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Title: A voice from Waterloo: A history of the battle fought on the 18th June, 1815
Author: Cotton, Edward
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                       THE FIELD OF WATERLOO.

                           HOTEL DU MUSÉE,

                   AT THE FOOT OF THE LION MOUNT.

This Hotel, kept by a niece of the late Sergeant-Major Cotton, is
situated in the very centre of the field of Waterloo, and is strongly
recommended to visitors on account of its proximity to the scenes of
interest connected with the great battle, and also for the excellent
accomodation and comfort it offers at moderate charges.—_See
Bradshaw’s continental Guide._

   _Wines and Spirits of the best quality. Bass’s pale Ale; London
                            porter, etc._

_N.B._—GUIDE BOOKS,—“The voice from Waterloo” by Sergeant Cotton, the
most correct and cheapest account of the battle published—Plans of
the field views and Photographs of all noted places always on sale at
the Hotel.

A Museum of Relics shewn to visitors.

                               A VOICE



                        _Déposé selon la loi._

                    _Entered at Stationers’ Hall._


              J. H. Briard, Printer, 4, Rue aux Laines.

  [Illustration: NAPOLEON.      WELLINGTON.]

                             A VOICE FROM


                       A HISTORY OF THE BATTLE

                     FOUGHT ON THE 18TH JUNE 1815




                         (LATE 7TH HUSSARS).

                     “Facts are stubborn things.”


                [Illustration: (decorative separator)]

                     PRINTED FOR THE PROPRIETOR,
                      B. GREEN, PATERNOSTER-ROW.


                            AS A TESTIMONY

       of the profound admiration entertained for His Lordship
                      by every British soldier,



            THE MARQUIS OF ANGLESEY, K.G., G.C.B., G.C.H.,

                _by His Lordship’s grateful servant_,

                                            E. COTTON, Sergeant-Major,

                                                     LATE 7TH HUSSARS.


                        TO THE SIXTH EDITION.

“A Voice from Waterloo” is the unassuming tale of an old soldier who
was an eyewitness of and actor in many of the scenes he attempts to

My having resided more than fourteen years on the field, as Guide,
and Describer of the battle, may be considered as the parent of the
present memoirs.

No one can be more convinced than I am, of my inability to do justice
to the subject: but I have had great advantages in communicating
personally on the spot with “Waterloo men” of every nation; all of
whom, from the general to the private, have evidently considered
it a duty and a pleasure to assist an old companion in arms. The
inquiries and comments made by those gallant men, have afforded me
opportunities of gleaning much information which no other person has
obtained, and has enabled me to give a fuller and truer history of
the battle, than a more talented man could have done, unless he had
enjoyed the same privilege.

One of my objects in writing, is to correct opinions which have gone
forth, and which are greatly at variance with facts: opinions so
erroneous as to warrant the remark of general Jomini, that “Never was
a battle so confusedly described as that of Waterloo.” It is certain
that the hour of many occurrences on the field has been erroneously
stated: such as of the arrival, or rather becoming engaged, of the
different Prussian corps; the fall of La Haye-Sainte, defeat of the
Imperial guard, etc.

After the publication of so many accounts of the battle of the
18th of June, it may be fairly asked on what grounds I expect to
awaken fresh interest in a subject so long before the public. Can
I reconcile the conflicting statements which have already appeared
in print? Can I add to the information which most of my countrymen
already possess concerning this memorable epoch? Or can I present
that information in a compendious and lucid form, such as the general
reader may still need? Something in all these ways, I hope I have

Putting aside some of the French and English accounts as not
only irreconcilable with facts, but as self-refuted by their
inconsistencies and mutual contradictions,—using such of the French
narratives as agree with those of their opponents, which, as
Wellington observed of Napoleon’s bulletins, may be safely relied
upon as far as they tell against themselves,—I have cleared up a
great number of the points disputed by our own writers, who agree
in the main, but differ in some circumstances involving not merely
questions of time and locality of certain events, but even the
claims of individuals, regiments and brigades to the honour attached
to their deeds on that day. By my long residence at Mont-St.-Jean,
constant study of the surface of the battle field, knowledge of the
composition and even _dress_ of the different bodies of the French
troops which stood before us, and by paying close attention to the
remarks made by many a gallant comrade revisiting the spot, I have in
a great measure succeeded in reconciling discrepancies which perhaps
no other person could explain.

I am also emboldened to think that my “VOICE FROM WATERLOO” presents
to the general reader all the leading facts of this eventful
struggle, in so concise a manner, and at so moderate a cost, as to
secure it a preference over every other narration of the battle.

Although not strictly belonging to “A VOICE FROM WATERLOO,” I have
added, as a connecting link in the narrative, an outline map, and a
sketch of the military operations of the campaign of 1815.

Most anxious to avoid the imputation of having employed the materials
of others without acknowledgment, I beg to state that, besides
various military periodicals, I have made use of captain Siborne’s
History of the War in France and Belgium: The Military Life of the
Duke of Wellington, by Major Basil Jackson and Captain Rochfort
Scott; The Wellington Dispatches and General Orders, by Colonel
Gurwood; Fall of Napoleon, by Colonel Mitchell; Political and
Military Life of Napoleon, and The Art of War, by General Jomini;
History of the King’s German Legion, by Major Beamish; Prussian
History of the Campaign of 1815, by General Grollman, etc., etc.

As to the manner in which I have executed my task, I know I am open
to criticism. No doubt many of my remarks will be considered too
digressive. Some persons will think I am too hard upon Napoleon: my
authorities in this are more frequently French than English. Others
will judge me too partial to the immortal Wellington.

Waterloo was termed by Napoleon, “a concurrence of unexempled
fatalities, a day not to be comprehended. Was there treason? or was
there only misfortune?”

Wellington said, that “he had never before fought so hard a battle,
nor won so great a victory.” If the reader derive the same impression
from his attention to “A VOICE FROM WATERLOO,” I shall be satisfied,
because I shall have succeeded.

                                         EDWARD COTTON,
                        _Waterloo Guide, and Describer of the Battle_.

  MONT-ST.-JEAN, February, 1849.


  TO THE MARQUIS OF ANGLESEY                                     _Page_ V

  PREFACE                                                             VII


  Napoleon leaves Elba; lands in France.—Louis XVIII quits
  Paris.—Napoleon, joined by the army, arrives in Paris.—Hostile
  declaration of the great powers of Europe against Napoleon,
  which he treats with contempt, and prepares for war.—France soon
  appears one vast camp.—Allied armies assemble in Belgium.—The
  duke of Wellington arrives and takes the command; adopts
  precautionary measures.—In consequence of rumours, his Grace
  issues a secret memorandum, and draws the army together.—Strength,
  composition and distribution of the allied, Prussian, and French
  armies.—Continued rumours; and certain intelligence of the enemy’s
  advance.—Importance of holding Brussels.—Napoleon’s attempt to
  surprise us frustrated.—Blücher concentrates his forces.—Napoleon
  joins his army, and issues his order of the day; attacks the
  Prussian outposts, and takes Charleroi.—Intelligence reaches the
  Duke.—Distribution of the enemy.—The Duke orders the army to
  prepare, and afterwards to march on Quatre-Bras.—The duchess of
  Richmond’s ball.—The troops in motion at early dawn.—His Grace
  proceeds by Waterloo to Quatre-Bras, and from thence to Ligny,
  where he meets Blücher, whom he promises to support, and returns
  to Quatre-Bras.—Picton’s division and the Brunswickers arrive at
  Quatre-Bras, and are attacked by the French left column under Ney;
  more of our troops arrive.—Outline of the battles of Quatre-Bras
  and Ligny.—Observations.                                              1


  Colonel Gordon’s patrol discovers the Prussians are retreating
  upon Wavre.—The allied army ordered to retire upon Waterloo.—The
  Duke writes to Blücher.—Retreat commenced, followed by the
  enemy.—Skirmishing.—Pressed by the lancers, who are charged by
  the 7th hussars; the latter are repulsed.—The life-guards make a
  successful charge.—Lord Anglesey’s letter, refuting a calumnious
  report of his regiment.—Allied army arrives on the Waterloo
  position.—The enemy arrive on the opposite heights, and salute
  us with round-shot, to which we reply to their cost.—Piquets
  thrown out on both sides.—Dismal bivac; a regular soaker.—The
  Duke and Napoleon’s quarters.—His Grace receives an answer from
  Blücher.—Probability of a quarrel on the morrow.—Orders sent to
  general Colville.—Description of the field of Waterloo; Hougoumont
  and La Haye-Sainte.—Disposition of the allied army, and the
  advantages of our position.—Disposition of the enemy, and admirable
  order of battle.—_The eve of Waterloo._—Morning of the 18th wet and
  uncomfortable; our occupation.—The Duke arrives; his appearance,
  dress, staff, etc.—Positions corrected.—French bands play, and
  their troops appear; are marshalled by Napoleon, a magnificent
  sight, worth ten years of peaceful life.—Why tarries Napoleon with
  his grand martial display?—The Emperor passes along his lines; his
  troops exhibit unbounded enthusiasm; his confidence of victory.      19


  The Duke at Hougoumont, makes a slight change, returns to the
  ridge.—Battle commences at Hougoumont; Jérôme’s columns put in
  motion, drew the fire of our batteries upon them, to which theirs
  replied.—Close fighting at Hougoumont.—Our left menaced by the
  enemy’s cavalry.—Howitzers open upon the enemy in the wood of
  Hougoumont.—The enemy press on and approach the masked wall,
  from whence the crashing fusillade astounds them.—Our troops
  under lord Saltoun charge and rout the enemy; a portion of whom
  pass Hougoumont on their right, and enter the gate; a desperate
  struggle ensues.—Gallantry of colonel Macdonell, sergeant Graham,
  and the Coldstream.—The enemy’s light troops drive off our
  right battery.—Colonel Woodford, with a body of the Coldstream,
  reinforces Hougoumont.—Sergeant Graham rescues his brother from the
  flames.—Prussian cavalry observed.—Hougoumont a stumbling-block to
  the enemy, who now prepare to attack our left.—Napoleon observes
  apart of Bulow’s Prussian corps, and detaches cavalry to keep
  them in check.—A Prussian hussar taken prisoner; his disclosures
  to the enemy.—Soult writes a dispatch to Grouchy.—Oversight of
  Napoleon, who orders Ney to attack our left.—D’Erlon’s columns
  advance; terrific fire of artillery.—La Haye-Sainte and Papelotte
  attacked.—Picton’s division, aided by Ponsonby’s cavalry, defeat
  the enemy.—Shaw the life-guardsman killed.—Struggle for a colour.—A
  female hussar killed.—Picton killed.—Scots Greys and Highlanders
  charge together.—Two eagles captured, with a host of prisoners.—Our
  heavy cavalry get out of hand.—Ponsonby killed.—12th dragoons
  charge.—Our front troops drawn back.—Charge of Kellermann’s
  cuirassiers, repulsed by Somerset’s household brigade, who
  following up the enemy mix with Ponsonby’s dragoons on the French
  position.—Captain Siborne’s narrative of the attack upon our left
  and centre.—Heroism of lord Uxbridge.                                47


  Hougoumont reinforced, the enemy driven back.—The enemy’s
  cavalry charge, and are driven off.—Struggle in the orchard
  continued.—Advance of a column of French infantry, who suffer
  and are checked by the terrific fire of our battery.—Napoleon
  directs his howitzers upon Hougoumont, which is soon set on
  fire; notwithstanding, the Duke ordered it to be held at any
  cost.—La Haye-Sainte again assailed.—A _ruse_ of the enemy’s
  lancers.—Fire of the enemy’s artillery increases.—Importance of
  our advanced posts.—Ney’s grand cavalry attacks; destructive
  fire of our guns upon them, and their gallantry.—After numerous
  fruitless attempts against our squares, the enemy get mixed; are
  broken, and driven back by our cavalry.—Their artillery again
  open fire upon us.—Extraordinary scene of warfare.—An ammunition
  waggon in a blaze.—The earth trembles with the concussion of the
  artillery.—Ney, reinforced with cavalry, continues his aggressions,
  and, as before, after repeated fruitless attacks, the assailants
  are driven off.—Terrific fire of artillery.—Not so many saddles
  emptied by our musketry as expected.—The enemy’s attacks less
  frequent and animated.—Captain Siborne’s lively description of
  Ney’s grand cavalry attack.                                          73


  Difficulties encountered by the Prussians on their march from
  Wavre; a portion of them are about debouching.—Blücher encourages
  them by his presence.—The Duke had been in constant communication
  with the Prussians, who take advantage of Napoleon’s neglecting
  to protect his right.—Two brigades of Bulow’s corps advance
  upon the French right.—A Prussian battery opens fire.—Cavalry
  demonstrations.—Napoleon orders De Lobau’s (sixth) corps to his
  right, to oppose the Prussians, and brings the old and middle
  guard forward.—Bulow extends his line and presses on.—De Lobau’s
  guns exchange a brisk cannonade with the Prussian batteries.—La
  Haye-Sainte again assailed and set on fire, which was got
  under.—Loss of a colour.—Destructive fire of our battery upon the
  French cavalry.—Our artillery suffer dreadfully from that of the
  enemy.—Hanoverian cavalry quit the field.—A column of the enemy’s
  infantry advances and is driven back.—Chassé’s division called
  back from Braine-l’Alleud.—Lord Hill’s troops brought forward, a
  sight quite reviving.—Struggle at Hougoumont continued.—Adam’s
  brigade attacks, drives back the enemy, and takes up an advanced
  position.—La Haye-Sainte taken by the French.—The 52d regiment in
  line repulses a charge of cuirassiers.—General Foy’s eulogium on
  our infantry.—Napoleon’s snappish reply to Ney’s demand.             85


  La Haye-Sainte strengthened by the enemy, who drive our riflemen
  from the knoll and sand-pit, and throw a crashing fire upon our
  front troops, who return it with vigour.—The enemy push forward,
  between La Haye-Sainte and our position, some guns that fire
  grape, but are soon dislodged.—Destructive fire of our rifles upon
  the cuirassiers.—Our guards and Halkett’s brigade assailed by
  skirmishers, who are driven off.—Prussian force in the field.—The
  Prussians approach Plancenoit.—De Lobau falls back.—Prussian
  round-shot fall at La Belle-Alliance.—The young guard sent to
  Plancenoit.—Blücher informed of Thielmann’s corps left at Wavre
  being vigorously attacked.—Desperate struggle at Plancenoit, which
  is reinforced by the enemy, when the whole Prussian force is driven
  back.—Onset follows onset.—The Duke, by aid of his telescope, looks
  for the Prussians.—Hougoumont continues a scene of carnage.—Our
  centre suffers dreadfully from the crowds of skirmishers who now
  press on in swarms.—French battery pushed forward, and dislodged by
  one of ours.—The 30th and 73d colours sent to the rear.—The Duke
  is coolness personified.—The troops murmur to be led on to try the
  effect of cold steel.—The Prussians keep up a cannonade.—Our line
  remains firm.—More Prussians swarming along.—Napoleon’s doom soon
  to be sealed.—Imperial guard formed into columns of attack.—Many
  of our guns rendered useless.—Disorder in our rear.—Our army much
  reduced; those left are determined to conquer or perish.—Vivian
  and Vandeleur’s brigades move from the left to the centre, which
  gives confidence to the few brave fellows remaining.—His Grace
  observes the enemy forming for attack, and makes preparations to
  receive the coming storm.—Colonel Freemantle sent in search of
  the Prussians.—Our centre continues a duelling ground.—Gallant
  conduct of the prince of Orange, who is wounded.—The Nassau-men
  and Brunswickers give way in confusion; Wellington gallops up, and
  aided by Vivian, Kielmansegge and other officers, puts all right
  again.                                                               97


  Napoleon advances his Imperial guard; gives it up to Ney.—The
  Emperor addresses his men for the last time.—Blücher’s guns blazing
  away, the enemy replies.—Napoleon circulates a false report.—The
  French guards about to attack men who, like themselves, had
  never been beaten.—Tremendous roar of artillery.—Vandersmissen’s
  brigade of guns arrives.—The right or leading column of the
  Imperial guard, on ascending the tongue of ground, suffers
  dreadfully from our double-charged guns, which it appears to
  disregard.—Ney’s horse killed.—The attacking column crowns the
  ridge, well supported.—“_Up, guards, make ready!_”—The British
  guards, Halkett’s brigade, with Bolton’s and Vandersmissen’s
  batteries, open fire upon the head of the assailing column, which
  it returns.—Gallantry of sir Colin Halkett.—The enemy in confusion,
  charged by our guards and Halkett’s 30th and 73d regiments.—The
  first French column, after displaying the most heroic courage,
  gives way in disorder.—The second attacking column approaching,
  suffers from our batteries.—Our guards, ordered to retire, get into
  disorder, which soon sets to right again.—Halkett’s brigade in
  great confusion, but soon recovers.—D’Aubremé’s Netherlanders in
  the greatest disorder.—Our batteries, with the guards, open fire
  upon the head of the left attacking column, whilst the 52d and
  rifles assail its front and left flank; the French return the fire
  with vigour.—The crisis.—The enemy in confusion, charged in flank,
  gives way.—Pursued by Adam’s brigade.—Vivian’s hussars launched
  forward upon the enemy’s reserves; their disposition.—General
  disposition of the Prussian and French armies.                      111


  As the Imperial guard retired in the greatest disorder, its retreat
  caused a panic throughout the French army.—The Prussians being
  relieved from the pressure of the enemy’s right _en potence_,
  their operations begin to take effect.—Wellington observing the
  state of things, determines to attack, and orders the advance of
  his whole line.—His Grace in front, hat high in air.—Vivian’s
  hussars get a message from the Duke; they form line, attack and
  drive off the enemy.—Colonel Murray’s dangerous leap.—Vandeleur’s
  brigade advanced.—Major Howard killed.—General Cambronne made
  prisoner.—Adam’s brigade attacks and drives off the rallied
  force of the Imperial guard.—Lord Uxbridge wounded; sir J. O.
  Vandeleur commands the cavalry.—Sir Colin Campbell begs the Duke
  not to remain under the heavy fire.—Adam’s brigade menaced by
  cuirassiers.—His Grace with but one attendant.—Adam’s brigade
  falls upon a broken column of the enemy.—Singular encounter
  and act of bravery.—Repugnance to the shedding of human blood
  unnecessarily.—Battery and prisoners captured.—Adam’s brigade
  in the line of fire of a Prussian battery.—The 71st capture a
  battery.—Prussian dispositions to attack Plancenoit and the French
  right.—Operations of the allies during this period.—Plancenoit
  the scene of a dreadful struggle.—Bravery of the young guard, who
  save their eagle.—Humane conduct of their general Pelet.—Napoleon
  in a square, much pressed.—Wellington and his advanced troops at
  Rossomme, where the pursuit is relinquished by us, and continued by
  the Prussians, who, busy in the work of death, press on and capture
  sixty guns.—On returning towards Waterloo, the Duke meets Blücher,
  who promises to keep the enemy moving.—His Grace is silent, sombre,
  and dejected for the loss of his friends.—Bivac.—Observations.      123


  Morning after the battle.—Extraordinary and distressing appearance
  of the field.—Solicitude for the wounded.—The Duke goes back
  to Brussels to consult the authorities and soothe the extreme
  excitement.—Humane conduct of all classes towards the wounded.—The
  allied army proceeds to Nivelles; joined by our detached
  force.—His Grace issues a general order.—Overtakes the army. On
  the 21st we cross the frontier into France.—Proclamation to the
  French people.—Napoleon abdicates in favour of his son.—Cambray
  and Péronne taken.—Narrow escape of the Duke.—Grouchy retreats
  upon Paris, closely pursued by the Prussians.—The British and
  Prussian armies arrive before Paris.—Combat of Issy.—Military
  convention.—The allies enter the capital on the 7th of July.—Louis
  XVIII enters next day.—Napoleon surrenders at sea, July 15th.—He is
  exiled to St.-Helena, where he dies in 1821.—Reflections.           137


  English, Prussian and French official accounts of the
  battle.—Marshal Grouchy’s report of the battle of Wavre.—Returns of
  the different armies.—Position of the allied artillery.—Artillery,
  etc., taken at Waterloo.—Questions connected with the campaign;
  Wellington’s position at Waterloo.—Opinion of general
  Jomini.—The Duke’s plans and expectations.—His letter to lord
  Castlereagh.—Resolution of the allied powers, on receiving the
  intelligence of Napoleon’s flight from Elba.—Wellington’s letter to
  general Kleist.—The Duke’s decision.—His anticipations.—Obstacles
  which his Grace met with.—Conduct of the Saxon troops.—Blücher
  forced by them to quit Liège.—Wellington’s resolution concerning
  these troops.                                                       145


  Napoleon’s plans of campaign.—His letter to Ney, and proclamation
  to the Belgians.—His sanguine expectations, and utter
  disappointment.—Opinions of French authors on the circumstance of
  Napoleon’s not reaching Brussels.—Their inconsistencies.—Desire
  of Napoleon to make his marshals responsible for errors he
  committed.—Opinion of M. de Vaulabelle.—Napoleon’s charges against
  Grouchy; impossibility of the latter’s preventing a portion
  of the Prussians reaching the field of Waterloo—The Emperor’s
  charges against Ney refuted.—Admirable conduct of Ney during the
  campaign.—Mode of history-writing at St.-Helena.—The battle not
  fought against the French nation.—Napoleon’s character.—Motley
  composition and equivocal loyalty of part of the allied
  army.—Refutation of the charge that the Duke was taken by surprise;
  credulity of some English writers on this subject.—His Grace’s
  admirable precaution.—Foreign statements, that the Prussians saved
  us, examined.—The tardy cooperation of the Prussians produced,
  not the defeat, but the total rout of the French.—Conversation of
  Napoleon at St.-Helena.—Gourgaud’s account.—Opinions of the Duke
  and lord Hill.—Ney’s testimony in the Chamber of Peers.             177


  No. I.

  Wellington’s Secret Memorandum.—General orders for the movements of
  the army.                                                           209

  No. II.

  Letters from lord Wellington, connected with the campaign: To Sir
  Charles Stuart, and the duc de Berry; dated three o’clock in the
  morning, 18th June, 1815.—To the earl of Aberdeen, the duke of
  Beaufort, and Marshal prince Schwarzenberg; expressing his grief
  for the loss of some friends on the field.—To general Dumouriez,
  the earl of Uxbridge, prince de Talleyrand, and lord Beresford; on
  his conviction that Napoleon had received his death-blow.—To lord
  Bathurst, saying that he would not be cajoled by the diplomatists,
  to suspend hostilities until Napoleon was secured from exciting
  fresh troubles.—The Duke informs the French commissioners, that
  he cannot consent to any suspension of hostilities.—His Grace
  insists upon sparing Napoleon’s life, prevents the bridge of Jena
  being destroyed, and protects Paris from Prussian vengeance.—To
  the French commissioners, stating his desire to save their
  capital.—Continued mediation with Blücher, to spare the Parisians’
  pockets, and preserve them from humiliation; for which the French
  were most ungrateful, as the subsequent letters show.—Memorandum
  respecting marshal Ney.—Proclamation of Louis XVIII.—To Scott,
  Esq., on the loss of La Haye-Sainte, recommending him to leave
  the battle of Waterloo as it is.—To the duke of York, and lord
  Bathurst, on the expediency of granting medals.                     213

  No. III.

  Summary of Wellington’s career.                                     233

  No. IV.

  Returns of the strength and loss of the British army.—List of
  British officers killed and wounded.                                236

  No. V.

  Marshal Blücher to baron Müffling.—Note of general Gneisenau.—The
  prince de la Moskowa to the duc d’Otrante.                          252

  No. VI.

  Anecdotes relative to the Waterloo campaign.                        258

  No. VII.

  List of officers who afforded the author information.—Testimonials
  and presents he has received relating to the battle.                272


  1. Wellington and Napoleon                              _Frontispiece._

  2. Outline Map of the campaign                         _facing page_  1

  3. Field of Waterloo                                                 26

  4. Hougoumont                                                        28

  5. Marshal Ney                                                       52

  6. Sir Thomas Picton                                                 58

  7. Lord Uxbridge                                                     70

  8. Field-Marshal Blücher                                             86

  9. Lord Hill                                                         93

  10. La Belle-Alliance                                                99

  11. Napoleon                                                        190

  12. Plan of the Field of Waterloo, towards sun-set,
      on June 18th                                          _at the end._


_Drawn for Cotton’s Voice from Waterloo._]

                               A VOICE



               [Illustration: (decorative separator)]

                             CHAPTER I.

  Napoleon leaves Elba; lands in France.—Louis XVIII quits
  Paris.—Napoleon, joined by the army, arrives in Paris.—Hostile
  declaration of the great powers of Europe against Napoleon,
  which he treats with contempt, and prepares for war.—France soon
  appears one vast camp.—Allied armies assemble in Belgium.—The
  duke of Wellington arrives and takes the command; adopts
  precautionary measures.—In consequence of rumours, his Grace
  issues a secret memorandum, and draws the army together.—Strength,
  composition and distribution of the allied, Prussian, and French
  armies.—Continued rumours; and certain intelligence of the enemy’s
  advance.—Importance of holding Brussels.—Napoleon’s attempt to
  surprise us frustrated.—Blücher concentrates his forces.—Napoleon
  joins his army, and issues his order of the day; attacks the
  Prussian outposts, and takes Charleroi.—Intelligence reaches the
  Duke.—Distribution of the enemy.—The Duke orders the army to
  prepare, and afterwards to march on Quatre-Bras.—The duchess of
  Richmond’s ball.—The troops in motion at early dawn.—His Grace
  proceeds by Waterloo to Quatre-Bras, and from thence to Ligny,
  where he meets Blücher, whom he promises to support, and returns
  to Quatre-Bras.—Picton’s division and the Brunswickers arrive at
  Quatre-Bras, and are attacked by the French left column under Ney;
  more of our troops arrive.—Outline of the battles of Quatre-Bras
  and Ligny.—Observations.

On the 26th of February 1815, Napoleon, accompanied by about a
thousand of his guards, and all his civil and military officers,
secretly left the isle of Elba, and landed the 1st of March, near
Cannes, on the coast of Provence. The Emperor immediately marched
towards the French capital; and arrived in Paris on the evening of
the 20th; the same day that Louis XVIII set out for Ghent.

Joined by all the troops which had been sent to oppose him, Napoleon
was enabled to re-establish his authority in France. Amongst those
who rejoined him, was marshal Ney, “_le Brave des Braves_;” he who
had so warmly expressed himself in favour of the restoration of the
Bourbons, and who, when appointed to the command of a body of troops
to oppose his former master, declared, whilst kissing the king’s
hand, that “he would bring back Napoleon _in an iron cage_.” Ney and
the iron cage was the chief topic of conversation in Paris, when the
news of his having joined Napoleon with his _corps d’armée_ reached
that capital[1].

The great powers of Europe, then assembled in congress at Vienna,
instantly declared, that Napoleon, by breaking the convention which
established him as an independent sovereign at Elba, had destroyed
the only legal title on which his political existence depended,
placed himself without the pale of the law, and proved to the world,
that there could neither be truce nor peace with him. The allied
powers, in consequence, denounced Napoleon as the enemy and disturber
of the tranquillity of Europe, and resolved immediately upon uniting
their forces against him and his faction, to preserve, if possible,
the general peace.

Notwithstanding the hostile declaration of the allied sovereigns,
they were utterly unable to put their armies in motion without
that most powerful lever, _English gold_, the real sinews of war.
Britain’s expenditure in 1815, was no less than 110,000,000_l._
sterling; out of which immense sum 11,000,000_l._ were distributed
as subsidies amongst the contracting powers: Austria received
1,796,220_l._; Russia, 3,241,919_l._; Prussia, 2,382,823_l._; and
Hanover, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands, with
the smaller German states, shared the remainder amongst them.

Menacing as the position of the allies towards Napoleon appeared to
be, and imposing as were their armies assembling to oppose him, he
assumed a bold and resolute posture of defence. The general aspect
of France at that time was singularly warlike; nearly the whole
nation appeared to be electrified, and buckled on its armour to join
the messenger of war. The exaltation of Napoleon was soon however
sobered down by the arrival in Paris of the declaration of the allied
powers, which document was little calculated to produce a favourable
impression as to the ultimate success of the Emperor’s enterprise.
The war-cry of nearly every state in Europe was, _To arms! Draw the
sword, throw away the scabbard, until the usurper shall be entirely
subjugated and his adherents put down_.

Napoleon, however, appeared undismayed, and endeavoured, by every
means, to conceal the determined resolution of Europe from the
French nation, who, for the most part, cheerfully responded to their
leader’s call. Troops were organized, as if by magic, all over the
country. The scarred veterans of a hundred battles, they who had
followed their “_petit caporal_” through many a gory fight, heard
with joy the voice of their idolized Emperor, summoning them again to
glorious war and the battle field. There was a generation of fierce,
daring, war-breathing men, ever ready to range themselves under the
Imperial banners. Davoust states that France, on Napoleon’s return,
was overrun with soldiers just released from the prisons of Europe,
most of whom counted as many battles as years, and who quickly
flocked round the Imperial eagles. Transports of artillery, arms,
ammunition waggons, with all the materials of war, were to be seen
moving from every point towards the frontiers. France, in a short
time, bore the appearance of one vast camp.

To completely surround Paris with fortifications, as Louis-Philippe
has since done, was also the desire of Napoleon, who inquired of
Carnot, how much time and money it would require. “Three years and
two hundred millions,” replied the minister, “and when finished,
I would only ask for sixty thousand men and twenty-four hours to
demolish the whole.”

Early in April 1815, the allied troops began to assemble in Belgium.
The Anglo-Hanoverian army, commanded by the prince of Orange,
(afterwards William II,) had occupied the Low-Countries for the
protection of Belgium and Holland, which had been constituted by the
congress of Vienna a new monarchy, under the name of the Kingdom
of the Netherlands. This army comprised about 28,000 men, 15,000
being British and German troops; a part of these were the remains of
lord Lynedoch’s army, and the remainder young Hanoverians. 20,000
Dutch-Belgians were raised to act in concert with these troops.
The general appearance of the army is thus described by sir Henry,
now lord Hardinge, in a letter to lord Stewart: “This army is not
unlike lord Randscliff’s description of a French pack of hounds:
pointers, poodles, turnspits, all mixed up together and running in
sad confusion.”

The duke of Wellington arrived in Brussels from the congress of
Vienna on the night of April 4th, and took the command of the allied
army; but the Dutch-Belgian army had not been placed immediately
under the Duke’s command. His Grace being strongly convinced that
his power of regulating the movements of the Dutch-Belgian troops
ought not to be left open to any cavil or dispute, demanded the
most unequivocal statement upon this matter from the king of the
Netherlands. Nothing less than this measure could have made those
troops serviceable to the cause of their country; such was still the
fascinating power of Napoleon’s name over countries in which his rule
and conscriptions had subdued and enervated the minds of men. On the
4th of May, Wellington received copies of the king’s decrees, making
him field-marshal in his service, and placing the Dutch-Belgian army
entirely under his command[2]. The Duke immediately put matters in a
better condition, and instructed the prince of Orange how to keep up
the necessary communications[3]. He transferred prince Frederick’s
corps to lord Hill[4], warned the Prussian commandant at Charleroi,
the duke of Berry, and all others concerned, to be on the alert; he
also gave them exact accounts of the movements and strength of the
enemy between Valenciennes and Maubeuge. All this was accomplished by
the Duke before the 10th of May. On the 11th, he wrote to sir Henry
Hardinge, then attached to the Prussian head-quarters for the purpose
of communication, that he reckoned the enemy’s strength on the
frontiers at 110,000 men; and was glad that Blücher was drawing his
forces nearer to the British. His Grace adopted the most effective
measures for placing all the fortified towns and strong places in a
condition to embarrass the enemy; and notwithstanding the objections
made, by interested parties, to the necessary inundations, he was
firm in ordering them, wherever the general security required it.
The Duke sent able engineers to limit, as much as possible, the
injury arising from letting out the waters, and to inundate with
fresh instead of salt water, when practicable. For this timely care
of the general interests, and even, as far as it was possible, of
private property, the return he met with was unceasing complaints
from the authorities of the several towns, where these measures had
been applied. But the Duke did his duty firmly, and, after some
expostulation with unreasonable grumblers, compelled them to do
theirs. On the 7th of June, he issued his orders for the defence of
the towns of Antwerp, Ostend, Nieuport, Ypres, Tournay, Ath, Mons
and Ghent. The governors of these respective towns were required to
declare them in a state of siege, the moment the enemy should put
his foot on the Belgian territory: the towns were to be defended
to the utmost; and if any governor surrendered before sustaining
at least one assault, and without the consent of his council, he
should be deemed guilty, not only of military disobedience, but of
high treason. Such decisive measures were rendered necessary, in
consequence of the equivocal loyalty of many who held municipal and
military rank in the Netherlands. The king had prudently invested
Wellington with these important powers, and no man could have
exercised them more effectively.

The French court (Louis XVIII and his suite) received advice how to
save themselves by retiring to Antwerp, in case the enemy should
succeed in turning the British right: they were desired to be in no
alarm, nor to be startled by mere rumours, but to await positive
information. Having thus provided for the military wants, and even
for the _fears_ of those behind him, the Duke devoted his whole
attention to the army; and in proportion as the storm approached,
repeated his warnings to the Prussians, by incessant dispatches to
sir Henry Hardinge. He also sent frequent instructions to his own
officers who were the nearest to the enemy, to keep on the alert.

The regiment I belonged to disembarked at Ostend on the 21st of
April, and we soon found there was work in hand. Swords were to
be ground and well pointed, and the frequent inspections of arms,
ammunition, camp equipage, etc., plainly announced that we were
shortly about to take the field. The army, soon after our arrival,
had, in consequence of a _secret memorandum_[5] issued by the duke of
Wellington to the chief officers in command, drawn closer together,
in the probable expectation of an attack, and our great antagonist
was not the sort of man to send us word of the when and the where.
Louis XVIII, with his suite and a train of followers, being with us
at Ghent, we were not destitute of information. Napoleon was as well
informed of all that transpired in Belgium as if it had taken place
at the Tuileries.

Things continued in this state until June, when, from various
rumours, we began to be more on the alert.

At the commencement of operations, the duke of Wellington’s army
comprised about 105,000 men, including the troops in garrison, and
composed of about 35,000 British, 6,000 King’s German legion, 24,000
Hanoverians, 7,000 Brunswickers, and 32,000 Dutch-Belgians and
Nassau-men, with a hundred and ninety-six guns. Many in the ranks
of the last-named troops had served under Napoleon, and there still
prevailed amongst them a most powerful prejudice in his favour;
it was natural, therefore, that we should not place too strong a
reliance upon them, whenever they might become opposed to their old
companions in arms.

The Anglo-allied army was divided into two corps, of five divisions
each. The first was commanded by the prince of Orange; its
head-quarters being Braine-le-Comte. Those of the second corps,
under lord Hill, were at Grammont. The cavalry, divided into eleven
brigades, was commanded by the earl of Uxbridge, now marquis of
Anglesey; head-quarters Ninove. His Grace’s head-quarters were at
Brussels, in and around which place was our reserve of all arms,
ready to be thrown into whatever point of our line the enemy might
attack, so as to hold the ground until the rest of the army could be

The Prussian army, under the veteran prince Blücher, consisted of
about 115,000 men, divided into four corps, each composed of four
brigades. The head-quarters of the 1st, or Zieten’s corps, were
at Charleroi; the 2d, Pirch’s, at Namur, which was also Blücher’s
head-quarters; the 3d, Thielmann’s, at Ciney; and the 4th, Bulow’s,
at Liège.

Each corps had a reserve cavalry attached, respectively commanded by
generals Röder, Jurgass, Hobe, and prince William. Their artillery
comprised three hundred and twelve guns.

The Prussian army was posted on the frontier upon our left, from
Charleroi to Maestricht. Our left, communicating with Blücher’s
right, was at Binche; and our right stretched to the sea.

A large proportion of the British troops was composed of weak second
and third battalions, made up of militia and recruits, who had never
been under fire[6]; most of our best-tried Spanish infantry, the
victors of many a hard-fought field, were on their way from America.
The foreign troops, with the exception of the old gallant Peninsular
German legion, were chiefly composed of new levies, hastily embodied,
and very imperfectly drilled; quite inexperienced in war, raw
militia-men in every sense of the word, and wholly strangers to the
British troops and to each other. Nor was the Prussian army what
it had been; it was no longer the old Silesian one: many soldiers
had just been embodied, and thousands had fought under the Imperial

The French army of the North, commanded by the Emperor in person,
and destined to act against Belgium, early in June, was divided into
six corps, and cantoned: the 1st, or D’Erlon’s, at Lille; the 2d,
or Reille’s, at Valenciennes; the 3d, or Vandamme’s, at Mézières;
the 4th, or Gérard’s, at Metz; and the 6th, or Lobau’s, at Laon.
The Imperial guard was in Paris. The reserve cavalry, commanded by
generals Pajol, Excelmans, Milhaut, and Kellermann, cantoned between
the Aisne, the Meuse and the Sambre. There were three hundred and
fifty pieces of artillery.

On the 16th of May, we received intelligence of there being 110,000
French troops in our front. On the 1st of June, it was rumoured that
we were to be attacked; Napoleon was to be at Laon on the 6th, and
extraordinary preparations were being made for the conveyance of
troops in carriages from Paris to the frontiers. Intelligence reached
the Duke, on the 10th of the same month, that Napoleon had arrived
at Maubeuge, and was passing along the frontier. On the 12th, it was
ascertained, for certain, that the French army had assembled and was
about to cross the frontiers[7]; but the Duke, for reasons we shall
hereafter give, did not think proper to move his troops until quite
satisfied as to the point where Napoleon would make his attack; that
point proved to be Charleroi, on the high-road to Brussels, on the
left of the allied and right of the Prussian armies, said to be the
most favourable for defeating the two armies, in detail; which I am
inclined to doubt. Situated as the allied and Prussian armies were,
Napoleon, by attempting to wedge his army in between the two, was
pretty certain of having both upon him: he could not aim a blow at
one enemy without being assailed in flank or rear by the other.

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, lies in the very centre of that
country, which was declared by general Gneisenau, chief of the
Prussian staff, to be a formidable bastion, flanking efficaciously
any invasion meditated by France against Germany, and serving at the
same time as a _tête de pont_ to England.

Napoleon had numerous partisans and friends in Belgium, who secretly
espoused his cause, and who, no doubt, would have seconded him in
his attempt to again annex that country to the French Empire. The
people also were by no means reconciled to the union forced upon them
by the congress of Vienna, a union with a country differing from
them in religion and customs; and the dense population and troops of
Belgium might probably have made a movement in favour of the French,
had Napoleon obtained possession of the capital. From the tenor of
Napoleon’s letter to Ney, and his proclamations to his army and to
the Belgians[8], it is quite evident that the Emperor expected a
manifestation of this kind. This would certainly have added to his
cause that moral force of which it stood so much in need, and have
induced thousands to rally round the Imperial eagles.

Brussels was our main line of operations and the line of
communication with Ostend and Antwerp, the dépôts where our
reinforcements and supplies were landed. The Duke, in consequence,
saw clearly, it was of the utmost importance, both in a military and
political point of view, to preserve an uninterrupted communication
with those ports, and that the enemy should not, even for a moment,
obtain possession of Brussels[9].

By the Emperor’s masterly arrangements his army was assembled on the
frontiers with astonishing secrecy; but his intention of taking the
two armies by surprise was defeated, on the night of the 13th, by
the Prussian outposts, in advance of Charleroi, having observed the
horizon illumined by the reflection of numerous bivac fires in the
direction of Beaumont and Maubeuge, which announced that a numerous
enemy had assembled in their immediate front; this intelligence was
forthwith transmitted to both Wellington and Blücher.

Zieten, the Prussian commander at Charleroi, received intelligence,
on the afternoon of the 14th, that the enemy’s columns were
assembling in his front, the certain prelude to an attack, probably
the next day. Blücher, apprized of this about ten o’clock the same
evening, immediately sent off orders for the concentration of the
Prussian army at Fleurus, a preconcerted plan between the two
commanders. When the order was first sent to Bulow at Liège, to move
to Hannut, had the most trifling hint been given him of the French
being about to attack, he would probably have been up in time to
share in the battle of Ligny, which might have changed the aspect of

After dispatching orders for the concentration of the Grand army,
Napoleon left Paris on the 12th, and, as he himself states, under a
great depression of spirits, aware he was leaving a host of enemies
behind, more formidable than those he was going to confront. He slept
at Laon, and arrived at Avesnes on the 13th, near which place he
found his army assembled, amounting, according to his own account,
to 122,400 men and three hundred and fifty guns. Their bivacs were
behind small hills, about a league from the frontier, situated so as
to be concealed, in a great measure, from the view of their opponents.

The Emperor’s arrival amongst his devoted soldiers raised their
spirits to the highest degree of enthusiasm, and on the 14th he
issued the following order:

                             “IMPERIAL HEAD-QUARTERS, 14th June, 1815.

  “Napoleon, by the grace of God and the constitution of the Empire,
  Emperor of the French, etc.

  “Soldiers! this day is the anniversary of Marengo and of
  Friedland, which twice decided the fate of Europe. Then, as after
  Austerlitz, as after Wagram, we were too generous: we believed in
  the protestations and in the oaths of princes, whom we left on
  their thrones. Now, however, leagued together, they aim at the
  independence and most sacred rights of France; they have commenced
  the most unjust of aggressions. Let us then march to meet them: are
  they, and we, no longer the same men?

