Early on the morning of the 7th the assault commenced. The impetuosity of the onset was irresistible. In a few moments the walls were scaled, the streets flooded with the foe, the pavements covered with the dead, and the city on fire in an hundred places. The conquerors did not wish to encumber themselves with captives. All were slain. Laden with booty and crimsoned with the blood of their foes, the victors dispersed in every direction, burning and destroying, but encountering no resistance. During the month they took fourteen cities, slaying all the inhabitants but such as they reserved for slaves.
The monarch, Georges, was still upon the banks of the Site, near where it empties into the Mologa, when he heard the tidings of the destruction of Moscow and Vladimir, and of the massacre of his wife and his children. His eyes filled with tears, and in the anguish of his spirit he prayed that God would enable him to exemplify the patience of Job. Adversity develops the energies of noble spirits. Georges rallied his troops and made a desperate onset upon the foe as they approached his camp. It was the morning of the 4th of March. But again the battle was disastrous to Russia. Mogol numbers triumphed over Russian valor, and the king and nearly all his army were slain. Some days after the battle the bishop of Rostof traversed the field, covered with the bodies of the dead. There he discovered the corpse of the monarch, which he recognized by the clothes. The head had been severed from the body. The bishop removed the gory trunk of the prince and gave it respectful burial in the church of Notre Dame at Rostof. The head was subsequently found and deposited in the coffin with the body.
The conquerors, continuing their march westerly one hundred and fifty miles, burning and destroying as they went, reached the populous city of Torjek. The despairing inhabitants for fifteen days beat off the assailants. The city then fell; its ruin was entire. The dwellings became but the funeral pyres for the bodies of the slain. The army of Bati then continued its march to lake Seliger, the source of the Volga, within one hundred miles of the great city of Novgorod.
“Villages disappeared,” write the ancient annalists, “and the heads of the Russians fell under the swords of the Tartars as the grass falls before the scythe.”
Instead of pressing on to Novgorod, for some unknown reason Bati turned south, and, marching two hundred miles, laid siege to the strong fortress of Kozelsk, in the principality of Kalouga. The garrison, warned of the advance of the foe, made the most heroic resistance. For four weeks they held their assailants at bay, banking every effort of the vast numbers who encompassed them. A more determined and heroic defense was never made. At last the fortress fell, and not one soul escaped the exterminating sword. Bati, now satiated with carnage, retired, with his army, to the banks of the Don. Yaroslaf, prince