Charles Joseph Minard: Napoleon's Retreat From Moscow (The Russian Campaign 1812-1813)
An Interactive Chart

“The map that made a nation cry”: Depicting the Grande Armée’s great disaster by geography, time, and temperature, Minard’s famous map from 1869 is one of the earliest examples of a flow map.
From 422,000 men, crossing the Niemen in 1812 on their way to Moscow, only 10,000 returned alive to see the Niemen again. Drag the knob over the chart to explore their return march from Moscow.

Figurative Map of the successive losses in men of the French Army in the Russian campaign 1812-1813.

Drawn by Mr. Minard, Inspector General of Bridges and Roads in retirement. Paris, 20 November 1869.


The numbers of men present are represented by the widths of the colored zones in a rate of one millimeter for ten thousand men; these are also written beside the zones. Red designates men moving into Russia, black those on retreat. — The informations used for drawing the map were taken from the works of Messrs. Chiers, de Ségur, de Fezensac, de Chambray and the unpublished diary of Jacob, pharmacist of the Army since 28 October.

In order to facilitate the judgement of the eye regarding the diminution of the army, I supposed that the troops under Prince Jèrôme and under Marshal Davoust, who were sent to Minsk and Mobilow and who rejoined near Orscha and Witebsk, had always marched with the army.

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1 unit = 5,000 men.