  “Soldiers! at Jena, against those same Prussians, now so arrogant,
  you were one to three, and at Montmirail one to six. Let those
  amongst you, who have been captives to the English, describe the
  nature of their prison ships, and the frightful miseries you

  “The Saxons, the Belgians, the Hanoverians, the soldiers of the
  Confederation of the Rhine, lament that they are compelled to use
  their arms in the cause of princes, the enemies of justice, and of
  the rights of nations. They know that this coalition is insatiable:
  after having devoured twelve millions of Italians, one million
  of Saxons, and six millions of Belgians, it now wishes to devour
  the states of the second rank in Germany. Madmen! one moment of
  prosperity has bewildered them: the oppression and humiliation of
  the French people are beyond their power: if they enter France,
  they will find their grave.

  “Soldiers! we have forced marches to make, battles to fight,
  dangers to encounter; but with firmness, victory will be ours.

  “The rights, the honour and the happiness of the country will be

  “To every Frenchman who has a heart, the moment is now arrived to
  conquer or to die[10].”

About four o’clock in the morning of the 15th of June, Napoleon
attacked the Prussian outposts in front of Charleroi, at Thuin and
Lobbes[11]. The Prussians fell back, slowly and with great caution,
on their supports. By some unaccountable neglect Willington was not
informed of the attack until after three o’clock in the afternoon,
although the distance from Thuin and Lobbes to Brussels is but
forty-five miles[12]. Had a well arranged communication been kept up,
the Duke could have been informed of the first advance of the French
by ten o’clock A.M., and of the real line of attack by four P.M.

The French were in possession of Charleroi by eleven o’clock. The
Prussians retired to a position between Ligny and St.-Amand, nearly
twenty miles from the outposts. At three o’clock in the afternoon,
the 2d Prussian corps had taken position not far from Ligny; Blücher
had established his head-quarters at Sombreffe. The advanced posts
of the French left column were at Frasnes, three miles beyond
Quatre-Bras, from which the advanced posts of the allies had been
driven. Ney’s head-quarters were at Gosselies, with a part of his
troops only, whilst D’Erlon’s corps and the cavalry of Kellermann
were on the Sambre. The centre column of the French army lay near
Fleurus, the right column near Châtelet, and the reserve, composed of
the Imperial guard and the 6th corps, between Charleroi and Fleurus.

The duke of Wellington, although apprized of the advance of Napoleon
and his attack on the Prussian outposts, would make no movement to
leave Brussels uncovered, until certain of the real line of attack,
as such attacks are often made to mask the real direction of the main
body of the enemy. But orders were immediately transmitted to the
different divisions to assemble and hold themselves in readiness to
march, _some at a moment’s notice_, and _some at day-light in the

Lord Uxbridge was ordered to get the cavalry together at the
head-quarters (Ninove) that night, leaving the 2d hussars of the
King’s German legion on the look-out between the Scheldt and the Lys.

The troops in Brussels, composed of the 5th, or Picton’s division,
the 81st regiment, and the Hanoverian brigade of the 6th division,
called the reserve, were to be in readiness to march at a moment’s

After the Duke had completed his arrangements for the concentration
of the army, his Grace, with many of our officers, went to the
celebrated ball, given, on the eve of the memorable engagement at
Quatre-Bras, by the duchess of Richmond, at her residence, now
_Nº 9, Rue des Cendres, Boulevard Botanique_, near the _Porte de
Cologne_. The saloons of the duchess were filled with a brilliant
company of distinguished guests. The officers in their magnificent
uniforms, threading the mazy dance with the most lovely and beautiful
women. The ball was at its height, when the duke of Wellington first
received _positive_ intelligence that Napoleon had crossed the
Sambre with his whole army and taken possession of Charleroi. The
excitement which ensued, on the company being made acquainted with
Napoleon’s advance, was most extraordinary. The countenances which,
a moment before, were lighted up with pleasure and gaiety, now wore
a most solemn aspect. The duke of Brunswick, sitting with a child
(the present prince de Ligne) on his knees, was so affected, that
in rising he let the prince fall on the floor. The guests little
imagined that the music which accompanied the gay and lively dances
at her Grace’s ball, would so shortly after play martial airs on the
battle field, or that some of the officers present at the _fête_
would be seen fighting in their ball dresses, and, in that costume,
found amongst the slain.

At about the same time, his Grace also received information from his
outposts in front of Mons, and from other sources, which proved that
the enemy’s movement upon Charleroi was the real point of attack, and
he immediately issued the following orders:

                                           “BRUSSELS, 15th June, 1815.


  “The 5th” (Picton’s) “division of infantry, to march on Waterloo at
  two o’clock to-morrow morning.

  “The 3d” (Alten’s) “division of infantry, to continue its movement
  from Braine-le-Comte upon Nivelles.

  “The 1st” (Cooke’s) “division of infantry, to move from Enghien
  upon Braine-le-Comte.

  “The 2d” (Clinton’s) “and 4th” (Colville’s) “division of infantry,
  to move from Ath and Grammont, also from Audenaerde, and to
  continue their movements upon Enghien.

  “The cavalry, to continue its movement from Ninove upon Enghien.

  “The above movements to take place with as little delay as possible.


Picton’s division and the Hanoverian brigade marched from Brussels
about two o’clock A.M., on the 16th, taking the road to Waterloo
by the forest of Soigne; near which they halted to refresh, and to
await orders, to march either on Nivelles or Quatre-Bras, (the roads
branching off at Mont-St.-Jean,) according as the Duke might direct,
upon his becoming acquainted with the real state of affairs in front.
Shortly after they were joined by the Brunswickers.

      “And Ardennes[14] waves above them her green leaves,
      Dewy with nature’s tear-drops, as they pass,
      Grieving, if aught, inanimate e’er grieves,
      Over the unreturning brave,—alas!
      Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
      Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
      In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
      Of living valour, rolling on the foe
      And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.”

While halting, the duke of Wellington, who had left Brussels between
seven and eight o’clock, passed with his staff, and gave strict
orders to keep the road clear of baggage, and everything that
might obstruct the movements of the troops. The duke of Brunswick
dismounted, and seated himself on a bank on the road side, in company
of his adjutant-general, colonel Olfermann. How little did those who
observed this incident, think, that in a few hours the illustrious
duke would, with many of themselves, be laid low in death! and
numbers truly there were amongst the slain ere the sun set.

About twelve o’clock, orders arrived for the troops to proceed on
to Quatre-Bras, leaving the baggage behind; this looked rather
warlike, but as yet nothing was known for certain. The Duke galloped
on, and, after a hasty glance at the Waterloo position, rode to
Quatre-Bras, where he conversed with the prince of Orange respecting
the disposition of the troops as they arrived. His Grace well
reconnoitred the enemy’s position. Seeing the latter were not in
great force, he rode on to hold a conference with Blücher, whom he
found about half-past one o’clock P.M. at the wind-mill at Bussy,
between Ligny and Bry, where towards noon, by great activity and
exertion, three corps of the Prussian army, about 85,000 men, had
been put in position, but so disposed as to draw from the Duke his
disapprobation of the arrangements. His Grace saw that the enemy were
strong in Blücher’s front, and promising to support his gallant and
venerable colleague, shook hands and returned to Quatre-Bras, where
he arrived at about half-past two o’clock, soon after which time
Napoleon began his attack upon Blücher.

Marshal Ney, who commanded the French troops at Quatre-Bras,
commenced his attack upon Perponcher’s Dutch-Belgian division under
the prince of Orange. About two o’clock, Picton’s division came up,
composed of Kempt’s brigade, the 28th, 32d, 79th Highlanders, and
1st battalion 95th rifles, and of Pack’s brigade, the 1st Royal,
44th, 42d and 92d Highlanders, with Best’s Hanoverian brigade; soon
after, the Brunswickers arrived incomplete, and some Nassau troops.
Towards six o’clock, sir Colin Halkett’s brigade, the 30th, 33d,
69th, and 73d regiments, also Kielmansegge’s Hanoverian brigade,
most opportunely reached the scene of action. Pack’s noble fellows
were by this time so hard pressed, so much exhausted, and their
ammunition was so nearly expended, that sir Denis Pack applied for
a fresh supply of cartridges, or assistance, to sir Colin Halkett,
who immediately ordered the 69th to push on and obey any orders
given by Pack; the latter then galloped forward to a commanding
point, and soon discovered the formation of a large force of
cuirassiers preparing for attack. He spurred off to his brigade
to prepare them for the coming storm, and in passing by the 69th,
ordered colonel Morice to form square, as the enemy’s cavalry was
at hand. The formation was nearly completed, when the prince of
Orange rode up, and, by a decided misconception, most indiscreetly
directed them to reform line, which they were in the act of doing,
when the rushing noise in the high corn announced the arrival of the
enemy’s cuirassiers, who charged them in flank, rode right along
them, regularly rolling them up. A cuirassier carried off the 69th’s
colour, in defence of which cadet Clarke, afterwards lieutenant in
the 42d, received twenty-three wounds, one of which deprived him of
the use of an arm for life.

The duke of Wellington was nearly taken prisoner, and owed his escape
to an order which he promptly gave to a part of the 92d, who were
lining a ditch, to lie down whilst he galloped over them.

A little before seven o’clock, sir G. Cooke’s division, composed of
the 1st brigade, under major-general Maitland, (the second and third
battalions of the 1st foot-guards,) and of the 2d brigade, under sir
J. Byng, (now lord Strafford,) composed of the 2d battalions of the
Coldstream and the 3d foot-guards, came up, and soon drove the enemy
back. Ney’s attacks were maintained with the greatest impetuosity
during the first hours, but they became fewer and feebler as our
reinforcements joined us, and towards the close of the day conducted
with greater caution. Soon after sun-set, Ney fell back upon Frasnes,
and the desperate struggle terminated. The duke of Wellington then
advanced his victorious troops to the foot of the French position,
when piquets for the night were thrown forward by both parties. Thus
ended the action of Quatre-Bras, during which our troops were fully
employed, and the Duke prevented from rendering his promised aid to
the Prussians. It was only through the greatest personal exertions
of our gallant chief and the most determined resistance on the part
of his troops, that the enemy’s attacks were repulsed, and our
communication with Blücher at Ligny by the Namur road kept open.
The Emperor’s instructions to Ney to drive back the English, whom
he supposed to be at that point in no great numbers, and afterwards
to turn round and envelop the Prussian right flank, were completely
frustrated. Our force in the field towards the close of the day was
about 29,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and sixty-eight guns; that of
the enemy, about 16,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, with fifty guns.

To the fortunate circumstance of the marching and countermarching
of D’Erlon’s corps (Ney’s reserve) between Frasnes, Ligny and
Quatre-Bras, without pulling a trigger, we may probably attribute our
success on the 16th. An additional force of 25,000 men, either at
Ligny or Quatre-Bras, might have gained Napoleon a decisive victory.

The action at Quatre-Bras possessed its own peculiar and important
merits, which, with our masterly retreat to the Waterloo position,
would have been sounded by the trumpet of fame, but for the glorious
achievement that immediately followed on the field of Waterloo.

In no battle did the British infantry display more valour or more
cool determined courage than at Quatre-Bras. Cavalry we had none
that could stand the shock of the French; the Brunswick and Belgian
cavalry, it is true, made an attempt, but were scattered like chaff
before the wind by the veteran cuirassiers, who, to render them the
more effective, had been mounted on horses taken from the gendarmes
throughout France. The British cavalry had had a long march, some
nearly forty miles, and consequently did not arrive until the battle
was over. The gallant Picton, seeing the cavalry driven back, led
on our infantry in squares into the centre of the enemy’s masses of
cavalry; faced with squares the charging squadrons, and in line, the
heavy columns of infantry. What may not be effected by such troops,
led by such a general? The duke of Brunswick fell, while rallying one
of his regiments that had given way. Colonel sir Robert Mac Ara of
the 42d, and colonel Cameron of the 92d, were also killed.

During our struggle at Quatre-Bras, Napoleon had attacked the
Prussians at Ligny, and between nine and ten o’clock in the evening,
their centre was broken, and they began a retreat upon Wavre[15]. The
horse of marshal Blücher, a beautiful grey charger, presented to him
by our Prince Regent in 1814, was shot under him, and, while lying on
the ground, the field-marshal was twice charged over by the enemy’s
cavalry. Sir Henry Hardinge, attached to the Prussian head-quarters,
lost his left hand at Ligny; and about eight thousand Prussians
deserted, and returned home.

The battle of Ligny may be considered as a series of village
fights, and had the impetuous old hussar, the gallant Blücher, then
seventy-three years of age, not drawn troops from his centre, to
strengthen his right, and to enable him to attack the enemy’s left,
he might probably have maintained his position; but immediately
Napoleon perceived that Blücher had withdrawn his troops from
his centre, he made a dash at it, forced it, and thus gained the
victory. Notwithstanding the Prussians were defeated, they highly
distinguished themselves by their audacity and valour. The battle of
Ligny was a fierce and sanguinary contest, and little or no quarter
given by either side. Both parties were excited by deadly animosity,
and the helpless wounded became the victims. The Prussian loss was
about fifteen thousand men and twenty-five guns, exclusive of the
eight thousand men that disbanded themselves. The French loss was
rather less.

[Illustration: (end of chapter; image of a cannon)]

                             CHAPTER II.

  Colonel Gordon’s patrol discovers the Prussians are retreating
  upon Wavre.—The allied army ordered to retire upon Waterloo.—The
  Duke writes to Blücher.—Retreat commenced, followed by the
  enemy.—Skirmishing.—Pressed by the lancers, who are charged by
  the 7th hussars; the latter are repulsed.—The life-guards make a
  successful charge.—Lord Anglesey’s letter, refuting a calumnious
  report of his regiment.—Allied army arrives on the Waterloo
  position.—The enemy arrive on the opposite heights, and salute
  us with round-shot, to which we reply to their cost.—Piquets
  thrown out on both sides.—Dismal bivac; a regular soaker.—The
  Duke and Napoleon’s quarters.—His Grace receives an answer from
  Blücher.—Probability of a quarrel on the morrow.—Orders sent to
  general Colville.—Description of the field of Waterloo; Hougoumont
  and La Haye-Sainte.—Disposition of the allied army, and the
  advantages of our position.—Disposition of the enemy, and admirable
  order of battle.—_The eve of Waterloo._—Morning of the 18th wet and
  uncomfortable; our occupation.—The Duke arrives; his appearance,
  dress, staff, etc.—Positions corrected.—French bands play, and
  their troops appear; are marshalled by Napoleon, a magnificent
  sight, worth ten years of peaceful life.—Why tarries Napoleon with
  his grand martial display?—The Emperor passes along his lines; his
  troops exhibit unbounded enthusiasm; his confidence of victory.

Our bivac was quiet during the night, except that the arrival of
cavalry and artillery caused an occasional movement.

About two o’clock in the morning, a cavalry patrol got between the
piquets, and a rattling fire of musketry began, which brought some of
our generals to the spot; Picton was the first that arrived, when it
was found that no attempt to advance had been made, and all was soon
quiet again. After which the stillness of the enemy quite surprised
his Grace, and drew the remark, “They are possibly retreating.”

The Duke, who had slept at Genappe, was early at Quatre-Bras. Up
to this time we had no satisfactory intelligence of the Prussians.
His Grace consequently sent a patrol along the Namur road to gain
intelligence; captain Grey’s troop of the 10th hussars was sent on
this duty, accompanied by lieutenant-colonel the Hon. sir Alexander
Gordon, one of the Duke’s aides-de-camp. Shortly afterwards, captain
Wood, of the 10th, who had been patrolling, informed the Duke that
the Prussians had retreated. Gordon’s patrol discovered, on the
right of the road, some of the enemy’s vedettes and a piquet; they
fell back hurriedly before the patrol, who turned off the high-road
to their left, about five miles from Quatre-Bras, and about an
hour afterwards came up with the Prussian rear. After obtaining
the required information, the patrol returned to head-quarters at
Quatre-Bras, where they arrived about seven o’clock A.M., reporting
that the Prussians were retreating upon Wavre[16].

The Duke immediately issued the following orders:

  _To General Lord Hill, G.C.B._

                                        “QUATRE-BRAS, 17th June, 1815.

  “The 2d division of British infantry, to march from Nivelles on
  Waterloo, at ten o’clock.

  “The brigades of the 4th division, now at Nivelles, to march from
  that place on Waterloo, at ten o’clock. Those brigades of the 4th
  division at Braine-le-Comte, and on the road from Braine-le-Comte
  to Nivelles, to collect and halt at Braine-le-Comte this day.

  “All the baggage on the road from Braine-le-Comte to Nivelles, to
  return immediately to Braine-le-Comte, and to proceed immediately
  from thence to Hal and Brussels.

  “The spare musket ammunition to be immediately parked behind

  “The corps under the command of prince Frederick of Orange will
  move from Enghien this evening, and take up a position in front of
  Hal, occupying Braine-le-Château with two battalions.

  “Colonel Erstorff will fall back with his brigade on Hal, and place
  himself under the orders of prince Frederick.”

An officer from the Prussian head-quarters, bearing dispatches,
written, no doubt, in secret characters, or the French would
have immediately discovered the direction in which the Prussians
retreated, had been waylaid and made prisoner in the night. But a
second officer afterwards arrived at our head-quarters, and confirmed
colonel Gordon’s statement that the Prussians had fallen back upon
Wavre. The Duke immediately wrote to Blücher, informing him of his
intention to retreat upon the position in front of Waterloo, and
proposing to accept battle on the following day, provided the Prince
would support him with two corps of his army.

The first hint to Picton of the Duke’s intention to retreat, was an
order conveyed to him, to collect his wounded; when he growled out,
“Very well, sir,” in a tone that showed his reluctance to quit the
ground his troops had so bravely maintained the day before.

The Duke commenced the retrograde movement, masked as much as
possible from the enemy, who followed us with a large force of
cavalry, shouting, _Vive l’Empereur!_

The first part of the day (the 17th) was sultry, not a breath of
air to be felt, and the sky covered with dark heavy clouds. Shortly
after the guns came into play, it began to thunder, lighten, and rain
in torrents. The ground very quickly became so soaked, that it was
difficult for the cavalry to move, except on the paved road: this, in
some measure, checked the advance of the French cavalry, who pressed
us very much.

The regiment to which I belonged covered the retreat of the main
columns. As we neared Genappe, our right squadron, under major Hodge,
was skirmishing. By this time the ploughed fields were so completely
saturated with rain, that the horses sunk up to the knees, and at
times nearly up to the girths, which made this part of the service
very severe. Our other two squadrons cleared the town of Genappe, and
formed on the rising ground on the Brussels side. Shortly after, the
right squadron retired through the town, and drew up on the high-road
in column, when a few straggling French lancers, half tipsy, came up
and dashed into the head of the column; some were cut down, and some
made prisoners. The head of the French column now appeared debouching
from the town, and lord Uxbridge being present, he ordered the 7th
hussars to charge.

The charge was gallantly led by the officers, and followed by the
men, who cut aside the lances, and did all in their power to break
the enemy: but our horses being jaded by skirmishing on heavy ground,
and the enemy being chiefly lancers, backed by cuirassiers, they were
rather awkward customers to deal with, particularly so, as it was
an arm with which we were quite unacquainted. When our charge first
commenced, their lances were erect, but upon our coming within two
or three horses’ length of them, they lowered the points and waved
the flags, which made some of our horses shy. Lord Uxbridge, seeing
we could make no impression on them, ordered us about: we retired,
pursued by the lancers and the cuirassiers intermixed. We rode away
from them, reformed, and again attacked them, but with little more
effect than at first. Upon this, lord Uxbridge brought forward
the 1st life-guards, who made a splendid charge, and drove the
cuirassiers and lancers pell-mell back into Genappe; the life-guards
charging down hill, with their weight of men and horses, literally
rode the enemy down, cutting and thrusting at them as they were
falling. In this affair my old regiment had to experience the loss
of major Hodge and lieutenant Myer, killed; captain Elphinstone[17],
lieutenant Gordon and Peters, wounded; and forty-two men, with
thirty-seven horses, killed and wounded. We were well nigh getting a
bad name into the bargain.

Reports, as false as they were invidious, having been propagated by
some secret enemy of the 7th hussars, it may not be uninteresting to
the military world to be made acquainted with the opinion of their
colonel, the marquis of Anglesey[18], as conveyed in the following

                                            “BRUSSELS, 28th June 1815.


  “It has been stated to me, that a report injurious to the reputation
  of our regiment has gone abroad, and I do not therefore lose an
  instant in addressing you on the subject. The report must take its
  origin from the affair which took place with the advance-guard of
  the French cavalry, near Genappe, on the 17th inst., when I ordered
  the 7th to cover the retreat. As I was with you and saw the conduct
  of every individual, there is no one more capable of speaking to
  the fact than I am. As the lancers pressed us hard, I ordered you,
  (upon a principle I ever did, and shall act upon,) not to wait to be
  attacked, but to fall upon them.

  “The attack was most gallantly led by the officers, but it failed. It
  failed because the lancers stood firm, had their flanks completely
  secured, and were backed by a large mass of cavalry.

  “The regiment was repulsed, but it did not run away: no, it rallied
  immediately. I renewed the attack; it again failed, from the same
  cause. It retired in perfect order, although it had sustained
  so severe a loss; but you had thrown the lancers into disorder,
  who being in motion, I then made an attack upon them with the
  1st life-guards, who certainly made a very handsome charge, and
  completely succeeded. This is the plain honest truth. However lightly
  I think of lancers under ordinary circumstances, I think, posted
  as they were, they had a decided advantage over the hussars. The
  impetuosity however and weight of the life-guards carried all before
  them, and whilst I exculpate my own regiment, I am delighted in being
  able to bear testimony to the gallant conduct of the former. Be not
  uneasy, my brother officers; you had ample opportunity, of which you
  gallantly availed yourselves, of avenging yourselves on the 18th for
  the failure on the 17th; and after all, what regiment, or which of
  us, is certain of success?

  “Be assured that I am proud of being your colonel, and that you
  possess my utmost confidence.

                                “Your sincere friend,
                                        “ANGLESEY, lieutenant-general.”

The 23d light dragoons, supported by the life-guards, covered our
retreat, and we arrived at a position on which was exhibited as noble
a display of valour and discipline, as is to be found either in our
own military annals, or in those of any other nation. This position
was in front of and about two miles and a half from Waterloo, where
most of our army was then drawn up.

The French advance-guard halted on the heights near La
Belle-Alliance, when Napoleon said, he wished he had the power of
Joshua to stop the sun, that he might attack us that day.

They opened a cannonade upon our line, but principally upon our
centre behind the farm of La Haye-Sainte: our guns soon answered them
to their cost, and caused great havock amongst the enemy’s columns,
as they arrived on the opposite heights between La Belle-Alliance and
the orchard of La Haye-Sainte. It was now getting dusk, and orders
were given to throw out piquets along the front and flanks of the

Our left squadron, under captain Verner, was thrown into the valley
in front of the left wing; the rest of my regiment bivacked near
where Picton fell the next day.

The spirit of mutual defiance was such, that in posting the piquets,
there were many little cavalry affairs, which, although of no useful
result to either side, were conducted with great bravery, and carried
to such a pitch, that restraint was absolutely necessary. Captain
Heyliger, of the 7th hussars, (part of our piquet,) with his troop,
made a spirited charge upon the enemy’s cavalry, and when the Duke
sent to check him, his Grace desired to be made acquainted with the
name of the officer who had shown so much gallantry. A better or
more gallant officer, than captain Heyliger, never drew a sword; but
he was truly unfortunate: if there was a ball flying about, he was
usually the target. I was three times engaged with the enemy, serving
with the captain, and he was wounded on each of those occasions: the
first time, foraging at Haspereen; next, at the battle of Orthez; and
thirdly, at Waterloo. The ball he received on the last occasion was
extracted at Bruges, in 1831.

Our bivac was dismal in the extreme; what with the thunder,
lightning and rain, it was as bad a night as I ever witnessed, a
regular soaker: torrents burst forth from the well charged clouds
upon our comfortless bivacs, and the uproar of the elements, during
the night preceding Waterloo, seemed as the harbinger of the bloody
contest. We cloaked, throwing a part over the saddle, holding by
the stirrup leather, to steady us if sleepy: to lie down with water
running in streams under us, was not desirable, and to lie amongst
the horses not altogether safe. A comrade of mine, Robert Fisher,
a tailor by trade, proposed that one of us should go in search of
something to sit on. I moved off for that purpose, and obtained two
bundles of bean-stalks from a place that I now know as Mont-St.-Jean
farm. This put us, I may say, quite in clover. The poor tailor had
his thread of life snapped short on the following day.

The duke of Wellington established his head-quarters opposite the
church at Waterloo, (now the post-house and post-office;) while his
Imperial antagonist, Napoleon, pitched his tent near the farm of
Caillou, about five miles from Waterloo, on the left of the Genappe
road, in the parish of Old-Genappe. The Imperial baggage was also at
this farm.

Most of the houses in the villages adjacent Waterloo were occupied by
our generals, their staff, and the superior officers. Their names and
rank were chalked on the doors, and legible long after a soldier’s
death had snatched many of them from the field of their prowess and

In the course of the evening the Duke received a dispatch from
Blücher, in answer to his letter sent from Quatre-Bras, requesting
the support of two corps of the Prussian army. The officer bearing
this dispatch was escorted from Smohain, to Waterloo, by a party of
the 1st King’s German hussars. Blücher’s reply was:

“I shall not come with two corps only, but with my whole army, upon
this condition, that should the French not attack us on the 18th, we
shall attack them on the 19th.”

The Duke therefore accepted battle only under these circumstances;
Napoleon’s lauded plan of operations enabling his Grace to ultimately
place the author of those brilliant conceptions between two fires.
Blücher appeared most anxious to fight side by side with the allies
and their chief, deeming an Anglo-Prussian army invincible; while
Wellington, after having defeated most of Napoleon’s best marshals,
was no doubt desirous of measuring swords with their mighty master
himself, the hero of a hundred battles.

There is every reason to believe that the Duke was more apprehensive
of being turned by Hal on his right, and of Brussels being
consequently taken by a _coup de main_, than about any other part of
his position. This fact is confirmed by the following orders, dated

                                           “WATERLOO, 17th June, 1815.

  “The army retired this day from its position at Quatre-Bras, to its
  present position in front of Waterloo.

  “The brigades of the 4th division at Braine-le-Comte are to retire
  at day-light to-morrow morning upon Hal.

  “Major-general Colville must be guided by the intelligence he
  receives of the enemy’s movements, in his march to Hal, whether he
  moves by the direct route, or by Enghien.

  “Prince Frederick of Orange is to occupy with his corps the
  position between Hal and Enghien[19], and is to defend it as long
  as possible.

  “The army will probably continue in its position, in front of
  Waterloo, to-morrow.

  “Lieutenant-colonel Torrens will inform lieutenant-general sir
  Charles Colville of the position and situation of the armies.”


The field of Waterloo is an open undulating plain; and, on the day of
the battle, was covered with splendid crops of rye, wheat, barley,
oats, beans, peas, potatoes, tares and clover; some of these were of
great height. There were a few patches of ploughed ground. The field
is intersected by two high-roads which branch off at Mont-St.-Jean;
these are very wide: the one on the right, leading to Nivelles and
Binche, since planted with trees, is straight as an arrow for miles;
that on the left, lying in the centre of both armies, leading
south to Genappe, Charleroi and Namur, is not so straight as the
former: about eleven hundred yards in advance of the junction, is a
gently elevated ridge which formed a good natural military position.

Nearly a year before these events, the Duke had written to lord
Bathurst, enclosing “a Memorandum on the defence of the Netherlands,”
in which he says:

“About Nivelles, and between that and Binche, there are many
advantageous positions; and the entrance of the _forêt de Soigne_,
by the high-road which leads to Brussels from Binche, Charleroi and
Namur, would, if worked upon, afford others[20].”

The great advantage was that the troops could rest in rear of the
crest of the ridge, screened in a great measure from the enemy’s
artillery and observation, whilst our guns were placed at points,
from whence they could sweep (they are wonderful brooms) the slope
that descends to the valley in front. Upon the crest is a cross-road
running east and west, intersecting the Genappe road at right angles,
about two hundred and fifty yards on this side of the farm of La
Haye-Sainte. The cross-road marks the front of the allied position.
Near where the Lion now stands, the cross-road or line runs curving
forward a little for about six hundred yards, when it first gently
and then abruptly falls back into the Nivelles road, near the
termination of the ridge, where it takes a sweep to the rear.

This point was at first our right centre, but became our right when
lord Hill’s troops were brought forward into the front line, between
four and five o’clock P.M.

About four hundred and fifty yards south of this point, is the
important post of Hougoumont, destined to become so celebrated in the
annals of history, and which even now stands a noble monument of the
determined valour of both the assailed and assailants.

It was then a gentleman’s seat, with farm, out-buildings, walled
garden, orchard and wood. The latter has been since cleared, in
consequence of the injury the trees sustained in the battle. The
buildings are more than two hundred years old, and were erected for
defence. Many of the stone loop-holes made in the garden walls when
first built, are still quite perfect, as are also those made by our
troops on the spur of the moment. The hedges were all banked up, and
with the ditches on the inner side formed excellent breastworks.

A ravine or hollow-way, called by colonel Hepburn “our friendly
hollow-way,” runs along the northern boundary of the premises, which
during the battle frequently served as a covered communication with
the walled enclosures and buildings, as also for a rallying point and


Hougoumont was formerly the property of Arrazola Deonate, who had
been viceroy of Naples. In 1815 it was in the occupation of M. de
Luneville, a descendant of the above family; it is now the property
of count Robiano. This post is situated about midway between the
positions of the two hostile armies. The château, farm, walls, etc.,
were at the time of the battle of a substantial nature. The garden,
or park, was enclosed, on the east and south sides, by a wall, in
which our troops made additional loop-holes; they also cut down a
portion of the buttresses, on the inside of the south wall, for the
purpose of erecting a scaffolding which would enable them to fire
over the top of the wall, or to bayonet intruders. At the east wall,
an embankment, and the scaffolds erected with some farming utensils,
enabled the Coldstream to throw such a fire upon the enemy’s left
flank when in the large orchard, that colonel Hepburn, who commanded
there from about two o’clock, considered it (the east wall) as the
strength of his position. Loop-holes were also made in the stables
joining the south gate, and a scaffold was erected against the
wall on the west, that ran from the south stables to the barn. The
flooring over the south gateway was partly torn up, to enable our men
to fire down upon the enemy, should they force the gate which had
been blocked up, and was not opened during the action. The little
chapel and crucifix still remain; but the numerous autographs of
persons visiting the field since 1815, are all destroyed, the walls
having been lately fresh plastered. The most interesting objects now
at Hougoumont, for visitors to see, are the north gateway facing
our position, by which the enemy entered, its burnt beams, the
small barn where many of the wounded were burnt, the cannon-ball
hole in the east gable of the building attached to the present
farm-house[21], the well perforated top part of the south gate,
the battered front of the house, stables, and the loop-holed walls
with the banked-up hedges, hollow-way, and some perforated trees in
front of the walls. In the garden is a tomb, beneath which lie the
remains of captain Blackman of the Coldstream, (brother to sir George
Harnage,) who fell on that spot[22]. Hougoumont presents even at this
moment a scene of shattered ruins, which cannot be viewed without
exciting feelings of the deepest interest.

On the troops being thrown into Hougoumont on the 17th, all means
were employed to strengthen it as much as possible, and there are
still to be seen many of the intended loop-holes in an incomplete
state, from which it may be inferred that the troops were called off
to defend the post, whilst in the act of making them.

Hougoumont was first occupied on the afternoon of the 17th by the
light companies of the 1st division of British guards: the light
troops of the 1st regiment, under colonel lord Saltoun, held the
orchard and wood; those of the Coldstream and 3d guards, under
colonel Macdonell, held the buildings and garden. In the out-grounds
and wood there were also a battalion of Nassau troops, a company
of Hanoverian field riflemen, and a hundred men from the Luneburg
battalion. The supernumerary light companies of the guards were
thrown into the valley on our side of the enclosures, as a support,
and to keep up a communication with the main line.

On the east side of the Genappe road, the cross-road was lined by
two broken banked-up hedges, extending about half a mile; near the
termination of which is a knoll, with a bit of copse or brushwood
on the rear slope: this mound, or knoll, overlooks the farms of
Papelotte, La Haye, Frischermont, and the hamlet of Smohain in the

The undulation in rear of the ridge afforded excellent protection to
the second line, cavalry and reserves, which were quite concealed
from the enemy’s view. Beyond the right of the main ridge, on the
right of the Nivelles road, is a deep valley which runs round
Hougoumont in the direction of Merbe-Braine, and from the valley
cutting through the ridge to the little white chapel on the Nivelles
road, runs a deep ravine, which is the one mentioned by the Duke in
his dispatch, and intersects the second ridge or plateau, that was
occupied by part of the 2d corps, under lieutenant-general lord Hill,
who were to act as a right wing, _en potence_[23], or as a reserve,
as circumstances might require.

The principal part of the troops occupying this plateau and valley,
belonged to the 2d British division under lieutenant-general sir
Henry Clinton: it was composed of the 3d light brigade, major-general
F. Adam; the 52d, colonel sir John Colborne (now lord Seaton);
the 71st, colonel T. Reynell; the 2d battalion 59th rifles[24],
colonel Norcott, with two companies of the 3d battalion 95th, under
lieutenant-colonel Ross, who were posted near Merbe-Braine.

The 1st brigade, King’s German legion, under colonel Duplat, was
composed of the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th line battalions. The 3d,
Hanoverian brigade, under colonel Hugh Halkett, consisted of
the militia battalions, Osnabruck, Salzgitter, Bremeverden, and

The Brunswick corps, after their duke had fallen, were under colonel
Olfermann, also near Merbe-Braine. Along the Hougoumont avenue and
the road leading from it to Braine-l’Alleud, were some light troops,
who, in conjunction with the hussars posted on their right, had in
the morning, before the battle began, a sharp skirmish with the
enemy. They were part of the fourth brigade of the 4th division,
under colonel Mitchell, and attached to the 2d division, composed
of the 51st regiment, lieutenant-colonel Rice, the 15th regiment,
lieutenant-colonel Tidy, and of the 32d fuzileers, colonel sir H.
Ellis; the latter came into front line during the afternoon.

On the right of the former, was a squadron of the 15th hussars, under
captain Wodehouse, who threw out vedettes and kept a look-out upon
our extreme right. Upon the Nivelles road, opposite the Hougoumont
avenue, was an _abattis_, or barricade. Near Mitchell’s brigade were
posted, about two o’clock, two companies of the Coldstream guards,
with their colours, in reserve.

Upon the ridge above and overlooking, Hougoumont was posted the 1st
division of British guards, composed of the 2d battalion of the
Coldstream guards, colonel Woodford, who was a little in advance; the
2d battalion of the 3d guards, colonel Hepburn, posted a little in
rear of the crest of the ridge. The whole were in battalion columns,
with deploying intervals, and in chequer.

On their left was the first brigade, composed of the 2d battalion of
the 1st guards[25], colonel Askew, and posted in rear; and of the 3d
battalion, colonel the Hon. W. Stuart, posted a little in advance of
the crest.

On the left of Maitland, was the 3d division, under
lieutenant-general count Alten; the 5th British brigade, composed of
the 30th, colonel Hamilton, and the 73d, colonel G. Harris, posted in
advance; and of the 33d, colonel Elphinstone, with the 69th, colonel
Morice, posted upon the right rear of the 30th and 73d. The four
regiments formed and acted as two.

On their left was the 1st Hanoverian brigade, under major-general
count Kielmansegge. The field battalions of Bremen, Verden, York,
Grubenhagen and Luneburg were posted three in front and two in second

On Kielmansegge’s left, was the 2d brigade of the King’s German
legion, under colonel Ompteda, which formed Alten’s left and rested
upon the Genappe high-road: it was composed of the 1st light
battalion, major Bussche, and the 2d, colonel Baring; of the 5th
line, colonel Linsingen, and the 8th, colonel Schröder: the 1st and
5th were a little in rear of the cross-road upon the ridge; the 8th
in reserve.

The 2d light, under colonel Baring, held La Haye-Sainte, a post far
from being so commodious as Hougoumont, but considerably nearer our
position, consequently easier of access, although more exposed to
the enemy’s attacks and cannonade. It was a strong stone and brick
building, with a narrow orchard in front, and a small garden in the
rear, both of which were hedged round, except the east side of the
garden, on which there was a strong wall running along the high-road
side, then taking a western direction terminated upon the east end of
the barn; a large and small gate opened on the road; a yard and barn
door led to the orchard and fields which now face the Lion. At this
point was the chief tug of war.

A passage led through the house from the farm-yard into the garden,
which lies on the north or allied side of the buildings, the door
of which was four feet wide; there were also on the same side
four windows and ten loop or air-holes, by which any quantity of
ammunition might have been thrown in; consequently, the oft-told
tale that a breach should have been made on that side but was
forgotten, falls to the ground, like many other false reports. A
dozen loop-holes in the west or Lion side of the buildings would have
added considerably to the strength of the post. Loop-holes were made
in the south and east walls as well as in the roofs, and the post
strengthened on being occupied by our troops.

A barricade was thrown across the high-road, near the south-east
angle of the wall; but there were several drawbacks to the
strengthening of this post. The working tools had been lost, the
carpenters had been sent to assist at Hougoumont; half of the large
west barn door was wanting, and in addition, the post was exposed
to a line of batteries, that had been pushed forward upon the inner
ridge of the French right wing, at a range of from six to eight
hundred yards.

In rear of the interval between Halkett’s and Kielmansegge’s brigades
stood the Nassau brigade, three battalions of the 1st regiment of
Nassau, under general Kruse.

Upon the left of the Genappe road, in columns just under the crest
of the ridge, was the 5th division: the 8th brigade, composed of
the 28th, colonel sir P. Belson; the 32d, colonel Hicks; the 79th
Highlanders, colonel Douglas, and of the 1st battalion 95th rifles,
colonel Sir A. Barnard. In front of the right of the brigade, and
about a hundred and forty yards from the cross-road, stood a knoll,
in front of which was a sand-hole, (where the Hanoverian monument now
stands;) on our side of the knoll and parallel with our front, was a
hedge slightly studded with trees, about a hundred and forty yards
long. The whole of this ground was occupied by three companies of
riflemen, under major Leach, who made a barricade across the road:
more of the rifles lined the straggling hedge along the cross-road;
their reserve was at the junction of the roads.

On their left was the 9th brigade, consisting of the 1st or Royal
Scots, colonel Campbell; the 42d Royal Highlanders, colonel sir R.
Mac Ara; the 44th, colonel Hamerton; and the 92d Highlanders, colonel
Cameron; their left near the brushwood, upon the rear face of the
knoll on our left. From this to Wavre, which is concealed by woods
and high ground, and from whence the Prussians had to march, the
distance is about twelve miles: consequently the Duke had good reason
for calculating on a much earlier support by Blücher.

In Pack’s left front was the 4th Hanoverian brigade, under colonel
Best, composed of the militia battalions, Luneburg, Verden and
Osterode; the Munden in reserve.

In Best’s left rear, and posted a little under the crest of the
ridge, was the 5th Hanoverian brigade, 5th division, under colonel
Vincke, in columns of battalions: namely, those of Hameln and
Hildesheim, Peine and Gifhorn.

The hamlet of Smohain, with the farms of Papelotte and La Haye, and
the houses and enclosures in the valley, were occupied by the second
brigade of the 2d Dutch-Belgian division, under general Perponcher.
This brigade, under the duke of Saxe-Weimar, was composed of the two
battalions of Orange-Nassau, and the 2d and 3d battalions of the
regiment of Nassau, the 1st battalion of which was at Hougoumont.

Upon our extreme left was the 6th cavalry brigade, under
major-general sir Hussey Vivian, composed of the 10th hussars,
colonel Quentin; the 18th hussars, colonel the Hon. H. Murray, and
of the 1st hussars of the German legion, colonel de Wissel. A piquet
of the 10th, under captain Taylor[26] was thrown into Smohain in the
valley; their vedettes were posted on the rising ground beyond.

Before the battle began, a Prussian patrol arrived at this piquet,
and informed captain Taylor, that part of Bulow’s (4th) corps was at
St.-Lambert; this intelligence was immediately sent to the duke of

On Vivian’s right was the 4th cavalry brigade, under major-general
sir J. O. Vandeleur, composed of the 11th light dragoons, colonel
Sleigh; the 12th, colonel the Hon. F. Ponsonby, and the 16th, colonel
J. Hay. In advance of the hedge, in front of the centre of the left
wing, was Byland’s brigade of the Netherlands, deployed in line,
composed of the 27th Dutch light infantry, the 5th, 7th, and 8th
Dutch militia, and the 7th of the Belgian line; the 5th Dutch was in

On the left of the Genappe road, in rear of Picton’s division, was
the 2d cavalry brigade, under major-general sir William Ponsonby,
composed of the 1st Royal dragoons, colonel Clifton; the 2d or Scots
Greys, colonel Hamilton, and the 6th, Inniskilling, colonel Muter.

Near the farm of Mont-St.-Jean[27], was the 10th brigade of the 6th
division, which was to have been under lieutenant-general the Hon.
sir L. Cole, but he had not joined. Sir J. Lambert commanded this
brigade, which was composed of the 4th, colonel Brook; the 27th,
Inniskilling, major Hare, and the 40th, major Heyland; they had
just landed from America, and had made forced marches from Assche.
These were what the Duke termed Spanish, or old tried infantry, most
of whom being on their way from America did not arrive until the
battle was fought. Sir Harry Smith (the hero of Aliwal) was on sir J.
Lambert’s staff.

In the hollow, on the right of the high-road in rear of Ompteda,
was the 1st or household brigade, under major-general lord Edward
Somerset, viz. the 1st life-guards, colonel Ferrior; the 2d ditto,
colonel the Hon. E. Lygon; the Royal horse-guards (Blues,) colonel R.
Hill; 1st dragoon guards, colonel Fuller.

