The map's French caption reads:
-------------------Figurative Map of the successive losses in men of
the French Army in the Russian campaign 1812-1813.Drawn up by M. Minard,
Inspector General of Bridges and Roads in retirement. Paris, November
20, 1869.-------------------The numbers of men present are represented
by the widths of the colored zones at a rate of one millimeter for every
ten-thousand men; they are further written across the zones. The red [now
brown] designates the men who enter into Russia, the black those who leave
it. —— The information which has served to draw up the map
has been extracted from the works of M. M. Thiers, of Segur, of Fezensac,
of Chambray, and the unpublished diary of Jacob, pharmacist of the army
since October 28th. In order to better judge with the eye the diminution
of the army, I have assumed that the troops of prince Jerome and of Marshal
Davoush who had been detached at Minsk and Moghilev and have rejoined
around Orcha and Vitebsk, had always marched with the army.
Minard's 1869 Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l'Armée
Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813, a flow map published
in 1869 on the subject of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812.
The graph displays several variables in a single two-dimensional image:
the army's location and direction, showing where units split off and rejoined
the declining size of the army (note e.g. the crossing of the Berezina
river on the retreat) the low temperatures during the retreat. chart showing
the losses in men, their movements, and the temperature of Napoleon's
1812 Russian campaign.