recede — отступать
cheer — приветствовать
liberator — освободитель
defeat — потерпеть поражение, поражение
vastness — огромность, громадность
depict — изображать
chased — преследуемый
crushing — сокрушительный
destroy — разрушать
demand — требовать
shelter — кров
in order — с тем, чтобы
skill — умение
The Great Army of Napoleon crossed the borders of the Russian Empire and attacked Russia in 1812. Russians had to recede.
Belarus was part of the Russian Empire at that time. When on July, 1 Napoleon Army came to Vilna, Napoleon was, on the one hand, cheered as a liberator from Russians. On the other hand, thousands of Belarusians were recruited into the Russian Army to fight against Napoleon.
Belarusian territory turned into a battlefield in the war with Napoleon. About 15 battles took place on the territory of Belarus. Belarus suffered greately in that war as receding Russian Army burnt and destroyed everything on its way in order not to leave anything for Napoleon. But after the Russians came Napoleon and demanded food and shelter for his army!
As you know, The Great Army of Napoleon was defeated by the skill of Field Marshal Kutuzov and the vastness of Russian territory. The first great battle was the Battle of Borodino near Moscow, Russia.
Another crushing defeat happened later on the territory of Belarus. It was the Battle on Biarezina.
The picture below, painted in 1843 by Peter von Hess, depicts Napoleon army crossing Biarezina river in Belarus, chased by the Russian Army.
Nowadays all over Belarus there are numerous memorials to commemorate the victory over Napoleon in the war of 1812.