In rear of Alten’s centre were the 3d hussars of the King’s German
legion, under colonel sir F. Arentschild. Behind the centre was
the cavalry division of the Netherlands, under lieutenant-general
baron Collaert: the 1st brigade, major-general Tripp, the 1st and 3d
Dutch, and 2d Belgian carabineers. The second brigade, major-general
de Ghigny, consisted of the 4th Dutch light dragoons, and the 8th
Belgian hussars. The 3d brigade, major-general Merle, was composed of
the 5th Belgian light dragoons and the 6th Dutch hussars.

On the right of the 3d German hussars were the Cumberland Hanoverian
hussars, under colonel Hake.

In rear of Halkett’s right was the 3d cavalry brigade, under
major-general sir William Dornberg, consisting of the 23d light
dragoons, major Cutcliffe, and of the 1st and 2d light dragoons of
the King’s German legion.

In rear of Byng was the 5th cavalry brigade, under major-general
sir Colquhoun Grant, composed of the 7th hussars, colonel Kerrison,
of the 15th hussars, colonel L. Dalrymple, and of the 13th light
dragoons, lieutenant-colonel Boyse. The 13th did not properly belong
to this brigade.

The 3d division of the Netherlands, lieutenant-general Chassé, (who
so gallantly defended the citadel of Antwerp in 1832,) was under lord
Hill: its 1st brigade, under colonel Ditmers, was composed of the 33d
battalion of Belgian light infantry, and the 2d of the line, with the
4th, 6th, 17th, and 19th battalions of Dutch militia. It occupied the
town of Braine-l’Alleud; the 17th was posted a little nearer to the
2d British division, to keep up the communication.

The 2d brigade, under major-general d’Aubremé, composed of the
36th Belgian light infantry, the 3d, the 12th, and the 13th line,
and the 10th militia, was at the farm of Vieux-Forêt, beyond
Braine-l’Alleud, for the security of our right flank, and to keep
open the communication with our detached forces at Hal, etc., for
the protection of our extreme right. The 6th British brigade thus
detached was composed of the 35th, 55th, 59th, and 91st regiments,
under major-general Johnstone, with the 6th Hanoverian brigade,
major-general sir James Lyon, and two regiments of Hanoverian
cavalry, under colonel Erstorff, and a division of Netherlanders,
under prince Frederick of Holland. These troops were thus posted for
the protection of Brussels against a _coup de main_ by any detached
force of the enemy[28].

The reader will observe that the principal advantages of the allied
position were.

1º The junction of the two high-roads immediately in rear of our
centre, from which branched off the paved broad road to Brussels,
our main line of operation, and the paved road to the capital
by Braine-l’Alleud and Alsemberg. This added to the facility of
communication, and enabled us to move ammunition, guns, troops,
the wounded, etc., to or from any part of our main front line, as
circumstances demanded.

2º The advanced posts of Hougoumont, La Haye-Sainte, Papelotte, and
La Haye farms, near which no enemy could pass without being assailed
in flank by musketry.

3º The continuous ridge from flank to flank towards which no hostile
force could advance undiscovered, within range of our artillery
upon the crest. Behind this ridge our troops could manœuvre, or lie
concealed from the enemy’s view, while they were in great measure
protected from the fire of the hostile batteries.

4º Our extreme left was strong by nature. The buildings, hollow-ways,
enclosures, trees and brushwood, along the valley from Papelotte to
Ohain, thickly peopled with light infantry, would have kept a strong
force long at bay. Our batteries on the left on the knoll commanded
the valley and the slopes. The ground from those batteries to Ohain,
which was occupied till near eight o’clock P.M. by Vandeleur’s and
Vivian’s brigades, was admirably adapted for cavalry.

5º Our extreme right was secured by numerous patches of brushwood,
trees and ravines, and further protected by hamlets, and by lord
Hill’s troops _en potence_, part of which occupied Braine-l’Alleud
and the farm of Vieux-Forêt, on the height above that town.

Between nine and ten o’clock, the French began to take up their
position in our front, on an opposite ridge running nearly parallel
to ours; their centre being near La Belle-Alliance, about fourteen
hundred yards from ours; their right running east along the ridge
towards Frischermont. At two hundred yards behind La Belle-Alliance
is a cross-road, leading from Plancenoit to the Nivelles road,
and intersecting the latter about midway between Hougoumont and
Mon-Plaisir, at which point there are now two small houses built, and
visible from the allied right wing. It was near this point that the
French left terminated.

The French right wing was the 1st corps, under lieutenant-general
count d’Erlon, the same, (with the exception of Durutte’s infantry
and Jacquinot’s cavalry divisions, which were at Ligny,) that had
been marching and countermarching between Gosselies, Ligny and
Frasnes on the 16th, and which, up to this time, had not fired a shot
during the campaign. It was composed of four divisions of infantry,
and one of light cavalry. The 2d or left division, under general
Donzelot, had its left upon La Belle-Alliance. It consisted of the
13th light, and 17th, 19th, 51st of the line, and was drawn up, like
the whole of their front, in two lines about sixty yards apart. On
their right was the 1st division, under general Alix: the 28th, 54th,
55th, and 105th of the line. On their right was the 3d division,
under lieutenant-general Marcognet: the 21st, 25th, 45th, and 46th of
the line. On their right was the 4th division, under general Darutte:
the 8th, 29th, 85th, 95th of the line. The 1st division of cavalry,
under general Jacquinot, was on the right of this corps: it consisted
of the 3d and 7th light dragoons, and the 3d and 4th lancers, with
seven batteries to the corps.

The left wing was the 2d corps, under lieutenant-general count
Reille, composed of three divisions of infantry and one of cavalry.
The right division, the 5th, under lieutenant-general Bachelu, rested
its right upon La Belle-Alliance, and its left in the valley that
runs round the south enclosures of Hougoumont: it comprised the 12th,
61st, 72d, and 108th line. Girard’s division was during the 16th and
17th at Ligny, where it was left on the 18th, it is said, by mistake.

Upon their left, and facing the wood of Hougoumont, was the 9th
division, under lieutenant-general Foy; viz. the 4th light, the 92d,
93d, and 100th line. On the left of the 9th division, upon the ridge
facing the buildings of Hougoumont, was the 6th division, under
general prince Jérôme Napoleon, comprising the 1st and 2d light,
and 1st, 2d, and 3d line; the last three regiments were composed of
three battalions each. On the left of the corps was the 2d cavalry
division, under lieutenant-general Piré, being the 1st and 6th light
dragoons, and the 5th and 6th lancers; they crossed the Nivelles
road in lines, and threw forward piquets towards Braine-l’Alleud and
Uphain; thus keeping a look-out upon the extreme left of their army.
Their artillery, composed of five batteries, was ranged along the
front of the divisions.

Behind their centre, close along their left of the Genappe road,
was the 6th corps, under lieutenant-general count de Lobau (George
Mouton). The 19th and 20th divisions only were present: they were
formed in close columns of battalions, by divisions. The 19th
division was about two hundred yards behind the right of the
2d corps; the 20th about two hundred yards in rear of the 19th
division. The former was under lieutenant-general Simmer, being the
5th, 11th, 27th, and 84th of the line. The 20th division, under
lieutenant-general Jeannin, was formed of the 5th light, and 10th,
47th, and 107th line. There were five batteries to this corps. The
21st, or Teste’s division, was with Grouchy.

Upon the right of the 6th corps, separated only by the road, was the
3d cavalry division, under lieutenant-general Domont, being the 4th,
9th, and 12th light dragoons; and the 5th cavalry division, under
lieutenant-general Subervie, being the 1st and 2d lancers, and the
11th light dragoons. They were in close columns. Their two troops of
artillery were on their right.

Behind the centre of the right wing was the 4th cavalry corps, under
lieutenant-general count Milhaut.

The 13th cavalry division, under lieutenant-general Wattier,
comprised the 5th, 6th, 9th, and 10th cuirassiers; and the 14th
division, under lieutenant-general Delort, consisted of the 1st, 4th,
7th, and 12th cuirassiers. Their two troops of artillery were in the

In rear of those divisions, in reserve, was the light cavalry of
the Imperial guard, composed of light dragoons and lancers, under
generals Lefebvre-Desnouettes and Colbert, like the rest, drawn up in
two lines; their artillery in the centre.

In rear of the centre of the left wing was the 3d cavalry corps,
under lieutenant-general Kellermann. It comprised the 11th cavalry
division, the 2d and 7th dragoons, and 8th and 11th cuirassiers,
under lieutenant-general L’Héritier; and the 12th division, viz.
the 1st and 2d carabineers (brass-clad cuirassiers,) and 2d and 3d
cuirassiers, under lieutenant-general Roussel. Their two troops of
artillery were upon their flanks.

In rear of those two divisions were the horse-grenadiers and dragoons
of the Imperial guard, in reserve, under the generals Guyot and
Hoffmeyer; their artillery was in their centre.

In rear of the 6th corps and the 3d and 5th cavalry divisions,
near the farm of Rossomme, was the infantry of the Imperial guard,
in reserve, under lieutenant-general Drouot: it consisted of
four regiments of grenadiers, four regiments of chasseurs, two
regiments of tirailleurs and two of voltigeurs, of two battalions
each. The 1st and 2d regiments of grenadiers and chasseurs formed
the old guard, under lieutenant-general Friant; the 3d and 4th
regiments of grenadiers and chasseurs formed the middle guard, under
lieutenant-general count Morand; and the four regiments of voltigeurs
and tirailleurs formed the young guard, under lieutenant-general
Duhesme. They were drawn up in six lines of four battalions each; the
Genappe high-road divided them into two equal parts; their artillery
(six batteries) was on their flank. The reserve artillery of the
guard (twenty-four guns) was in their rear.

Such was Napoleon’s disposition of his eager and gallant followers.

“This admirable order of battle,” observes a distinguished military
writer, “at once grand, simple and imposing, and presenting to its
skilful designer the most ample means of sustaining, by an immediate
and efficient support, any attack from whatever point he might wish
to direct it, and of possessing everywhere a respectable force at
hand to oppose any attack made upon himself, from whatever quarter
it might be made, was no less remarkable for the regularity and
precision with which the several masses, constituting thirteen
distinct columns, advanced to their destined stations, than for the
unusual degree of warlike pomp and high martial bearing with which
the lines drew up in this mighty battle array.” (SIBORNE, vol. I.)

Both positions, whatever some prejudiced French writers may assert,
offered everywhere fair fighting ground, on which all arms could act
without any disadvantage.


      “Kneel, warrior, kneel: to-morrow’s sun
      May see thy course of glory run;
      And batter’d helm and shiver’d glave
      May lie neglected near thy grave.
      Kneel; for thy prayer in battle field
      May sanctify thy sword and shield,
      And help to guard, unstain’d and free,
      Our altars, home and liberty.

      “Arm, warrior, arm: the hostile bands
      Now grasp in haste their whetted brands,
      And seek the vantage of the height,
      Ere the first blush of morning light;
      And hark! the trumpet’s stormy bray!
      God speed thee, warrior, on thy way!
      The stirring word of onset be,
      Our altars, home and liberty!

      “Shout, warrior, shout: the field’s thine own,
      The Emperor’s ranks are all o’erthrown;
      His columns dense and squadrons vast
      Were but as dust before the blast.
      Shout, till the mountain voice replies
      In thunder, as Napoleon flies;
      And leaves again, unstain’d and free,
      Our altars, home and liberty.”

Sunday the 18th June 1815, which cast such a brilliant lustre on
the military annals of Britain, broke but slowly through the heavy
clouds. The rain descended in torrents, succeeded, as the morning
advanced, by a drizzling shower which gradually ceased. Soon after
break of day, all who were able were on the move. Many, from cold and
fatigue, could not stir for some time; fortunately, on most of us the
excitement was too powerful to allow this physical inconvenience to
be much felt; although, in after-years, many suffered most severely
from it. Some were cleaning arms; others fetching wood, water, straw,
etc., from Mont-St.-Jean, (my present place of abode;) some trying,
from the embers of our bivac, to light up fires, most of which had
been entirely put out by the heavy rain. At this time there was a
continual irregular popping along the line, not unlike a skirmish,
occasioned by those who were cleaning their fire-arms, discharging
them, when practicable; which was more expeditious and satisfactory
than drawing the charges. Our bivac had a most unsightly appearance:
both officers and men looked blue with cold; our long beards, and wet
and dirty clothing drying upon us, were anything but comfortable. As
morning advanced and all were in motion, one might imagine the whole
plain itself to be undergoing a movement. Imagine seventy thousand
men huddled together. The buzzing resembled the distant roar of the
sea against a rocky coast.

Between nine and ten o’clock, the duke of Wellington, with his usual
firm countenance, passed along the line and was loudly cheered. His
Grace was dressed in his ordinary field costume, white buckskin
pantaloons, hessian boots and tassels, blue frock coat with a short
cloak of the same colour, white cravat, sword, a plain low cocked hat
without plume or ornament, except the large black cockade of Britain,
and three smaller ones of Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. In
his right hand he carried a long field telescope, drawn out, ready
for use. His Grace was mounted on his favourite chesnut charger,
Copenhagen. He was followed by a numerous staff, several foreign
officers, and the Russian, Austrian, Prussian and Spanish ministers,
count Pozzo di Borgo, baron Vincent, baron Müffling, and general
Alava. I observed several in his train dressed in plain clothes.
Their number was much diminished ere the day was over.

The Duke generally rode alone, or rather without having any one by
his side, and rarely spoke, unless to send a message or to give
orders; sometimes he would suddenly turn round and glide past his
followers; halting occasionally, and apparently paying no attention
to his own troops, his Grace would observe through his telescope
those of the enemy, which the docile Copenhagen appeared perfectly to
understand, from his showing no impatience nor getting restive.

The troops had been previously placed in their respective positions,
and afterwards the cavalry dismounted.

About this time, the French bands struck up, so that we could
distinctly hear them. I have no doubt, this was the moment when
Napoleon assembled all his generals, and forming a circle, placed
himself in the centre, and gave his orders. This was in the hamlet of
La Maison-du-Roi, about a mile in the rear of his centre.

Not long after, the enemy’s skirmishers, backed by their supports,
were thrown out; extending as they advanced, they spread over the
whole space before them. Now and then, they saluted our ears with
well-known music, the whistling of musket-balls.

Their columns, preceded by mounted officers to take up the
alignments, soon began to appear; the bayonets flashing over dark
masses at different points, accompanied by the rattling of drums and
the clang of trumpets.

Could any one behold so imposing a spectacle without awe, or without
extreme excitement? Could any one witness the commencement of the
battle with indifference? Can any one forget the impressions that
are made upon the mind at such a moment? What a magnificent sight!
Napoleon the Great, marshalling the chosen troops of France, against
those of Britain and her allies under the renowned Wellington! Here,
on one side, were the troops that had held nearly all Europe in
bonds, and by whom kings and princes had been humbled and deposed;
and although it was not the first time that many of us had faced
them, yet, on the present occasion, they were under the immediate
command of their idolized Napoleon. It was impossible to contemplate
so formidable a power in battle array, without a feeling of
admiration towards such noble antagonists.

It presented altogether a sight that must be seen and felt to be duly
appreciated, a sight that “survivors recollect in after-years.”

Such a scene fires the blood of the brave, and excites feelings and
hopes, compared with which, all other emotions are cold and powerless:

      “To him who’s born for battle’s strife,
              Or bard of martial lay,
      ’Twas worth ten years of peaceful life,
              One glance at this array.”

Picture their infantry in front, in two lines sixty yards apart,
flanked by lancers with their fluttering flags. In rear of the centre
of the infantry wings were the cuirassiers, also in two lines. In
rear of the cuirassiers, on the right, the lancers and chasseurs of
the Imperial guard, in their splendid but gaudy uniforms: the former
clad in scarlet; the latter like hussars, in rifle-green fur-trimmed
pelisse, gold lace, bear-skin cap. In rear of the cuirassiers on the
left, the horse-grenadiers and dragoons of the Imperial guard, with
their dazzling arms.

Immediately in rear of the centre was the reserve, composed of the
6th corps, in columns; on the left, and on the right of the Genappe
road, were two divisions of light cavalry.

In rear of the whole, was the infantry of the Imperial guard in
columns, a dense, dark mass, which, with the 6th corps and cavalry,
were flanked by their numerous artillery. Nearly seventy-two thousand
men, and two hundred and forty-six guns, ranged with matches lighted,
gave an awful presage of the approaching conflict.

The enemy were quite in hand, all within call, there was nothing
to prevent a movement being made. Why tarries Napoleon, so often
termed “the thunderbolt of war?” Every minute’s delay is loss to
him, and gain to Wellington, whose game it was to stand fast until
the Prussians arrived. Was the Emperor tampering with a portion of
the allies who had formerly fought in his ranks, and who might again
rally round his eagles, (as he had been led to believe,) should a
favourable opportunity present itself? French writers reply, and
with some justice, that Napoleon waited for the partial drying of
the ground, which the night’s rain had rendered very unfavourable
for cavalry and artillery. The grand martial display was calculated
to heighten the enthusiasm of his legions, at the same time that it
gratified the Emperor’s unbounded ambition.

The allied army, a motley group, of nearly sixty-eight thousand men
and a hundred and fifty-six guns, though almost as numerous as that
of the enemy, did not present so imposing a spectacle, being for the
most part drawn up in chequered columns of battalions at deploying
intervals, the cavalry being on the flanks and in the rear. According
to the nature of the ground, the guns were skilfully ranged at points
whence the melancholy work of destruction could be best effected;
yet, from its undulating form, it concealed from the enemy’s view a
great portion of our force.

“Never,” said Napoleon, “had his troops been animated with such
spirit, nor taken up their ground with such precision. The earth
seemed proud of being trodden by such combatants.... Never yet, I
believe,” said he at St.-Helena, “has there been such devotion shown
by soldiers, as mine have manifested to me; never has man been served
more faithfully by his troops.”

The two armies were now fairly in presence of each other.

The French lines being completed, the Emperor passed along them,
attended by a brilliant and numerous staff: a forest of plumes waved
around him. The troops hailed him with repeated shouts of _Vive
l’Empereur!_ the infantry raising their caps upon their bayonets, and
the cavalry their casques or helmets upon their swords and lances.
The parade over, the whole instantly formed columns.

With an army thus animated by one sentiment, and doubtless
calculating on being joined during the fray by more than a few of
the motley group who stood in his front, it may readily be conceived
that Napoleon fully participated in the general confidence of a
signal victory.

“The force of the two armies,” said the Emperor just before the
battle began, “could not be estimated by a mere comparison of
numbers; because the allied army was composed of troops more or
less efficient: so that _one Englishman might be counted for one
Frenchman_; but two Netherlander, Prussians, Germans, or soldiers of
the Confederation, were required to make up one Frenchman.”

[Illustration: (end of chapter; image of a sword)]


[1] “I did in truth,” said Ney at his trial, “kiss the hand of the
king, his Majesty having presented it to me when he wished me a good
journey. I spoke of the descent of Napoleon with indignation, and
made use of the expression, _the iron cage_. During the night of the
13th of March, (down to which time I protest my fidelity,) I received
a proclamation from Napoleon, which I signed.” On the following day
he published the fatal proclamation to his troops, which afterwards
cost him his life. _See_ Appendix, No. II.

[2] _See_ GURWOOD, _Dispatches_, vol. XII, pages 350, 356.

[3] _Ibid._, page 363.

[4] _See_ GURWOOD, _Dispatches_, vol. XII, page 365.

[5] _See_ Appendix, No. I.

[6] The 3d guards and 42d Highlanders had near eight hundred
militia-men in their ranks. The guards actually fought in their
Surrey militia jackets.

[7] Colonel de Wissel, of the 1st German hussars, reported the fact
to general Vivian, who went to the outposts next day, and, finding
the enemy ready to attack, informed the Duke.

[8] _See_ the following page, and the beginning of chap. XI.

[9] _See_ GURWOOD, _Dispatches_, vol. XII, page 290.

[10] One would say, after such language as this to his devoted
and enthusiastic followers, and maintaining as Napoleon did, that
Frederick the Great was right in carrying poison about his person to
put an end to his existence in case of a great reverse of fortune,
“He was right, he was right, it would have been dastardly indeed
to live like a wretch (_pleutre_) after having once attained to
the highest pinnacle of fame;” the Emperor would have brought his
actions more in unison with his words, if, when on finding the day of
Waterloo going against him, he had, in person, led his Imperial guard
to attack our position.

[11] _See_ Outline map of the Waterloo campaign.

[12] Had general Zieten been equally alert in making the duke of
Wellington acquainted with the attack of the French, as he was in
communicating the intelligence to Blücher, the battle of Ligny might
have either not been fought at all, or would have terminated less
disastrously to his countrymen. (GLEIG’S _Story of the Battle of

[13] _See_ Appendix, No. I.

[14] A pity the poet did not put, _Soigné_.

[15] What appears most astonishing is, that the real line of retreat
of the Prussian columns was not discovered by the victorious French
until the afternoon of the 17th.

[16] The road by which the Prussians retreated upon Wavre, was
examined by lieutenant-colonel Jackson, of the Royal staff corps,
and a report thereof sent to the Prussian head-quarters, before the
campaign opened.

[17] _See_ anecdote, Appendix, No. VI.

[18] Lord Uxbridge was created Marquis of Anglesey, for his
distinguished conduct on the field of Waterloo.

[19] _See_ Outline map of the Waterloo campaign.

[20] _See_ GURWOOD, _Dispatches_, vol. XII, page 129.

[21] The cannon-ball entered the west end of the large building still
in existence; consequently must have passed through four, if not five
walls, before it came out at the east end looking into the garden, or

[22] Sergeant-major Cotton, the author of this “VOICE FROM WATERLOO,”
also lies buried in the same garden, not far from captain Blackman’s
grave. He died at Mont-St.-Jean, the 24th June, 1849. (_Editor._)

[23] _En potence_, is a military phrase which expresses a bending or
throwing back of either flank or wing of an army.

[24] Now the Rifle brigade.

[25] Since called Grenadier guards, on account of their gallant
conduct when opposed to the Imperial grenadiers of France, at the
close of the day of Waterloo.

[26] Now Major-General Taylor and deputy governor of Sandhurst

[27] Every house in the neighbourhood was used for the wounded; the
farm of Mont-St.-Jean was the chief hospital, or the head-quarters
for the medical staff.

[28] _See_ Outline map of the Waterloo campaign.

                            CHAPTER III.

  The Duke at Hougoumont, makes a slight change, returns to the
  ridge.—Battle commences at Hougoumont: Jérôme’s columns put in
  motion, drew the fire of our battery upon them, to which theirs
  replied.—Close fighting at Hougoumont.—Our left menaced by the
  enemy’s cavalry.—Howitzers open upon the enemy in the wood of
  Hougoumont.—The enemy press on and approach the masked wall,
  from whence the crashing fusillade astounds them.—Our troops
  under lord Saltoun charge and rout the enemy; a portion of whom
  pass Hougoumont on their right, and enter the gate: a desperate
  struggle ensues.—Gallantry of colonel Macdonell, sergeant Graham,
  and the Coldstream.—The enemy’s light troops drive off our
  right battery.—Colonel Woodford, with a body of the Coldstream,
  reinforces Hougoumont.—Sergeant Graham rescues his brother from the
  flames.—Prussian cavalry observed.—Hougoumont a stumbling-block to
  the enemy, who now prepare to attack our left.—Napoleon observes
  a part of Bulow’s Prussian corps, and detaches cavalry to keep
  them in check.—A Prussian hussar taken prisoner; his disclosures
  to the enemy.—Soult writes a dispatch to Grouchy.—Oversight of
  Napoleon, who orders Ney to attack our left.—D’Erlon’s columns
  advance; terrific fire of artillery.—La Haye-Sainte and Papelotte
  attacked.—Picton’s division, aided by Ponsonby’s cavalry, defeat
  the enemy.—Shaw the life-guardsman killed.—Struggle for a colour.—A
  female hussar killed.—Picton killed.—Scots Greys and Highlanders
  charge together.—Two eagles captured, with a host of prisoners.—Our
  heavy cavalry get out of hand.—Ponsonby killed.—12th dragoons
  charge.—Our front troops drawn back.—Charge of Kellermann’s
  cuirassiers, repulsed by Somerset’s household brigade, who
  following up the enemy mix with Ponsonby’s dragoons on the French
  position.—Captain Siborne’s narrative of the attack upon our left
  and centre.—Heroism of lord Uxbridge.

Just before the commencement of the battle, and after taking a
minute survey of his troops on the position, the Duke rode down to
Hougoumont, and following the footpath that traversed the wood,
halted at the eastern boundary, from whence he surveyed the enemy’s
masses in that vicinity. He afterwards returned to the buildings,
and, casting a hasty glance around, made a few observations to
colonel Macdonell, ordered a slight change to be made in the troops
holding the wood and out-grounds, and then rode away.

At about half-past eleven o’clock, his Grace was near the bit of
hedge-row on the road side, midway between the Lion and Hougoumont,
in conversation with one of his staff, when a strong force of light
troops of prince Jérôme’s division commenced an attack in the wood
of Hougoumont upon our light troops, who, being under cover of the
hedge and trees, kept them at bay for some time: the French however
pressed on briskly into the wood, and drove our troops back towards
the buildings. The rattle of the musketry was kept up in the wood for
some time; and thus opened the memorable day of Waterloo.

Upon Jérôme’s supporting columns being put in motion, (about ten
minutes to twelve, according to lord Edward Somerset and general Shaw
Kennedy’s watches[29],) captain Cleeve’s German battery first opened
upon them, and produced a most terrific effect, making a complete
road through the mass[30]: the leading column was broken, and fell
back behind the ridge; upon which our artillery more to the right
opened upon the French rear columns which had slightly changed their
position. Reille’s guns now opened, and a heavy cannonade was carried
on. Napoleon ordered Kellermann to push forward his horse batteries:
thus the fire augmented like thickening peals of thunder, and the
whole kept up a continual roar;

      “And from their deep throats
      The shot and shells did pour.”

Our Nassau and Hanoverian light troops being forced out of the wood
by the French, the light companies of the British guards advanced
on the right of the buildings, and also from the orchard into the
fields, driving the enemy before them.

During the time the French occupied the wood, the Duke, after
explaining the danger attending the howitzers’ range, as, from the
proximity of the hostile forces, friends might be destroyed as well
as foes, ordered Bull’s howitzer battery to throw shells into it. A
shower of shells was soon sent flying into the wood, which forced
Jérôme’s light troops and their supports to retire. Up to this time,
except a little skirmishing, the battle was confined to Hougoumont.
The roar of artillery was increasing. At this period a body of the
enemy’s cavalry approached our left at a good pace; upon which,
Best’s Hanoverians formed square; but the French cavalry went about.
It was a reconnoitering party, to see whether we had thrown up any
field-works, as our position, when seen from the French right, had
all the appearance of being intrenched. Fresh columns of Jérôme’s
division, supported by Foy’s, were sent upon our post at Hougoumont;
they united, extended their front, and pressed through the wood and
open fields.

The horse battery upon the French left opened upon our right, and
a sharp cannonade was kept up between the batteries. Our light
troops in the wood and orchard made a desperate resistance, but were
ultimately obliged to fall back upon the flanks of the buildings. As
the French approached the banked-up hedge that masked the loop-holed
wall, they pressed up to it, thinking our troops were behind it;
but they were suddenly brought to a stand, by an efficacious fire
through the loop-holes and from the scaffold over the top of the
wall: most of their advance were brought down, and those who followed
were staggered, without being able to make out whence the fire came
that caused such havock in their ranks; little thinking that a
masked battery of muskets was within forty yards of them. They at
length perceived whence this well-directed fire came; still they
returned with redoubled fury to the attack, in hopes of carrying
this important post. Not thinking it prudent to attempt an escalade,
they covered themselves, as best they could, by the banked-up hedge
and trees, and continued a dropping fire upon the wall, which was so
peppered as to lead one to suppose they had an idea of battering it
down with musketry, or mistook the red bricks for our red coats. At
length some of the more daring, and there were many in their ranks,
rushed over the hedge up to the wall, and seized the muskets which
protruded through the loop-holes.

The enemy were making their way through a gap, out of the wood, into
the large orchard, when lord Saltoun charged them with his light
troops and drove them back. Our howitzers upon the right of the main
ridge began again plying with shells the enemy in the wood: they
falling back, and our men moving on slowly, the shells were thrown
in another direction, upon some supports. The enemy were again
reinforced, and pressed on in a most daring manner.

Our guards on the right, under colonel Macdonell, fell back upon the
haystack (afterwards burnt) that stood between the buildings and the
wood, and upon the hedges and the right enclosures; while those on
the left or orchard side, under colonel lord Saltoun, fell back to
the south banked-up hedge of the orchard. Those on the right were
assisted by their comrades from the windows of the house, as well
as from the loop-holes of the south stables. They managed upon that
point to keep the enemy at bay for some time, but perceiving some
of Jérôme’s troops out-flanking them on the allied right of the
buildings, and thus exposing our men to the danger of being turned
on their right and cut off from retreat, they hastily fell back and
entered the buildings by the north gate, which they attempted to
block up: but the French were too close upon them, and forced an
entrance. Our men quickly taking the best cover they could find,
opened a rattling fire upon the intruders, then darted forward, and a
struggle ensued, distinguished by the most undaunted courage on both
sides. At length colonel Macdonell and his small force, amongst whom
was sergeant Graham, succeeded in overpowering the enemy and closing
the gate. All of the enemy who had entered were either killed or
severely wounded. Shortly after a French soldier climbed to the top
of the gateway, and sergeant Graham immediately shot him, by order of
captain Windham, who at the time was holding Graham’s musket, whilst
the latter was further securing the gate.

At this moment the position was nearer falling into the hands of
the enemy, than at any other period during the day. A party of
French drove back our light companies, and passed the avenue hedge
which leads to the Nivelles road, turning the post on the allied
right. Being favoured by the brushwood and high crops, they got
close up under the ridge on the right of our main front line, and
destroyed some of our artillery-men and horses, causing Webber
Smith’s battery to be drawn back into the hollow road, where his guns
were refitted. Colonel Woodford, with the rest of the Coldstreams,
went down and drove the French before him; but, before his arrival,
such a numerous body of the enemy had congregated at the north gate
and wall of Hougoumont, that our artillery opened fire upon them.
Colonel Woodford’s advance caused it to cease, from the fear of
destroying our own men. Woodford cleared all before him, and leaving
a detachment to guard the avenue, he entered the building from the
lane by a small door of the barn (now bricked up).

Sergeant Graham, some time after this, asked permission to fall out
for a few minutes: a request which surprised colonel Macdonell, and
induced him to inquire the motive. Graham replied, that his brother
was lying in the buildings wounded, and, as the flames were then fast
extending, he wished to remove him to a place of safety. The request
was granted, and Graham, having rescued his brother from the fate
which menaced him, speedily returned to his post. Graham died an
inmate of the Royal hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin, in 1845.

The French on our left of Hougoumont, pressed on, and turned lord
Saltoun’s troops on their left, driving them across the orchard to
the friendly hollow-way; but upon the enemy following through the
south hedge, all within musket range received, from the Coldstreams
stationed inside the east garden wall, such a severe fire upon
their left flank, as staggered and brought them up. Upon which lord
Saltoun, who had been reinforced upon his left by some of the 3d
guards from the main line, advanced, drove the enemy before him,
and again occupied the front hedge; than which there was not a more
secure position on the field, as long as the enemy did not outflank
it: but this the French frequently attempted to do by attacking, from
the open field beyond the east hedge of the enclosure, Saltoun’s
left, posted at the south-east angle of the orchard.

The enemy now occupied the wood and open fields on both flanks.
Outside the left enclosures there was cavalry-skirmishing. About this
time small bodies of cavalry, supposed to be Prussians, were observed
on the heights on our left, near St.-Lambert.

[Illustration: (Marshall Ney)]

In consequence of the determined resistance the enemy met with at our
advanced post of Hougoumont, which proved a regular stumbling-block
to Napoleon, he resolved upon attacking the left of our main
line[31]. Marshal Ney had been making preparations for so doing,
by pushing forward part of his artillery to the intermediate ridge
of their right wing, placing his guns so that their range was not
beyond half a mile; they were to cover, as is usual, the advance of
their columns of attack, formed of the whole of d’Erlon’s corps,
supported by part of Reille’s.

Napoleon’s aim was to turn our left, force the left centre, get
possession of the farms of La Haye-Sainte and Mont-St.-Jean, and
establish a force there, in order to cut off our communication
with Brussels, and to prevent our cooperation with the Prussians.
The French columns had been moved to the hollow, between the main
and inner ridges. All was ready for the grand attack, of which
Ney apprized Napoleon; who, before he gave the order to begin,
took a general survey upon his right, when, perceiving in the
direction of St.-Lambert what he thought to be troops, he asked his
adjutant-general (Soult[32],) what the cloud of troops were that
he saw in the distance? Soult replied, “I think I see five or six
thousand men: possibly part of Grouchy’s corps.” The telescopes were
all put in requisition; but the day being hazy, the opinions were
various and conflicting. Upon this, general Domont was sent for, and
ordered to proceed with two light cavalry divisions in the direction
of St.-Lambert, and ascertain what the supposed troops were. Domont
and Subervie, it is said, immediately moved to the right, and drew
up _en potence_ on the right of the French army, and facing the wood
of Paris. This must have occurred about one o’clock. Soon after,
an officer of the light cavalry brought in a Prussian hussar taken
prisoner, who had been charged with a letter for orders from Bulow
to Wellington. The Prussian was very communicative, and answered
all questions in a loud tone; he said, “his corps had been that
morning at Wavre, near which the other three Prussian corps had
encamped; that his regiment had sent out patrols for six miles in all
directions, but had not fallen in with any part of the French army,
consequently they had concluded that Grouchy had joined the Emperor
at Plancenoit; and that the column seen near St.-Lambert was the
advance-guard of Bulow’s (4th) corps, about 30,000 strong, that had
not been present at the battle of Ligny.” This intelligence obliged
Napoleon to hold a considerable force in hand, in order to defend his
right flank. It is therefore evident, that more caution and vigilance
should have been used by him, at an earlier period, in that direction.

Soult, who was at this time writing a dispatch to Grouchy, informed
him that the Emperor wished him to manœuvre in the direction of the
main army; to find out the point where it was, to keep up a close
communication, and to be at hand to fall upon and destroy any enemy
that might attempt to disturb their right flank.

  “At this moment,” he continued, “we are engaged in battle on
  the line of Waterloo. The centre of the English army is at
  Mont-St.-Jean; so manœuvre to join our right without loss of time.

                                                    “DUKE OF DALMATIA.
  “One o’clock, 18th June.”

It was sent off with the intercepted letter, but did not reach
Grouchy till after seven P.M. Domont soon after made the
communication, that he had fallen in with the enemy in the direction
of St.-Lambert; the Emperor might be assured that the troops he had
seen were enemies, and that he had sent out patrols to find out
Grouchy and to open a communication with him.

Napoleon remarked to Soult, “This morning we had ninety chances
for us; the arrival of Bulow loses us thirty, but we have still
sixty against forty. If Grouchy repair the horrible fault which he
committed yesterday in amusing himself at Gembloux, and send his
detachment with rapidity, the victory will be more decisive, because
Bulow’s corps will be quite destroyed.” The Emperor still felt
sanguine as to the successful result of the battle, notwithstanding
he had received no intelligence from Grouchy, nor any information
which he considered satisfactory respecting the Prussians. It was
only by a gross oversight on the part of Napoleon, or some of his
officers, that Bulow was allowed to approach his right. Had he
detached six or eight thousand men of all arms on the 17th, or at an
early hour on the 18th, to command the entrance to the defiles of
the Lasne and St.-Lambert, through which Bulow had to pass, and not
above ten minutes’ gallop from the French right (consequently the
force could have been recalled at any moment,) Napoleon could have
kept Bulow’s corps, out of action until the arrival of Zieten’s (1st)
corps, at about eight o’clock, and before that hour he might with his
whole force have assailed Wellington’s position.

The appearance of the Prussians at St.-Lambert was ominous for
Napoleon: it compelled him to alter his plan of battle, and tended to
paralyze part of his reserves. The Prussians were now in great force
between Grouchy’s corps and the French right. Grouchy might indeed
fall upon the Prussian rear; but he might also be retarded at the
passage of the Dyle, or by some other difficulty or misfortune. The
prospect was sufficiently gloomy to make Napoleon detach some cavalry
for the purpose of observing Bulow’s corps, and to keep a strong
force in hand ready to check the Prussians, should they attempt to
disturb his right.

The Emperor now sent word to Ney to commence the attack. D’Erlon’s
four massive columns advanced, accompanied by Ney, who halted on
the high-road where it cuts through the bank, before reaching La
Haye-Sainte orchard. As soon as the columns reached the inner ridge,
and were passing between their batteries, our guns opened upon them;
they were scarcely down the slope so as to be under cover from their
own guns, when their batteries of between seventy and eighty pieces,
posted on their main and inner ridges, opened with a tremendous
roar upon our lines, causing dreadful havock in Picton’s division
and Byland’s brigade. The balls that went over fell with terrific
effect amongst our cavalry in the rear. The flank columns which were
detached to attack La Haye-Sainte, and Papelotte, La Haye and Smohain
on our left, soon became engaged. The German rifles from the orchard
of La Haye-Sainte opened first: then the Nassau on the left, with the
light troops in advance of the columns, and soon the skirmish became
general along the whole front of attack. Papelotte, la Haye and the
orchard of La Haye-Sainte were carried.

As the columns approached the rise of our position, they appeared
_en échelons_ from their left. Byland’s brigade of the Netherlands
was overpowered and gave way before the overwhelming force which
advanced against it, but was rallied again in rear of the ridge,
where it remained for the rest of the day. Some of this brigade,
particularly the 5th militia, had behaved with great gallantry on
the 16th, at Quatre-Bras. The flanking fires from La Haye-Sainte
and the enclosures of Smohain induced the enemy’s flank columns
to swerve away towards the centre, before they dropped off their
supports: so much so, that their central columns had not sufficient
space to deploy. The left column got a strong fire from the walls of
La Haye-Sainte, which it had scarcely cleared, when our sand-hole
rifles began; this at first staggered the column, but still it
pressed on with deafening shouts of _Vive l’Empereur!_ and turned
our sand-larks, who fell back behind the knoll, and from thence upon
their battalion.

The enemy had dislodged the green Germans from the orchard of La
Haye-Sainte, and were desperately disputing the buildings, a most
serious impediment to the French, whose attacking columns were
advancing towards the hedge. The French artillery now suspended their
fire, for fear of destroying friends as well as foes: whilst our
few but well-served batteries were carrying destruction through the
enemy’s columns, who, regardless of the iron hail, gallantly pressed
on until within forty yards of the hedge, when the undaunted Picton
ordered Kempt’s brigade to deploy into line. This brigade moved up
to the hedge, fired a volley into the enemy while deploying, which
dreadfully shattered their ranks and stemmed their further progress;
then with a loud Hurrah! rushed through the hedge and received a
murderous volley in return. This caused some disorder and delay,
particularly among the 79th regiment: but the delay was momentary;
our soldiers quickly rallied, and levelling their bayonets, presented
a line of British infantry at the charge. Picton’s gallant example at
Quatre-Bras had so inspired his troops, that nothing could now resist
the impetuosity of their attack.

By the terrific fire of our infantry, a timely check was given to
the burning ardour of the assailing columns, which were soon turned
into a shapeless mass of men, destitute of order, although still
endeavouring to hold their ground; pouring out a straggling fire,
yet unable to withstand the storm about to burst upon their devoted
heads. During this time a portion of the first light battalion of
the German legion crossed the high-road to support our advancing
brigade. The French left attacking column became panic-stricken,
and, in utter confusion, fled precipitately down the slope. As
the British pressed forward, their front was crossed by a body of
cuirassiers hotly pursued by the 2d life-guards. The cuirassiers
dashed in amongst their own broken infantry, who flung themselves on
the ground to allow both cavalries to ride over them, they then rose
up and fired after the life-guards. The cuirassiers coming nearer to
their own position pulled up their steeds, and boldly faced their
pursuers, but in vain; after many an isolated and individual combat,
they were obliged again to turn and fly. It was here that Shaw, the
famous life-guardsman, fell in the _mêlée_, mortally wounded by a
carbine-ball, after having, it is said, killed nine of his steel-clad

During this same attack, a French officer, whose horse had been
shot under him, seized the regimental colour of the 32d, which was
carried at the moment by lieutenant Belcher: a struggle ensued; the
Frenchman was in the act of drawing his sword, when he received a
thrust in the breast from a sergeant’s halbert, and instantly after,
notwithstanding the major (Toole) called out, (alas! too late,) “Save
the brave fellow!” he was shot by a man named Lacey, and fell dead at
lieutenant Belcher’s feet. This officer and lieutenant-colonel Brown,
both of the 32d and actors in this scene, revisited the spot in 1845.
They related all that took place on this part of our line during
the day, and further told me, that in collecting their wounded on
the morning after the battle, they found, near where the Hanoverian
monument now stands, a most beautiful young lady who had been shot
dead in the costume of an officer of the French hussars[33].

[Illustration: (Sir Thomas Picton)]

It was during this gallant and eminently successful repulse of the
enemy, that the brave Picton fell[34]: he was struck by a musket-ball
in the right temple, and died immediately. His last words were,
“Charge! charge! Hurrah!” His life had been spent in fighting the
battles of his country: his end was suited to his stormy career; and
although he had attained the meridian of military glory, no one of
the many that fell that day was so lamented, as no one had been so
admired and loved by the British army. His renown had attracted the
notice of Napoleon, who on the morning of the battle inquired, “Where
is Picton’s division?” His desire to know this might be attributed to
his thinking, that, as they had been so roughly handled and had lost
so many men at Quatre-Bras, their _morale_ was shaken and they might
be easily overpowered.

It appears that Picton had been wounded on the 16th, at Quatre-Bras;
but it was not discovered till his body was laid out on the 19th, at

He was succeeded in the command of the division by sir James Kempt;
colonel Belson, of the 28th, taking command of the brigade.

