Napoleon's Moscow Kremlin letter fetches $243,500 at auction

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 03, 2012 08:20 hrs

A secret code letter sent in 1812 by Napoleon Bonaparte boasting that his French forces would blow up Moscow's Kremlin has been sold for a whopping 243,500 dollars, 10 times its estimated pre-sale price.

The letter, which dates from Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Russia, was bought by the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris.

It is written in code and was sold alongside a deciphered transcript.

Before the auction, Jean Christophe Chataignier, director of the Osenat auction house, said the 1812 letter was expected to fetch up to 19,000 dollars.

It was written by Napoleon to Foreign Minister Hugues-Bernard Maret, who was at Vilnius in modern-day Lituania.

Having captured Moscow but with the Russian army having withdrawn and winter approaching, the emperor realised he had to turn back, the BBC reported.

The first line reads: "On the 22nd at 3am I will be blowing up the Kremlin."

The letter also reveals Napoleon's frustration at the campaign, with his army ravaged by disease, cold and hunger: "My cavalry is in tatters, a lot of horses are dying. Make sure we buy more as soon as possible." (ANI)

More from Sify: