Page 278. " and nodding his head he let it droop and again closed his eye. "

Tolstoy writes here that Kutuzov's drowsiness at the meeting is an indication of his common sense: that a good night's sleep is the best preparation for battle. Kutuzov, by his refusal to engage, seems to imply that the detailed plans put forward by Weyrother are unrealistic and will be unworkable on the chaotic battlefield. However, other historians have suggested that Kutuzov was deliberately feigning sleep so as to avoid blame for the mismanagement of the battle to come, which he felt could not be won by the Allies.

Page 278. " The tall fair-haired General Buxhöwden "

General Buxhöwden
Public DomainGeneral Buxhöwden
 General Frederick Wilhelm von Buxhöwden was from Estonia, of German origin. He trained as a soldier in St Petersburg, and became an officer, distinguishing himself in battle against Turkey and Finland. His wife, Nathalie, was rumoured to be an illegitimate daughter of Catherine the Great. Like many others, he was in disgrace during Paul I's time, only to be recalled by Alexander I. In 1805 he was put in command of the left wing of the Allied army at Austerlitz; according to some historians, he was drunk during the battle, and therefore contributed to the defeat of the Allies.

Page 283. " Where am I? Oh yes, in the skirmishing line "

The following passage is an example of Tolstoy's use of stream of consciousness. His writing offers some of the earliest uses of this literary technique, which attempts to report the wandering and seemingly random inner thoughts of a character. Stream of consciousness is most often associated with Modernist writing; James Joyce's Ulysses explores the technique to its outermost limits.

Page 294. " looked round at the faces of his suite, young and animated as his own "
Prince Volkonsky
Public DomainPrince Volkonsky

 Tsar Alexander I was twenty eight in 1805. Upon his ascension to the throne four years previously he had surrounded himself with a group of young noblemen, dismissing the old ministers who had served his father Paul I and appointing instead a Private Committee of his friends.

Count Nikolai Nikolaevich Novosiltsev (1761–1836) was responsible for drafting a constitution for Russia, which Alexander I adopted as part of the reforms he undertook (then went on to ignore) at the beginning of his reign. Like Czartoryski, Novosiltsev was an important part of the negotiations that established the Allies against Napoleon. He later served in Poland, heading the Russian secret police there (the okhrana, ancestors of today's FSB.)

Prince Pyotr Mikhailovich Volkonsky (1776-1852) was a part of the plot to assassinate Alexander's father Tsar Paul I. After Alexander I's ascension, he became a close advisor, commanding the Russian troops at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Volkonskys were a famous noble family descended from the Rurik dynasty who ruled ancient Kievan Rus, the ancestor of Imperial Russia. Tolstoy was related to the family through his mother; his fictional Bolkonskys are a thinly disguised version of his mother's family.

Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov (1774-1817) was a Russian diplomat, military commander and member of Alexander I's Privy Council. It is possible that he is the Stroganov who lent his name to the famous Russian dish beef stroganov (or stroganoff; sautéed beef with mushrooms and sour cream). See here for a recipe.