The 95th rifles were soon in the midst of the broken French infantry,
over which the two cavalries had ridden; they took a vast number of
prisoners and sent them to the rear. The rifles then reoccupied the
knoll and sand-pit, and Baring’s gallant Germans the little garden
and orchard of La Haye-Sainte, from whence the enemy had been driven.

Ponsonby’s brigade had advanced close up to the ridge, and was
waiting the proper moment to charge; for the French columns on
Kempt’s left, having had nothing in their front to check them after
Byland retreated, were making through the hedges that lined the
road. Part of the Royal dragoons dashed into the head of the enemy’s
column in their front, and at the same moment a portion of the 28th
regiment brought their right shoulders forward and fired a volley
into its left flank. At this time, part of Pack’s brigade, formed of
the redoubtable remains of the 92d Highlanders, was in rear of the
ridge, their left brought forward, resting in front of the brushwood
upon the knoll on our left. Part of another French column had passed
the straggling hedge, and were pressing on towards the position of
this brigade, bearing directly on its left. This handful of tried
soldiers, partially aided by the Royal Scots and 42d Highlanders,
immediately advanced in order to come to close quarters with the
enemy, whose fire they received without returning, until within
thirty yards; they then threw in a concentrated and destructive
volley, which completely staggered the French, who however soon
sufficiently recovered themselves to return the fire. At this moment,
the Scots Greys came up, and the Highlanders opened out to let them
pass. The wild shrill squeaking bagpipes, mixed with the shouting of
“Scotland for ever!” heightened the national enthusiasm, and many of
them, breaking from their ranks, caught hold of the Grey’s stirrups
to be able to keep up with them, and to take their part in completing
the destruction of the enemy.

      “Where stream’d fair Scotia’s banners high,
        Or nodded where her bonnets blue,
      Where peal’d the bagpipe’s deafening cry,
        Or where the varied tartans flew:
      There did the rush of battle burst,
        Blazing the deadly fight begun;
      There did the shouts of triumph first
        Proclaim the Gallic host undone.”

While we see in this fact ample proof of the ardour which fired the
breasts of our brave Scottish troops, yet we must allow that the
mingling of broken infantry with cavalry advancing to an attack,
must have materially impeded the impetus and efficiency of both. The
cavalry having the advantage of the descent, bore down all before
them. Unfortunately this splendid result was not enough for the
gallant spirits that achieved it. Wild with their success and carried
away by the ardour of the fight, they hurried in utter confusion up
the opposite slopes, sabring every living thing that came in their
way. This was not the only instance of our cavalry getting disordered
and out of hand by their own headlong rashness, and in consequence
causing most serious loss of life.

The eagle and colour of the 45th regiment in the French column,
attracted the particular attention of sergeant Ewart of the Greys; he
gallantly rushed forward to secure the trophy. The following is his
account of the affair: “It was in the charge I took the eagle from
the enemy: he and I had a hard contest for it; he made a thrust at
my groin, I parried it off and cut him down through the head. After
this a lancer came at me; I threw the lance off by my right side,
and cut him through the chin and upwards through the teeth. Next,
a foot-soldier fired at me, and then charged me with his bayonet,
which I also had the good luck to parry, and then I cut him down
through the head; thus ended the contest. As I was about to follow my
regiment, the general said, ‘My brave fellow, take that to the rear;
you have done enough till you get quit of it.’ I took the eagle to
the ridge, and afterwards to Brussels[35].”

The Greys, with the Highlanders, took and destroyed nearly the whole
of the front attacking column. Upon the right of the Greys were the
Inniskilling dragoons, who dashed through the straggling hedge[36]
down upon the supporting columns, and made fearful havock amongst
them; and although they had not the good fortune to capture an eagle,
their attack was as brilliant as that of the other regiments of
the brigade. On the right of the brigade were the Royal dragoons,
as before mentioned, who, like the Greys[37], met the head of the
enemy’s column on our side of the Wavre road and hedge; the column
threw out a straggling fire, and attempted to repass the hedge;
but the Royals were soon among them, cutting and slashing away,
and causing a panic, which, from the enemy’s situation, was not to
be wondered at. In the centre of this column was the eagle of the
105th regiment; this caught the eye of captain Clarke, of the Royal
dragoons. The following extract is from the records of the regiment,
page 105: “I was,” he said, “in command of the centre squadron of
the Royal dragoons in this charge; while following up the attack, I
perceived a little to my left, in the midst of a body of infantry, an
eagle and colour, which the bearer was making off with towards the
rear. I immediately gave the order to my squadron, ‘Right shoulders
forward!’ at the same time leading direct upon the eagle and calling
out to the men with me to secure the colour; the instant I got within
reach of the officer who carried the eagle, I ran my sword into
his right side, and he staggered and fell, but did not reach the
ground on account of the pressure of his companions: as the officer
was in the act of falling, I called out a second time to some men
close behind me, ‘Secure the colour, it belongs to me.’ The standard
coverer, corporal Styles[38], and several other men rushed up, and
the eagle fell across my horse’s head against that of corporal
Styles’s: as it was falling, I caught the fringe of the flag with my
left hand, but could not at first pull up the eagle: at the second
attempt however I succeeded. Being in the midst of French troops, I
attempted to separate the eagle from the staff, to put it into the
breast of my coatee, but it was too firmly fixed. Corporal Styles
said, ‘Sir, don’t break it;’ to which I replied, ‘Very well; carry
it off to the rear as fast as you can:’ he did so. Though wounded,
I preferred remaining on the field in command of my squadron, which
I did till near seven o’clock in the evening, when I was obliged to
withdraw; having had two horses killed under me, and having received
two wounds, which confined me to my quarters at Brussels for nearly
two months.”

During this conflict, the valley and slopes of both positions
presented a sight indeed! they were covered with broken troops of
both armies: ours, both infantry and cavalry, bringing up prisoners
singly and in groups. Some few of our fellows, until driven back
by their officers, were helping themselves to any little valuable
article they could lay hand on.

Many French officers were brought up prisoners; they delivered up
their swords to our officers. The enemy upon the opposite heights
were similarly employed in taking prisoners, and destroying such of
our cavalry as had ventured too far, particularly the Scots Greys,
who, by their ill-timed impetuosity, lost many men and horses. In
fact most of Ponsonby’s brigade, with a portion of the household
brigade, animated by their first success, pursued their advantage
too far; they crossed the valley in disorder, and galloped up to the
French position in two’s and three’s and groups, brandishing their
swords in defiance, riding along the ridge, sabring the gunners,
and rendering about thirty guns useless: the bugles, or trumpets,
sounding to rally, were unheeded.

General Ponsonby rode forward to stop their wild career, but he
was intercepted in a ploughed field by the lancers, and killed.
The command of the brigade devolved on colonel Muter, of the
Inniskillings. The enemy’s cuirassiers, lancers and chasseurs,
perceiving the isolated and unsupported position of our broken
dragoons, rushed forward and made serious havock, pursuing them
down the slope into the valley. Those of our men whose horses where
blown and exhausted by their recent exertions, became an easy prey
to the enemy; but at length the 12th and 16th light dragoons, part
of Vandeleur’s brigade, came forward. The 12th, under colonel F.
Ponsonby, charged some unsteady infantry in the valley, and then
attacked the lancers, whom they overpowered, thus relieving our
broken cavalry. In advancing, the 12th suffered most severely from
the fire of some of Durutte’s division, who were concealed by a high
bank in the valley, in front of our left.

The 16th light dragoons charged some of the enemy’s cavalry; part of
Merle’s Dutch-Belgian cavalry came up as a support; a portion went
down the slope. Vivian’s brigade moved from our extreme left towards
the scene of action, but like Merle’s it was not required. Both sides
were now employed in reforming upon their original positions, except
our two light cavalry brigades, which took position somewhat more to
their right. The skeleton remains of Ponsonby’s brigade, at a later
period of the day, crossed the Charleroi road, and joined lord Edward
Somerset’s. Meanwhile our rockets were playing with destructive
effect upon the enemy, who were rallying opposite to our left.

After this sanguinary conflict, Napoleon rode along his right
wing, and as usual he was loudly cheered. Sir Hussey Vivian, who
at the time was in front of the knoll on our left, told me that he
distinctly saw the Emperor: he was galloping towards some of his
lancers that were reforming; upon the near approach of Napoleon
they waved their lance-flags and shouted, _Vive l’Empereur!_
Shortly before this, Vivian ordered two of major Gardner’s guns
which were attached to his brigade, to open fire. Upon this the
French artillery opened, and a shot striking one of our ammunitions
tumbrels, it blew up, which called forth a shout from the French

We may remark upon this attack[39], which the Duke pronounced the
most serious that occurred during the day, that it was entirely
defeated; that it gave us a great many prisoners, led to our
disabling many of their guns, and that its failure frustrated
Napoleon’s entire plan. Nor can any doubt be entertained, that if
Wellington’s forces on this eventful day had been wholly composed of
his Peninsular soldiers, of whom he had said, “I always thought, I
could go anywhere and could do anything with that army!” we should
not have looked so anxiously for the arrival of the Prussians, nor
would they have been up in time to have taken any share in the

Meanwhile the enemy’s attack upon La Haye-Sainte had been continued;
they had, as related, dislodged the German riflemen from the orchard
and garden, although a most determined resistance had been made by
major Baring. During the advance of d’Erlon’s columns, the Duke
observed the dreadful havock made by the enemy’s batteries in his
front troops posted between the two high-roads, and ordered them to
retire behind the crest of the ridge for shelter. This movement was
mistaken by Napoleon for one of retreat, and he immediately launched
forward Kellermann’s cuirassiers and carabineers to pick up our guns
and stragglers, and press our rear. Shortly before this, his Grace
advanced a reinforcement to La Haye-Sainte, having observed that the
enemy was about to make another attack. Upon the arrival of this
reinforcement, Baring tried to recover the orchard, as well as the
little garden on our side of the farm, which had fallen into the
hands of the French. The Germans were advancing, when they observed
some cuirassiers moving forward. Lord Edward Somerset, whose brigade
was now in line immediately in rear of this part of the position,
had placed two officers on the ridge, to give a signal of the
enemy’s advance, in order to time his charge. Upon the cuirassiers
approaching the line of skirmishers in front of our right of the
farm, these latter ran in upon Baring’s troops, who were near the
orchard, and threw them into confusion. They took to flight, but
were overtaken, ridden down and sabred. While the cuirassiers were
ascending the ridge, our artillery opened with grape and case-shot,
which laid many low, and disordered their ranks: they however pressed
forward most gallantly. Somerset’s line was now coming over the
ridge, led by Uxbridge, and, at the moment our front squares fired
into the cuirassiers, the two cavalries dashed into each other:
the shock was terrific; the swords clashing upon the casques and
cuirasses so that, as lord Edward Somerset humorously observed to me
when he visited the field in June 1842, “You might have fancied that
it was so many tinkers at work.” But it was of short duration. The
British household cavalry soon cleared the ridge of the cuirassiers,
although these made a most gallant resistance: they fled down the
slope on both sides of La Haye-Sainte, closely followed by the
brigade; those on the allied left of the farm, by the 2d life-guards.
It was in following up this charge, that part of this brigade mixed
with Ponsonby’s broken dragoons on the French position, and fell upon
and sabred some of the enemy’s infantry who had been assaulting La
Haye-Sainte. Part of the 1st life-guards pursued some cuirassiers,
till both became wedged in between the two high banks of the Genappe
road, beyond the orchard of La Haye-Sainte. Some of Reille’s troops,
who had advanced in support of d’Erlon’s attack, fired down from
these banks upon our life-guards, who had to get back to our line
as well as they could. Most of the King’s dragoon guards had dashed
over the road and were falling back to reform; but they lost many men
and some officers, by the enemy’s fire from the little garden of La

In leading this charge, lord Edward Somerset lost his cocked hat,
and went to the charge bare-headed. On his return, whilst looking
for his hat, a cannon-ball took off the flap of his coat and killed
his horse. During the rest of the day he appeared in a life-guard’s

Lambert’s brigade was now brought forward to reinforce the remains of
Kempt’s division.

Captain Siborne, in the following spirited manner, concludes his
narrative of the attack and defeat of the enemy, upon our left and
centre, between half-past one and three o’clock:

“Thus terminated one of the grandest scenes which distinguished the
mighty drama, enacted on the ever-memorable plains of Waterloo: a
scene presenting in bold relief genuine British valour, crowned with
resplendent triumph; a scene which should be indelibly impressed upon
the minds as well of living British warriors, as of their successors
in ages yet unborn.

“Britons, before other scenes are disclosed to your view, take one
retrospective glance at this glorious, this instructive spectacle.
Let your imagination carry you to the rear of that celebrated
position, and a little to the left of the Charleroi road. Behold,
in the foreground on the right, a British line of cavalry advancing
to the charge, exulting in the consciousness of its innate courage,
indomitable spirit, and strength of arm. Whilst you are admiring
the beautiful order and steadiness of their advance, your eyes
are suddenly attracted by the glittering of a line of horsemen in
burnished coats of mail, rising above the brow, and now crowning the
summit of the ridge.

“They are the far-famed cuirassiers of France, led on by a
Kellermann: gallant spirits, that have hitherto overcome the finest
troops that could be brought against them, and have grown grey in
glory. Trumpets sound the charge; in the next instant your ears catch
the low thundering noises of their horses’ hoofs, and your breathless
excitement is wound to the highest pitch as the adverse lines dash
together with a shock, which at the moment you expect must end in
their mutual annihilation. Observe the British, how they seem to
doubt for a second in what manner to deal with their opponents.

“Now they urge their powerful steeds into the intervals between
the necks of those of the cuirassiers. Swords brandished high in
air gleam fitfully in rapid succession throughout the lines, here
clashing together, there clanging against helmet and cuirass, which
ring under their redoubled strokes. See, the struggle is but a
moment doubtful: the cuirassiers, seemingly encumbered by their coats
of mail, are yielding to superior strength, dexterity and bravery
combined; men and horses reel and stagger to the earth: gaps open out
in their line; numbers are backing out, others are fairly turning
round; their whole line now bends and breaks asunder into fragments:
in the next moment they appear, as if by a miracle, to be swept from
off the crest of the position, and being closely and hotly pursued by
the victors, the whole rushing down the other side of the ridge, are
snatched from your view. Your attention is now irresistibly drawn to
that part of the foreground immediately facing you, where you have
barely time to catch sight of a line of British infantry just as it
forces its way through the hedge that runs along the crest of the
ridge, to charge a column advancing up the other side.

“At the moment the shouts that proclaim its triumph reach your ear,
you are struck by the majestic advance, close to your left, of
another line of British horsemen. These halt just under the brow of
the ridge. In their left front your eye now also embraces a line of
British infantry moving quickly up the steep; whilst at the same
time you see the heads of two hostile columns issuing through the
hedge, and crowning the ridge amidst shouts of _Vive l’Empereur!_ The
one nearest to you, finding no immediate opposition to its farther
advance, is rapidly establishing itself on the height; the other
is met by the advancing line of infantry. A struggle ensues; the
farther column is concealed from your view by the smoke by which it
is suddenly enshrouded: but, at the very moment when doubts arise in
your mind as to the result, the cavalry rushes forward, and passing
through intervals opened out for it by the infantry, charges both
those heads of columns, cutting them up, as it were, root and branch;
and then bounding through the hedge, the whole disappears as if by

“Now let your imagination, keeping pace with the intensity of feeling
excited by such a scene, carry you up to the summit of the ridge.
Behold, at once, the glorious spectacle spread out before you; the
furious impetuosity of their onslaught overcomes all resistance:
the terror-stricken masses, paralyzed by this sudden apparition
of cavalry amongst them, have neither time nor resolution to form
squares, and limit their defence to a feeble, hasty, straggling
fire from their ill-cemented edges: a flight, commencing from the
rearmost rank, is rapidly augmented by the outward scattering,
occasioned by the continually increasing pressure upon the front;
the entire slope is soon covered with the dispersed elements of the
previously attacking force: parties of infantry are hurrying over
the brow of the ridge to aid others of the cavalry in securing their
prisoners; three thousand of these are swept to the rear, and two
eagles are gloriously captured. From the momentary contemplation of
these trophies, your eyes instinctively revert to the course of the
victors, whom you now perceive in the middle distance of the view; a
broken line of daring horsemen rushing up the opposite height.

“Their intoxicating triumph admits of no restraint. They heed not
the trumpet’s call to halt and rally; but, plunging wildly amidst
the formidable line of batteries ranged along the French position,
they commence sabring the gunners, stabbing the horses, and seem to
clear the ground of every living being. But physical efforts, however
powerfully developed and sustained, have their limit; exhausted
nature yields at length, and their fiery steeds, subdued not by
force but by exhaustion, retire with lagging, faltering pace. You
look in vain for a support; there is none: but your eye is suddenly
caught by the fluttering of lance-flags of a column of the enemy’s
cavalry approaching from the left, and you become nervously alive
to the danger that awaits the valiant band of heroes, who are only
now made sensible of the necessity of retiring to collect and rally
their scattered numbers. Seeing no support ready to receive them, and
becoming aware of the near approach of hostile cavalry, they make
a last and desperate effort. Those who are best mounted, and whose
horses are least blown, succeed in regaining the allied position
unmolested; but a very considerable number are overtaken by the
lancers, with whom they now contend under a fearful disadvantage in
point of speed and order.

“But mark! a rescue is at hand: a gallant line of friendly cavalry
throws itself against the right flank of the lancers, the farther
portion or left of that line first dashing through and scattering
an unsteady mass of infantry, the sole remaining column out of the
entire attacking force that has yet kept together. The tide of
destruction now sets in strongly against the lancers: their pursuit
is checked; the heavy dragoons are relieved from the pressure. A
_mêlée_ ensues, but you are not kept long in suspense; for in another
moment this newly arrived force, making good its way, succeeds in
driving the lancers in confusion down to the foot of the valley. The
arena in your front is speedily cleared of both friends and foes; the
discharge of rockets which now attracts your attention appears like
a display of fireworks in celebration of the glorious triumph. The
affair has terminated.

“But stay to witness the concluding part of the scene. Observe the
splendidly attired group entering upon the right, just above La

“It is headed by one whom you cannot for a moment mistake, the
illustrious Wellington. Lord Uxbridge, returning from his brilliant
charge, now joins the Duke, while the whole _Corps diplomatique et
militaire_ express in the strongest terms their admiration of the
grand military spectacle of which they have been spectators. Among
them are representatives of nearly all the continental nations; so
that this glorious triumph of your valiant countrymen may be said
to have been achieved in the face of congregated Europe. Honour,
imperishable honour, to every British soldier engaged in that
never-to-be-forgotten fight.

“When Britain again puts forth her strength in battle, may her
sovereign’s guards inherit the same heroic spirit which animated
those of George, Prince Regent, and inspire them with the desire to
maintain, in all their pristine purity and freshness, the laurels
transmitted to them from the field of Waterloo; and when the soldiers
of the three united kingdoms shall again be found fighting side by
side against the common enemy, may they prove to the world that they
have not degenerated from the men of the ‘Union brigade,’ who, by
their heroic deeds on that great day, so faithfully represented the
military virtues of the British empire.”

[Illustration: (Lord Uxbridge)]

Several instances of extraordinary heroism were displayed by lord
Uxbridge[40], especially when, between one and two o’clock, he was
leading on to the charge the admiring men of the two heavy cavalry
brigades. It was perhaps not less prudent than gallant to kindle a
daring spirit in our cavalry, and rouse them to the highest pitch
of emulation by the dashing valour of their chief. There was not a
man amongst us who did not feel certain that Uxbridge would have led
the charge, even if the whole French army had been moving in mass
against him; yet it is well known that there was one looking on, who
did not wear a black stock nor carry a musket[41], that would have
been better pleased if our chivalric leader had been a little more
cautious to support, and more successful in keeping the cavalry well
in hand.

      “But on the British heart were lost
      The terrors of the charging host;
      For not an eye, the storm that view’d,
      Changed its proud glance of fortitude.”

[Illustration: (end of chapter; image of a soldier)]


[29] Both those officers told me this on the field, in 1842.

[30] I was told by an officer who accompanied this column, that
seventeen men were killed by the first shot.

[31] Why this attack was not made simultaneously with that upon
Hougoumont, and at the same time a demonstration upon the allied
centre, to prevent troops being drawn from it to support the points
assailed, I am at a loss to say.

[32] Soult, Ney, Napoleon and Wellington were all born in 1769.

[33] Many females were found amongst the slain, although not of the
same class as the heroine alluded to. As is common in the camp, the
female followers wore male attire, with nearly as martial a bearing
as the soldiers, and some even were mounted and rode astride.

[34] Picton appears to have had a presentiment that this campaign
would close his glorious career. What a pity he did not survive to
see the effect of his charge!

[35] Ewart got a commission the following year. Like Shaw, the
life-guardsman, he was a man of herculean strength, and of more than
ordinary stature, being six feet four inches, and of consummate
skill as a swordsman. He died in 1845, having attained the age of

[36] It was here, and at this period, that a gentleman in plain
clothes called out to the dragoons, “Go along, my boys! now’s your
time!” It was the late duke of Richmond, come out merely as an
amateur, and to see how his ball-guests, and his sons, three of whom
were on the field, were faring. He was not attached to the staff
of this army: otherwise he would have been second in command, as,
besides being colonel of the 35th, he was full general.

[37] The Greys and Royal dragoons having each captured an eagle at
Waterloo, they were both ordered to wear an eagle on their colours,
accoutrements and buttons.

[38] Styles received a commission; and captain Clarke, now colonel
Kennedy, the order of the Bath and the Hanoverian Guelphic order.

[39] I am quite at a loss to explain the most unaccountable
remissness of the enemy’s cavalry in not supporting this attack;
and why our light cavalry on the left, did not more promptly carry
out the orders given by lord Uxbridge before the battle began, to
vigorously support offensive operations in their front.

[40] Personal intrepidity in a chief is no doubt important, and
those under him acquire courage at times from the example of their
leader. But be it said, without any disrespect to my high-spirited
old commander, discretion may sometimes be outstripped, when personal
intrepidity passes the bounds of prudence.

[41] His Grace has said, he would rather carry a musket than be
attached to the emperor of Russia. (_Dispatches_, vol. XII, page 268.)

                             CHAPTER IV.

  Hougoumont reinforced, the enemy driven back.—The enemy’s
  cavalry charge, and are driven off.—Struggle in the orchard
  continued.—Advance of a column of French infantry, who suffer
  and are checked by the terrific fire of our battery.—Napoleon
  directs his howitzers upon Hougoumont, which is soon set on
  fire; notwithstanding, the Duke ordered it to be held at any
  cost.—La Haye-Sainte again assailed.—A _ruse_ of the enemy’s
  lancers.—Fire of the enemy’s artillery increases.—Importance of
  our advanced posts.—Ney’s grand cavalry attacks; destructive
  fire of our guns upon them, and their gallantry.—After numerous
  fruitless attempts against our squares, the enemy get mixed; are
  broken, and driven back by our cavalry.—Their artillery again
  open fire upon us.—Extraordinary scene of warfare.—An ammunition
  waggon in a blaze.—The earth trembles with the concussion of the
  artillery.—Ney, reinforced with cavalry, continues his aggressions,
  and, as before, after repeated fruitless attacks, the assailants
  are driven off.—Terrific fire of artillery.—Not so many saddles
  emptied by our musketry as expected.—The enemy’s attacks less
  frequent and animated.—Captain Siborne’s lively description of
  Ney’s grand cavalry attack.

Skirmishing continued along our whole front: the entire space between
La Haye-Sainte and Hougoumont was up to this time defended by Alten’s
skirmishers, commanded by colonel Vigouroux, (30th regiment). The
light companies of the guards were, as already stated, fully engaged
at Hougoumont, to which post, about two o’clock, sir J. Byng ordered
colonel Hepburn to advance, with the remaining companies of the 3d
guards. When they reached the first hedge of the orchard, in the
hollow-way, they met with lord Saltoun, who, in consequence of the
severe loss of his light troops, gave up the command to colonel
Hepburn, and returned to his own regiment, (the 1st guards,) posted
on the main ridge.

General Cooke having lost an arm by a round-shot, the command of
the division devolved on general Byng, and the latter’s brigade on
colonel Hepburn, who soon after crossed the orchard, driving the
French before him, and occupied the south hedge; this he considered
his position. The French went through a gap at the south-west corner
of the orchard, into the wood, and, being huddled together, suffered
severely from the concentrated fire of their pursuers, as well as
from that of the Coldstream upon the scaffolds and through the
loop-holes of the wall. I have been told by a British staff officer,
who passed along the south hedges on the morning of the 19th, that,
notwithstanding he had been at most of the battles in the Peninsula,
he had never seen, except at a breach, dead and wounded men lie
thicker than along those hedges.

About this time, the 7th hussars were in line, and near the right of
the main ridge. Our officers and men were falling fast from the fire
of musketry; at length it was discovered that a dropping fire came
from a spot covered with standing rye. Sergeant Montague and a few
hussars galloped to the place, and surprised a group of the enemy’s
skirmishers, all of whom they cut down.

A strong line of the enemy’s cavalry passed Hougoumont on their
left, and ascended our position, apparently regardless of the fire
of our artillery, although it somewhat disordered their ranks. The
7th, with a portion of the 15th hussars, was led against them. After
a few cuts and points, the enemy went about, and rallied behind
another well-formed body of their cavalry; we rallied in rear of our
position. About the same time colonel Hepburn’s troops were warmly
attacked, out-flanked, and again obliged to retire to their friendly
hollow-way; but when the enemy passed the south hedge and entered
the large orchard, all within musket range got again such a severe
fire from the Coldstream at the east wall that they were staggered;
Hepburn again advanced, and recovered his position.

About the time the 2d brigade of guards advanced to Hougoumont, the
Brunswickers came into line on the right. A column of French infantry
was now seen advancing towards Alten’s and the left of Cooke’s
divisions. Our skirmishers were pushed forward to feel them; upon
which they changed their direction towards the Hougoumont enclosures
through a winding valley, and got as it were under our position, so
that they could not be seen. The officer of artillery, who fired
the first shot, was posted near where the Lion now stands; judging
the course they were taking, he allowed them to proceed to a point
where he could best exercise his engines of destruction, and opened
upon the mass with fearful precision and awful effect. The whole
column was thrown into confusion, and moved to some lower ground for
protection; there it was reformed, and again put in motion towards
the enclosures of Hougoumont; the guns opened once more upon them
with similar results, which probably prevented a serious flank attack
on this post.

Napoleon, finding his repeated attacks upon Hougoumont quite
unavailing, ordered general Haxo to establish a battery of howitzers
to set it on fire. The shells fell into the buildings, and flames
shortly burst forth: at about three o’clock, the whole of the
château and a portion of the out-offices were on fire. From the
right of the allied position the appearance was awfully grand. It
is surprising that the enemy, with so large a force of artillery,
chiefly twelve-pounders, did not level Hougoumont with the ground.
With his left batteries near the Nivelles road, from whence it was
completely commanded, he might have soon beaten it about the ears of
its defenders; he preferred however burning them out with shells.

The Duke considered it of great importance to withhold this position
from the enemy, and directed that it should not be abandoned, whilst
there was a man left to defend it, although it was in flames. He
deemed the maintaining of the post essential to the success of the
day’s operations. Many of the wounded who were in the buildings
perished in the flames; those in the chapel escaped, as the flames
did not extend far beyond the entrance; and it is a remarkable fact,
that they ceased at the feet of the wooden image of our Saviour.

      “Yes! Agincourt may be forgot,
      And Cressy be an unknown spot,
          And Blenheim’s name be new;
      But still in story and in song,
      For many an age remember’d long,
      Shall live the walls of Hougoumont
          And field of Waterloo.”

The Duke’s orders were carried down to Hougoumont by major Hamilton,
aide-de-camp to general Barnes, the adjutant-general of the forces,
and given to colonel Home, commanding some of the 3d guards on the
allied right of the building, near the wood. After delivering the
order, major Hamilton went away, but shortly returned and asked
colonel Home, if he perfectly understood his Grace’s instructions:
“I do,” replied the colonel, “and you can tell the Duke from me,
that, unless we are attacked more vigorously than we have hitherto
been, we shall maintain the post without difficulty.” Shortly
afterwards colonel Home entered the buildings, the greater part of
which, together with some stacks, were in a blaze; he found the
colonels Macdonell and Woodford in the walled garden, and gave them
the Duke’s orders. Colonel Woodford, at this time, commanded in the
interior of Hougoumont, and colonel Hepburn in the orchard. To have
allowed the enemy to establish himself in such a post, so near our
front and flank, might certainly have been followed by the most
serious consequences. But why our gallant assailants wasted so much
ammunition against brick and stone walls, that might elsewhere have
been used with effect against their enemy, is not easily answered. A
post of the description of Hougoumont never before sustained such a
succession of desperate attacks: the battle began with the struggle
for its possession, which struggle only terminated on the utter
defeat and rout of the enemy.

The attack upon La Haye-Sainte[42] was repeated, notwithstanding the
punishment the enemy had received at the hands of the German rifles.
The French again pressed on to closer combat with determined bravery.
The principal attacks were directed to the west barn and yard doors
leading into the open fields towards the Lion.

About four o’clock, the 13th light dragoons and 15th hussars (part
of the brigade in which I served,) were sent off in haste, under
general Grant[43], towards Braine-l’Alleud, to watch the movement of
a portion of the enemy’s lancers moving in that direction. The 2d
German dragoons also were ordered on the same service, to act as a
support, if needful.

The fire of the enemy’s artillery had been continued with great
vigour; it was now increased upon that part of our position which was
between the two high-roads. Our squares, which were lying down behind
the crest of the ridge and could not be seen by the enemy, were, in
a great degree, protected from the round and grape-shot, but not
from the shells, which were bestowed upon them most liberally. They
sometimes fell amongst us with great effect. Those missiles may be
both seen and heard as they approach; so that by keeping a look-out
many lives were saved; the ground too was so saturated with rain that
the shells in some instances sunk beneath the surface, and bursting
threw up mud and sand, which were comparatively harmless. The oldest
soldier however had never witnessed so furious a cannonade. The Duke,
writing to lord Beresford, says, “I never saw such a pounding match.”
The havock was dreadful in the extreme, for some considerable time
before the impetuous Ney came on with his grand cavalry attack, made
by forty squadrons. On their right, close to La Haye-Sainte, were
the cuirassiers; then the lancers and chasseurs _à cheval_ of the
Imperial guard. They advanced in lines, _en échelons_, their left
reaching nearly to the east hedge of Hougoumont.

As those on the right neared the ridge, their artillery discontinued
firing; and ours opened with grape, canister and Shrapnel shells,
which rattled like hail on the steel-clad warriors; but they still
pressed on, regardless of our fire, towards the guns, the horses
of which had been sent to the rear. Every discharge (the load was
usually double,) dreadfully shattered their ranks, and threw them
into great disorder; but excited by the trumpets sounding the charge,
they rode up to the cannons’ mouths, shouting, _Vive l’Empereur!_

Our gunners fled to the squares, which were all ranged in chequer;
the front ones had advanced again nearly close to the guns. The
French, not perceiving the advantage which the squares afforded the
gunners, and imagining that they had captured the guns, shouted out
in triumph, and then crossed over the ridge; here they were assailed
by a rolling fire from our squares, which were all prepared, the
front rank on the right knee, the next rank at the charge.

When the cuirassiers had passed over the ridge, they were out of
sight of the lancers and chasseurs, who immediately pressed on to
share in the contest. Our artillery received them in a similar
manner; some of the men rushing back to their guns, and after
discharging them at the foe, taking shelter again within the squares,
or under the guns. The firing produced a much greater effect upon
such of the enemy’s cavalry as were not protected by the cuirass and
casque; consequently their ranks were much more disordered than were
the cuirassiers’; still they pursued their onward course, passed the
guns, raised a shout and swept round the squares. Some halted and
fired their pistols at the officers in the squares; others would ride
close up, and either cut at the bayonet or try to lance the outside
files. No sooner had the broken squadrons passed the guns, than the
gunners were again at their post, and the grape rattled upon the
retiring hosts; but frequently, before a succeeding round could be
discharged, the hostile cavalry were again upon them, and compelled
them to seek shelter.

During the cavalry attacks, those of the enemy were at one time on
the allied position, riding about amongst our squares for three
quarters of an hour; all cannonading having ceased between the two

When the enemy’s squadrons became broken and disordered, our cavalry,
who were kept in hand till the favourable moment, again attacked them
and drove them down the slope, often following too far, by which they
burned their fingers, and likewise prevented our gunners from keeping
up a constant fire.

Our position was scarcely free from the enemy’s cavalry, before their
numerous artillery began to ply us again with shells and round-shot.
After the first cavalry charges, our infantry squares, finding the
odds in their favour, gained confidence, and it was soon evident
they considered the enemy’s cavalry attacks as a relief, and far
more agreeable than their furious cannonade, which was invariably
suspended on their attacking force crowning our ridge. I am confident
from what I saw and heard, as well during as after the battle, that
our British infantry would rather, when in squares, have the enemy’s
cavalry amongst them than remain exposed to the fire of artillery.
The 1st foot-guards had the enemy’s cavalry on every side of their
squares several times, and beat them off. Our squares often wheeled
up into line, to make their fire more destructive on the French
cavalry when retiring: on this, the cuirassiers would suddenly wheel
round to charge; but our infantry were instantly in square, and
literally indulged in laughter at the disappointment and discomfiture
of their gallant opponents. Throughout the day our squares presented
a serried line of bristling bayonets, through which our enemy’s
cavalry could not break. Had the French made their attacks throughout
with infantry and cavalry combined, the result must have been much
more destructive; for, although squares are the best possible
formation against cavalry, there can be nothing worse to oppose
infantry. I am not aware of any parallel to the extraordinary scene
of warfare which was now going forward: most of our infantry were in
squares, and the enemy’s cavalry of every description riding about
amongst them as if they had been our own; for which, but for their
armour and uniforms, they might have been mistaken.

An ammunition waggon in a blaze passed about this time in full gallop
close to our rear, and one of our men, I think Fowler, afterwards
the sergeant saddler, drew his pistol and fired at the horses, but
without taking effect: the waggon shortly after blew up.

The skirmishing at the farms of La Haye and Papelotte, which were
retaken, and in the hamlet of Smohain, went on with unabated fury:
the attacks upon La Haye-Sainte and Hougoumont were continued. The
artillery on both sides was now pealing forth its thunders: the earth
trembled with the repeated concussions. Ney and his Imperial master,
no doubt, expected to bear down all before them by the aid of the
thirty-seven additional squadrons they were about to bring forward;
whilst we could only command in addition two regiments, the 13th
light dragoons and the 15th hussars, under Grant, who, on discovering
that the _ruse_ of the enemy was to draw off a part of our cavalry
from the right of our main front line, had now returned and driven
some of the enemy’s cavalry down the slope. He was however obliged to
retire immediately, as their cavalry was collected in great force in
the valley, as also in the hollows near La Haye-Sainte. Being there
exposed to the fire of our batteries, the French horsemen would at
times call out aloud, “_En avant, en avant!_ (Forward, forward!)
here we are knocked to pieces;” upon which their chiefs would again
advance and assail our position. About this period our attention
was drawn to the firing of a battery in our rear; we all, to a man,
looked round, as if by word of command: but found it to be our own
guns, which, from the second ridge across the Nivelles road, were
firing upon some lancers that were attacking our Brunswick squares
upon the rear face of our right wing. They were twice driven off by
Bolton’s battery.

The allied position was again cleared of the enemy, and skirmishers
were thrown forward along the valley; some were sent to cover the
front from the Hougoumont orchard as far as La Haye-Sainte. At this
point the attack had been carried on with great vigour: colonel
Baring had made another application for rifle ammunition, which, from
some cause or other, was not supplied.

Ney’s cavalry attacks were now renewed, his force being nearly
doubled by the addition of a part of general Guyot’s heavy cavalry of
the guard, and Kellermann’s cuirassiers.

With this additional force, Ney had a stupendous body of cavalry in
comparison with ours. The attack, like the previous ones, was covered
by a tremendous fire of artillery, which played on every part of
our right wing; the round-shot ploughing up the ground, or tearing
open the files of the close and serried ranks; shells exploding in
all directions; and at every moment the flashes of the guns, amidst
expanding volumes of dense smoke, challenging the attention of every
man to the sources of destruction, the well-worked batteries on both
sides. Nothing could be more imposing than the advance of Ney’s
cavalry, (flanked by infantry to assail our advanced posts,) as they
swept up the slope of the allied position under a murderous fire of
our double-shotted guns, of which they again succeeded in getting
temporary possession. Our devoted squares at times seemed lost amidst
the hostile squadrons, who, in vain, made repeated endeavours to
penetrate these impregnable barriers; as before, their squadrons
got mixed, broken, and their ardour sobered down, when a retrograde
movement was commenced, which soon became general.

The allied cavalry, who had been kept in hand to act at the
favourable moment, now darted forward and completed the
disorganization of the French cavalry. Our undaunted artillery-men,
ever on the alert, were to be found at their guns, plying the
retiring hostile cavalry with grape, canister, or case-shot.

But the enemy’s cavalry, which frequently reformed in the valley
just under our position, where their lances and the tops of their
caps might be seen, were soon again on the position and amongst the
squares. Some of the most daring would ride up to the squares and
cut aside the bayonets. Such parties seldom escaped unhurt: the man,
or horse, was almost sure to be brought down; but not near so many
saddles were emptied as might have been expected.

During the attacks made by the French cavalry, not a single
individual set an example of soldier-like devotedness by rushing
upon the bristling bayonets: certainly no agreeable task, nor to
be attempted without imminent danger; but one, when required and
gallantly done, that raises men to military rank and renown, and that
may hasten the crisis and lead to victory. Of the fifteen thousand
French horsemen, it is doubtful whether any perished on a British
bayonet, or that any of our infantry in square fell by the French
cavalry’s sabres; few, comparatively, of the enemy’s cavalry were
destroyed, even by our musketry[44].

Many pretend that good infantry in square can resist the onset of
cavalry, however skilful, bold and determined: my opinion is the
reverse; much depends on circumstances.

The menacing approach of the French cavalry, who rode amongst and
round our squares, was not quietly witnessed by our own horsemen:
we made many spirited charges between the allied squares, as well
as on every side of them. All the British, German, and Tripp’s
Dutch-Belgian cavalry, that were between the two high-roads, were
more or less engaged during these attacks.

At times it was quite amusing to see some of the foreign troops
cut away from the angles of their squares, and our staff officers
galloping after them to intercept their flight. It was surprising to
see how readily they returned to their squares.

The fire of volleys from our squares did no great damage; the
independent file-firing was the most destructive to the enemy’s
cavalry, to such particularly as were not clad in steel or brass. The
killed and wounded men and horses, the broken guns, etc., afforded
excellent cover to the skirmishers, whilst they impeded the movements
of the horsemen, and augmented their disorder and confusion.

It is not difficult to conceive from the foregoing circumstances,
what was the rage, the ungovernable fury that animated those attacks;
and how, after unceasing combats for above two hours, in a limited
space, no result was obtained by the French but a most horrible and
bloody-carnage. It was one of the greatest of their errors, on that
eventful day, to get their cavalry into a labyrinth from which there
was no extricating it before the pride of their fifteen thousand
horsemen had been completely broken. It was now evident, from the
enemy’s attacks becoming less animated and frequent, that they began
to see the utter folly of their attempts against our invincible
infantry. It is, in my opinion, very doubtful, whether the enemy’s
cavalry ever came into actual collision with our squares[45].

It has been said by Napoleon, and it is also the remark of most the
French writers, that Guyot went into action without orders. Napoleon
dispatched general Bertrand to stop the heavy cavalry of the guard;
but they were so engaged that a retrograde movement would have then
been dangerous. “This,” Napoleon observed, “had deprived him of a
cavalry reserve at about five o’clock, because they went two hours
sooner than they should have gone into action, and that the same
troops well employed had many times gained him a victory.”

I cannot reconcile myself to the idea that a division of cavalry
would go into action without orders; it is much more probable that
there was some mistake in the transmission of them: but why was not
the advance countermanded? Most of their cavalry movements were
so slow towards the end of the day, in consequence of the jaded
condition of their horses, and the saturated and encumbered state of
the ground, that an order sent on foot might have soon brought them

At one time during that memorable afternoon, the ridge and rear
slope of our position were literally covered with every description
of horsemen, lancers, cuirassiers, carabineers, horse-grenadiers,
light and heavy dragoons and hussars; during which our guns stood
in position, abandoned by the artillery-men, who took refuge in and
around the squares: when at length the enemy’s gallant but fruitless
efforts became exhausted, our cavalry appeared and cleared the allied
position. On one occasion a body of cuirassiers passed along the
Nivelles road, closely followed by a party of my regiment, under
captain Verner. Upon the high bank on the right of the Nivelles road,
a party of the 51st regiment, under lieutenant Kennedy, was firing
upon the enemy, and our advanced files narrowly escaped being shot.
As the cuirassiers neared the avenue between the Nivelles road and
Hougoumont, they came upon an _abattis_, or barricade, near which was
a party of the 51st, under captain Ross, who fired upon them; about a
hundred and fifty were killed, wounded or taken prisoners.

