Volume XIII : The beginning of the end, January – June 1813

Correspondance de Napoléon, Tome XIII - janvier-juin 1813 © Fayard / Fondation Napoléon

After the defeat of the Russian campaign, Napoleon was facing a mammouth task: to save his Empire and rebuild his army of which only just over 12,000 men had returned from the Russian hell, just as his former allies became his future enemies.

This publication is in French but Pierre Branda’s Introduction to this volume “Alone, already so alone” (translated here into English) gives a fascinating insight into the subjects covered by these six months of intense letter writing.

“Via this volume of the correspondence devoted to the first half of 1813, we are let into the “heart of secrecy”. Alongside his secretary Baron Fain, we witness his prodigious efforts of reconstruction. His sharp words reflect his incredible energy. In both his private and official correspondence, the emperor is almost always an open book, barely masking his emotions. It is the man that appears to us here, in all the nakedness of his feelings and sometimes in the naivety of his hopes. He had never before dictated so many letters, repeating, insisting, scrutinizing every detail and seeming more determined than ever. It is true that the cracks in the Empire could not be ignored, but he did not seem to falter; it was as if the bad news could not shake him” (extract from Pierre Branda’s introduction).

The Napoleon Foundation is supported in this historic adventure by the Archives de France, by the Fondation La Poste, and by more than a hundred volunteer workers making this publication entreprise an exceptional work.

Pierre Branda (Ed.), assisted by François Houdecek and Marie de Bruchard
Paris: Éditions Fayard, 2016, 1464 pages.
Volume XIII will be available in bookshops from 23 November 2016.



Preface by Alain Pigeard, president of the Souvenir Napoléonien
Editorial Committee for the Correspondance of Napoleon
Introduction, by Pierre Branda, Heritage Manager, Fondation Napoléon
–  Editorial Principles by François Houdecek
– The Correspondance of Napoleon Bonaparte : 2 925 annotated letters


– Letters in private collections (text not available)
— Weights and measures and currency
— Names of places mentioned in the correspondance and their modern-day equivants, (Poland, Russia or Lituania)
— Timeline (January – June 1813), by Irène Delage, head of Documentation, Fondation Napoléon
— Editorial Committee for the Correspondance of Napoleon (continued)
— Handwritten and bibliographical Sources (XIII)

The withdrawal (December 1812 – April 1813)
Situation before Lützen (25 Avril 1813)
From Lützen to Bautzen (May 1813)
Situation at the armistice (June 1813)
the war in Spain (end 1812- June1813)

— Index of Names
— Index of places where the letters were written