Newly Discovered, Unpublished Manuscript, Created to Guide Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia, for Sale at Raab

A True Historical Treasure, Sent to Napoleon’s Aide-de-Camp General Georges Mouton, the Remarkable 14-page Manuscript Provides Directions to a Prospective Invading Army and a Fascinating Census of the Territory From More Than 200 Years Ago


The Raab Collection announced that it has discovered, acquired, and is offering for sale the original, unpublished manuscript created to guide Napoleon’s army through Russia in its epic attempt to subjugate the Czar and his people. Based on an 1809 intelligence operation that Napoleon commissioned to chart stretches of land in Persia and Russia, the 14-page manuscript offers geographic and demographic intelligence necessary for a prospective invading army, listing populations, military capabilities, topography, opportunities for provisioning, and bridges to cross. 

The manuscript was acquired from the American descendants of General George Mouton, who was integral, along with Napoleon, to the planning of the French invasion of Russia in 1812. Never before offered for sale, it is priced at $85,000.

In his drive to create an empire, Napoleon sought crucial intelligence about the landscapes he and his army would confront. Camille Alphonse Trezel, a lieutenant in the corps of topographical engineers, was able to provide that information. Having surveyed vast regions of Persia, Russia, and the steppes, Trezel described the best points of passage, town populations, and the existence of miltary forces. His notes on Persia were published, however, his notes on Russia apparently went unpublished and unrecorded until now. 

The manuscript containing his detailed notes on Russia was sent to General George Mouton, with whose family it has remained until now. 

General Georges Mouton, 1835

General George Mouton (1770-1838) was a prominent military soldier and strategist under Napoleon, who said of him, “Mouton is the best colonel to have ever commanded a French regiment.” Mouton means “lamb” in French, the source of Napoleon’s now famous statement: “My lamb is a lion.” He was at the Battle of Austerlitz with Napoleon and was charged with the preparation of Napoleon’s campaign in Spain in 1808. Napoleon valued Mouton to the extent that for his Russian campaign, he made Mouton senior aide-de-camp.

Having found a route to Moscow, Napoleon and his army arrived at the Kremlin in September of 1812. Although the city was largely abandoned, a fire forced Napoleon and his entourage to flee. It was perhaps a harbinger of the emperor’s ultimate defeat. When Napoleon left the army during the disastrous retreat from Russia and returned to Paris, Mouton accompanied him. 

Napoleon Russia Manuscript 1812 full

This original manuscript, we now know, also survived. An extraordinary document, it sheds light on Napoleon’s strategic endeavors during one of the most infamous invasions in world history. 

Napoleon Historical Documents & Autographs

A variety of Napoleon’s historical documents and autographs survive to elucidate his bold political career. To peruse a selection of them, visit our dedicated Napoleon page. To learn more about the acquisition of this manuscript and a related collection of Napoleon’s letters, read here

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