Ney’s grand cavalry attack has called forth the following lively
description from the pen of captain Siborne:

“When the tremendous cavalry force, which Ney had now assembled,
moved forward to the attack, the whole space between La Haye-Sainte
and Hougoumont appeared one moving, glittering mass; and as
it approached the Anglo-allied position, undulating with the
conformation of the ground, it resembled a sea in agitation. Upon
reaching the crest of the ridge, and regaining temporary possession
of the batteries, its very shouts sounded on the distant ear, like
the ominous roar of breakers thundering on the shore. Like waves
following in quick succession, the whole mass now appeared to roll
over the ridge; and as the light curling smoke arose from the fire
which was opened by the squares, and by which the latter sought
to stem the current of the advancing host, it resembled the foam
and spray thrown up by the mighty waters, as they dash on isolated
rocks and beetling crags: and as the mass separated and rushed in
every direction, completely covering the interior slope, it bore the
appearance of innumerable eddies and counter-currents, threatening
to overwhelm and ingulph the obstructions by which its onward course
had been opposed. The storm continued to rage with the greatest
violence, and the devoted squares seemed lost in the midst of the
tumultuous onset. In vain did the maddening mass chafe and fret away
its strength against these impregnable barriers, which, based upon
the sacred principles of honour, discipline and duty, and cemented
by the ties of patriotism, and the impulse of national glory, stood
proudly unmoved and inaccessible. Disorder and confusion, produced by
the commingling of corps and by the scattering fire from the faces
of the chequered squares, gradually led to the retreat of parties of
horsemen across the ridge: these were followed by broken squadrons,
and at length the retrograde movement became general.

“Then the allied dragoons, who had been judiciously kept in readiness
to act at the favourable moment, darted forward to complete the
disorganization of the now receding waves of the French cavalry.”

[Illustration: (end of chapter; decorative separator)]


[42] Our advanced posts of Hougoumont, La Haye-Sainte, and Papelotte,
were of the utmost importance to us, more particularly the former.
An eminent military writer (Jomini) says, “Posts that can be readily
defended, are of greater value in battle than insurmountable
obstacles; since it is sufficient if such posts can be maintained
for a few hours by means of mere detachments. Hougoumont with its
enclosures, the farm of La Haye-Sainte and the rivulet of Papelotte,
presented more serious impediments to Ney, than did the celebrated
position of Elchingen.”

[43] General Grant had three horses shot under him.

[44] This might be attributed to many of our infantry, when hard
pressed, adopting the French skirmisher’s method of loading, viz.
after priming, shaking the rest of the powder into the barrel,
dropping the ball after it, and then giving the butt a rap or two
on the ground, which, from the rain, was quite soft. The ball, in
consequence, not being rammed down to confine the powder, came out at
times nearly harmless.

[45] That his Grace ever threw himself into a square, is untrue;
but, from the commencement of the battle till the close, he was
more exposed than many of his troops: whenever there was a chance
of rendering service, let the danger be what it would, the Duke was
there, and, as on all occasions, showed the most perfect coolness and

                             CHAPTER V.

  Difficulties encountered by the Prussians on their march from
  Wavre; a portion of them are about debouching.—Blücher encourages
  them by his presence.—The Duke had been in constant communication
  with the Prussians, who take advantage of Napoleon’s neglecting
  to protect his right.—Two brigades of Bulow’s corps advance
  upon the French right.—A Prussian battery opens fire.—Cavalry
  demonstrations.—Napoleon orders De Lobau’s (sixth) corps to his
  right, to oppose the Prussians, and brings the old and middle
  guard forward.—Bulow extends his line and presses on.—De Lobau’s
  guns exchange a brisk cannonade with the Prussian batteries.—La
  Haye-Sainte again assailed and set on fire, which was got
  under.—Loss of a colour.—Destructive fire of our battery upon the
  French cavalry.—Our artillery suffer dreadfully from that of the
  enemy.—Hanoverian cavalry quit the field.—A column of the enemy’s
  infantry advances and is driven back.—Chassé’s division called
  back from Braine-l’Alleud.—Lord Hill’s troops brought forward, a
  sight quite reviving.—Struggle at Hougoumont continued.—Adam’s
  brigade attacks, drives back the enemy, and takes up an advanced
  position.—La Haye-Sainte taken by the French.—The 52d regiment in
  line repulses a charge of cuirassiers.—General Foy’s eulogium on
  our infantry.—Napoleon’s snappish reply to Ney’s demand.

In consequence of the enemy’s not closely pursuing, between the
evenings of the 16th and 17th, the Prussians from Ligny to Wavre,
these, during their retreat, scoured with strong patrols the
whole country between their own left and the right of Napoleon’s
army, which was then advancing, by the Charleroi road, towards
Waterloo. The movements of both Grouchy and the Emperor were thus
closely observed, and correct information forwarded from time to
time to the Prussian head-quarters. The great vigilance exercised,
not only retarded the communication between the Emperor and his
detached marshal, by forcing the bearers of their dispatches to
take a circuitous route, but also enabled Blücher to perform the
contemplated and most important flank movement, without molestation,
in order to join us on the field of Waterloo. During the battle of
Ligny, some of the Prussian army had shown a bad spirit, and many
even had abandoned their colours and gone over to the enemy; while
eight thousand men belonging to the provinces newly incorporated with
Prussia, had returned home: still the _morale_ of the great mass of
the army remained firm and unshaken. On no occasion whatever did a
defeated army extricate itself with so much adroitness and order, or
retire from a hard-fought battle with so little diminution of its
moral force. The example of their venerable and heroic commander,
“Marshal _Vorwärts_,” as he was termed by his soldiers, no doubt
stimulated their courage. The Prince, notwithstanding his having been
severely shaken and bruised by his fall on the 16th, and his advanced
age and toil-worn frame, was, on the morning of the 18th, early on
horseback amongst those he termed his children. By an order of the
day his troops were thus addressed, “I shall immediately lead you
once more against the enemy; we shall beat him, because it is our
duty to do so.”

[Illustration: (Field-Marshal Blücher)]

The difficulties encountered by the Prussians on their march from
Wavre, by St.-Lambert, to the field of Waterloo, would have put the
endurance of any troops to the test. From the heavy rains, the roads
were ancle deep, and the defiles of St.-Lambert turned into a regular
swamp, almost impassable for men and horses; still worse for the guns
and tumbrels of ammunition. These were very numerous and far from
being well horsed, sinking at intervals up to the axle-trees. The
horses floundering caused a stoppage, and the most robust soldiers
in endeavouring to extricate the guns and ammunition waggons would
drop down, overcome by the fatigue of their exertions, and declare
“they could not get on.”—“But we _must_ get on,” replied their
veteran commander, who seemed to multiply himself, and might be seen
at different points along the line of march, exciting his men to
exertion by words of encouragement: “I have promised Wellington to
be up,” said Blücher “and up we _must_ get. Surely you will not make
me forfeit my word. Exert yourselves a little more, and victory is

The duke of Wellington was in constant communication throughout
the day with the Prussians, by means of general Müffling, who was
attached to our head-quarters’ staff, and by colonel Freemantle,
aide-de-camp, colonel Stavely, and captain (now lieutenant-colonel)
Basil Jackson of the Royal staff corps, and on the Duke’s staff.

The four corps of Blücher’s army had been concentrated at and near
Wavre on the evening of the 17th. The guns of the three corps which
had fought at Ligny were refitted, and, as well as the troops,
supplied with a fresh provision of ammunition.

The 4th (Bulow’s) corps, which, up to this time, had not fired a shot
in the campaign, set out at sunrise on the 18th towards the French
right flank, by way of St.-Lambert; they were preceded by strong
patrols to ascertain whether Napoleon had yet taken precautionary
measures to obstruct their junction with us, or to protect his own
right. It was soon discovered that this precaution, so essential to
the protection of his right, had been overlooked by the Emperor:
the Prussians immediately availed themselves of the advantage which
his neglect afforded, by throwing a force into the wood of Paris,
which commanded the defiles of the Lasne and St.-Lambert. Zieten’s,
or the first corps, was to march, by Fromont and Ohain, direct upon
our left; Pirch’s, or the second corps, was to follow Bulow’s: they
were delayed by a part of Wavre being on fire, and by the great
difficulty of making progress through the defiles of St.-Lambert.
They were expected, nevertheless, to be up by or before two o’clock.
It was near five o’clock when the first two brigades of Bulow’s corps
debouched from their covered position in the wood of Paris.

The 15th brigade, under general Losthin, and the 16th under
colonel Hiller, with some cavalry, (altogether about 16,000 men
and forty-four guns,) drew up perpendicularly to the French right
flank; upon which Durutte’s division, which formed the right of the
French main front line, was thrown back _en potence_. The Prussian
commanders detached some battalions to Frischermont and Smohain to
secure their right flank, they also sent a few battalions to the
Lasne, the woods of Virère and Hubremont, to support their left. So
stealthily and cautiously did the Prussians approach Smohain, that
both the enemy and allies seemed astounded upon their debouching from
the enclosures.

General Domont’s cavalry were still _en potence_, but at a
considerable distance from the Prussians, whose advanced batteries
opened upon the French cavalry, although at a long range; but this
was merely to acquaint Wellington and Napoleon of their arrival,
which doubtless alarmed the latter, whilst, by the former, it was
listened to with joy.

Domont sent on part of his force to attack the Prussians, and moved
forward his line. Some Prussian cavalry passed through the infantry
to meet them, and drove back the French advance: the Prussian
cavalry were soon obliged to fall back; but, as their infantry were
advancing, and their artillery kept up a sharp fire, Domont did
not attack. The Prussian battalions, detached to Smohain, cleared
the enclosures, and drew up near the French right flank: they were
attacked and driven back by a part of Durutte’s division; but
upon the Prussians reaching the enclosures and hollow-ways, they
maintained their ground and kept up a rattling fire. This was after
six o’clock. Napoleon had ordered the 6th corps, under count de
Lobau, to move to the right, and take up a position, where, with six
to eight thousand men of all arms, and favoured by the strong ground
in front of Plancenoit, he could keep in check thirty thousand of his
enemies: at the same time the old and middle guard were advanced into
the plain, and occupied the ground vacated by the 6th corps.

Durutte’s light troops had been previously reinforced, and made
a desperate effort to force back the Nassau-men at Papelotte and
Smohain, for the purpose of preventing the junction of Bulow’s corps
with the allied left; but, after a sharp and close skirmish, the
enemy’s intention was frustrated. The Prussian general, observing
De Lobau’s advance, extended his line; his right rested upon
Frischermont, and his left upon the wood of Virère. Part of prince
William’s cavalry was in reserve. De Lobau’s corps moved forward;
Domont’s and Subervie’s cavalry remained as a second line. De Lobau’s
guns soon opened a brisk cannonade upon Bulow’s corps, and were
answered with equal spirit.

La Haye-Sainte[46] was again to be attacked, and the west gates soon
became the scene of a most dreadful struggle and carnage. Colonel
Baring had again applied for a reinforcement and ammunition: the
former was sent; but the latter, of which he stood so much in need,
was not supplied. The gallant defenders were now cautioned to be
sparing of the few cartridges left, and to take deliberate aim at the
assailants, who seemed to press on with renewed vigour.

On this occasion, the enemy set fire to the barn, which caused
considerable alarm to those on the defensive; but, fortunately,
the reinforcement arrived. The Nassau-men, with their huge camp
kettles, which they used as buckets, arrived most opportunely, and
Baring, with his officers and men, soon extinguished the flames,
but not without the loss of many a brave fellow. At this time a
portion of the enemy again succeeded in getting into the little
garden, and made an effort to force an entrance by the back door.
Swarms of their skirmishers passed the buildings and established
themselves immediately under the crest of our position, where they
not only found cover from the fire above, but, as before, cut off the
communication between the farm and our main line. The 5th and 8th
line battalions of the German legion were led against the assailants;
they pressed on at a good pace, the enemy giving ground. A body of
cuirassiers was at hand and fell upon the 5th Germans; but these,
being supported by a portion of the remnant of lord Edward Somerset’s
brigade, suffered but little; the 8th however were dropped upon quite
unawares, and nearly all destroyed. Colonel Schröder was wounded
mortally; ensign Moreau, who carried the King’s colour, was severely
wounded, and the colour carried off by the enemy.

Every arm on the right of our front line was much annoyed by some of
the French left batteries, which had been pushed forward. My horse
was killed by a round-shot from that direction; I was however soon
mounted again on a cuirassier’s horse.

At length lieutenant Louis was ordered to turn two guns upon those on
the enemy’s left; he soon silenced them, and thus rendered essential
service, particularly to us, who being on the right, were completely
enfiladed by them. A battery was run up to the bank on the side of
the cross-road, about a hundred and fifty yards on the Lion side
of where the cross-road leads down towards the north-east angle
of the orchard of Hougoumont. The muzzles of the guns rested upon
the bank, on a level with the ridge in their front, which screened
the carriages and wheels from the enemy’s observation and fire.
Soon after, a strong body of the enemy’s cavalry advanced upon the
battery, which reserved its fire until they came within fifty yards,
when, with terrific effect, it opened, doubly charged with grape.
The space in front of the battery was quickly covered with killed
and wounded. The fire of our artillery during the action surpassed
everything of the kind ever before witnessed, frequently making wide
roads through the enemy’s masses. From our infantry being generally
kept recumbent behind the crest of our position and thus screened
from the enemy’s observation, our gunners suffered most dreadfully
from the constant exposure to the direct fire of the French
artillery, who at times saw nothing else at which to aim.

From certain movements in the enemy’s line, there was reason to
expect an attack of infantry towards the right of Alten’s division.
Part of the King’s dragoon guards and Blues were moved towards that
point. The Cumberland Hanoverian hussars, posted some distance from
the front, were also moved close up to general Halkett’s squares; but
a few musket-balls whistling about them, and a shell falling into a
Nassau square close by, so alarmed them, that they took themselves
off. Upon seeing this, lord Uxbridge sent an aide-de-camp, captain
T. Wildman, to bring them back, but to no purpose, and Uxbridge,
deeming his absence long, sent a second messenger after them, captain
H. Seymour, who, finding that the colonel and his men were anxious
to quit the scene of action, took the former by the collar, and
nearly shook him out of his saddle; he then inquired for the next in
command, but it appeared there was no one; Seymour then laid hold of
the bridle of colonel Hake’s horse, to lead him back to his post,
hoping that the men would follow, but to no purpose: the colonel
and his regiment preferred going to Brussels in whole skins, to the
chance of having them perforated in the field. So strong was their
dislike to the smell of gunpowder, that they had no perception of
the honours that a gallant bearing might win. The cowards proceeded
forthwith to Brussels, spreading a false alarm throughout the
journey. The regiment was soon after disbanded, and the colonel

The expected attacking infantry were now seen in motion on the
heights in front of La Belle-Alliance; a body of cuirassiers from
the valley under our position near La Haye-Sainte joined them,
keeping a little on their right rear. As they neared the point about
where the Lion now stands, lord Edward Somerset led part of his
brigade down to meet them: he was received with a heavy fire; his
men however galloped down upon the head of the column, but, being
at this time very much reduced, they could not penetrate it; they
nevertheless checked the enemy. Lord Uxbridge rode up to Tripp’s
brigade, and after addressing a few words to them, turned round to
lead them on: he had scarcely crossed the ridge and begun to descend
the slope towards the enemy, when he found that he was alone, no one
following him; upon which he returned to Tripp, expressed himself in
severe terms, and rode off in anger. After this, one of the German
light cavalry regiments was led on, and it succeeded in stopping the
enemy, but it was much cut up.

During this time, Wellington, observing that Napoleon’s attention
was directed towards the Prussians advancing upon his right, and
his Grace seeing there was no danger of his own extreme right being
disturbed, had ordered lord Hill to move Chassé’s Dutch-Belgian
division from Braine-l’Alleud towards the scene of action. Some short
time afterwards, the hero of Almaraz and Aroyo-de-Molinos brought
into front line Duplat’s German legion brigade, followed by general
Adam’s light brigade, which latter took position on the rear slope
of our right wing; those were followed shortly after by colonel
Hugh Halkett’s Hanoverians. Altogether these reinforcements, with
the batteries accompanying them, were a sight more reviving to our
part of the line than a double share of grog, though even that would
have been most welcome. Soon after the Germans had passed us, the
steel-jacket cavalry were at them while in motion; but the Germans,
several of whom in advance were riflemen, emptied many a saddle and
made many a horse rear, plunge and fall, and ultimately beat off the

Lord Hill rendered himself most conspicuous by the energy and zeal he
displayed, and the efforts he used to support the gallant defenders
of Hougoumont, as also to repel the repeated desperate assaults upon
our right wing; thus vigorously assisting the chief, under whom he
had immortalized himself during the Peninsular campaign.

[Illustration: (Lord Hill)]

Our 23d fuzileers, who came into front line after Byng’s brigade was
advanced to Hougoumont, and suffered severely from the enemy’s fire,
received an unfriendly visit from some cavalry, whom they eventually
disposed of in most gallant style.

At this time part of the Brunswick troops were with us on the right,
and Duplat’s Germans with part of Halkett’s Hanoverians were between
the right of the main line and Hougoumont orchard. These, with the
troops at the loop-holed wall and hedges on the right and along the
avenue, were kept wide awake, particularly those under Hepburn in and
about the orchard, which must have changed masters at least a dozen
times during the day.

Adam was now in our left rear, and his men most anxious to have a
blow at their old acquaintances. Their wishes were soon gratified,
by orders from the Duke in person, to drive back some fellows, as
his Grace always called them, who had crept close up to our ridge,
near where the hedge-row is on the road side between the Lion and
Hougoumont; they were concealed by the smoke of the crashing fire
which they threw into our gunners and front squares. The order was
received with joy from the white cravat man whom they were wont to
follow, and acknowledged by a hearty cheer from the Lights, who felt
gratified that the old order of things was about being renewed, and
that they at Waterloo, as well as through the Peninsula, should take
an active part in the battle’s front.

His Grace was here again exposed to a shower of leaden hailstones,
one of which severely wounded in the shoulder our fire-eating
adjutant-general, sir Edward Barnes, who sported a gold-embroidered
scarlet coat; most of our staff officers wore blue frock coats in the

Adam’s fine fellows were much excited, and forward they pressed
up the slope, in line, four deep; for some reason, their old
acquaintances, the French infantry, would not stay to receive them,
but made a retrograde movement down the outer slopes, followed by the
brigade, until its right, which was thrown rather forward, was near
the corner of the orchard of Hougoumont, and its left at the point
where the valley terminates, in right front of the Lion. The brigade
was formed of the 71st and two companies of the 95th on the right;
the 52d in squares of wings in the centre, and the second battalion
of the 95th on the left. Here, as if to fetch up for lost time, they
were continually pounded by the artillery, and charged by cavalry.

Soon after five o’clock, La Haye-Sainte was taken by the enemy,
who, led by Ney, and perceiving that the fire of the defenders had
greatly slackened, made a rush at the open barn door, and broke open
the west yard-door: some climbed upon the wall and fired down upon
our poor fellows, who, for want of cartridges, could not return the
fire. After a desperate struggle at the western gate and barn door,
with the sword-bayonet, and butts of their rifles, they were obliged
to retreat to the house, where, in the passage through the house to
the garden, the remains of the gallant little garrison, with their
spirited commander, made a most determined resistance. They were
ultimately obliged to abandon the post altogether, and to fall back
upon the main position. This was what the French erroneously called
carrying the village of Mont-St.-Jean, (full three quarters of a mile
off). We can afford however to be good-tempered at their mistake;
for the taking of the _farm-house_, La Haye-Sainte, which was in our
front, (while Mont-St.-Jean was in our rear,) was the only advantage
they gained during the battle. It seems that the loss of this post
displeased the Duke[48]. Yet the place was most gallantly defended as
long as there was a round of ammunition to use.

While Adam’s brigade was in its advanced position, it was frequently
charged, and, on one occasion, when in line; the 52d, directed by
the Duke in person, stood firm and received a charge from the French
cavalry, but without any effectual result to the enemy. Nor ought our
foes to have expected anything else[49], as they had not succeeded
against any of our skeletons of squares, when they themselves were
in their full strength and vigour. There is not a doubt that our
gallant enemy and admirer, general Foy, who commanded a division on
that great day, and was stationed in the field beyond the orchard of
Hougoumont, alludes to this brigade and Maitland’s 1st guards, with
Halkett’s, when he says:

“We saw these sons of Albion formed upon the plain, between the wood
of Hougoumont and the village of Mont-St.-Jean. Death was before them
and in their ranks, disgrace in their rear,” (and I hope will ever
remain a long day’s march). “In this terrible situation, neither
the cannon-balls[50] of the Imperial guard, discharged almost at
point-blank, nor the _victorious_ cavalry of France, could make the
least impression on the immovable British infantry: one might have
been almost tempted to fancy that it had rooted itself in the ground,
but for the majestic movement[51] which its battalions commenced
some minutes after sun-set, when the approach of the Prussian army
announced to Wellington that he had just achieved the most decisive
victory of the age.”

We may imagine that those steel-clad gentlemen had some particular
pique against the 1st foot-guards and Halkett’s brigade, from the
repeated visits they paid them. The lancers also did the same.
Whatever was the cause, not a brigade in the line was visited more by
the enemy’s cavalry than sir Colin Halkett’s[52]; and they were not
forgotten by the Duke, who frequently passed the brigade, it being
rather a central point. The Duke at one moment sent colonel Gordon
to Halkett, to inquire what square of his was so much in advance: it
was a mass of killed and wounded of the 30th and 73d, of his brigade,
huddled together, which his Grace, through the smoke, had mistaken
for a square.

An incident occurred, as related by Siborne, worthy of notice:
“It was about six o’clock, that Napoleon replied to Ney’s demand
for fresh infantry, ‘_Où voulez-vous que j’en prenne? Voulez-vous
que j’en fasse?_’” (‘Where can I get them? Can I make them?’) an
expression, the force of which is rendered sufficiently obvious by
the critical circumstances of his position, and clearly proves that
his operations had taken an unfavourable turn.

[Illustration: (end of chapter; decorative separator)]


[46] The very dilapidated state of the buildings after the battle,
is proof, were any wanted, of the furious efforts made by the enemy
to obtain the post, and of the determined desperate courage of the
little garrison which defended it. The entire edifice was a scene
of ravage and devastation. One half of the little door of the barn,
taken away and preserved by the proprietor, was perforated by upwards
of eighty musket-balls.

[47] In a work of the highest pretensions, I observe that these
dastardly hussars are called _Belgians_: let the saddle be put upon
the right horse: they were _the Duke of Cumberland’s Hanoverian

[48] _See_ his letter of the 17th August 1815, in the Appendix, No.

[49] The brigade was above two thousand strong.

[50] Although according to appearances, those gentry are quite
harmless, and might be stopped like a cricket-ball when bounding
along, one of them would take off a leg or an arm, in much less time
than the most skilful operator.

[51] General Foy, no doubt, alludes to the right-shoulder-forward
movement of Adam’s brigade, together with the movements of Maitland’s
and Halkett’s brigades, towards the close of the day. Foy had also,
before the battle began, declared to the Emperor, that he had an
infantry opposed to him, which he (Foy) had never known to yield.

[52] Halkett’s left, (30th and 73d regiments,) in square, was
attacked eleven times by the enemy’s cavalry.

The late lord Harris, (then colonel of the 73d.) in a letter which I
have, alludes to the gallant conduct of these two regiments in the
following manner. “My impression is that the gallant and enduring
stand made by the 30th and 73d regiments against _thirteen_ charges
of cuirassiers and an unceasing discharge of artillery for seven
hours, besides the fact of successfully driving the French cavalry
away by a charge in square, has not been done sufficient justice to
by historians of the battle, with the exception of a French writer.”
Would that his Lordship had survived to have read my pages!

                             CHAPTER VI.

  La Haye-Sainte strengthened by the enemy, who drive our riflemen
  from the knoll and sand-pit, and throw a crashing fire upon our
  front troops, who return it with vigour.—The enemy push forward,
  between La Haye-Sainte and our position, some guns that fire
  grape, but are soon dislodged.—Destructive fire of our rifles upon
  the cuirassiers.—Our guards and Halkett’s brigade assailed by
  skirmishers, who are driven off.—Prussian force in the field.—The
  Prussians approach Plancenoit.—De Lobau falls back.—Prussian
  round-shot fall at La Belle-Alliance.—The young guard sent to
  Plancenoit.—Blücher informed of Thielmann’s corps left at Wavre
  being vigorously attacked.—Desperate struggle at Plancenoit, which
  is reinforced by the enemy, when the whole Prussian force is driven
  back.—Onset follows onset.—The Duke, by aid of his telescope, looks
  for the Prussians.—Hougoumont continues a scene of carnage.—Our
  centre suffers dreadfully from the crowds of skirmishers who now
  press on in swarms.—French battery pushed forward, and dislodged by
  one of ours.—The 30th and 73d colours sent to the rear.—The Duke
  is coolness personified.—The troops murmur to be led on to try the
  effect of cold steel.—The Prussians keep up a cannonade.—Our line
  remains firm.—More Prussians swarming along.—Napoleon’s doom soon
  to be sealed.—Imperial guard formed into columns of attack.—Many
  of our guns rendered useless.—Disorder in our rear.—Our army much
  reduced; those left are determined to conquer or perish.—Vivian
  and Vandeleur’s brigades move from the left to the centre, which
  gives confidence to the few brave fellows remaining.—His Grace
  observes the enemy forming for attack, and makes preparations to
  receive the coming storm.—Colonel Freemantle sent in search of
  the Prussians.—Our centre continues a duelling ground.—Gallant
  conduct of the prince of Orange, who is wounded.—The Nassau-men
  and Brunswickers give way in confusion; Wellington gallops up, and
  aided by Vivian, Kielmansegge and other officers, puts all right

La Haye-Sainte was no sooner in the power of the French troops, than
they received orders to press as much as possible that part of our
line, and clear the way for the Imperial guard.

In order to avail themselves of the advantages of so valuable a
position, they loop-holed the gable-end of the house, erected a
scaffold along the garden wall, cut holes through the garden hedge,
resembling windows, and threw a force in advance of the garden,
which was protected from the fire above by the natural slope, in
addition to an artificial bank that abutted upon the natural one,
extending from the north-east corner of the garden wall along the
road side to where the monument to colonel Gordon is erected.
This breastwork enabled the enemy to throw a front fire into our
riflemen at the knoll and in the sand-hole, as well as an oblique
fire into Lambert’s and Kempt’s brigades along the Wavre road. Those
arrangements were scarcely completed, when a rattling fire was thrown
among our sand-larks, who, being unable from their position to return
it with any effect, took to flight towards their reserve, followed by
all our riflemen from the knoll. The enemy immediately sent a force
to the knoll and sand-hole, which severely annoyed our 27th; who,
until the advance of the whole line, were, with the other troops on
that part of the front, kept under a very galling fire; at times,
muzzle to muzzle. The French brought two guns round the garden hedge,
and, placing them between the north-east angle of the garden wall and
our position, threw grape-shot into the 1st, 4th, 27th, 28th, 40th,
79th, and 95th; but, before they had time to fire a second round, a
concentrated fire from our riflemen destroyed their gunners; they
then pushed on a crowd of skirmishers, who, protected from our fire,
crept along the banks, close in upon Alten’s, Lambert’s and Kempt’s
troops. As we could not get at them with powder and ball, it was
thought advisable to try the effect of steel: colonel Ompteda led on
the 5th German line; upon which they gave way, and took shelter, as
well as they could, round the garden hedge, when a line of cavalry
from the hollow rushed upon the Germans; and, as captain Kincaird
of the rifles observes, “Every man of them was put to death in a
short time, except an officer on a little black horse, who went off
to the rear like a shot out of a shovel.” Some of our light cavalry
attempted to rescue the Germans; and our 95th, who had previously
pointed their rifles at the cuirassiers, but had suspended their fire
through fear of destroying our own infantry, now let fly and entirely
cleared the whole front. Their skirmishers then moved to the left,
towards Halkett’s brigade and the 1st guards; the eagle eye of the
Duke saw it, and he ordered the guards to form line and drive the
enemy off, which they did, when some cuirassiers approached, but our
lads were in square again. The cuirassiers moved off, receiving the
fire from the squares of the guards, as well as from those of the 52d
and 95th.

[Illustration: LA BELLE-ALLIANCE.]

Some time after, the remaining two brigades of Bulow’s corps
debouched, and forming into columns sent their batteries to the
front, which made the Prussian artillery more formidable than that
of the French. Blücher’s left was making towards Plancenoit, in the
right rear of the enemy. At this time, seven o’clock, the Prussian
force in the field amounted to nearly 29,000 men and sixty-four guns.
Their guns commanded the whole of the French right _en potence_;
which, like the Prussian line, was parallel to the Genappe road,
and nearly at right angles to their former front. The undulating
ground over which the Prussians were advancing, rose like an
amphitheatre, and their guns, in consequence, could open from the
summit of numerous little heights; whilst at the intervals between
the batteries, their troops advanced into the plain. Nothing could be
more favourable for a force attacking an enemy’s flank.

A Prussian battery dislodged a French one on the heights near
Chantilly, and taking up the abandoned position, it directed its fire
upon the enemy posted between Plancenoit and La Belle-Alliance.

The Prussian left was now close approaching the village of
Plancenoit, which, up to the present period, had not been occupied.
The French force being less numerous than the Prussian, De Lobau fell
back towards the Genappe road, where the Prussian round-shot was now
thickly falling upon both sides of La Belle-Alliance; near which,
Napoleon had remained during the greater part of the day. The only
reserve he now had was the infantry of the Imperial guard, and the
pressure upon his right flank was so great, that he was obliged to
send the eight battalions of the young guard, with their divisional
and two twelve-pounder reserve batteries, under general Duhesme,
to the village of Plancenoit, as the only means of preventing the
Prussians from getting in the French rear.

At this time Blücher received intelligence that his 3d corps, which
had been left at Wavre as a rear-guard to check the enemy’s corps
under Grouchy, had been attacked by a superior force and obliged
to retire[53]. Notwithstanding such intelligence might have shaken
the firmest nerves, nothing changed the purpose of the indomitable
veteran. Blücher saw clearly that the field upon which he was now
engaged was the spot where the fate of the campaign would be decided.
He therefore sent orders to Thielmann, to hold out as well as he
could; and ordered his left wing to move upon Plancenoit, and to get
possession of it, if possible.

Duhesme, with the young guard, had arrived at the village and
made his dispositions. As the Prussians neared Plancenoit, they
were received with a stinging fire of musketry from the French
skirmishers, and some French guns opened upon the advancing columns,
but did not arrest their progress; they gallantly pressed on,
took three guns, and got possession of the churchyard, a strong
position, which shortly after they were compelled to abandon, though
not without making a most resolute defence. They rallied near the
village, and, being reinforced, advanced to make another assault:
this being observed by Napoleon, he sent general Morand with two
battalions of the old guard and two twelve-pounder batteries, and
shortly after general Pelet, with another battalion of the guard
and a reserve battery; this force, in conjunction with De Lobau’s
line on their left, attacked and routed the whole Prussian force,
pushing them back upon their first position on the opposite heights.
This convinced Napoleon that Blücher was not up in sufficient force
to make an effective effort against his right flank, and he could,
therefore, hold the Prussians in check without making any change in
his line of battle opposed to Wellington.

Onset now followed onset in rapid succession, and before one assault
was met and repulsed, another was prepared and pressing on.

His Grace, when he observed the diminished numbers of his brave
troops, presenting still the same fearless attitude, felt there must
be a limit to human endurance, and frequently turned his telescope
in the direction where he expected the Prussian reinforcements to
arrive, and who were to cooperate more immediately with his left.

Hougoumont, as has been stated, had been repeatedly attacked: the
struggle for its possession was still most obstinate and sanguinary;
the large orchard and wood continued to be the scene of a dreadful
carnage. The enemy generally out-flanked our men upon their left;
and at times stealing along under the east hedge from the south-east
angle of the orchard, opened a flank fire upon them, when driven
through the north hedge near our friendly hollow-way; but whenever
our foes attempted to cross the orchard near the east garden wall,
the Coldstream sent a galling flank fire into them. Hougoumont had
been reinforced by the 2d line and light companies of Duplat’s
brigade, as well as by the advance-guard battalion of Brunswickers,
who, together with the guards and the remainder of the Nassau-men and
Hanoverian riflemen, drove the enemy out of the orchard into the wood.

During the time Duplat’s brigade was in its advanced position, it
suffered from the French light troops: many of the officers were
killed or wounded; Duplat was killed.

Skirmishing had gone on briskly at the farms of Papelotte, La
Haye, the hamlet of Smohain, and along our left, where the want of
ammunition was so great, that the enemy pressed close up to the
hedge, driving in our skirmishers[54]: but they were soon driven
back, when a fresh supply arrived.

From the time that La Haye-Sainte had been taken by the enemy,
the attacks upon our centre were carried on with the greatest
desperation. The French crowded in swarms round the knoll and
sand-hole, and behind the artificial and road-side banks, which
formed excellent breastworks for the advanced skirmishers. These, by
laying their muskets on the bank at the level of the plain, could
sweep it in all directions. Our advance, at times, moved forward
and dislodged them; but they returned on the falling back of our
troops. This fire was vigorously replied to by Lambert’s and Kempt’s
brigades, and Pack’s Royals. Ompteda’s brigade was reduced to a
mere handful of men; Kielmansegge’s was in a similar condition:
in fact Alten’s division had dwindled away to a weak brigade. The
remains of Halkett’s brigade were from the first formed into two weak
squares. No portion of the line was more attacked both by infantry
and cavalry, or more cannonaded than Alten’s division. He himself
was severely wounded. The 73d, one of his regiments, was for a time
commanded by a subaltern, (lieutenant Stewart). Pack’s brigade was
reduced to a skeleton, and had, by forming column, wheeling into
line, and by edging and moving to its right, got from the left
close to the Genappe road, a little in rear of where stood the so
called “Wellington tree.” Adam’s brigade, since brought into action,
had been subjected to so furious a cannonade and repeated cavalry
attacks, that it was deemed necessary to draw it behind the position.
On one occasion a French horse battery was pushed forward near the
south-east angle of the orchard of Hougoumont, where it opened upon
the brigade: but our batteries on the ridge concentrated their fire
upon it, and drove it off. Our artillery-men cheered. It witnessed
the great effect produced by some rockets which were thrown from the
valley upon the French horse. Our batteries had been most successful
on this part of the line in checking and destroying the enemy’s

It must have been evident to Napoleon, that, notwithstanding the
battle had been raging for more than seven hours, the victory which
he had calculated upon early in the morning was yet to be gained:
although the day was far advanced, he showed no despair, but
continued to feed the fight with fresh victims. The result of the
operations, up to this time, had been most destructive to both sides;
more particularly so to our gallant foes, who, from acting on the
offensive throughout, were frequently much exposed to the close and
direct fire of our batteries in advancing to the attack and retiring
to reform, after each successive repulse. Our troops everywhere
maintained a degree of cool forbearance and courage, which none but
British soldiers could show under such trying circumstances. About
half-past seven P.M. the colours of the 30th and 73d were sent to
the rear, to the satisfaction of many; the colonel of the latter
regiment, the late lord Harris, who was wounded soon after, taking
the 73d’s colour from the officer, gave it in charge of a sergeant,
to carry to the rear.

The enemy’s cavalry, who were now nearly sobered, would come up
singly, and fire their carbines at the squares. Their horse artillery
often galloped up, unlimbered, when crash! crash! came the grape into
Halkett’s squares, making gaps which it was admirable to see the fine
fellows fill up, and that without orders. Whenever the Duke came,
which at this momentous period was often, there was a low whisper in
the ranks, “Here’s the Duke!” and all was steady as on parade. No
matter what the havock and destruction might be, the Duke was always
the coolest man there: in the words of an eyewitness of this bloody
scene, the Duke was coolness personified[55]. It really appeared that
the more desperate the fight, the more determined were the few brave
fellows that remained to hold their ground; yet often would a murmur
escape them, such as, “This is thundering murderous work! why don’t
we go into them?... Let us give them the cold steel,” etc., etc.
But such murmurs were soon hushed, and again were displayed those
traits of unyielding passive courage, the grandest, the most sublime
characteristics of the British soldier. The troops evinced in their
resignation a discipline unparalleled in European armies. Though
confident in their chiefs and themselves, their foes were not less
so: a French cuirassier officer, a prisoner in Halkett’s left square,
replied, in a surly and snappish tone, to an officer of the 30th who
asked him what force Bonaparte had, “You will see directly, sir.”

It was now past seven o’clock. The Prussians kept up a distant
cannonade, and skirmished with the French right _en potence_, seeking
a favourable opportunity to make a more powerful attack with the
fresh troops that were then seen advancing. These war-breathing
bands, led by Blücher in person, full of determination, sure to
strike home with the whole force of their arm, were at length seen
streaming along in swarms, extending round Napoleon’s right wing,
and menacing his rear. The allied line stood firm and unbroken, the
day was fast waning, and Napoleon began to manifest impatience, and
felt much anxiety for the result of the battle, and he evidently
must have imagined that a desperate effort to break our centre could
alone prevent the defeat, which the arrival of the Prussians in such
force must render inevitable. Thus situated, he had no alternative
but to rush into destruction, or success. The political existence
and future destiny of this renowned chief were fast drawing to a
close; he could not reasonably anticipate assistance from Grouchy,
therefore he at once resolved, as a _last resource_, his unsuccessful
attempt to force the allied position with his devoted guards, that
immovable phalanx which, in the greatest emergencies, had invariably
stood as the rallying point and rampart of their army. Count Drouot
was ordered to move forward into the valley (in front of and between
La Belle-Alliance and Hougoumont enclosures,) the remaining twelve
battalions of the old and middle guard, and form them into two
columns of attack and a reserve. With these, Napoleon decided upon
making what proved his final struggle, directing their advance
between La Haye-Sainte and Hougoumont, upon the allied centre,
undoubtedly impressed with the idea, that an overwhelming mass of
fresh and chosen troops must succeed against an enemy shattered and
reduced by repeated and furious attacks, and a ravaging cannonade[56].

Four battalions of the middle guard, in mass of battalion columns
a favourite plan of the French, and formed left in front into one
column of attack, were to advance towards a point, about where the
Lion now stands, then occupied by Maitland’s brigade, the 2d and 3d
battalions of the 1st British foot-guards, and on their left by
Halkett’s British brigade whose right was the 69th and 33d, and his
left the 30th and 73d regiments. Four more battalions of the middle
guard with two of the old guard, (chiefly chasseurs,) _en échelons_,
upon their left rear, formed a second column of attack, lower down
the valley. The other two battalions of the old guard remained in
reserve nearly opposite La Belle-Alliance, right and left; and in
rear of them were drawn up in reserve the remains of the splendid
cavalry force with which the Emperor had been making such desperate
but fruitless attacks on our position. These constituted his last
reserve. The attacking columns were to be supported by the remains
of D’Erlon’s corps on their right, and Reille’s corps on the left.
Those movements along the French position indicated that a decisive
blow, which the situation of the battle now rendered inevitable, was
about to be directed against our centre; it was soon discovered, by
the well sustained order and compactness of the columns, and the dark
waving forest of bear’s-skin caps, that our prowess would be tested
by the redoubted Imperial guard.

At this period of the action, many of our guns stood abandoned in
position: some rendered useless by the enemy’s fire, others had the
muzzles bent down from the excessive heat, some were left for want of
materials to load them; many touch-holes melted away, when officers
were seen applying paper with a small hole in which to place the
fuze, and thus prevent its dropping into the touch-hole: numerous
gunners were driven off by the enemy. Our confidence in the Duke
was unbounded, notwithstanding that our army was much exhausted and
reduced. Disorder and confusion continued in our rear: the roads
were crowded with broken carriages, baggage, wounded officers,
soldiers, dismounted dragoons, and trains of followers from the
combined army; more particularly the foreigners, many of whom gave
as a reason for abandoning the field, that Napoleon and his legions
were invincible, he would certainly be victorious, and that it was
quite absurd to contend against them. In fact, what with the killed,
wounded, those in attendance, and others who had gone to the rear
through fear, our fighting army, towards the close of the day, became
reduced to a handful of men, a mere wreck of its former self. It
is on record that upwards of twelve thousand had sought refuge in
the wood of Soigne, whose desertion imposed great hardships on those
who gallantly remained to achieve so glorious a victory. These were
resolved to conquer or to perish on this sanguinary field, and by
none was this feeling more powerfully manifested, than by the few
remaining in Sir Colin Halkett’s brigade. They were often heard to
exclaim, “This is thundering murderous work: we shall see which will
stand killing longest.”

Vivian, who had been all day on the left of our line, observing the
advance, towards his position, of part of the Prussian cavalry of
general Röder, attached to the 1st corps under general Zieten, and
being aware that fresh cavalry was wanted on the right, put his
brigade in motion. He was soon met by lord Uxbridge, who felt pleased
that the Duke’s wishes had been anticipated. Vandeleur, who was also
on the left, was ordered to follow Vivian. The right regiment, the
10th hussars, was posted by lord Uxbridge about a hundred yards in
rear of the junction of the cross-roads, (near the Lion;) the 18th
hussars on their left stretching towards the Genappe road, behind
the remains of Alten’s division, and the 1st German hussars were in
second line. After posting Vivian, Uxbridge joined Vandeleur, whom he
posted parallel with the Nivelles road, the 11th on the right, the
16th next, and on the left the remains of the 12th light dragoons, in
rear of Adam’s, Maitland’s and Halkett’s brigades; he then returned
to Vivian. In order to draw his own conclusions, his Lordship
dismounted, and, unattended, advanced down the slope to try and get a
view of the enemy who were hidden by the smoke. Vivian rode after him
and begged him not to place himself in such imminent danger; on which
he returned, saying that he was of Vivian’s opinion, that it would be
best to wait an opportunity to attack.

The opportune arrival of the fresh cavalry upon this part of our
line gave in no small degree confidence to the shattered remains of
brave fellows who were left to defend the front. The exceeding small
force which really defended the crest of our line on this terrible
day, is almost incredible, and their conduct beyond all praise. They
not only stood the brunt of the strife, but upon their steadiness
and determination depended entirely the holding of the position.
Uxbridge returned to the Duke, who was at a short distance to the
right, watching the formation of heavy columns on our right of La
Belle-Alliance; they were preparing the coming storm.

