that from the depth of his obscurity the looks of the fallen man are involuntarily directed towards the splendor of VI his past existence—even when its light illuminates the shoal on which the bark of his fortune struck, and when it displays the fragments of the greatest of shipwrecks?