September 14 - 1812 - Moscow is Deserted and Set on Fire
Napoleon Bonaparte and his Grande Armee entered Moscow just after his victory at Borodino, sweeping in as conquering heroes. The only problem with this was that the city had been pretty well deserted and it was beginning to burn. The fire would last for nearly four days and would consume three-quarters of the city, but it also prevented Napoleon from actually conquering Russia. Instead, Napoleon held a smoldering ruin with the Russian winter setting in, and he had to retreat with his army later in the year. While he would rule for another two years before his first exile, the desertion of Moscow was the beginning of the end for Napoleon.