      “Twas now the chieftain’s soul was mighty proved,
      That in the shock of charging hosts, unmoved,
      Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,
      Examined all the dreadful scenes of war;
      In peaceful thought the field of death survey’d;
      To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid;
      Inspired repulsed battalions to engage,
      And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.”

His Grace dispatched colonel Freemantle in search of the Prussians,
who were expected to join the left of our line, and to request
Zieten, their chief, to send on a part of his force to strengthen
some weak parts of the front. Zieten did not feel himself authorized
to comply with the Duke’s request, but said that his whole force
would soon be up.

Numerous applications reached the Duke for support and
reinforcements, or to be relieved by the second line, as divisions,
brigades and regiments had dwindled away to skeletons and handfuls
of men. The only reply was, “They must hold their ground to the last
man.” Sir Guy Campbell delivered that answer to the gallant remains
of Pack’s brigade, and the Duke told sir Colin Halkett, that there
must not be the least symptom of falling back, as everything depended
on the steadiness of the front troops. Frequently, as the Duke passed
the men, he heard murmurs, such as, “Are we to be massacred here? Let
us go at them, let us give them _Brumme-gum_!” _i. e._ the bayonet;
and he would calmly reply, “Wait a little longer, my lads; you shall
have at them presently.”

The ammunition was nearly exhausted, when, fortunately, an artillery
cart galloped along, and dropped some casks into the squares: this
raised their spirits and made them feel more satisfied.

The Duke, finding he must depend entirely on his own resources to
ward off the blow about to be struck by his antagonist, made such
dispositions as his means would allow. It was indeed high time to
strain every nerve, to strengthen and defend the point where the
fiercest storm of battle was about to burst, and repel the last
and most desperate struggle, now ready to be made. Maitland’s and
Halkett’s right was advanced: the Brunswick battalions on the right
were to move into the space between Halkett’s British and Kruse’s
Nassau brigades. Chassé’s Dutch-Belgian division was to cross the
Nivelles road, and form, D’Aubremé on the right, and Ditmers on
the left, in rear of Adam’s, Maitland’s and Halkett’s brigades.
The remains of the allied cavalry, except Merle’s brigade, were in
rear of the position on the right of the Genappe road, and most of
our infantry were deployed into four-deep lines, and for shelter
lay recumbent on the ground behind the crest of the ridge. About
this time a French officer of carabineers[57] rode into the right
of the 52d regiment as a deserter, and announced to major Blair[58]
and colonel sir A. Fraser, that Napoleon was about to attack us at
the head of his Imperial guard; this was made known to the Duke.
Napoleon, it appeared, was marshalling the Imperial guard for the
approaching attack: of this his Grace was well aware.

The skirmishers in advance of their columns about La Haye-Sainte,
the knoll and sand-pit, and along the valley right and left, threw
out a rattling fire for the purpose of harassing and weakening our
line, in order to clear the way for the grand attack by the Imperial
guard; this fire was vigorously replied to by our troops, who were
partially covered from the enemy’s fire by the hedge-row and banks
on this part of the front. Our gallant 27th, upon the bank at the
junction of the roads, was still much exposed. Our 95th rifles and
the 4th foot were extended along the Wavre road. The 40th, 79th,
28th, and 1st Royals were in line behind the rear hedge. The fire
increased, and it appeared as if all would be borne down before it.
The banks on the road side, the garden wall, the knoll and sand-pit
swarmed with skirmishers, who seemed determined to keep down our fire
in front; those behind the artificial bank seemed more intent upon
destroying the 27th, who at this time, it may literally be said, were
lying dead in square, their loss after La Haye-Sainte had fallen was
awful, without the satisfaction of having scarcely fired a shot; many
of our troops in rear of the ridge were similarly situated. A British
officer, who was an eyewitness of the gallant conduct of the 27th,
says, “If ever the sovereign give them another motto, it should be,
_Muzzle to muzzle_; for so they fought at Waterloo.”

Efficient artillery upon this part of the line we had none; thus the
enemy again brought up some guns near the corner of La Haye-Sainte
garden hedge, and placed them so that their muzzles were on a level
with our ridge, from whence they rapidly dealt out grape upon
Kielmansegge’s two squares, completely smashing them, until they,
like the rest, were reduced to a mere clump of men. The artillery
and musketry fire was increasing. The skirmishers pressing on,
and their drums beating, foretold the advance of columns to the
charge. Upon this, the prince of Orange ordered two battalions of
the Nassau brigade, under general Kruse, to advance, and gallantly
placed himself at their head: the Prince was struck by a musket-ball
in the left shoulder, and the command of this part of our line
devolved on count Kielmansegge. The Nassau-men were giving way, when
the five battalions of Brunswick infantry moved into the interval
between Halkett and Kruse; but, before they were in position, they
were received by such a stinging fire from the French skirmishers,
and crashing fire of grape from their artillery, and became so
enveloped in smoke, that they could not get into order until they
were in close contact with the enemy. This vigorous attack caused
the part of Alten’s division on Halkett’s left, with the Nassau-men
and Brunswickers, to give way, and fall back under the crest of the
ridge. Now came really the tug of war, the poise or balance of the

At this critical moment Wellington galloped to the spot, and
addressing himself to the Brunswickers, succeeded, by the
electrifying influence of his voice and presence, in rallying the
discomfited columns. Lieutenant-colonel sir Alexander Gordon was
mortally wounded on this occasion. By the example and encouragement
of the commanding officers, the other brigades were also rallied and
formed. The Duke went off hastily to the right again.

The battle had been now raging for nearly eight hours, and not a
square had been broken, nor had the enemy gained more than one
advantage, viz. the capture of La Haye-Sainte, which was through
one of those mischances in war which often mar the best planned
arrangements. But those continued furious attacks had not been met
and repulsed without a most severe loss to the troops who had stood
the brunt of the battle, and had been so long exposed to a murderous

[Illustration: (end of chapter; image of a helmet)]


[53] _See_ chapter X, Grouchy’s Report, and the English, Prussian,
and French official accounts.

[54] It in not easy to give a satisfactory reason why the enemy’s
infantry skirmishers were allowed to press so closely up to our
position and inflict such severe losses upon our gunners and
infantry, when our cavalry could have driven them off or destroyed

[55] All those who were near his Grace, and had full opportunity of
observing him during the most critical and trying moments, agree in
asserting, that it was impossible to learn from his countenance,
voice or gesture, whether the affair in hand were trifling or
important, quite safe, or extremely dangerous.

[56] It appeared throughout the day, that Napoleon was determined
to exhaust our troops, the expense of which was only, to him, a
_secondary_ consideration.

[57] I met this French officer on the field in 1844: he was a captain
in the 2d carabineers, or brass-clad cuirassiers; the reason he
gave for not coming over to us till the eleventh hour, was, that he
expected a number of his regiment to desert with him.

[58] _See_ colonel Hunter Blair’s letter, Appendix, No. VII.

                            CHAPTER VII.

  Napoleon advances his Imperial guard; gives it up to Ney.—The
  Emperor addresses his men for the last time.—Blücher’s guns blazing
  away, the enemy replies.—Napoleon circulates a false report.—The
  French guards about to attack men who, like themselves, had
  never been beaten.—Tremendous roar of artillery.—Vandersmissen’s
  brigade of guns arrives.—The right or leading column of the
  Imperial guard, on ascending the tongue of ground, suffers
  dreadfully from our double-charged guns, which it appears to
  disregard.—Ney’s horse killed.—The attacking column crowns the
  ridge, well supported.—“_Up, guards, make ready!_”—The British
  guards, Halkett’s brigade, with Bolton’s and Vandersmissen’s
  batteries, open fire upon the head of the assailing column, which
  it returns.—Gallantry of sir Colin Halkett.—The enemy in confusion,
  charged by our guards and Halkett’s 30th and 73d regiments.—The
  first French column, after displaying the most heroic courage,
  gives way in disorder.—The second attacking column approaching,
  suffers from our batteries.—Our guards, ordered to retire, get into
  disorder, which soon sets to right again.—Halkett’s brigade in
  great confusion, but soon recovers.—D’Aubremé’s Netherlanders in
  the greatest disorder.—Our batteries, with the guards, open fire
  upon the head of the left attacking column, whilst the 52d and
  rifles assail its front and left flank; the French return the fire
  with vigour.—The crisis.—The enemy in confusion, charged in flank,
  gives way.—Pursued by Adam’s brigade.—Vivian’s hussars launched
  forward upon the enemy’s reserves; their disposition.—General
  disposition of the Prussian and French armies.

Vivian came to this part of the line about a quarter before eight
P.M. The enemy’s skirmishers in crowds had again pressed on to our
front, which, from its reduced state, was once more giving way. A
battalion of the Brunswickers was retiring, having expended all its
ammunition. The Nassau-men were falling back in mass upon the horses’
heads of the 10th hussars, and, as sir Hussey Vivian has since
told me, had the 10th not been there, they would have retreated.
Captain Shakspeare of the 10th was with sir Hussey, and they both
did their utmost to encourage them. Vivian says that, in justice to
many of their officers, he must state, that these endeavoured to
stop the men; he saw one take a drummer by the collar, and make him
beat the rally. The left of the division now pressed on, led by
Kielmansegge. Those on the right took it up, as well as the Brunswick
and Nassau-men, their drums beating, Vivian, his aide-de-camp and
many of his officers cheering them on, whilst the hussars followed in
support; the French and their artillery falling back before them.

      “One crowded hour of glorious strife
      Is worth an age of peaceful life;
      ’Tis thus the soldier hastes along,
      And faces death amidst the throng.”

It was during this desperate effort of the enemy that the two
attacking columns of the Imperial guard[59], amongst whom the most
unbounded enthusiasm reigned, proudly led the van, and advanced _en
échelons_ right in front from the valley, between La Belle-Alliance
and the enclosures of Hougoumont. The first, or leading column, was
led by Napoleon in person, until the front files came abreast of
where the high-road is cut through the bank beyond the orchard of
La Haye-Sainte, a prominent point about two hundred yards to their
left of the Genappe road, which they left obliquely on their right;
here the Emperor gave them in charge of Ney. When the guards passed
before him, he, for the last time, addressed them a few words of
encouragement, but, from the noise, the words could not be heard, and
Napoleon, in a significant manner, pointed to our position, when the
shouts of “_Vive l’Empereur! Vive Napoléon! En avant!_” rent the air;
those war-cries excited a phrenzy of ardour as his devoted followers
pressed on to death and destruction.

At this moment Blücher’s artillery was blazing away upon the French
right _en potence_, who returned the compliment, but not in full
value. The firing was distinctly heard by Napoleon and his troops;
and being apprehensive that it might damp their courage, he sent
general Labédoyère through the line, with the false report[60], that
it was Grouchy’s guns that had fallen upon the Prussian rear, and it
only required a little firmness to complete the victory to which they
were advancing.

The sanguinary drama was now, with the long and trying day, fast
drawing to a close. The Emperor’s guards, their country’s pride, they
who had never turned their backs on foe or fled the battle field,
were, for the first time, about to attack men who, like themselves,
acknowledged no victor; the unconquered were to measure their prowess
with men who had never been vanquished, the world waiting with
anxious expectation the result of this memorable day. The Imperial
guard, led by the undaunted Ney, “_le Brave des Braves_,” advanced
towards a point occupied by the first brigade of British foot-guards,
and the 5th or Halkett’s British brigade. The guards were lying down,
for cover from the shower of round and grape-shot and shells thrown
amongst them by the French batteries. The enemy’s advance was, as
usual, preceded by skirmishers, and covered by a tremendous fire of
artillery, although, at this time, considerably diminished, many of
their guns having been rendered useless. The French guards were well
supported on their right by D’Erlon’s infantry columns, especially
by those of Donzelot’s division, who prolonged this attack to the
Genappe road against the Brunswickers, Nassau troops, and the rest
of Alten’s division. About this time, Vandersmissen’s Dutch-Belgian
brigade of guns most opportunely came in between the intervals of
Halkett’s brigade. Reille’s columns on the left pressed on towards
Hougoumont, which again became the scene of a severe struggle;
Bachelu’s division advanced on their right of its enclosures, and
D’Erlon’s columns _en échelons_ pushed forward on their right of La
Haye-Sainte. As the leading column of the Imperial guard began to
ascend the tongue of ground leading to the spot where the Lion now
stands, it suffered most severely from the destructive fire of our
right batteries, of which, from being ranged _en échelons_, every
efficient gun played into the exposed long flank of the Imperial
column with double charges of round, canister, case, or grape-shot.
By this murderous fire the French ranks were most awfully ravaged,
and they appeared to wave like high standing corn blown by sudden
gusts of wind, from the terrific effect of each discharge; while caps
and muskets might, at times, be seen flying in the air. Ney had his
horse killed under him, and gallantly led along on foot; at his side
general Friant was wounded severely, and general Michel mortally. To
men enthusiastic, who felt certain they were advancing to a glorious
victory, this was no check, and the Imperial guard pursued its onward
course with a firm step. The veterans of Jena, Wagram and Austerlitz
had, by their invincible prowess, decided many a battle, and their
progress could only be arrested by death or severe wounds.

When the head of the column neared the line of the allies, it escaped
the terrific fire of our right batteries, while at the same moment
their own batteries ceased firing; a crowd of skirmishers rushed
on and opened a stinging fire upon our artillery-men, who soon
drove them back upon the columns by a discharge of grape, canister
and case-shot; double charges were poured into the head of the
enemy’s columns from Bolton’s guns, (now commanded by Napier,) and
Vandersmissen’s batteries: the front of the enemy appeared to stand
still, from the men being mowed down as they laboured up the slopes,
while their rear seemed pressing on. The Imperial guard at length
succeeded in crowning the ridge, upon which the French saw nothing
but the batteries; they descried through the smoke some cocked
hats, but little imagined that one of them covered the head of the
illustrious Duke, who was shortly to acquire a last and crowning
laurel, and that the sun of Napoleon was to set with the one just
retiring from their view on the field of Waterloo.

The enemy pressed on until within about fifty yards of Halkett’s
brigade, and the British foot-guards, who were lying down, quietly
awaiting the band of veteran heroes. Wellington then gave the words,
“Up, guards, make ready[61]!” and ordered general Maitland to attack.
They rose in line four deep, and appeared to the French as if they
had sprung out of the earth; whilst the French grenadiers, with their
high bear’s-skin caps and red plumes, looked like giants bearing
down upon them. Our guards and Halkett’s right, the 69th and 33d,
the gallant Halkett waving the latter regiment’s colour in their
front, advanced a few paces and threw in a tremendous volley, that
was followed up by independent file-firing, rapidly and steadily
delivered. A stream of musketry and grape-shot was maintained with
such coolness and precision, that the whole front of the enemy’s
column was shaken: it was impossible to be otherwise; from four to
five hundred of them were killed or wounded. This most efficacious
fire dreadfully shattered the Imperial ranks, and stemmed their
farther progress, the dreadful carnage still continuing with unabated
fury. The French officers, waving their swords, and with shouts and
words of encouragement, attempted to deploy and extend their front.
But for this it was too late, the continued cross-fire which assailed
them drove the foremost of the enemy back on their mass. Many in the
midst of the column fired over the heads of their comrades, and their
confusion became greater every moment[62].

Our adversary’s desperate situation being instantly perceived by the
Duke, his Grace ordered the charge: lord Saltoun, who had joined from
Hougoumont, called out, “Now’s the time, my boys!” Our guards and
Halkett’s left advanced with a loud cheer to the charge, the latter
against a column which, on nearing our position, inclined to its
right from the rear of the leading column, and moved _en échelons_,
steady as on parade, through the hollow on its right of the tongue
of ground, where it was protected from the direct fire of our right

They gallantly advanced with a noble and admirable bearing; officers
in front, arms sloped, drums beating the _pas de charge_, and between
them and on their flanks their brass guns loaded with grape. When
within ninety yards of Halkett’s left, they halted, carried arms
as if to salute, and round wheeled their guns, down went their
port-fires, and crash came the grape, accompanied by a volley, into
the 30th and 73d regiments, who instantly returned the fire and came
to the charge. Before the sharp report had died away, Vandersmissen’s
brigade of guns, double-charged with grape, went Bang! bang! bang!
right through the Imperial column: this appeared to rend it asunder,
and it began to give way and disperse[63].

Our guards were pursuing the discomfited enemy into the valley,
when the left or second attacking column of the Imperial guard was
observed closely pressing on, undismayed by the defeat of their
first column. To avoid being taken in flank, orders were given to
the British guards to go about and resume their original position,
but the word was misunderstood, and they fell into confusion;
however notwithstanding the two battalions were mixed pell-mell
together, getting the command on recrossing the ridge, “Halt, front,
form!” they instantly fronted and formed four deep, and told off in
companies of forties. Halkett’s left, which had charged, on getting
clear of the smoke, saw the enemy broken and going off in disorder;
loud and deep were the execrations bestowed upon them for not waiting
to meet the retaliating vengeance, now ready to be inflicted for our
slaughtered comrades. After the charge, the whole brigade got mixed
together, and was for a few minutes in great confusion, occasioned
by a terrific fire of musketry and grape-shot, the murderous effects
of which so disordered Halkett’s right that they gave way, and thus
clashed with their left who were retiring; this caused confusion
which, fortunately however, speedily ceased, for a cry was heard,
“Form square to resist cavalry[64]!” and a cheer burst forth from
the 73d. Major Kelly, an officer of that regiment, but on the staff,
having perceived the confusion and consequent danger, resolved to
remain with his men, they having no officer of rank left to command
them. During this most desperate assault, D’Aubremé’s Netherlanders,
who formed three large squares in the immediate rear, also fell
into the greatest disorder; Vandeleur galloped forward, and with
some of his own officers, and those of the Dutch-Belgians, did all
in his power to restore order and encourage the men to hold their
position. Colonel Morice (69th regiment) was killed, and sir Colin
Halkett wounded, when the command of his brigade devolved on colonel
Elphinstone, who, when it had reformed, posted the left of the
brigade at the hedge-row, where the road curves forward, (near where
the Lion now stands;) and advanced the right anew[65] to protect the
left flank of our guards against an attack of Donzelot’s troops, who
were again pushing on.

The left of our guards was brought slightly forward, to be parallel
with the left or second attacking column of the French guards[66],
who, passing the eastern boundary of Hougoumont obliquely on
their left, were saluted, _en passant_, by Hepburn’s skirmishers.
Notwithstanding this, they pursued their onward course with the
greatest sang-froid through the valley, towards the spot where their
first column was so severely engaged; our artillery on the ridge,
from the Nivelles road to the curve in our line, was in full play
upon them; the fire of our guns fell with ruinous precision upon
the dense mass, and made them suffer dreadfully: but the men who
had often, in a doubtful field, wrested victory from the obstinate
foe, advanced firmly, their front and flank, as usual, covered by
a numerous body of daring skirmishers, the smoke of whose rattling
fire concealed at times the advance of the column. The fire of our
guns was so severe that some cuirassiers were sent to charge the
batteries: this they did, and succeeded in driving the gunners away.
They also drove in the skirmishers of Adam’s brigade: upon which, a
squadron of the 23d light dragoons was sent down into the hollow near
the orchard of Hougoumont. The cuirassiers advancing again, the 23d,
under lieutenant Banner, charged them in flank, and drove them back
upon their infantry columns, whose fire turned our dragoons about.
They galloped back towards our lines, followed by some cuirassiers,
most of whom, as well as their other cavalry, had, upon the advance
of the Imperial guard, been drawn off and rallied on their own
position between La Belle-Alliance and Hougoumont. Our officers on
this part of the line were intently observing the movements of the
enemy’s column; and our few fine fellows at the guns, disregarding
the fire from the enemy, played incessantly with deadly aim into the
close deep masses of infantry: changing, as the distance diminished,
from round to grape and canister, and to double charges.

As the column neared the ridge, the French became impatient under
this destructive cannonade; and their skirmishers rushed forward,
prolonging the attack to Donzelot’s division on their right, which,
in a line of battalion columns, with their guns between them and on
their flanks, and preceded by a crowd of daring skirmishers, were
again assaulting the remains of Alten’s division, as above related.
Our gunners, under this close and severely-telling fire, could not
long stand to their guns, but either lay down beneath them, or
dropped behind the ridge; an expedient to which our artillery-men had
frequent recourse during the day. Some brave fellows now and then
would hastily load and fire, and again seek shelter. D’Aubremé’s and
Vandeleur’s brigades sustained some casualties by this column’s fire.

General Adam, and colonel Colborne of the 52d, (of the unmatched
Peninsular school,) had been watching the enemy’s columns, and the
latter, (a real fire-eater,) upon his own responsibility, brought
forward the right shoulder of his regiment, placing it across the
oft-mentioned bit of hedge-row, and nearly parallel to the left flank
of the attacking column.

Thus was executed, with judgment, promptitude and spirit, worthy of
the high character of the corps and its commander, a movement, which
eventually enveloped the enemy’s column in an angle, at the apex of
which was a battery, whose double-charged guns soon carried death and
destruction through the mass, whilst a rapid and continued rolling
fire of musketry assailed its front and flanks.

The Duke having seen the guards placed in their position, rode a
little to the right, and observing the 52d in a favourable situation,
sent to sir Henry Clinton to move forward the rest of Adam’s brigade
to charge the Imperial guard, that, with drums beating and deafening
shouts of _Vive l’Empereur!_ now crowned the summit of the position.
The fire of Napier’s and Vandersmissen’s batteries, and of the
British guards, opened on them, but still they gallantly pressed
forward, as did also the columns of Donzelot, upon Alten’s division;
and the rest of d’Erlon’s columns _en échelons_, on their right of
La Haye-Sainte, moved forward towards Lambert’s, Kempt’s and Best’s
brigades. The fate of the battle seemed to quiver on the beam, when
the 52d in its complete four-deep line, previously screened from
the enemy’s view by the crest of our ridge, moved down in the most
compact order upon the left flank of the Imperial column. The column
halted, formed front to its left, and opened, from its long flank, a
most galling fire upon the 52d. The latter also halted, and poured
a most deadly fire into their ranks: the finest infantry the world
produced, thus confronted each other. At this moment (about eight
o’clock,) the 2d battalion of the 95th rifles came up on the left,
and fired into the head of the column[67]. The 71st and the 3d
battalion of the 95th were also rapidly advancing. This terrific fire
told with most awful effect on the flank of the mass, already torn by
the close discharges of case and grape-shot from our guns. From whose
rapid fire, together with the musketry, a dense cloud of thick smoke
hung on the ridge, and completely enveloped the contending parties.
A still more rapid roll of musketry marked the highest efforts
of the conflict, when on a sudden it began to slacken. Sir John
Colborne gave the word to charge, which our men answered by three
hearty cheers and louder than the shouts of _Vive l’Empereur_[68].
The French column now seemed to reel to and fro under the heavy
fire, and in truth it was unable to advance and unwilling to retire.
It was in a position too trying even for its experienced veterans,
notwithstanding they were animated by the best spirit. But the
most daring in its ranks, and there were many, made a determined
resistance, and seemed to linger on the spot; one of these, no doubt,
was Ney, who, upon the rout of the first column, joined the second
and led that also[69].

The confusion and disorder which had been increasing, at last became
uncontrollable. With the exception of the two rear battalions of the
old guard, under general Cambronne, which alone retained the least
semblance of order, the second attacking column of the Imperial
guard shared the fate of the first. They fled, and in their flight
carried with them most of Donzelot’s columns, which had prolonged the
attack to the Genappe road against Alten’s division, as previously
mentioned, and were now falling back into the valley, from whence
they had emerged to make the attack. Whilst the 52d and the second
battalion of the 95th were pressing forward in pursuit, over ground
literally covered with dead and dying, a body of broken horsemen
dashed through the smoke upon their front: they concentrated their
whole fire upon the new comers, until they discovered them to be
a part of the 23d light dragoons pursued by some cuirassiers; one
of whom breaking through the 52d was killed in the rear by the
sergeant-major; another was also cut down by an officer.

The front was scarcely cleared of the cavalry, when three of the
enemy’s guns opened a fire of grape, at about four hundred yards in
prolongation of its right flank: colonel Colborne galloped to the
right of his regiment, and exclaimed “Those guns will destroy us!”
when instantly the right section, under lieutenant Gawler, wheeled up
and drove them off. The rest of the regiment continued the pursuit
of the broken columns.

Colonel Hugh Halkett, on perceiving the forward movement of Adam’s
brigade, moved upon its right rear with the Osnabruck militia.
Vivian’s hussar brigade and the 2d German light dragoons were
immediately advanced to attack the French reserves, drawn up between
La Belle-Alliance and Hougoumont[70].

The feelings of our great antagonist on witnessing the total
overthrow of his devoted guards, his last hope, and the death-blow to
his political existence, may be imagined, but not described.

At this time, (eight o’clock,) says captain Siborne, the general
disposition of the Prussian forces, relative to that of Wellington’s
army, was, that the advance-guard of Zieten’s (first) corps had
joined our left; part of Pirch’s (second) corps, with his reserve
cavalry, had joined Bulow, who was on the advance, his right to
attack Lobau, and his left to make a third attack upon Plancenoit.
The French opposed to them appeared determined to make a stand at all

[Illustration: (end of chapter; image of a sword)]


[59] This force was never employed but in cases of great emergency.
Had it been brought forward earlier and before the Prussians arrived,
deployed into line out of range of our musketry, and supported by
cavalry before that arm was so much cut up, certainly Napoleon would
have stood a better chance. No doubt the attack ought to have been
made earlier, or not at all.

The Duke says, “Had they forced our position, instead of taking
advantage of it and pressing on they must have turned round to face
the Prussians, who were at that time in great force pressing the
enemy’s right and rear.”

Looking at the relative situations of Plancenoit, Mont-St.-Jean, and
the French army, reckless as Napoleon had doubtless then become, it
is still surprising he made the attack.

[60] _See_ the prince de la Moskowa’s letter to the duc d’Otrante,
Appendix, No. V, p. 253.

[61] “Up, guards, and at them!” or, “Up, guards, make ready!” what an
idea of mutual confidence between the general and his men, does that
simple order convey!

No haranguing, which, if it excites the soldiers, also expresses
a doubt of their exertions; nothing of that kind was considered
necessary, but a command, which, from its very simplicity, shows the
entire conviction, in the mind of him who gave it, that it would be
most effectually obeyed.

[62] A column or columns advancing to an attack, although steady
as on parade, on nearing the line of a cool determined enemy, must
be quickly shattered by the converging fire, which would drop
their leading and flank files, the only men that can really use
their muskets; confused by different words of command from various
officers, often enveloped in smoke and crowded together, the pressure
is such, that every movement augments disorder and confusion. The
imposing advance of large masses has often intimidated an enemy,
notwithstanding they are only really formidable in the imagination,
until deployed into line, during which evolution, a good volley,
resolutely followed up by the application of the cold steel, would
overthrow the best troops that ever pulled a trigger.

The Duke says, “Napoleon did not manœuvre at all; he just moved
forward in the old style, in columns, and was driven off in the old
style.” (_Letter to Lord Beresford_, July 2d, 1815, in the Appendix,
No. II, p. 218.)

I will not go so far as to say that moving forward in any other
formation would have gained them the battle, but I do think the old
style of advancing in columns did not give them a chance.

[63] From the circumstance of the columns of the Imperial guard
making their attack at the point of our line which ran curving
forward, they must have become, on crowning the allied position,
exposed to a cross-fire of all arms, which may be thus described:

Halkett’s left and Vandersmissen’s batteries formed the left of
the curve, whilst the immediate right of it consisted of Halkett’s
right, our guards and Napier’s battery, whose right was brought
rather forward; thus the fires were diagonal, that is, the two fires
evidently crossed.

It is therefore not astonishing that the veterans of a hundred fights
gave way under this, to use their own words, _effroyable_ (dreadful)
cross-fire upon both front and flank.

[64] Had the enemy’s cavalry really been at hand, the remaining
few fine fellows under Halkett must have been annihilated. This
confusion and giving way, together with that on the immediate left
of the brigade, as well as the disorder on its immediate right, at
about the same time, and at so critical a juncture, might have caused
the most serious consequences; but, thanks to the zeal and energy
of the superior officers, as well as to the coolness, alacrity and
discipline of our troops, they soon reformed with much steadiness and
regularity, and aided by Vandersmissen’s and Bolton’s iron hail from
their double-charged guns, the withering fire of Adam’s light-bobs
upon the enemy’s left flank, together with that of our guards upon
their front, our struggle terminated most satisfactorily.

[65] Their advance proves that this momentary confusion but little
affected them.

[66] A portion of this force might have been advantageously employed
against us with their cavalry. Husbanding them so long, was, I
suspect, an error of no small magnitude.

[67] For positions of all the armies at this period, _see_ Plan.

[68] Some French writers state that this hitherto victorious column
was seized with a panic. If so, it was not to be wondered at: a
crowd of men, heaped helplessly together, exposed to an incessant
cross-fire of musketry, round and grape-shot poured in like hail
upon both front and flank, and our lines converging to enclose and
bayonet them, was enough to occasion a panic. We may here observe,
that the attack of the Imperial column is almost incredible,
unaccompanied as it was and entirely unsupported by cavalry, with
the flanks perpetually exposed, and never attempting to deploy into
line, till fired into; halting to engage with musketry against troops
in line. They sealed their own doom; for while utterly incapable of
deploying or returning their enemy’s fire with any effect, they were
attacked by our infantry and turned by our cavalry. I must leave to
the talented military historians to prove that this attack displayed
Napoleon’s former genius. The cause of the interval of some minutes
between the two attacking columns, or why the attacks were not
simultaneous, I am at a loss to explain; but it certainly was the
cause of their being beaten in detail.

[69] It is to be regretted that this gallant but inconstant soldier
did not meet death here. It would have been far preferable to the end
he afterwards found under the walls of the Luxemburg.

[70] The French reserves were, for the most part, drawn up in
chequer, presenting an irregular front, from la Belle-Alliance to the
nearest enclosures of Hougoumont.

                            CHAPTER VIII.

  As the Imperial guard retired in the greatest disorder, its retread
  caused a panic throughout the French army.—The Prussians being
  relieved from the pressure of the enemy’s right _en potence_,
  their operations begin to take effect.—Wellington observing the
  state of things, determines to attack, and orders the advance of
  his whole line.—His Grace in front, hat high in air.—Vivian’s
  hussars get a message from the Duke: they form line, attack and
  drive off the enemy.—Colonel Murray’s dangerous leap.—Vandeleur’s
  brigade advanced.—Major Howard killed.—General Cambronne made
  prisoner.—Adam’s brigade attacks and drives off the rallied
  force of the Imperial guard.—Lord Uxbridge wounded; sir J. O.
  Vandeleur commands the cavalry.—Sir Colin Campbell begs the Duke
  not to remain under the heavy fire.—Adam’s brigade menaced by
  cuirassiers.—His Grace with but one attendant.—Adam’s brigade
  falls upon a broken column of the enemy.—Singular encounter
  and act of bravery.—Repugnance to the shedding of human blood
  unnecessarily.—Battery and prisoners captured.—Adam’s brigade
  in the line of fire of a Prussian battery.—The 71st capture a
  battery.—Prussian dispositions to attack Plancenoit and the French
  right.—Operations of the allies during this period.—Plancenoit
  the scene of a dreadful struggle.—Bravery of the young guard, who
  save their eagle.—Humane conduct of their general Pelet.—Napoleon
  in a square, much pressed.—Wellington and his advanced troops at
  Rossomme, where the pursuit is relinquished by us, and continued by
  the Prussians, who, busy in the work of death, press on and capture
  sixty guns.—On returning towards Waterloo, the Duke meets Blücher,
  who promises to keep the enemy moving.—His Grace is silent, sombre,
  and dejected for the loss of his friends.—Bivac.—Observations.

The enemy’s troops engaged in the last attack retired in the greatest
confusion, which caused an unsteadiness and panic throughout the
remainder of the French army. By this, the Prussians were relieved
from the determined pressure previously made on them by the French
right _en potence_; and it soon became evident that they were gaining
ground. Zieten’s (first) corps had just joined the left of our line
by Ohain; Adam’s brigade was most vigorously pursuing the fugitives,
and Vivian’s hussars were rapidly advancing on the enemy’s reserve:
all these things combined, convinced the Duke that the favourable
moment for making a general attack, was arrived. Closing his
telescope with an air of triumph, he ordered the advance of the whole
line. This order was received by the eager remains of the army with
loud and tremendous cheers.

      “Then, Wellington, thy piercing eye
      The crisis caught of destiny.
          The British host had stood
      That morn, ’gainst charge of host and lance,
      As their own ocean rocks hold stanch;
      But when thy voice had said, Advance!
          They were their ocean’s flood.”

The Duke stood on the rise (immediately in front of the Lion,)
with his hat raised in the air, as a signal to advance. The last
parting rays of the beautiful setting sun at this moment (a quarter
after eight,) shone most resplendently, as if to enliven the scene
presented to our view on emerging from the smoke, which had long
rendered every object invisible except the flashes of the enemy’s
batteries. It was a spectacle never to be forgotten by those who
witnessed it. Were I to live to the age of Methuselah, never shall I
forget that evening. In front might be seen the retiring columns of
the enemy, broken and mingled with crowds of fugitives of all arms,
mounted and dismounted, mixed pell-mell together. In the right front
was a dense smoke, curling upwards, from the smouldering ruins of
Hougoumont. Far in the distance to the left front might also be dimly
seen the dark columns of the Prussians, many of whom had arrived just
in time to witness the overthrow of the French.

During this time Vivian’s hussars had moved to the right, cleared
the front and advanced on the right of Maitland’s guards, who with
Vandeleur’s brigade cheered them on. On crossing the ridge the smoke
was thick, but in the valley it became clear; and several columns
of the enemy’s infantry and cavalry, with guns on their flanks and
between them, were visible in front. The Duke sent a message to
Vivian by colonel Campbell, not to attack till the infantry arrived,
unless he thought he could break the French squares. At this moment
several men and horses of the 10th were killed by grape from the
enemy’s guns. Vivian observed to sir Colin Campbell that, as our
infantry advancing might not be in good order, it would be dangerous
to allow the French cavalry to fall upon them, and that it would
be better for him to attack at once and drive the cavalry off[71],
leaving the enemy’s squares to be attacked by our infantry. To this
sir Colin agreed, and returned to the Duke. Vivian now formed the
10th and 18th hussars into one line, and the 1st German hussars in
second line. While forming, a broken body of the 23d light dragoons,
after being fired into by the 52d, galloped along his front; his
right was attacked by cuirassiers, and he lost many men, but he beat
off the enemy. Whilst the French were firing grape at the hussars,
our own guns were also plying them with shot and spherical case, our
gunners taking them for foes. Vivian sent an officer to correct the

The 10th hussars, on getting into line, charged and defeated the
cavalry in their front. The 2d Germans charged upon the right of the
10th. Vivian now rode to the 18th, who were near the two squares of
the old guard which had been left in reserve; they had cavalry and
guns on each flank and between them.

The 18th was in line, and as steady as if exercising on Hounslow
heath. On reaching its front, Vivian said, “Eighteenth, you will
follow me;” on which the sergeant-major (Jeffs,) afterwards adjutant
of the 7th hussars, and many of the men, coarsely but fiercely
exclaimed with an oath, “Ay, general, anywhere you choose to lead
us.” The charge was ordered, and in an instant an attack was made on
the cavalry and guns. Colonel Murray, commanding the 18th, in making
this charge, leaped his horse over the traces between the wheelers
and leaders of a French gun which was dashing across his front in
order to escape. The hussars were upon the artillery, slaughtering
the drivers and gunners and securing the guns: these destructive
engines being silenced, and the sting taken out of their cavalry, our
infantry had full scope to act.

In returning from this charge, Vivian found major Howard, with a
small body of the 10th, near a French square, from whose fire he was
rapidly losing his men. At this moment a fine and gallant soldier,
lieutenant Gunning, fell. Vivian observed to Howard, “We have one of
two things to do, either to retire a little out of the fire, or to
attack;” and seeing some red-coated infantry approaching, who threw
out a scattering fire upon the enemy’s square, almost as destructive
to friends as to foes, Vivian ordered the charge and accompanied
it. The men galloped up to the bayonets of the Imperial guard, and
a fierce and bloody conflict ensued. Major Howard was shot by a
musket-ball, and fell upon the enemy’s bayonets;

             “And he was of the bravest, and when shower’d
             The death-bolts deadliest the thinn’d files along,
             E’en where the thickest of war’s tempest lower’d,
      They reach’d no nobler breast than thine, young gallant Howard!”

The red-coated infantry were colonel Halkett’s Osnabruckers, who
shortly before had captured general Cambronne of the Imperial
guard[73], and a battery. Adam’s brigade had followed the broken
columns of the French guards and Donzelot’s into the valley in
advance of the orchard of La Haye-Sainte; but now there was something
of more importance on the right of the Genappe road that required
their attention; this was three squares of the enemy flanked on their
right by cuirassiers: they were the remains of the first attacking
column of the Imperial guard, who had been rallied by Napoleon and
posted here to cover the retreat. The Duke galloped into the valley
to Adam’s brigade, and ordered Sir John Colborne to attack the
rallied force of the Imperial guard, saying, “They won’t stand. Go
on, Colborne, go on.”

Lord Uxbridge, after having displayed the most brilliant acts of
heroism during this sanguinary and arduous day, was about to join
Vivian’s hussars, when a grape-shot wounded his right leg, which
rendered amputation necessary: the command of the allied cavalry
consequently devolved on general Vandeleur, and that of his brigade
on colonel Sleigh, (11th light dragoons).

Adam’s brigade pressed gallantly up the slope towards the three
squares and the cuirassiers; the former opened a heavy fire from both
front and flanks. The Duke was still in rear of the 52d. Sir Colin
Campbell, finding the shot fly thick about the Duke, said, “Your
Grace, this is no place for you; I wish you would move a little;” to
which the Duke replied “So I will, when those fellows are driven off.”

As our line approached, the French squares went about by command; the
Duke then galloped forward on the right of Adam’s brigade, which was
now about to cross the Genappe road. The cuirassiers accompanying the
squares came down the road in a menacing attitude, as if to charge;
but as no time was to be lost, the brigade lowered their bayonets,
and in their four-deep line pressed on; but the cuirassiers declined
the combat.

An incident occurred just at this time, relative to the Duke, which
deserves to be noticed, as showing the great watchfulness which he at
all times exercised.

Adam, who was now in the valley between the two ridges of the
French position, and on the allied left of the Genappe road near La
Belle-Alliance, not being able to see at any distance to his right,
nor aware of Vivian’s advance, was apprehensive that an attack might
possibly be made upon his right flank, which by his movement had
become exposed: he therefore desired his brigade-major to proceed,
and ascertain whether there were any danger. In performing this
duty, the major fell in with the Duke, who was riding at a smart
pace, followed by only one individual, whom major Blair addressed
but he was immediately interrupted by the remark, “_Monsieur, je ne
parle pas un seul mot d’anglais_.” (“Sir, I cannot speak a word of
English.”) The major then stated to him in French the object he was
pursuing; and was answered, “_Le Duc lui-même a été voir, il n’y
a rien à craindre_.” (“The Duke has, himself, been to see, there
is nothing to fear.”) Upon this the major hastened back with the
satisfactory communication.

About a hundred yards on the allied left of La Belle-Alliance, the
road running towards Plancenoit becomes a complete hollow-way, out of
which a broken column of French infantry was in the act of debouching
with some guns, and making a hasty retreat, when the 52d regiment
in its advance came right upon them. The infantry tried to escape,
and at the same time to defend themselves as best they could. The
artillery turned to their left and attempted to get up the bank,
but their horses were immediately shot down by the 52d. A young
officer of the battery surrendered; but the commander, a veteran who
wore upon his breast the decoration of the Legion of honour, stood,
sword in hand, in the midst of his guns, and in an attitude of bold
defiance. A soldier started from the 52d ranks and made a thrust at
him, which the officer parried; a scuffle ensued, the man closed with
him, threw him on the ground, and keeping him down with his foot,
reversed his musket to bayonet him. The repugnance to the shedding
of human blood unnecessarily[74], (a feeling which we may proudly
claim as belonging to British soldiers,) burst forth in a groan of
displeasure from his comrades. It came too late; the fatal thrust
had passed, and the life of the deserving member of the honoured
Legion was extinct. The battery and many prisoners were captured. The
brigade, pressing on in pursuit of the squares, got upon the highest
point of ground of the French position, and in the line of fire from
the Prussian batteries[75]: the Duke sent to Bulow to stop the fire.
The 71st, on the right, captured a battery, and one of the guns,
being loaded, was turned round and fired into the retreating foe by
captain Campbell of the 71st, aide-de-camp to general Adam. It is
supposed that this was the last French gun, fired on that memorable
day. Soon after, the squares, followed by Adam, halted near the farm
of Rossomme, threw away their knapsacks and accoutrements, the better
to expedite their flight, and being thus lightened, they disappeared
in the twilight.

About the time that Howard was killed, Vandeleur’s brigade was
spanking along under the east hedge of Hougoumont; and overtaking
some of the flying enemy between the Hougoumont enclosures and
Rossomme, they made some charges and captured a great number of the

As soon as a part of Zieten’s corps had joined our left, Blücher
ordered the battery to open fire, the infantry to descend into the
valley of Smohain, and in conjunction with the troops of Nassau to
attack the French, who had been reinforced in order to prevent a
junction between Bulow’s corps and the allied left.

Zieten’s advance infantry pushed down into the valley, where some
shots were exchanged by mistake between them and the Nassau troops:
the mistake was soon rectified, and both bodies united advanced, and
dislodged the French from the houses in the valley of Smohain, and
the farms of La Haye and Papelotte. It was about eight o’clock, when
Zieten’s advance cavalry drew up on our left, and an infantry brigade
and the reserve cavalry of general Pirch’s (second) corps joined
Bulow, and in conjunction made the following dispositions for the
third attack upon Plancenoit:

General Ryssel’s and colonel Hiller’s infantry brigades of the 4th
corps under general count Bulow, and general Tippelskircher’s brigade
of general Pirch’s (second) corps, formed in columns of battalions;
on the left was a regiment of prince William’s reserve, and two
battalions of infantry with their skirmishers in front; and three
cavalry regiments, part of prince William’s, were in rear of the
above brigades.

