Borodino Field was the scene of one of the most famous battles in history and is now preserved as the Borodino State Military and Historical Museum-Reserve. It was here that the Russians finally engaged in battle on 7 September 1812 with Napoleon's invading army in what the Russians refer to as the Patriotic War. The French Army was commanded by Napoleon himself while Mikhail Kutuzov was in charge of the Russians. The exact figures of casualties have been the subject of debate for decades but the fact that it was the bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic Wars is not disputed; within a day over 30,000 troops were killed on each side. Although the battle could technically be considered a victory for the French as the Russians withdrew from the scene of battle and retreated, allowing the French to go on to capture a deserted Moscow, the Grande Armée's failure to destroy the Russian army meant that Napoleon's days in Russia were numbered, especially with the approaching winter and the drastic lack of supplies. After all, Russia was able to replenish its army after the horrific losses at Borodino, Napoleon did not have this opportunity.
The field once more saw fighting in the Great Patriotic War, as the Second World War is known in Russia. On 16 October 1941 fighting broke out on the site of the Battle of Borodino. After heavy fighting the Nazis managed to take control of the field and subsequently broke through to the Minskoe Shosse (Highway).
A famous re-enactment of the Battle of Borodino takes place every year here on the first Sunday of September. Each year hundreds of re-enactment enthusiasts dressed in the Russian and French military uniforms of the time re-enact the battle and tens of thousands of people come to watch.
The field today is dotted with many monuments commemorating the various regiments who fought in the Battle of Borodino, as well as some monuments to the battle of the Second World War.
These monuments includes the Main Monument to Russian Heroes of the Battle of Borodino of 1812 which was originally put up in August 1837 on the 25th anniversary of the battle in the presence of Tsarevich Aleksandr Nikolaevich (later Emperor Alexander II). Later it was ceremoniously opened by Tsar Nicholas I in 1839 after the remains of Prince Pyotr Bagration, who was fatally wounded at the battle, were reburied next to the monument. The obelisk is 27.5 metres tall and is engraved with information on the statistics of the battle and the names of the Russian generals who fell there. In 1932 the monument was destroyed as the Bolsheviks considered that it had no artistic or historical value. It was only reinstalled in its original form in 1987.