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September 23 1812: Rumor that Napoleon is Mortally Wounded



On September 23, 1812, John Quincy Adams, reports conflicting rumors as to the success of the French and the fate of  Moscow. Some claim the city had been taken while others say Napoleon has been mortally wounded. Adams writes the following entry in his diary:
23d. Captain Bates called upon me this morning for a passport. He was in great anxiety on account of debts due to him in Moscow, and from rumors that the French are in possession  of that city. These rumors have been prevailing these three days, and with them other reports, that the French had been repulsed and the Emperor Napoleon mortally wounded. Mr. Harris paid us a visit in the evening, and told us that official accounts were now received that the Russian army had retired behind Moscow fifteen wersts, on the road to Kazan, and that Moscow had been surrendered by a sort of capitulation to the French; that the King of Naples (Murat) with eight thousand men took possession of the city on the fifteenth or sixteenth of this month, and that the Emperor Alexander was informed of it three days afterwards. The French Emperor with his great army had not entered Moscow, but was still in pursuit of the Russians. There has been no battle since that of the seventh which Prince Koutouzof reported as a splendid victory, for which he was made a Field Marshal and received from the Emperor a present of a hundred thousand roubles. The result of this great Russian victory was to put the French in possession of Moscow.

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