Chashniki


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Chashniki

 

a city since 1966 and the administrative center of Chashniki Raion, Vitebsk Oblast, Byelorussian SSR. Chashniki is situated on the Ulla River, a tributary of the Zapadnaia Dvina. Railroad station on the Orsha-Lepel’ line. The city has an alcohol plant, a flax-processing plant, and a paper factory.

In the final stage of the Patriotic War of 1812, battles were fought near Chashniki between the Russian I Separate Corps under General P. Kh. Vitgenshtein and the French II and IX Corps of marshals L. de Gouvion-Saint-Cyr and C. Victor-Perrin. On orders from Napoleon I to reinforce the northwestern axis, Victor-Perrin set out for the Ulla River, joining Gouvion-Saint-Cyr’s corps on October 18 (30). On October 19 (31), Vitgenshtein attacked Gouvion-Saint-Cyr, driving him across the Ulla. Upon learning that units from Victor-Perrin’s corps had also fought in the battle, Vitgenshtein decided not to continue the offensive and stopped near Chashniki, awaiting the approach of the forces of Field Marshal M. I. Kutuzov and Admiral P. V. Chichagov. After the French retreated to Senno, Napoleon ordered them to drive Vitgenshtein beyond the Zapadnaia Dvina River. Victor-Perrin’s and Gouvion-Saint-Cyr’s troops took the offensive on November 2 (14) and initially forced the Russian vanguard back toward Chashniki. In bitter fighting, the village of Smol’nia changed hands several times. After losing as many as 3,000 men, the French retreated along the road to Beshenkovichi.