Retreat from Moscow, designed by Adolph Northern
The remnants of the Grand Army were further decimated, and by December 14, 1812, were definitively expelled from Russian territory across the Niemen River. About 2,000 Spanish mercenaries who had decided to join the French army joined the Russians, giving them the Tsar Alexander I the opportunity to enlist in its ranks.
Because the onset of winter, the Russian grasslands lacked pasture for horses, because they could not be fed, died and were used as a source of meat for the soldiers; although this measure allowed feeding French troops forced them to move slowly on foot, being easy prey to freeze arms and legs.
Only 58,000 of Napoleon's men survived the Russian campaign. Also, much of the Austrian and Prussian troops withdrew with few casualties, but the French losses were disproportionately high, being higher casualties suffered in the retreat than in battle.
Russian losses in the few open field battles were at least comparable with the French, but civilian losses along the part of war-torn Russia were much higher than military casualties. In total, there were around one million dead, almost equally divided between Russian and French.