A letter in which Napoleon Bonaparte vows to blow up Russia's Kremlin is expected to meet with excellent results in a December auction in Paris.
The coded message is written in numbers, which translate as "I will blow up the Kremlin on the 22nd at three am", and is signed "Nap" at the bottom. It is estimated to sell for €10,000-15,000 ($13,000-19,500).
The letter is addressed to Napoleon's secretary Hugues-Bernard Maret, Duc de Bassano, and is dated October 20, 1812 - the day after Napoleon had retreated from the centre of Moscow. It also sees Napoleon requesting Maret to provide supplies and more horses for his troops, who were suffering in Russia's freezing weather.
The bombing of the Kremlin was carried out as planned by Marshal Mortier, with the attack destroying a number of the building's towers and sections of its walls. However, Napoleon's Russian campaign would end with the general's undefeated record severely tarnished, culminating in the Great Retreat, in which many of his men perished due to a lack of food and the harsh conditions.
Also featuring in the sale is Napoleon's essay on campaign fortification, which he dictated and annotated while exiled on Saint Helena. Reflecting on the outcome of the Russian invasion, the essay was dictated to General Bertrand - one of Napoleon's most loyal men.
The work has been consigned by the family of General Bertrand and will form part of a lot of 180 manuscript pages and 44 sketches, which is estimated at €60,000-80,000 ($78,000-104,000).
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb selection of Napoleon Bonaparte memorabilia currently available. Our collection is highlighted by a letter addressed to the Duc de Feltre, who would later become Napoleon's minister of war, and an authentic strand of the Little General's hair.