In rear of this cavalry was general Krafft’s infantry brigade of
the 2d corps in reserve; and on the right of the infantry brigades
were three lines of cavalry, under general Jurgass; and upon their
right, and advancing simultaneously with the attack upon Plancenoit,
were Hack’s and Losthin’s infantry brigades of the 4th corps; in
their rear were three battalions, part of Hack’s brigade. On the
right of those brigades was a small force of cavalry, part of prince
William’s, and upon their right were four battalion columns, part of
general Steinmetz’s brigade of general Zieten’s (first) corps. Upon
the ridge on the allied left, was part of general Röder’s cavalry
that had just reached the field, and whose battery opened fire in
place of one belonging to the allies that had expended all its
ammunition. A few battalions were detached to the left of Plancenoit,
to secure the flank, and, if possible, to turn the enemy’s right. The
whole Prussian force was preceded by skirmishers, and their batteries
were most advantageously placed upon the heights.

A squadron of Prussian cavalry beat back a company of the Imperial
guard from the farm of Chantilly, above Plancenoit. The latter
retired upon the wood at the farm of Caillou, closely pursued by
the hostile cavalry, which was beaten off by the Imperial baggage
guard. The Prussian dragoons soon returned in such force, that the
Emperor’s suite, with bag and baggage, made a hasty flight towards

Whilst Blücher’s army stood as stated, Wellington had defeated both
the attacking columns of the Imperial guard; and Adam’s brigade was
driving them and Donzelot’s division, that had broken and mixed
with them, across the field, toward the Genappe high-road. Vivian’s
brigade and the 2d German light dragoons were setting forward
at a long trot towards the French reserves, drawn up between La
Belle-Alliance and Hougoumont.

The whole allied line was now advancing, flanked on the left by
Prussian cavalry. The enemy showed little resistance to any part of
it. As Hepburn issued from the orchard of Hougoumont into the open
fields, the enemy went off, scarcely firing a single shot. Those in
the wood made a little resistance, until they saw that all their
army was in full flight. The cavalry on the French left went off in
order, skirmishers out covering their retreat. Bachelu’s and Foy’s
divisions moved off, on witnessing the defeat of the second column of
the Imperial guard: on seeing this, the troops holding La Haye-Sainte
abandoned it. Alix’s, occupying the sand-pit and knoll, gave way on
the advance of Lambert; and Marcognet yielded and broke before the
advance of Pack and Kempt. Durutte’s division broke before Zieten’s
and the duke of Saxe-Weimar’s advance. De Lobau, on seeing the troops
on his left giving way, together with the flight of the Imperial
guard, followed by British troops whom he perceived in his rear, as
well as the now vigorous attack of Bulow, and the probability of his
being cut off from all retreat with his whole corps, rushed into the
stream of fugitives, that had set in towards Rossomme and Genappe.

During this time Plancenoit had been the scene of a most dreadful
struggle: the French in the churchyard held out, and the Prussians,
finding it of no avail to continue the attack in front, turned the
village on both flanks, driving the Imperial guard before them; the
latter, finding that they should be cut off from all retreat, fell
into disorder, and mixed with the general mass of fugitives, who
were flying in all directions towards Rossomme and La Maison-du-Roi,
followed by the Prussians, who made a dash at the eagle of the
Imperial guard. General Pelet called out, “_A moi, chasseurs! sauvons
l’aigle, ou mourons autour d’elle!_” (“Rally round me, chasseurs!
let us save the eagle, or die protecting it!”) Upon this they formed
square, and saved the eagle and the honour of the regiment[76].

About nine o’clock, Napoleon threw himself, with a few of his staff,
into a square of the 2d chasseurs of the old guard, that had been
under Cambronne; but upon the approach of our cavalry he galloped
away. Wellington, with our advance brigades, reached the farm of
Rossomme, between which and La Belle-Alliance some Prussian cavalry
and our 18th exchanged blows, and some lives were lost. The 11th
light dragoons and 1st German hussars were also nearly coming in
contact with each other, owing to the dimness of the twilight.

An arrangement had been previously made by Wellington and Blücher,
that the allied army should halt here, and that the Prussians should
pursue and harass the routed enemy. The Duke was now, with all his
advance, a little beyond Rossomme, upon a particular knoll with a gap
where the Charleroi road cuts through it, which can be distinctly
seen from most parts of the right of the allied position.

As the Prussians passed us, (for I had the honour and good fortune to
be an actor in this scene,) I heard their bands play, “God save the
King!” which soul-stirring compliment we returned by hearty cheers.
In the pursuit of the enemy from Rossomme to Genappe, the Prussian
lance and sabre were busy in the work of death. Many a brave soldier,
that had escaped the bloody field, fell that night beneath the
deadly steel. In vain did the French make a feeble effort to check
the Prussians at Genappe, by barricading its long and narrow street
with their remaining guns and tumbrels. So entirely had their defeat
destroyed their discipline, that the Prussians, by the first sound
of the trumpet, beat of drum, or their wild hurrah, overcame every
obstacle, and, pressing on, they captured sixty pieces of cannon.

The Duke, after clearing the high-road and its left of the allied
troops, in order to give full scope to the advancing Prussians,
to whom he relinquished the further pursuit of the flying enemy,
remained for some time with his advanced troops on the right of
Rossomme in conversation with general Vivian, colonel Colborne and
others; after which, promising to send the provisions up, his Grace
turned his horse round and rode away. On returning leisurely towards
Waterloo, about ten o’clock, at a short distance before reaching
La Belle-Alliance, he, aided by a clouded moon, descried a group
of mounted officers making towards the Genappe high-road from the
direction of Frischermont; the Duke turned off to meet them: it
proved to be Blücher and his staff; they most heartily congratulated
each other on the glorious result of the contest in which they had
been so intensely engaged. The conference lasted about ten minutes,
when the veteran Blücher, promising to leave his inveterate foe no
rallying time on this side of the frontier, shook hands with his
Grace and proceeded to Genappe, sending forward to general Gneisenau,
who led his advance-guard, orders to press and harass the enemy, and
not suffer the grass to grow under their feet, or even allow them
to take breath. Bulow’s corps, which led the pursuit, was supported
by Zieten’s. Pirch’s corps received orders to turn round and strike
across the country, and, if possible, to cut off marshal Grouchy’s

Our gallant chief returned over the field to Waterloo, and before
reaching La Haye-Sainte was obliged to quit the high-road, on account
of its being completely blocked up with guns and tumbrels, many of
which were upset and lying topsy turvy; whilst the frequent snort and
start of the horses told but too clearly that the ground they trod
was studded and strewed with the slain. His Grace, on regaining the
high-road, was so affected by the cries of the wounded and moans of
the dying, as to shed tears, and on his way did not exchange a word
with any of his suite, composed only of five persons, one of whom,
the late sir Colin Campbell, was armed with a cuirassier’s sword.
The Duke was sombre and dejected, as well he might be: grim Death
had been busy, and had had a regular gala-day amongst his Grace’s
old and well-tried friends, who had followed him in distant climes,
and through many an arduous and hard-fought field. The Duke, on this
occasion, might have exclaimed with Pyrrhus, “Such another victory,
and we are undone!” We may readily believe, that in writing the next
day to the duke of Beaufort and the earl of Aberdeen, his Grace only
yielded to the genuine dictates of his heart, when he expressed in
these, as well as other letters, “The losses I have sustained, have
quite broken me down; and I have no feeling for the advantages we
have acquired[77].”

Napoleon, after quitting the square, which was about midway between
La Belle-Alliance and the farm of Rossomme, rode on our right of
the road for some distance, escorted by the gallant remains of the
horse-grenadiers of the guard, the only force in the whole French
army that now retained the least semblance of order. But finding the
ground very heavy, he crossed the road at La Maison-du-Roi, and rode
along a cross-road which was also in a very bad state: he then made
for the high-road again, passed Genappe, and arrived at Quatre-Bras
about eleven o’clock; thence he proceeded to Charleroi.

The remains of the allied army bivacked on what had been the French
position. The 52d, 71st, and 2d and 3d battalions of the 95th,
halted on the ground that had been occupied by the Imperial guard in
reserve, near the farm of Rossomme. The remains of my regiment, with
Vivian’s brigade, went to the vicinity of the farm of Hulencourt: I
accompanied general Vivian and colonel sir E. Kerrison to the farm,
acting as orderly, and still mounted on the cuirassier’s horse.

Thus closed upon us the glorious 18th of June. Fatigue and extreme
exhaustion, following such exertions and such excitement as had been
our lot that day, left us little power to reflect either upon the
completeness of our own triumph, or the extent of the disasters that
overtook the remains of our vanquished foes. These fled in utter and
hopeless disorder before the Prussians, who dashed into the pursuit,
and continued the work of slaughter with a ferocious and avenging
spirit, which the conduct of the French two days before had provoked.

Had however the enemy’s cavalry been husbanded, the headlong rush of
the victors might have been sufficiently checked, to have allowed the
French army to retreat in something like order. But the wreck of that
fine army fled, or rather was driven from the long-disputed field, in
the wildest disorder and confusion.

More important or decisive events than those which so quickly
succeeded each other from the 15th to the 18th of June, never before
graced the pages of history. Never did the events of a few days
produce such important consequences.

We, the conquerors of Waterloo, and many of us certainly never
expected so glorious a termination to the battle, were glad to lie
down among the dead and dying, and snatch a few hours of necessary

      “Piled high as autumn shocks, there lay
      The ghastly harvest of the fray,
          The corpses of the slain.”

The battle might be described as having been a succession of
assaults, sustained with unabated fury, and often with a boldness
and effect that much perplexed our troops and put their firmness to
the test. Every renewed attack diminished our numbers, and still the
survivors yielded not an inch of ground, and, even without orders,
made good the gaps. No other troops in the world would have endured,
for so long a period, so terrible a struggle. Our Imperial antagonist
admitted that we went through and stood to our work, unlike any
troops he had ever seen before and the fact is well authenticated,
that Napoleon repeatedly complimented us on our incomparable
steadiness and forbearance. But this is not to be wondered at, when
our chief, he who had so often directed our energy, affirmed that he
had “never seen the British infantry behave so well.” Our glorious
contest had been maintained against the most renowned legions of
Europe, who had never before shown such uninterrupted audacity
and intrepidity. They were led by generals of undoubted skill and
gallantry, who with their brave troops had won laurels in many a
hard-fought battle, and who believed themselves to be, what their
ambitious chief had so often declared, invincible, and as such they
were still regarded by most of the continental nations. At Waterloo
we had to contend against soldiers of undaunted spirit, full of
enthusiasm and careless of life. Never did these heroic men, grown
grey in victories, better sustain their reputation than on this
occasion. The French are a brave people, and no troops in the world
surpass, if any equal them, for impetuosity of attack; but many men
will stand fire and face distant danger, and yet shrink from the
struggle when closing in desperate grasp with an enemy. It is not
bravery alone which decides the battle, calmness is often absolutely
necessary, and in this, the most valiant are at times found wanting.
Never did a battle require more cool and determined courage than
that of Waterloo. Nothing can be more trying to troops than passive
endurance of offence; nothing so intolerable as to be incessantly
assailed, and not permitted in turn to become assailants. A desperate
struggle in a well-contested battle field, differs greatly from
acting on the defensive, from holding a position, or from being
attacked and not allowed to return the aggression of an enemy.
There is an excited feeling when assailing, which stimulates even
the weak-hearted, and drowns the thought of danger. The tumultuous
enthusiasm of the assault spreads from man to man, and timid spirits
catch a gallant frenzy from the brave.

[Illustration: (end of chapter; decorative separator)]


[71] My gallant friend and companion in arms the general[72] who,
on all occasions, from my attending him as orderly, at the close of
the day of Waterloo, until his death, so kindly took me by the hand,
thought that what had occurred at Marengo, (when Kellermann’s cavalry
charged the advancing columns of Austrian grenadiers, and Desaix
with a small force attacked their front and snatched a victory which
the Austrians considered they had previously gained,) might probably
take place at Waterloo, and was therefore most anxious to drive the
enemy’s cavalry off, and prevent a like occurrence.

[72] _See_ general Vivian’s letter, Appendix, No. VII, p. 274.

[73] It was Halkett himself who marked out Cambronne, and having
ridden forward at full gallop, was on the point of cutting down the
French general, when the latter cried out for quarter and received
it. This fact does not well agree with the words popularly ascribed
to Cambronne, “_La garde meurt, et ne se rend pas_.” After having
surrendered, Cambronne tried to escape from Halkett, whose horse
fell wounded to the ground. But in a few seconds Halkett overtook
his prisoner, and seizing him by the aiguillette, hurried him to the
Osnabruckers, and sent him in charge of a sergeant to the duke of
Wellington. Cambronne was subsequently sent to Ostend, with count de
Lobau and other prisoners. It was only the old guard that wore the

The words ascribed to Cambronne, “The guard dies, it never
surrenders,” of which we see such numbers of engraving, and which
illustrates so many pocket handkerchiefs, and ornaments so much of
their crockery, etc., have, notwithstanding they were never uttered,
made a fortune: all French historians repeat them. I am in possession
of a letter, written to me by a friend of Cambronne’s, and who asked
the general, whether it was true that he had uttered the words in
question; the reply was, I quote Mr. E. S. Dickson’s own words,
“_Monsieur, on m’a débité cette réponse_.” (“The answer has been
placed to my account.”)

[74] It is notorious, that in the bosom of the truly brave, a spark
of humanity is always smouldering, even when the ferocity of war
rouses the savage passions to the greatest fury. The case above,
that of major Toole, 32d regiment, (page 57,) that of general Pelet,
(page 132, note,) together with the anecdote of the French skirmisher
with lieutenant-colonel F. Ponsomby, (Appendix, No. VI,) prove the
difficulty of making brave men hate each other.

[75] Good proof, were it wanting, who first drove the French back,
and led the van in pursuit.

[76] Let it be recorded to general Pelet’s credit, that he prevented
the butchery of some Prussian prisoners, whom their captors, in their
fruitless rage, were eager to sacrifice.

[77] _See_ Appendix, No. II, p. 216; or _Dispatches_, vol. XII, p.

                             CHAPTER IX.

  Morning after the battle.—Extraordinary and distressing appearance
  of the field.—Solicitude for the wounded.—The Duke goes back
  to Brussels to consult the authorities and soothe the extreme
  excitement.—Humane conduct of all classes towards the wounded.—The
  allied army proceeds to Nivelles; joined by our detached
  force.—His Grace issues a general order.—Overtakes the army. On
  the 21st we cross the frontier into France.—Proclamation to the
  French people.—Napoleon abdicates in favour of his son.—Cambray
  and Péronne taken.—Narrow escape of the Duke.—Grouchy retreats
  upon Paris, closely pursued by the Prussians.—The British and
  Prussian armies arrive before Paris.—Combat of Issy.—Military
  convention.—The allies enter the capital on the 7th of July.—Louis
  XVIII enters next day.—Napoleon surrenders at sea, July 15th.—He is
  exiled to St.-Helena, where he dies in 1821.—Reflections.

On our awaking next morning, each of us must have experienced
something like astonishment, not unmingled, I hope, with feelings of
gratitude, that amidst such carnage as he had witnessed, his life
and strength were still spared, to fight again, if need should be,
the battles of his country. We knew we had beaten the French, and
that too, completely; for our last charge had succeeded at every
point. But they were not defeated because they were deficient either
in bravery or discipline. Their bearing throughout the day was that
of gallant soldiers: their attacks were conducted with a chivalric
impetuosity and admirably sustained vigour, which left no shadow of
doubt upon our minds of their entire devotedness to the cause of
Napoleon, of their expectation of victory, and the determination of
many of them not to survive defeat. The best and bravest of them
fell; but not till they had inflicted almost equal loss upon their
conquerors. To deny them the tribute of respect and admiration which
their bravery and misfortunes claim, would tarnish the lustre of our
martial glory. The British soldier is content with victory: he abhors
insult and cruelty; he has a pleasure in being just and generous
to a fallen foe. That the French in their flight from Waterloo
were unnecessarily butchered during many hours by the exasperated
Prussians, is a fact, which I can more easily explain than justify.

The field of battle, after the victory, presented a frightful and
most distressing spectacle. It appeared as if the whole military
world had been collected together, and that something beyond human
strength and ingenuity had been employed to cause its destruction.
Solicitude for the wounded prompted the Duke to ride back to
Brussels immediately after the sanguinary contest. The assistance
of the town authorities was requested, in collecting and removing
the wounded from the field, burying the dead, etc., as well as to
restore confidence amongst the population, and allay the extreme
excitement which prevailed throughout Belgium. Right nobly did the
inhabitants of Brussels respond to his appeal. The clergy, as might
have been expected, were foremost in their exertions to relieve the
dreadful agonies of so many gallant and innocent sufferers: the
highest in rank rivalled the hardier classes in performing the most
trying offices for the mangled heroes that filled the hospitals, and
encumbered even many private dwellings. Ladies, of the honoured names
of Mérode and Robiano set an illustrious example, by their presence
on the field the morning after the battle; the scene of carnage, so
revolting to their delicate and tender nature, stimulating, instead
of preventing, their humane exertions. Many other ladies, like
ministering angels, shared in this work of mercy to the wounded,
of whatever nation they might be, or in whatever cause they had

The allied army proceeded on the 19th to Nivelles, (a most wonderful
military exploit after such a desperate battle,) where it was joined
by the detached force under prince Frederick and general sir Charles
Colville. His Grace overtook us on the 21st, on which day we entered
France. On the day previous to the allied army entering the country,
the Duke issued the following


                                           “NIVELLES, June 20th, 1815.

  “1. As the army is about to enter the French territory, the
  troops of the nations which are at present under the command of
  field-marshal the duke of Wellington, are desired to recollect
  that their respective sovereigns are the allies of his Majesty the
  king of France, and that France ought, therefore, to be treated as
  a friendly country. It is therefore required that nothing should
  be taken either by officers or soldiers, for which payment be not

  “2. The Field-Marshal takes this opportunity of returning to the
  army his thanks for their conduct in the glorious action fought
  on the 18th inst., and he will not fail to report his sense of
  their conduct, in the terms which it deserves, to their several


The Duke’s head-quarters on the 21st were at Malplaquet, the scene
of one of the great Marlborough’s victories, in 1709. He immediately
issued a proclamation to the French people, which exemplifies the
wisdom, firmness and moderation that ever marked the career of our
illustrious commander. He worthily represented a brave, victorious,
but humane people, the inhabitants of the British empire.


  “Be it known to the French people, that I enter their country at
  the head of a victorious army, not as an enemy, (excepting to the
  usurper, the declared enemy of the human race, with whom we can
  have neither peace nor truce,) but to assist them to throw off the
  iron yoke by which thy have been borne down.

  “For this purpose I have issued the accompanying orders to my army;
  let all who shall infringe those orders be reported to me.

  “The French people, however, must be aware that I have a right to
  require them so to conduct themselves, that I may be warranted in
  protecting them from all aggression.

  “They will therefore provide whatever shall be demanded of them by
  persons duly authorized, receiving in exchange receipts in proper
  form and order: they will remain peaceably in their dwellings, and
  will hold no correspondence nor communication with the usurper or
  his adherents.

  “All persons abandoning their homes after our entry into France, or
  absenting themselves in order to serve the usurper, shall be looked
  upon as his partisans and our enemies; and their property shall be
  confiscated and applied to the maintenance of the troops[79].

  “Given at head-quarters, MALPLAQUET, “June 22d, 1815.”

Whilst the Duke was addressing this language to the French people,
the fallen usurper, having awakened from his short dream of empire
and spoliation, made a last but fruitless effort to continue
to delude his discomfited partisans. On the very same day that
Wellington’s proclamation went forth from Malplaquet, Napoleon issued
the following declaration:

                                                “PALACE OF THE ÉLYSÉE,
                                                June 22d, 1815.


  “In commencing hostilities to uphold your national independance,
  I relied upon the combined efforts and good will of all classes,
  as well as the cooperation of all official persons in the country.
  Hence sprang my hopes of success, and willingness to set at
  defiance all the proclamations of the powers against me.

  “Circumstances appear to me to be altered. I tender myself in
  sacrifice to the hatred of the enemies of France. May they be
  sincere in their declarations! May their hostility really aim at
  nothing but me personally!

  “My political life is at an end; and I proclaim my son, under the
  name of Napoleon the Second, Emperor of the French.

  “The present ministers will constitute provisionally the council of

  “My interest in my son’s well-being leads me to invite the Chambers
  to proceed without delay to provide a regency by an enactment for
  this purpose.

  “Make united efforts to preserve the public peace and your national


This production neither aroused the French to make fresh sacrifices
for his sake, nor stayed the victorious march of the allies upon

On the 24th of June we took Cambray, which was given up on the
following day to Louis XVIII. This was the last occasion on which I
saw a shot fired in a hostile manner.

Our first brigade of guards took Péronne on the 26th. The Duke on
this occasion had a narrow escape. After directing his staff to get
under shelter in the ditch of an outwork, he posted himself in a
sally-port of the glacis. A staff officer, having a communication
to make to his Grace, came suddenly upon him and drew the attention
of the enemy, who treacherously discharged a howitzer loaded with
grape at the point; it shattered the wall against which the Duke was
standing, and made (to use the words of one who saw him immediately
afterwards,) “his blue coat completely _red_.”

Meanwhile Grouchy, who was at Wavre, having heard of the utter
failure of his Imperial master at Waterloo, commenced a retreat on
Paris, vigorously followed by the two Prussian corps under Thielmann
and Pirch. During this retreat, Grouchy displayed more skill, energy
and decision, than in his pursuit of the Prussians, on the 17th and

The Prussians, who were on our left, had several sharp engagements
with the enemy during their advance upon Paris; and both armies
reached the environs of the capital on the 1st of July. Hostilities
ceased, and a military convention was signed in the evening of the
3d. On the morning of this day Zieten’s corps had a sharp action, in
which they were victors, at Issy near Paris.

The campaign thus, by a singular coincidence, was brought to a close
by the same troops that opened it. The allied and Prussian armies
entered Paris on the 7th of July, and were followed next day by Louis
XVIII. Before the end of the month, the armies of Europe congregated
in and round Paris, amounted nearly to the enormous number of a
million of men in arms.

Napoleon, in the mean time, had left the capital. The Emperor
surrendered at sea, on the 15th of July[80], to captain Maitland, of
the Bellerophon. By a decree of the allied powers, he was sent to
St.-Helena, where he died May 5th, 1821.

Since these events, more than thirty years have passed over us; and
peace between the two greatest nations of the globe, England and
France, has been uninterruptedly maintained. Long may it continue,
to the honour of those whose blood and valour purchased it, and to
the lasting happiness of the civilized world! It was the prospect of
securing this immense benefit to mankind that united all European
nations against the ambition of Napoleon, and that afforded the
best comfort under the distressing sacrifices made to ensure his
overthrow. Perhaps no people benefitted by his fall so much as the
French themselves: his triumphs (often great in a military point of
view,) left nothing in their hands, whilst they filled every family
in France with mourning. The conscription was a more searching
tyranny than civilized men had ever before endured; and all this
blood flowed in vain. Our Gallic neighbours have sometimes mistaken
the tone of triumph in which we speak of the downfall of Napoleon,
and have regarded it as insulting to them: nothing is farther from
the mind and heart of the British soldier, who is always ready to
acknowledge their military excellence.

[Illustration: (end of chapter; image of a soldier)]


[78] A number of poor fellows who were carried to the houses of the
neighbouring villages, met with the most humane treatment: many there
breathed their last, under circumstances somewhat less appalling than
on the battle field. There still lives at Waterloo a most respectable
old lady, at whose house several of our officers were quartered
before the battle. Madame Boucqueau (the lady in question) saw these
gallant men go forth in the morning; they did not all return at the
close of the day. She remembers well that an officer, who appeared
to her to hold superior rank, came back to her house in the evening,
and said to her exultingly, “_Me voici encore, madame; c’est fini:
ils sont à nous_.” (“Here I am again; it is over: we have won the
day.”) The worthy dame has in her possession a silver cup, presented
to her late husband by British gratitude. As it does honour to all
parties concerned, and is a sample, no doubt, of many an interchange
of kindly feelings amidst the horrors of war, I have great pleasure
in recording here the inscription which is on this cup:

“A small mark of grateful respect from Colonel Sir W. Robe, of the
British Royal Artillery, knight commander of the Bath, and knight
of the Tower and Sword: To Sieur Maximilian Boucqueau, of Waterloo,
for kindness in the last moments, and attention to the remains of a
beloved son, Lieutenant W. L. Robe, of the British horse artillery,
who nobly fell at Waterloo.”

[79] _See_ the original in French, in GURWOOD, vol. XII, p. 494-495.

[80] Those curious of historical coincidences will observe that
Napoleon opened the campaign on the 15th of June.

                             CHAPTER X.

  English, Prussian and French official accounts of the
  battle.—Marshal Grouchy’s report of the battle of Wavre.—Returns of
  the different armies.—Position of the allied artillery.—Artillery,
  etc., taken at Waterloo.—Questions connected with the campaign:
  Wellington’s position at Waterloo.—Opinion of general
  Jomini.—The Duke’s plans and expectations.—His letter to lord
  Castlereagh.—Resolution of the allied powers, on receiving the
  intelligence of Napoleon’s flight from Elba.—Wellington’s letter to
  general Kleist.—The Duke’s decision.—His anticipations.—Obstacles
  which his Grace met with.—Conduct of the Saxon troops.—Blücher
  forced by them to quit Liège.—Wellington’s resolution concerning
  these troops.


The dispatch of the duke of Wellington, written immediately after the
battle, cannot fail to interest every one. It is a document which has
fixed the attention of statesmen and soldiers, not more on account
of the importance of the event it describes, than for the noble
simplicity, perfect calmness and exemplary modesty which characterize
the great man who penned it: it stands in honourable contrast with
the hurried, inflated, untrue accounts of military achievements not
unfrequently given by commanders of no small renown.

  (_London Gazette extraordinary._)

                                      “DOWNING-STREET, June 22d, 1815.

  “Major the Hon. H. Percy arrived late last night with a dispatch
  from field-marshal the duke of Wellington, K.G., to Earl Bathurst,
  his Majesty’s principal secretary of state for the war department,
  of which the following is a copy:

    _To Earl Bathurst._

                                           “WATERLOO, June 19th, 1815.

    “MY LORD,

    “Bonaparte, having collected the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 6th corps
    of the French army, and the Imperial guard, and nearly all the
    cavalry, on the Sambre, and between that river and the Meuse,
    between the 10th and 14th of the month, advanced on the 15th, and
    attacked the Prussian posts at Thuin and Lobbes, on the Sambre,
    at day-light in the morning.

    “I did not hear of these events till in the evening of the 15th;
    and I immediately ordered the troops to prepare to march, and
    afterwards to march to their left, as soon as I had intelligence
    from other quarters to prove that the enemy’s movement upon
    Charleroi was the real attack.

    “The enemy drove the Prussian posts from the Sambre on that
    day; and general Zieten, who commanded the corps which had been
    at Charleroi, retired upon Fleurus; and marshal prince Blücher
    concentrated the Prussian army upon Sombreffe, holding the
    villages in front of his position of St.-Amand and Ligny.

    “The enemy continued his march along the road from Charleroi
    towards Brussels; and, on the same evening, the 15th, attacked
    a brigade of the army of the Netherlands, under the Prince de
    Weimar, posted at Frasnes, and forced it back to the farm-house,
    on the same road, called les Quatre-Bras.

    “The prince of Orange immediately reinforced this brigade with
    another of the same division, under general Perponcher, and, in
    the morning early, regained part of the ground which had been
    lost, so as to have the command of the communication leading from
    Nivelles and Brussels with marshal Blücher’s position.

    “In the mean time, I had directed the whole army to march upon
    les Quatre-Bras; and the 5th division, under lieutenant-general
    sir Thomas Picton, arrived at about half-past two in the day,
    followed by the corps of troops under the duke of Brunswick, and
    afterwards by the contingent of Nassau.

    “At this time, the enemy commenced an attack upon Prince Blücher
    with his whole force, excepting the 1st and 2d corps, and a corps
    of cavalry under general Kellermann, with which he attacked our
    post at Les Quatre-Bras.

    “The Prussian army maintained their position with their usual
    gallantry and perseverance, against a great disparity of numbers,
    as the 4th corps of their army, under general Bulow, had not
    joined; and I was not able to assist them as I wished, as I was
    attacked myself, and the troops, the cavalry in particular, which
    had a long distance to march, had not arrived.

    “We maintained our position also, and completely defeated and
    repulsed all the enemy’s attempts to get possession of it. The
    enemy repeatedly attacked us with a large body of infantry and
    cavalry, supported by a numerous and powerful artillery. He made
    several charges with the cavalry upon our infantry, but all were
    repulsed in the steadiest manner.

    “In this affair, his Royal Highness the prince of Orange, the
    Duke of Brunswick, and lieutenant-general sir Thomas Picton, and
    majors-generals sir James Kempt and sir Denis Pack, who were
    engaged from the commencement of the enemy’s attack, highly
    distinguished themselves, as well as lieutenant-general Charles
    baron Alten, major-general sir Colin Halkett, lieutenant-general
    Cooke, and major-generals Maitland and Byng, as they successively
    arrived. The troops of the 5th division, and those of the
    Brunswick corps, were long and severely engaged, and conducted
    themselves with the utmost gallantry. I must particularly mention
    the 28th, 42d, 79th, and 92d regiments, and the battalion of

    “Our loss was great, as your Lordship will perceive by the
    enclosed return; and I have particularly to regret his Serene
    Highness the duke of Brunswick, who fell fighting gallantly at
    the head of his troops.

    “Although marshal Blücher had maintained his position at
    Sombreffe, he still found himself much weakened by the severity
    of the contest in which he had been engaged, and, as the 4th
    corps had not arrived, he determined to fall back and to
    concentrate his army upon Wavre; and he marched in the night,
    after the action was over.

    “This movement of the marshal rendered necessary a corresponding
    one upon my part; and I retired from the farm of Quatre-Bras upon
    Genappe, and thence upon Waterloo, the next morning, the 17th, at
    ten o’clock.

    “The enemy made no effort to pursue marshal Blücher. On the
    contrary, a patrol which I sent to Sombreffe in the morning found
    all quiet[81]; and the enemy’s vedettes fell back as the patrol
    advanced. Neither did he attempt to molest our march to the rear,
    although made in the middle of the day, excepting by following,
    with a large body of cavalry brought from his right, the cavalry
    under the earl of Uxbridge.

    “This gave lord Uxbridge an opportunity of charging them with
    the 1st life-guards, upon their _débouché_ from the village of
    Genappe; upon which occasion his Lordship has declared himself to
    be well satisfied with that regiment.

    “The position which I took up in front of Waterloo crossed the
    high-roads from Charleroi and Nivelles, and had its right thrown
    back to a ravine near Merbe-Braine, which was occupied and its
    left extended to a height above the hamlet Ter-la-Haye, which was
    likewise occupied. In front of the right centre, and near the
    Nivelles road, we occupied the house and gardens of Hougoumont,
    which covered the return of that flank; and in front of the
    left centre we occupied the farm of La Haye-Sainte. By our left
    we communicated with marshal prince Blücher at Wavre, through
    Ohain; and the marshal had promised me that, in case we should be
    attacked, he would support me with one or more corps, as might be

    “The enemy collected his army, with the exception of the 3d
    corps, which had been sent to observe marshal Blücher, on a range
    of heights in our front, in the course of the night of the 17th
    and yesterday morning; and at about ten o’clock he commenced a
    furious attack upon our post at Hougoumont. I had occupied that
    post with a detachment from general Byng’s brigade of guards,
    which was in position in its rear; and it was for some time under
    the command of lieutenant-colonel Macdonell, and afterwards of
    colonel Home; and I am happy to add, that it was maintained
    throughout the day with the utmost gallantry by these brave
    troops, notwithstanding the repeated efforts of large bodies of
    the enemy to obtain possession of it.

    “The attack upon the right of our centre was accompanied by a
    very heavy cannonade upon our whole line, which was destined
    to support the repeated attacks of cavalry and infantry,
    occasionally mixed, but sometimes separate, which were made
    upon it. In one of these the enemy carried the farm-house of
    La Haye-Sainte, as the detachment of the light battalion of
    the German legion, which occupied it, had expended all its
    ammunition; and the enemy occupied the only communication there
    was with them.

    “The enemy repeatedly charged our infantry with his cavalry, but
    these attacks were uniformly unsuccessful; and they afforded
    opportunities to our cavalry to charge, in one of which lord
    Edward Somerset’s brigade, consisting of the life-guards, the
    Royal horse-guards and 1st dragoon guards, highly distinguished
    themselves, as did that of major-general sir William Ponsonby,
    having taken many prisoners and an eagle.

    “These attacks were repeated till about seven in the evening,
    when the enemy made a desperate effort with cavalry and infantry,
    supported by the fire of artillery, to force our left centre,
    near the farm of La Haye-Sainte, which, after a severe contest,
    was defeated; and, having observed that the troops retired
    from this attack in great confusion, and that the march of
    general Bulow’s corps, by Frischermont, upon Plancenoit and
    La Belle-Alliance, had begun to take effect, and as I could
    perceive the fire of his cannon, and as marshal prince Blücher
    had joined in person with a corps of his army to the left of our
    line by Ohain, I determined to attack the enemy, and immediately
    advanced the whole line of infantry, supported by the cavalry and
    artillery. The attack succeeded in every point: the enemy was
    forced from his positions on the heights, and fled in the utmost
    confusion, leaving behind him, as far as I could judge, a hundred
    and fifty pieces of cannon, with their ammunition, which fell
    into our hands.

    “I continued the pursuit till long after dark, and then
    discontinued it only on account of the fatigue of our troops,
    who had been engaged during twelve hours, and because I found
    myself on the same road with marshal Blücher, who assured me
    of his intention to follow the enemy throughout the night. He
    has sent me word this morning that he had taken sixty pieces of
    cannon belonging to the Imperial guard, and several carriages,
    baggage, etc., belonging to Bonaparte, in Genappe.

    “I propose to move this morning upon Nivelles, and not to
    discontinue my operations.

    “Your Lordship will observe that such a desperate action could
    not be fought, and such advantages could not be gained, without
    great loss; and I am sorry to add that ours has been immense. In
    lieutenant-general sir Thomas Picton his Majesty has sustained
    the loss of an officer who has frequently distinguished himself
    in his service; and he fell gloriously leading his division to a
    charge with bayonets, by which one of the most serious attacks
    made by the enemy on our position was repulsed. The earl of
    Uxbridge, after having successfully got through this arduous day,
    received a wound by almost the last shot fired, which will, I am
    afraid, deprive his Majesty for some time of his services.

    “His Royal Highness the prince of Orange distinguished himself
    by his gallantry and conduct till he received a wound from a
    musket-ball through the shoulder, which obliged him to quit the

    “It gives me the greatest satisfaction to assure your Lordship
    that the army never, upon any occasion, conducted itself better.
    The division of guards, under lieutenant-general Cooke, who is
    severely wounded, major-general Maitland, and major-general Byng,
    set an example which was followed by all; and there is no officer
    nor description of troops that did not behave well.

    “I must, however, particularly mention, for his Royal Highness’s
    approbation, lieutenant-general sir Henry Clinton, major-general
    Adam, lieutenant-general Charles baron Alten (severely wounded),
    major-general sir Colin Halkett (severely wounded), colonel
    Ompteda, colonel Mitchell (commanding a brigade of the 4th
    division), major-generals sir James Kempt and sir Denis Pack,
    major-general Lambert, major-general lord Edward Somerset,
    major-general sir William Ponsonby, major-general sir Colquhoun
    Grant, and major-general sir Hussey Vivian, major-general sir J.
    O. Vandeleur, and major-general count Dornberg,

    “I am also particularly indebted to general lord Hill for his
    assistance and conduct upon this, as upon all former occasions.

    “The artillery and engineer departments were conducted much to
    my satisfaction, by colonel sir George Wood and colonel Smith;
    and I had every reason to be satisfied with the conduct of the
    adjutant-general, major-general Barnes, who was wounded, and of
    the quarter-master-general colonel De Lancey, who was killed by
    a cannon-shot in the middle of the action. This officer is a
    serious loss to his Majesty’s service, and to me at this moment.

    “I was likewise much indebted to the assistance of
    lieutenant-colonel lord Fitzroy Somerset, who was severely
    wounded and of the officers composing my personal staff, who have
    suffered severely in this action. Lieutenant-colonel the Hon.
    sir Alexander Gordon, who has died of his wounds, was a most
    promising officer, and is a serious loss to his Majesty’s service.

    “General Kruse, of the Nassau service, likewise conducted himself
    much to my satisfaction; as did general Tripp, commanding the
    heavy brigade of cavalry, and general Vanhope, commanding a
    brigade of infantry in the service of the king of the Netherlands.

    “General Pozzo di Borgo, general baron Vincent, general Müffling,
    and general Alava, were in the field during the action, and
    rendered me every assistance in their power. Baron Vincent is
    wounded, but I hope not severely; and general Pozzo di Borgo
    received a contusion.

    “I should not do justice to my own feelings, or to marshal
    Blücher and the Prussian army, if I did not attribute the
    successful result of this arduous day to the cordial and timely
    assistance I received from them. The operation of general Bulow
    upon the enemy’s flank was a most decisive one; and, even if I
    had not found myself in a situation to make the attack which
    produced the final result, it would have forced the enemy to
    retire if his attacks should have failed, and would have
    prevented him from taking advantage of them if they should
    unfortunately have succeeded.

    “Since writing the above, I have received a report that
    major-general sir William Ponsonby is killed; and, in announcing
    this intelligence to your Lordship, I have to add the expression
    of my grief for the fate of an officer who had already rendered
    very brilliant and important services, and was an ornament to his

    “I send with this dispatch two eagles, taken by the troops in
    this action, which major Percy will have the honour of laying at
    the feet of his Royal Highness. I beg leave to recommend him to
    your Lordship’s protection.

                                        “I have the honour to be, etc.

  _To Earl Bathurst._

                                           “BRUSSELS, June 19th, 1815.


  “I have to inform your Lordship, in addition to my dispatch of this
  morning, that we have already got here five thousand prisoners,
  taken in the action of yesterday, and that there are above two
  thousand more coming in to-morrow. There will probably be many more.

  “Amongst the prisoners are the comte de Lobau, who commanded the
  6th corps, and general Cambronne, who commanded a division of the

  “I propose to send the whole to England, by Ostend.

                                        “I have the honour to be, etc.


  (The Marshal’s account of the battle of Ligny is omitted, as,
  however interesting, it does not strictly belong to this work.)

  ... “On the 17th, in the evening, the Prussian army concentrated
  itself in the environs of Wavre. Napoleon put himself in motion
  against lord Wellington upon the great road leading from Charleroi
  to Brussels. An English division maintained, on the same day,
  (16th,) near Quatre-Bras, a very severe contest with the enemy.
  Lord Wellington had taken a position on the road to Brussels,
  having his right wing leaning upon Braine-l’Alleud, the centre
  near Mont-St.-Jean, and the left wing against La Haye-Sainte.
  Lord Wellington wrote to the Field-Marshal, that he was resolved
  to accept the battle in this position, if the Field-Marshal would
  support him with two corps of his army. The Field-Marshal promised
  to come with his whole army; he even proposed, in case Napoleon
  should not attack, that the allies themselves, with their whole
  united force, should attack him the next day. This may serve
  to show how little the battle of the 16th had disorganized the
  Prussian army, or weakened its moral strength. Thus ended the day
  of the 17th.”


  “At break of day the Prussian army again began to move. The 4th
  and 2d corps marched by St.-Lambert, where they were to take a
  position, covered by the forest, (near Frischermont,) to take the
  enemy in the rear, when the moment should appear favourable. The
  first corps was to operate by Ohain, on the right flank of the
  enemy. The third corps was to follow slowly, in order to afford
  succour in case of need. The battle began about ten o’clock in the
  morning. The English army occupied the heights of Mont-St.-Jean;
  that of the French was on the heights before Plancenoit: the former
  was about 80,000 strong; the enemy had above 130,000. In a short
  time, the battle became general along the whole line. It seems that
  Napoleon had the design to throw the left wing upon the centre,
  and thus to effect the separation of the English army from the
  Prussian, which he believed to be retreating upon Maestricht. For
  this purpose, he had placed the greatest part of his reserve in the
  centre, against his right wing, and upon this point he attacked
  with fury. The English army fought with a valour which it is
  impossible to surpass. The repeated charges of the old guard were
  baffled by the intrepidity of the Scottish regiments; and at every
  charge the French cavalry was overthrown by the English cavalry.
  But the superiority of the enemy in numbers was too great: Napoleon
  continually brought forward considerable masses; and, with whatever
  firmness the English troops maintained themselves in their
  position, it was not possible but that such heroic exertions must
  have a limit.

  “It was half-past four o’clock. The excessive difficulties of the
  passage by the defile of St.-Lambert had considerably retarded the
  march of the Prussian columns, so that only two brigades of the
  4th corps had arrived at the covered position which was assigned
  to them. The decisive moment was come; there was not an instant to
  be lost. The generals did not suffer it to escape: they resolved
  immediately to begin the attack with the troops which they had at
  hand. General Bulow, therefore, with two brigades and a corps of
  cavalry, advanced rapidly upon the rear of the enemy’s right wing.
  The enemy did not lose his presence of mind; he instantly turned
  his reserve against us, and a murderous conflict began on that
  side. The combat remained long uncertain, while the battle with the
  English army still continued with the same violence.

