Battle of Mir (1812)
The Battle of Mir took place on 9 and 10 July 1812 during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Three Polish Lancers divisions battled against Russian cavalry, ending in the first major Russian victory in the French invasion of Russia.
Russian general Matvei Platov had eight Cossack regiments and two Don batteries deployed south of the village of Mir, when one brigade of the Polish Fourth Light Cavalry attacked his advance posts, numbering about 100 men. These advance posts had the dual job of both observation and sentry duty, and to entice the enemy to attack; ambushes of a hundred men each were set up farther down the road to Mir, on either side of it. The Polish general Alexander Rosniecki's forces clashed with Russian Alexander Vasilchikov's cavalry, resulting in hand-to-hand combat with fairly even losses. Followed by Uhlans, they swept through the village, attacking Platov's main force. A third Polish brigade attempting to join the fight was encircled and broken by Cossacks, after which the entire Polish force gave ground, driven back with the aid of Russian Hussars. After the arrival of Vasilchikov's Akhtyrka Hussars, Dragoons, and other reinforcements, the battle raged for six hours, shifting to the nearby village of Simiakovo. Platov defeated the enemy there, and moved on to Mir, where he inflicted further losses on the enemy before tactically withdrawing. A complete rout was only averted by Tyszkiewicz's brigade, which covered the Polish retreat.
The town of Mir and fort ruins were used as a headquarters by Jérôme Bonaparte, until he decided or had to leave the army, after a quarrel with his brother on 6 August 1812. After retreating, the Mir Castle was destroyed with gunpowder.
- Note that although no official flag existed during this period, the tricolour represents the officer sash colours and the Double Eagle represents the Tsar's official state symbol.
- Smith, Digby (1998) The Napoleonic Wars Data Book, Greenhill, London: ISBN 1-85367-276-9
- Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States, Volume 19. 1896.
- Foord, Edward A. (1915). Napoleon's Russian campaign of 1812. Little, Brown and Co.
- Davies, Norman (1998). Europe: a History. HarperCollins.