Napoleon letters from Russian campaign on sale as hat bags record

NEW YORK-Eleven letters sent by Napoleon Bonaparte, including dispatches from the Kremlin, have gone on sale following the blockbuster auction of the diminutive French emperor’s hat for $2.1 million. Among them is one dated September 18, 1812, in which he arrives in Moscow at the height of his Russian campaign and reports that the city is ablaze amid a scorched-earth policy adopted by the Russian side. “Today I toured the main quarters. It was a spectacular city; I say ‘was’ because today more than half has been consumed by fire,” the French emperor wrote. In the missive, on sale for $58,300, he also remarked on the city’s inventory of alcohol. “We have found cellars full of wine and eau de vie (liquor), which will be of great need to us,” he wrote. Napoleon ordered the largest European military force ever assembled up until then into Russia in 1812, when the French ruler was at the height of his prestige. But around a million soldiers and civilians died in the course of the invasion. Nathan Raab, president of the Raab Collection, a Philadelphia-based dealer of historical papers handling the sale, said that “the letter from Moscow is so rare, it’s just extraordinary”. “Napoleon is an enormous figure with immense admiration from Americans.

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