Bati, at the head of his terrible army, continued his march through the populous province of Rezdan, burning every dwelling and endeavoring, with indiscriminate massacre, to exterminate the inhabitants. City after city fell before them until they approached the capital. This they besieged, first surrounding it with palisades that it might not be possible for any of the inhabitants to escape. The innumerable host pressed the siege day and night, not allowing the defenders one moment for repose. On the sixteenth day, after many had been slain and all the citizens were in utter exhaustion from toil and sleeplessness, they commenced the final assault with ladders and battering rams. The walls of wood were soon set on fire, and, through flame and smoke, the demoniac assailants rushed into the city. Indiscriminate massacre ensued of men, women and children, accompanied with the most revolting cruelty. The carnage continued for many hours, and, when it ceased, the city was reduced to ashes, and not one of its inhabitants was left alive.
The conquerors then rushed on to Moscow. Here the tempest of battle raged for a few days, and then Moscow followed in the footsteps of Rezdan.
THE SWAY OF THE TARTAR PRINCES.
From 1238 to 1304.
Retreat of Georges II.—Desolating March of the Tartars.—Capture of Vladimir.—Fall of Moscow.—Utter Defeat of Georges.—Conflict at Torjek.—March of the Tartars Toward the South.—Subjugation of the Polovtsi.—Capture of Kief.—Humiliation of Yaroslaf.—Overthrow of the Russian Kingdom.—Haughtiness of the Tartars.—Reign of Alexander.—Succession of Yaroslaf.—The Reign of Vassuli.—State of Christianity.—Infamy of Andre.—Struggles with Dmitri.—Independence of the Principalities.—Death of Andre.
The king, Georges, fled from Moscow before it was invested by the enemy, leaving its defense to two of his sons. Retiring, in a panic, to the remote northern province of Yaroslaf, he encamped, with a small force, upon one of the tributaries of the Mologa, and sent earnest entreaties to numerous princes to hasten, with all the forces they could raise, and join his army.
The Tartars from Moscow marched north-west some one hundred and fifty miles to the imperial city of Vladimir. They appeared before its walls on the 2d of February. On the evening of the 6th the battering rams and ladders were prepared, and it was evident that the storming of the city was soon to begin. The citizens, conscious that nothing awaited them but death or endless slavery, with one accord resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible. Accompanied by their wives and their children, they assembled in the churches, partook of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, implored Heaven’s blessing upon them, and then husbands, brothers, fathers, took affecting leave of their families and repaired to the walls for the deadly strife.