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Napoleon’s letter on blowing up the Kremlin sells for 187,500 euros


A coded letter in which Napoleon Bonaparte threatened to blow up the Kremlin in Moscow has sold for 187,500 euros at auction.


“I am going to blow up the Kremlin on 22nd at 3am,” Napoleon wrote on 20th October 1812, during his military campaign against Russia.

It went under the hammer at Fontainebleau, near Paris, and was sold to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris at more than 10 times the estimated price.

The letter, carrying the signature “nap”, was addressed to Napoleon’s foreign minister, Hugues-Bernard Maret, who was in present-day Lithuania at the time.

The letter also described the blistery winter conditions Napoleon’s troops faced as a Siberian front swept through Moscow.

“My cavalry is in tatters and many horses have died,” he wrote.

The Museum of Letters and Manuscripts also bought Napoleon’s last manuscript still in private hands, which sold for a record sum of 375,000 euros.

The 310-page document, written while Napoleon was exiled on St Helena, was the emperor’s attempt to justify the Russian campaign, saying it “should be called a [military] retreat since the army was victorious”.

Other Napoelon-era objects also went under the hammer, including Napoleon and his wife Joséphine’s beds, and four stools in the shape of military drums.

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