Aleksinskii Ford Where the French Erected Three Bridges. Borodino Battlefield


During Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, Russian and French armies clashed on the Borodino battlefield, situated to the west of Moscow. The Battle of Borodino (known to the French as the Battle of Moscow) occurred on September 7, 1812 before the gates of the ancient Russian capital, and is thought to have been the bloodiest of all the battles of the Napoleonic wars, including even Waterloo. The French won a tactical victory that enabled them to enter Moscow, but they failed to destroy Russian forces under the command of Prince Mikhail Kutuzov. The occupation of Moscow resulted not in the defeat of Russia, but in the disintegration of the French Grand Armée. Shown here is the Aleksin Ford over the small KolochaRiver, where the French built three bridges to carry out their attack on Russian positions. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many parts of the empire. In connection with the centenary of the 1812 Napoleonic campaign against Russia, in 1911 and 1912 Prokudin-Gorskii photographed sites along the invasion route.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Алексинский брод, где было построено французами 3 моста. Бородино

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: September 23, 2016