11 letters sent by Napoleon Bonaparte, including dispatches from the Kremlin, have been put up for sale following a spectacular auction of the great 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 in flames amid the scorched earth policy adopted by the Russian side, France-presse agency reported.
"Today I toured the main districts. It was an impressive city; I say 'was' because today more than half is engulfed in fire," the French emperor wrote.
The letter, which was sold for $58,300, also noted the alcohol available in the city.
"We have found cellars full of wine and liquor, which will be much needed," he wrote.
In 1892, when the French ruler was at the height of his prestige, he ordered the largest European military force assembled up to that time to invade Russia.
But in the course of the invasion about a million soldiers and civilians died.
Nathan Raab, president of the Raab Collection, a Philadelphia-based historical document marketing firm that handles the sale, said "the letter from Moscow is so rare it's just extraordinary."
"Napoleon is a towering figure who is hugely admired by Americans. He is seen as an emperor with strong leadership," Raab said.
"But his legacy is not black or white, it is very gray," he added.
Napoleon later destroyed several towers and parts of the Kremlin wall, which at the time was both an imperial palace and a military fortress.
He vowed to do so in another letter dated October 20, 1812.
This note does not appear in the last sale as it was sold for 187,500 euros at a French auction in 2012.
In another, now on sale for $79,500, Napoleon describes the ammunition he needed for the final assault on Toulon in southern France after he was elevated to a leadership position, which set him on the path to eventually becoming emperor./BGNES