  “Towards six o’clock in the evening, we received the news that
  general Thielmann, with the 3d corps, was attacked near Wavre by a
  very considerable corps of the enemy, and that they were already
  disputing the possession of the town. The Field-Marshal, however,
  did not suffer himself to be disturbed by this news; it was on the
  spot where he was, and nowhere else, that the affair was to be
  decided. A conflict continually supported by the same obstinacy,
  and kept up by fresh troops, could alone ensure the victory, and
  if it were obtained here, any reverse sustained near Wavre was
  of little consequence. The columns, therefore, continued their

  “It was half an hour past seven, and the issue of the battle was
  still uncertain. The whole of the 4th corps, and a part of the 2d,
  under general Pirch, had successively come up. The French troops
  fought with desperate fury: however, some uncertainty was perceived
  in their movements, and it was observed that some pieces of cannon
  were retreating. At this moment, the first columns of the corps of
  general Zieten arrived on the points of attack, near the village
  of Smohain, on the enemy’s right flank, and instantly charged.
  This movement decided the defeat of the enemy. His right wing was
  broken in three places; he abandoned his positions. Our troops
  rushed forward at the _pas de charge_, and attacked him on all
  sides, while, at the same time, the whole English line advanced.

  “Circumstances were extremely favourable to the attack formed by
  the Prussian army: the ground rose in an amphitheatre, so that our
  artillery could freely open its fire from the summit of a great
  many heights which rose gradually above each other, and in the
  intervals of which the troops descended into the plain, formed
  into brigades, and in the greatest order; while fresh columns
  continually unfolded themselves, issuing from the forest on the
  height behind us. The enemy, however, still preserved means to
  retreat, till the village of Plancenoit, which he had on his rear,
  and which was defended by the guard, was, after several bloody
  attacks, carried by storm.

  “From that time the retreat became a rout, that soon spread
  throughout the whole French army, which, in its dreadful confusion,
  hurrying away everything that attempted to stop it, soon assumed
  the appearance of the flight of an army of barbarians. It was
  half-past nine. The Field-Marshal assembled all the superior
  officers, and gave orders to send the last horse and the last man
  in pursuit of the enemy.

  “The van of the army accelerated its march. The French, being
  pursued without intermission, were absolutely disorganized. The
  causeway presented the appearance of an immense shipwreck: it
  was covered with an innumerable quantity of cannon, caissons,
  carriages, baggage, arms, and wrecks of every kind. Those of the
  enemy who had attempted to repose for a time, and had not expected
  to be so quickly pursued, were driven from more than nine bivacs.
  In some villages they attempted to maintain themselves; but as
  soon as they heard the beating of our drums, or the sound of the
  trumpet, they either fled, or threw themselves into the houses,
  where they were cut down, or made prisoners. It was moonlight,
  which greatly favoured the pursuit; for the whole march was but a
  continued chase, either in the corn-fields, or the houses.

  “At Genappe, the enemy had intrenched himself with cannon and
  overturned carriages: at our approach, we suddenly heard in the
  town a great noise, and a motion of carriages; at the entrance
  we were exposed to a brisk fire of musketry: we replied by some
  cannon-shot, followed by a _hurrah!_ and an instant after, the
  town was ours. It was here that, among many other equipages, the
  carriage of Napoleon was taken: he had just left it to mount on
  horseback, and, in his hurry, had forgotten in it his sword and
  hat. Thus the affairs continued till break of day. About forty
  thousand men, in the most complete disorder, the remains of the
  whole army have saved themselves, retreating through Charleroi,
  partly without arms, and carrying with them only twenty-seven
  pieces of their numerous artillery.

  “The enemy, in his flight, had passed all his fortresses, the only
  defence of his frontiers, which are now passed by our armies.

  “At three o’clock, Napoleon had dispatched, from the field of
  battle, a courier to Paris, with the news that victory was no
  longer doubtful: a few hours after, he had no longer any army
  left. We have not yet an exact account of the enemy’s loss; it is
  enough to know, that two thirds of the whole were killed, wounded,
  or prisoners: among the latter are generals Mouton (de Lobau),
  Duhesme, and Compans. Up to this time, about three hundred cannon,
  and above five hundred caissons, are in our hands.

  “Few victories have been so complete; and there is certainly no
  example that an army two days after losing a battle, engaged in
  such an action, and so gloriously maintained it. Honour be to
  troops capable of so much firmness and valour!

  “In the middle of the position occupied by the French army, and
  exactly upon the height, is a farm called _La Belle-Alliance_. The
  march of all the Prussian columns was directed towards this farm,
  which was visible from every side. It was there that Napoleon was
  during the battle; it was thence that he gave his orders, that
  he flattered himself with the hopes of victory; and it was there
  that his ruin was decided. There, too, it was, that, by a happy
  chance, field-marshal Blücher and lord Wellington met in the dark,
  and mutually saluted each other as victors. In commemoration of
  the alliance which now subsists between the English and Prussian
  nations, of the union of the two armies, and their reciprocal
  confidence, the Field-Marshal desired, that this battle should
  bear the name of _La Belle-Alliance_.

                                   “By order of field-marshal Blücher,
                                   “General GNEISENAU.”


                                              “PARIS, June 21st, 1815.

  “_Battle of Mont-St.-Jean._

  “At nine in the morning, the rain having somewhat abated, the 1st
  corps put itself in motion, and placed itself with the left, on the
  road to Brussels, and opposite the village of Mont-St.-Jean, which
  appeared the centre of the enemy’s position. The 2d corps leaned
  its right upon the road to Brussels, and its left upon a small
  wood, within cannon-shot of the English army. The cuirassiers were
  in reserve behind, and the guard in reserve upon the heights. The
  6th corps, with the cavalry of general Domont, under the order of
  count de Lobau, was destined to proceed in rear of our right to
  oppose a Prussian corps, which appeared to have escaped marshal
  Grouchy, and to intend to fall upon our right flank; an intention
  which had been made known to us by our reports, and by the letter
  of a Prussian general, enclosing an order of battle, and which was
  taken by our light troops.

  “The troops were full of ardour. We estimated the force of the
  English army at eighty thousand men. We supposed that the Prussian
  corps, which might be in line towards the right, might be fifteen
  thousand men. The enemy’s force, then, was upwards of ninety
  thousand men; ours less numerous.

  “At noon, all the preparations being terminated, prince Jérôme,
  commanding a division of the second corps, and destined to form
  the extreme left of it, advanced upon the wood of which the enemy
  occupied a part. The cannonade began. The enemy supported, with
  thirty pieces of cannon, the troops he had sent to keep the wood.
  We made also on our side dispositions of artillery. At one o’clock,
  prince Jérôme was master of all the wood, and the whole English
  army fell back behind a curtain. Count d’Erlon then attacked the
  village of Mont-St.-Jean, and supported his attack with eighty
  pieces of cannon, which must have occasioned great loss to the
  English army. All the efforts were made towards the ridge. A
  brigade of the 1st division of count d’Erlon took the village of
  Mont-St.-Jean; a second brigade was charged by a corps of English
  cavalry, which occasioned it much loss. At the same moment, a
  division of English cavalry charged the battery of count d’Erlon
  by its right, and disorganized several pieces; but the cuirassiers
  of general Milhaut charged that division, three regiments of which
  were broken and cut up.

  “It was three in the afternoon. The Emperor made the guard
  advance, to place it in the plain upon the ground which the first
  corps had occupied at the outset of the battle; this corps being
  already in advance. The Prussian division, whose movement had been
  foreseen, then engaged with the light troops of count de Lobau,
  spreading its fire upon our whole right flank. It was expedient,
  before undertaking anything elsewhere, to wait for the event of
  his attack. Hence, all the means in reserve were ready to succour
  count de Lobau, and overwhelm the Prussian corps when it should be

  “This done, the Emperor had the design of leading an attack upon
  the village of Mont-St.-Jean, from which we expected decisive
  success; but, by a movement of impatience so frequent in our
  military annals, and which has often been so fatal to us, the
  cavalry of reserve having perceived a retrograde movement made by
  the English to shelter themselves from our batteries, from which
  they suffered so much, crowned the heights of Mont-St.-Jean, and
  charged the infantry. This movement, which made in time, and
  supported by the reserves, must have decided the day, made in an
  isolated manner and before affairs on the right were terminated,
  became fatal.

  “Having no means of countermanding it, the enemy showing many
  masses of cavalry and infantry, and our two divisions of
  cuirassiers being engaged, all our cavalry ran at the same moment
  to support their comrades. There, for three hours, numerous charges
  were made, which enabled us to penetrate several squares, and to
  take six standards of the light infantry, an advantage out of
  proportion with the loss which our cavalry experienced by the
  grape-shot and musket-firing. It was impossible to dispose of our
  reserves of infantry until we had repulsed the flank attack of the
  Prussian corps. This attack always prolonged itself perpendicularly
  upon our right flank. The Emperor sent thither general Duhesme
  with the young guard, and several batteries of reserve. The enemy
  was kept in check, repulsed, and fell back: he had exhausted his
  forces, and we had nothing more to fear. It was this moment that
  was indicated for an attack upon the centre of the enemy. As the
  cuirassiers suffered by the grape-shot, we sent four battalions of
  the middle guard to protect the cuirassiers, keep the position,
  and, if possible, disengage and draw back into the plain a part of
  our cavalry.

  “Two other battalions were sent to keep themselves _en potence_
  upon the extreme left of the division which had manœuvred upon our
  flanks, in order not to have any uneasiness on that side; the rest
  was disposed in reserve, part to occupy the _potence_ in rear of
  Mont-St.-Jean, part upon the ridge in rear of the field of battle,
  which formed our position of retreat.

  “In this state of affairs, the battle was gained; we occupied
  all the positions which the enemy occupied at the outset of the
  battle: our cavalry having been too soon and ill employed, we could
  no longer hope for decisive success; but marshal Grouchy, having
  learned the movement of the Prussian corps, marched upon the rear
  of that corps, which ensured us a signal success for next day.
  After eight hours’ fire and charges of infantry and cavalry, all
  the army saw with joy the battle gained, and the field of battle in
  our power.

  “At half after eight o’clock, the four battalions of the middle
  guard, who had been sent to the ridge on the other side of
  Mont-St.-Jean, in order to support the cuirassiers, being greatly
  annoyed by the grape-shot, endeavoured to carry the batteries with
  the bayonet. At the end of the day, a charge directed against
  their flank, by several English squadrons, put them in disorder.
  The fugitives recrossed the ravine. Several regiments, near at
  hand, seeing some troops belonging to the guard in confusion,
  believed it was the old guard, and in consequence were thrown into
  disorder. Cries of ‘All is lost, the guard is driven back!’ were
  heard on every side. The soldiers pretend even that on many points
  ill-disposed persons cried out, ‘_Sauve qui peut!_’ However this
  may be, a complete panic at once spread itself throughout the whole
  field of battle, and they threw themselves in the greatest disorder
  on the line of communication: soldiers, cannoneers, caissons, all
  pressed to this point; the old guard, which was in reserve, was
  infected, and was itself hurried along.

  “In an instant, the whole army was nothing but a mass of confusion;
  all the soldiers, of all arms, were mixed pell-mell, and it
  was utterly impossible to rally a single corps. The enemy, who
  perceived this astonishing confusion, immediately attacked with
  their cavalry, and increased the disorder, and such was the
  confusion, owing to night coming on, that it was impossible to
  rally the troops, and point out to them their error. Thus a battle
  terminated, a day of false manœuvres rectified, the greatest
  success ensured for the next day: all was lost by a moment of panic
  terror. Even the squadrons of _service_, drawn up by the side of
  the Emperor, were overthrown and disorganized by these tumultuous
  waves, and there was then nothing else to be done but to follow the
  torrent. The parks of reserve, the baggage which had not repassed
  the Sambre, in short everything that was on the field of battle,
  remained in the power of the enemy. It was impossible to wait for
  the troops on our right; every one knows what the bravest army in
  the world is when thus mixed and thrown into confusion, and when
  its organization no longer exists.

  “The Emperor crossed the Sambre at Charleroi, at five o’clock in
  the morning of the 19th. Philippeville and Avesnes have been given
  as the points of reunion. Prince Jérôme, general Morand, and other
  generals have there already rallied a part of the army. Marshal
  Grouchy, with the corps on the right, is moving on the lower Sambre.

  “The loss of the enemy must have been very great, if we may judge
  from the number of standards we have taken from him, and from the
  retrograde movements which he made; ours cannot be calculated
  till after troops shall have been collected. Before the disorder
  broke out, we had already experienced a very considerable loss,
  particularly in our cavalry, so fatally, though so bravely engaged.
  Notwithstanding these losses, this brave cavalry constantly kept
  the position it had taken from the English, and only abandoned it
  when the tumult and disorder of the field of battle forced it. In
  the midst of the night, and the obstacles which encumbered their
  route, it could not preserve its own organization.

  “The artillery has, as usual, covered itself with glory. The
  carriages belonging to the head-quarters remained in their ordinary
  position; no retrograde movement being judged necessary. In the
  course of the night they fell into the enemy’s hands.

  “Such has been the issue of the battle of Mont-St.-Jean, glorious
  for the French armies, and yet so fatal.”


                                             “DINANT, June 20th, 1815.

  “It was not till after seven in the evening of the 18th of June,
  that I received the letter of the duke of Dalmatia, (Soult,)
  which directed me to march on St.-Lambert, and to attack general
  Bulow. I fell in with the enemy as I was marching on Wavre. He
  was immediately driven into Wavre, and general Vandamme’s corps
  attacked that town, and was warmly engaged. The portion of Wavre,
  on the right of the Dyle, was carried: but much difficulty was
  experienced in debouching, on the other side; general Gérard was
  wounded by a ball in the breast, whilst endeavouring to carry the
  mill of Bierge, in order to pass the river, but where he did not
  succeed; and lieutenant-general Aix had been killed in the attack
  on the town. In this state of things, being impatient to cooperate
  with your Majesty’s army on that important day, I detached several
  corps to force the passage of the Dyle and march against Bulow.
  The corps of Vandamme, in the mean time, maintained the attack on
  Wavre, and on the mill, whence the enemy showed an intention to
  debouch, but which I did not conceive he was capable of effecting.
  I arrived at Limal, passed the river, and the heights were carried
  by the division of Vichery and the cavalry. Night did not permit us
  to advance farther, and I no longer heard the cannon on the side
  where your Majesty was engaged.

  “I halted in this situation until day-light. Wavre and Bierge were
  occupied by the Prussians, who, at three in the morning of the
  19th, attacked in their turn, wishing to take advantage of the
  difficult position in which I was, and expecting to drive me into
  the defile, and take the artillery which had debouched, and make me
  repass the Dyle. Their efforts were fruitless. The Prussians were
  repulsed, and the village of Bierge taken. The brave general Penne
  was killed.

  “General Vandamme then passed one of his divisions by Bierge,
  and carried with ease the heights of Wavre, and along the
  whole of my line the success was complete. I was in front of
  Rosières, preparing to march on Brussels, when I received the sad
  intelligence of the loss of the battle of Waterloo. The officer
  who brought it informed me, that your Majesty was retreating on
  the Sambre, without being able to indicate any particular point
  on which I should direct my march. I ceased to pursue, and began
  my retrograde movement. The retreating enemy did not think of
  following me.

  “Learning that the enemy had already passed the Sambre and was on
  my flank, and not being sufficiently strong to make a diversion
  in favour of your Majesty, without compromising the troops under
  my command, I marched on Namur. At this moment, the rear of
  the columns were attacked. That of the left made a retrograde
  movement sooner than was expected, which endangered, for a moment,
  the retreat of the left; but good dispositions soon repaired
  everything, and two pieces which had been taken were recovered by
  the brave 20th dragoons, who, besides, took a howitzer from the
  enemy. We entered Namur without loss. The long defile which extends
  from this place to Dinant, in which only a single column can
  march, and the embarrassment arising from the numerous transports
  of wounded, rendered it necessary to hold for a considerable time
  the town, where I had not the means of blowing up the bridge. I
  intrusted the defence of Namur to general Vandamme, who, with his
  usual intrepidity, maintained himself there till eight in the
  evening; so that nothing was left behind, and I occupied Dinant.

  “The enemy has lost some thousands of men in the attack on Namur,
  where the contest was very obstinate; the troops have performed
  their duty in a manner worthy of praise.

                                                         “DE GROUCHY.”

  |                    |        |       |       |  TOTAL |     |Killed, |
  |                    |        CAVALRY.| ARTIL-|  under |     |wounded |
  |    DESIGNATION.    |INFANTRY.       | LERY. |  arms. |GUNS.|  and   |
  |                    |        |       |       |        |     |missing.|
  |British             | 15,181 | 5,843 | 2,967 | 23,991 |  78 |  6,932 |
  |King’s German Legion|  3,301 | 1,967 |   526 |  5,824 |  18 |    589 |
  |Hanoverians         | 10,258 |   497 |   465 | 11,220 |  12 |  1,602 |
  |Brunswickers        |  4,586 |   866 |   510 |  5,962 |  16 |    660 |
  |Nassauers           |  2,880 |    ”  |    ”  |  2,880 |   ” |    643 |
  |Dutch-Belgians      | 13,402 | 3,205 | 1,177 | 17,784 |  32 |  4,000 |
  |         Total      | 49,608 |12,408 | 5,645 | 67,661 | 156 | 14,426 |
  |                                                                     |
  | British, killed and wounded, on the 16th, at Quatre-Bras: 2,504. On |
  | the 17th, in the retreat to the Waterloo position: 108.             |
  |                                                                     |
  | The greater number of the men (1,875) returned as missing, had gone |
  | to the rear with wounded officers and soldiers, and joined          |
  | afterwards. The officers are supposed killed.                       |
  |                                                                     |
  | The names of British officers, killed and wounded, may be seen in   |
  | the Appendix, No. IV.                                               |
  |                                                                     |

  |                   PRUSSIAN FORCE AT WATERLOO,                   |
  |                                  |         |        |ARTILLERY. |
  |       ARRIVED ON THE FIELD       |INFANTRY.|CAVALRY.|-----------|
  |                                  |         |        |MEN. |GUNS.|
  | About half-past five o’clock P.M.| 12,043  | 2,720  |  783|  40 |
  | At three quarters after six      | 13,338  |   ”    |  360|  24 |
  | At a quarter before eight        | 15,902  | 6,138  |  660|  40 |
  |                                  +---------+--------+-----+-----+
  |       Total                      | 41,283  | 8,858  |1,803| 104 |
  |                                  |         |        |     |     |
  |       General total in the field         51,944 men.      | 104 |
  |                                                                 |
  | Loss at Waterloo, in killed, wounded and missing: 6,682 men.    |
  |                                                                 |

  |                              |         |        |  ARTILLERY. |
  |         DESIGNATION.         |INFANTRY.|CAVALRY.|-------------|
  |                              |         |        |  MEN. |GUNS.|
  | Imperial Guard               | 12,000  |  4,000 | 2,400 |  96 |
  | 1st Corps                    | 17,600  |  1,400 | 1,564 |  46 |
  | 2d    ”                      | 15,750  |  1,865 | 1,861 |  38 |
  | 6th   ”                      |  6,600  |    ”   | 1,007 |  30 |
  | 3d Cavalry Corps             |    ”    |  3,300 |   300 |  12 |
  | 4th   ”      ”               |    ”    |  3,300 |   300 |  12 |
  | 3d Cavalry Division          |    ”    |  1,400 |   150 |   6 |
  | 5th   ”       ”              |    ”    |  1,250 |   150 |   6 |
  |                              +---------+--------+-------+-----+
  |    Total                     | 51,950  | 16,515 | 7,732 | 246 |
  |                              +---------+--------+-------+-----+
  |    Deduct for previous losses|  3,000  |    750 |   500 |  ”  |
  |                              +---------+--------+-------+-----+
  |    Under arms                | 48,950  | 15,765 | 7,232 | 246 |
  |                              |         |        |       |     |
  | General total in the field           71,947 men.        |     |

The French loss has been computed at nearly fifty thousand men during
the campaign.

Of the French generals, De Lobau (Mouton), Compans, Duhesme and
Cambronne were made prisoners; and Girard, Devaux, Letort, Penne,
Michel, Aix and Baudouin killed.

Perhaps we cannot arrive at a more accurate notion of the loss of
the enemy than that conveyed by Ney, in his speech in the Chamber of
Peers, four days after the battle, to which the reader’s notice is
drawn (page 207): “Not a man of the guard will ever rally more. I
myself witnessed their total extermination: they are annihilated.”
And everybody knows that Napoleon always husbanded the guard, at the
cost of all his other troops. “Their total extermination” implies
then that the whole army was utterly routed.

The slaughter, in the absence of official reports, must be left to be
computed by the sober judgment of the reader.

The French force detached under Grouchy to observe the Prussians
amounted to thirty-two thousand men, and a hundred and four guns.


On the right, close to the Nivelles road, the Brunswick guns.
Stretching towards the left, major Bull’s (howitzers), captain N.
Ramsey’s, major Webber Smith’s, captain Mercer’s, major Symper’s
(German), captain Sandham’s, major Beane’s batteries; and captain
Bolton’s, at the angle between Adam’s left and Maitland’s right.
Captain Sinclair’s battery. Major Vandersmissen’s batteries, at the
interval between Halkett’s brigade. Major Lloyd’s, major sir H.
Ross’s batteries. Major sir R. Gardner’s battery, advancing. Major
Whinyate’s (rocket), major Braun’s (German), major Rogers’ batteries.
A Dutch-Belgian battery. Major Rettberg’s (German), just relieved
by a Prussian battery. A Dutch-Belgian battery. Major Kuhlman’s and
captain Cleeve’s (German) batteries, advancing on the high-road,
after refitting. Five Dutch-Belgian guns near Ditmers’ brigade.


  12-pounder guns                   35
   6   do.    do.                   57
   6-inch howitzers                 13
  24-pounder do.                    17
                    Total guns     122

  12-pounder spare gun-carriages     6
   6    do.             do.          8
  Howitzer do.                       6
  12-pounder waggons.               74
   6    do.      do.                71
  Howitzer       do.                50
  Forge          do.                20
  Imperial guard do.                52
                    General total  409

Exclusive of those taken by the Prussians, on the field and in the

Our readers will give us credit for having observed a strict
impartiality throughout our narrative of the battle; and in the same
spirit would we desire to discuss those questions relating to it,
which have given rise to so many false and exaggerated statements.

The first subject of controversy we shall notice, is the strange,
but oft repeated charge, against Wellington’s military judgment, in
choosing his position in front of Mont-St.-Jean, with a forest in his
rear, _in case of defeat_. I must be excused if I show some little
indignation at the repetition of this charge; a British soldier must
be allowed to be as jealous of the fame of his illustrious commander,
as our gallant opponents were of that of their idolized Napoleon.
Well, what is the charge? That the Waterloo position was not well
chosen for a retreat, having defiles and a wood in its rear.

We begin our examination of this point by remarking that Wellington
chose the position, not in a hurry, nor because he was forced
to do so, but most deliberately, and after having thoroughly
reconnoitred it. He chose it with the conviction that he could well
maintain it until the Prussians could form a junction with him; this
accomplished, he knew that the French would not have a single chance
left. He had but one apprehension; namely, that the enemy would push
on by Hal, and turn the allied right. But Napoleon’s holding us too
cheap, his impetuosity, or his desperation, brought him headlong
upon our chosen position: the very best for our purposes between
Charleroi and Brussels. Let the event assist the impartial reader
in deciding which commander showed the better judgment in selecting
his ground for action. But as far as the Duke is concerned, it is
quite unnecessary to say anything in his defence. Nor should we
have attempted to give a description of the Waterloo position, but
for the judgment of Napoleon, at least as coming to us through the
generals de Montholon, Gourgaud, de Las-Cases, Mr. O’Meara, etc.,
being so directly at variance with that practicality shown by the
duke of Wellington, who, we supposed, had previously both taken up
and successfully defended too many positions, not to know the local
requisites of a good one, and particularly as opposed to a French
army. Waterloo was not fixed upon at the spur of the moment, as I
have elsewhere shown; in addition to which, the Duke, his staff, and
most of our generals were so often over the ground before the battle,
that the farmers complained of the damage done thereby to their
crops. It may be well to observe, for the information of those who
are unacquainted with the position and localities, that the main-road
from the field of Waterloo to Brussels is a very wide and well paved
one. The road to the capital by Braine-l’Alleud and Alsemberg is also
paved[82]. Several cross-roads, in rear of our position, likewise
traverse the forest of Soigne, and communicate with the high-road
between this and Brussels. The trees of the forest, and the hedges,
banks, and buildings on the sides of the roads, would have afforded
excellent protection to light troops covering a retreat, and have
materially aided to keep the pursuing enemy at bay. Close in rear
of the allied army and along the verge of the wood, was a most
advantageous ridge, which might have offered an excellent second
position, and from whence the guns could command everything within
their range. The forest of Soigne itself, composed of lofty trees,
afforded a shelter which resolute men could not be easily driven
from: being nearly free from underwood, it was everywhere passable
for broken infantry and cavalry, and from which no earthly force
could have dislodged us, unless we willed it. When the duke of
Wellington, some years after the battle, was asked what he would have
done, had he been driven from his position at Waterloo, his Grace
replied, “I should have gone into the wood.” The impartial opinion of
the celebrated and able military writer Jomini may with propriety be
here cited:

“We have said that one of the essentials in a position is, that
it should offer the means of retreat; which brings us to the
consideration of a question created by the battle of Waterloo.
Supposing an army to be posted in front of a forest, having a
good road behind its centre and each of its wings; would it be
compromised, as Napoleon asserts, in the event of its losing the
battle? For my own part, I think, on the contrary, that such a
position would be more favourable for retreating, than if the country
were perfectly open; since a beaten army cannot traverse a plain
without being exposed to the utmost danger. Doubtless, if the retreat
should degenerate into a disorderly flight, a portion of the guns
remaining in battery in front of the forest would probably be lost;
but the infantry, the cavalry, and the rest of the artillery, would
be able to retire with as much facility as across a plain. But if,
on the contrary, the retreat takes place with order, nothing can
possibly protect it better than a forest: provided always, there
exist at least two good roads behind the lines; that the enemy be not
allowed to press too close, before the requisite measures preparatory
to retiring are thought of; and that no lateral movement shall enable
the enemy to anticipate the army at the outlets from the forest, as
happened at Hohenlinden. It would also greatly tend to secure the
retreat, if, as was the case at Waterloo, the forest should form a
concave line behind the centre; for such a bend would then become a
regular _place d’armes_, in which to collect the troops and afford
time to file them successively into the high-road[83]”.

General Jomini’s doctrine, with the grounds on which it clearly
rests, will have more weight with the honest reader, (be he a
military man or a civilian, Frenchman or an Englishman,) than the
fond opinions of Napoleon’s admirers.

Let us now turn to the Duke of Wellington’s plans and expectations,
and we shall have ample evidence of his quick perception, consummate
skill and unrivalled judgment.

The Duke was at Vienna at the moment the news reached him of
Bonaparte’s escape from Elba, and of his landing in France. The
following letter records the first impressions made by this event
in the Austrian capital, and the full conviction which Wellington
immediately felt, that the enemy of Europe’s peace would be speedily

  _To Viscount Castlereagh, K. G._

                                            “VIENNA, March 12th, 1815.


  “I received here, on the 7th instant, a dispatch from lord
  Burghersh, of the 1st, giving an account that Bonaparte had quitted
  the island of Elba, with all his civil and military officers, and
  about twelve hundred troops, on the 26th of February. I immediately
  communicated this account to the emperors of Austria and Russia, to
  the king of Prussia, and to the ministers of the different powers,
  and I found among all one prevailing sentiment, of a determination
  to unite their efforts to support the system established by the
  peace of Paris.

  “As it was uncertain to what quarter Bonaparte had gone, whether
  he would not return to Elba, or would even land on any part of the
  continent, it was agreed that it was best to postpone the adoption
  of any measure till his farther progress should be ascertained; and
  we have since received accounts from Genoa, stating that he had
  landed in France, near Cannes, on the 1st of March; had attempted
  to get possession of Antibes, and had been repulsed, and that he
  was on his march towards Grasse.

  “No accounts had been received at Paris as late as the middle of
  the day of the 5th, of his having quitted Elba, nor any accounts,
  from any quarter, of his farther progress.

  “In the mean time, the sovereigns, and all persons assembled
  here, are impressed with the importance of the crisis which this
  circumstance occasions in the affairs of the world. All are
  desirous of bringing to an early conclusion the business of the
  Congress, in order that the whole and undivided attention and
  exertion of all may be directed against the common enemy; and I do
  not entertain the smallest doubt that, even if Bonaparte should
  be able to form a party for himself in France, capable of making
  head against the legitimate government of that country, such a
  force will be assembled by the powers of Europe, directed by such a
  spirit in their councils, as must get the better of him.

  “The emperors of Austria and Russia and the king of Prussia have
  dispatched letters to the king of France, to place at his Majesty’s
  disposal all their respective forces; and Austrian and Prussian
  officers are dispatched with the letters, with powers to order the
  movement of the troops of their respective countries placed on the
  French frontiers, at the suggestion of the king of France.

  “The plenipotentiaries of the eight powers who signed the treaty
  of Paris, assembled this evening, and have resolved to publish a
  declaration, in which they will, in the name of their sovereigns,
  declare their firm resolution to maintain the peace and all its
  articles, with all their force, if necessary. I enclose the draught
  of what is proposed to be published, which, with the alteration of
  some expressions and the omission of one or two paragraphs, will, I
  believe, be adopted.

  “Upon the whole, I assure your Lordship that I am perfectly
  satisfied with the spirit which prevails here upon this occasion;
  and I do not entertain the smallest doubt that, if unfortunately it
  should be possible for Bonaparte to hold at all against the king
  of France, he must fall under the cordially united efforts of the
  sovereigns of Europe.

                                        “I have the honour to be, etc.

The Duke, though strongly urged by the allied sovereigns of Austria,
Prussia and Russia to start for the Netherlands, remained in Vienna
until he had completed his duties at the Congress, and received
orders from England to take the command of the troops assembling in
the Low-Countries. He arrived at Brussels early in April. In less
than twenty-four hours, he was master of the state of things, and
immediately wrote the following dispatch

  _To General Kleist._

                                           “BRUSSELS, April 5th, 1815.


  “I arrived here during last night: I have spent the day in
  endeavouring to make myself master of the state of affairs.

  “The reports respecting the situation, number and the intentions
  of the enemy are always excessively vague: but it appears to me we
  ought to be prepared against a surprise (_coup de main_) which he
  might be tempted to try at any moment.

  “There can be no doubt that it would be an immense advantage to
  him to make us retrograde with the troops which we have in front
  of Brussels; to drive before him the king of France and the Royal
  family, and to compel the king of the Netherlands, with his
  establishments newly formed here, to make a retreat. This would
  be a terrible blow in public opinion, both here and in France:
  and, according to his usual management, (_allure_), the news of
  his success would be known throughout France, whilst that of any
  reverse that might happen to him would be concealed from everybody.

  “After having placed 13,400 men as garrisons in Mons, Tournay,
  Ypres, Ostend, Nieuport and Antwerp, I can get together about
  23,000 good troops, English and Hanoverian; amongst them about
  five thousand excellent cavalry. This number will be increased in
  a few days, especially in cavalry and artillery. I can also bring
  up 20,000 Dutch and Belgian troops, including two thousand cavalry;
  the whole having about sixty pieces of cannon.

  “My opinion is, that we ought to take measures to unite the
  whole Prussian army with this allied Anglo-Dutch army in front
  of Brussels; and that, with this view, the troops under your
  Excellency’s command should, without loss of time, march along the
  Maese, and take up cantonments between Charleroi, Namur and Huy.

  “By this disposition, we shall be sure to save this country, so
  interesting to the allied powers: we shall cover the concentration
  of their forces on the Rhine; and we shall escape the evils which
  would inevitably result from a sudden retreat in our actual
  circumstances. At the same time, your Excellency would be just as
  able as you are in your present position, to march your troops to
  any point required by the service of the king; and we should have
  for our numerous cavalry a field of battle as favourable as any in
  the rear of Brussels.

  “I beg your Excellency to take these reasons into consideration,
  and to let me know your determination; in order that I may decide
  what measures I ought to take in case I should be attacked, if your
  Excellency should judge more fit to remain where you are.

  “I ought to apprize your Excellency, that the king of the
  Netherlands has given orders for providing your troops with all
  they may want upon their advance into this country.


Our readers will remark in this letter the Duke’s prompt decision on
the importance of an immediate junction of a large Prussian force
with the British allied army, and of protecting Brussels at all
hazards. We shall see how much stress Napoleon laid upon keeping the
British and the Prussians apart, and upon making a dash at Brussels.
These two great commanders then took the same view: but the Duke’s
vigilance and energy baffled all Napoleon’s exertions against the
English allied army and the city of Brussels: the Prussians would
have suffered less at Ligny, if the Duke’s earnest entreaty for the
earliest possible junction of the allies had been duly appreciated.
Wellington also correctly anticipated, from the first moment, that
Charleroi and its vicinity would probably be the point selected by
Napoleon for his irruption into the Netherlands.

It seems from a letter dated 15th of April 1815, of the Duke to
Gneisenau, that he had ascertained that two corps of the enemy,
composed of 45,000 infantry and 7,200 cavalry, were in his front
between the Sambre and the sea: he immediately set off to reconnoitre
the whole frontier: this occupied him four days.

By reference to the “SECRET MEMORANDUM” in the Appendix, No. 1, it
may be seen how prompt, energetic and comprehensive were the measures
resolved upon by the duke of Wellington. As early as the 30th of
April, he wrote to lord Uxbridge, “All the dispositions are so made
that the whole army can be collected in one short movement, with the
Prussians on our left.”

One of Wellington’s difficulties in preparing for the contest, was
the motley character of some of the foreign troops placed, or offered
to be placed, under his command. Some Saxon troops in particular drew
from him very severe, but characteristic strictures and contempt, as
appears from the subjoined documents:

  _To the Earl of Clancarty, G. C. B._

                                              “BRUSSELS, May 3d, 1815.

  “The Saxons mutinied last night at Liège, and obliged poor old
  Blücher to quit the town; the cause of the mutiny was the order to
  divide the corps, and that the Prussian part, in which the guards
  were included, should take the oath of allegiance to the king of

  “We hear of Bonaparte’s quitting Paris, and of the march of troops
  to this frontier, in order to attack us. I met Blücher at Tirlemont
  this day, and received from him the most satisfactory assurances of

  “For an action in Belgium I can now put seventy thousand men into
  the field, and Blücher eighty thousand; so that, I hope, we should
  give a good account even of Bonaparte.

  “I am not satisfied with our delays.


  _To Prince Hardenberg._

                                              “BRUSSELS, May 3d, 1815.


  “I have received your letter of the 23d of April, and I regret
  that there has been a difference of opinion about the troops to be
  sent to this army. I am perfectly indifferent as to whether I have
  many or few foreign soldiers under my orders, and as it appears
  that prince Blücher and the Prussian officers are not disposed to
  let me be beaten by superior numbers, I am satisfied.

  “As to the Saxons, your Highness will probably receive by this same
  opportunity the reports of their conduct yesterday evening: and
  as I have not enough of good troops to be able to detach any of
  them to watch a body of men disposed to mutiny, I think I shall do
  best in having nothing to do with such troops; and if they do not
  get out of the affair of last evening in an honourable manner, and
  consistently with the military character, in spite of my respect
  for the powers who have placed them at my disposal, I shall beg to
  decline taking them under my command.


Writing to sir Henry Hardinge, two days afterwards, the Duke observes

“The Saxon troops, it is very obvious, will be of no use to anybody
during the war; and our object must be to prevent them from doing
mischief.... I do not think fourteen thousand men will have much
weight in deciding the fate of the war. But the most fatal of all
measures will be to have fourteen thousand men in the field who
cannot be trusted; and who will require nearly as many more good
troops to observe them.”

These Saxon mutineers were, at the suggestion of the Duke,
immediately sent off as prisoners, through Holland and Hanover, into
Prussia, by the orders of marshal Blücher. But for this foresight and
determined maintenance of military discipline, much greater mischief
would have ensued amongst certain contingents of the allied troops,
who, as it was, by their doubtful attachment to the cause in which
they were enlisted and unsoldierlike behaviour in the field, provoked
many a hearty curse on the day of Waterloo.

[Illustration: (end of chapter; decorative separator)]


[81] Lieutenant-colonel the Hon. sir Alexander Gordon was sent,
escorted by captain John Grey’s troop of the 10th hussars, to
ascertain the real line of retreat of the Prussians, and to
communicate with their head-quarters, as to cooperation with the
British army, which was ordered to retire to the position in front of

[82] Most writers on Waterloo, particularly those from St.-Helena,
appear totally ignorant of the existence of this road.

[83] _Art of War_, page 598.

                             CHAPTER XI.

  Napoleon’s plans of campaign.—His letter to Ney, and proclamation
  to the Belgians.—His sanguine expectations, and utter
  disappointment.—Opinions of French authors on the circumstance of
  Napoleon’s not reaching Brussels.—Their inconsistencies.—Desire
  of Napoleon to make his marshals responsible for errors he
  committed.—Opinion of M. de Vaulabelle.—Napoleon’s charges against
  Grouchy; impossibility of the latter’s preventing a portion of
  the Prussians reaching the field of Waterloo.—The Emperor’s
  charges against Ney refuted.—Admirable conduct of Ney during the
  campaign.—Mode of history-writing at St.-Helena.—The battle not
  fought against the French nation.—Napoleon’s character.—Motley
  composition and equivocal loyalty of part of the allied
  army.—Refutation of the charge that the Duke was taken by surprise;
  credulity of some English writers on this subject.—His Grace’s
  admirable precaution.—Foreign statements, that the Prussians saved
  us, examined.—The tardy cooperation of the Prussians produced,
  not the defeat, but the total rout of the French.—Conversation of
  Napoleon at St.-Helena.—Gourgaud’s account.—Opinions of the Duke
  and lord Hill.—Ney’s testimony in the Chamber of Peers.

What were Napoleon’s plans, and how sanguine were his expectations,
will be placed beyond all doubt by the following letter, written to
the prince de la Moskowa, the renowned Ney, who had joined the army
but the evening before, and by his proclamation addressed to the

  _To the Prince de la Moskowa._

                                          “CHARLEROI, June 16th, 1815.


  “I send you the present letter by my aide-de-camp, general Flahaut.
  The Major-General (Soult) must have already dispatched orders to
  you, but you will receive these sooner, because my officers are
  faster than his. You will receive the general order of the day; but
  I wish to write to you in detail, because it is of the very highest

  “I advance marshal Grouchy with the third and fourth corps of
  infantry upon Sombreffe, and my guard upon Fleurus, where I shall
  be in person before mid-day. If I find the enemy there, I shall
  attack him, and drive everything before me as far as Gembloux.
  There I shall decide, according to the events of the morning,
  what is to be done. My decision will be made, perhaps at three
  o’clock, perhaps in the evening. My intention is, that the moment
  I have determined on my plan, you should be in readiness to march
  on Brussels. I will support you with the guard, which will be
  at Fleurus or at Sombreffe; and I should like to reach Brussels
  to-morrow morning. You should set forward this evening, if I can
  form my plan in time for you to hear from me to-day, and you should
  march three or four leagues before night, and be in Brussels at
  seven to-morrow morning.

  “You can dispose of your troops in the following manner: One
  division two leagues in advance of Quatre-Bras, if there should
  be no obstacle: Six divisions of infantry about Quatre-Bras, and
  one division at Marbais, in order that I may have its assistance,
  should I want it, at Sombreffe; but this is not to delay your
  march: Count de Valmy’s corps, which contains three thousand
  cuirassiers of _élite_, at the intersection of the Roman way with
  the Brussels road, in case I should need it; as soon as ever I have
  formed my plan, you will order this division to rejoin you.

  “I should like to have with me the division of the guard which
  is commanded by general Lefebvre-Desnouettes, and I send you
  in exchange the two divisions of count de Valmy’s corps. But,
  according to my plans at this moment, I prefer posting count de
  Valmy in such a manner as to have him within reach if I want
  him, and to avoid causing general Lefebvre-Desnouettes any false
  marches; for it is probable that I shall resolve upon marching with
  the guard this evening upon Brussels.

  “Nevertheless, cover Lefebvre’s division by the two divisions of
  cavalry belonging to D’Erlon and Reille, in order to spare the
  guard; for if there should be any hot work with the English, it is
  better that it should be with our line than the guard.

  “I have adopted as a general principle of this campaign, to divide
  my army into two wings, and a reserve.

  “Your wing will consist of the four divisions of the first corps,
  of the four divisions of the second corps, of two divisions of
  light cavalry, and the two divisions of count de Valmy’s corps.
  The number of these troops cannot be much less than forty-five
  or fifty thousand men. Marshal Grouchy will have nearly an equal
  number, and will command the right wing. The guard will form the
  reserve, and I shall bring it up in support of the one wing or the
  other, according to circumstances. The Major-General will issue the
  most precise orders, in order to secure obedience to you, when you
  have a separate command: whenever I am present, the commanders of
  corps will receive orders directly from me. I shall draw troops,
  according to circumstances, from either wing, to strengthen my

  “You well understand the importance attached to _the taking of
  Brussels_. It may also produce important results; for a movement
  of such promptitude and daring will cut off the English troops at
  Mons, Ostend, etc.

  “I wish your measures to be so taken, that, at the first order,
  your eight divisions may be able to march rapidly on Brussels,
  without any difficulty.



  ... “The ephemeral success of my enemies detached you for a
  moment from my Empire: in my exile upon a rock in the sea, I
  heard your complaints. The God of battle has decided the fate of
  your beautiful provinces; Napoleon is among you. You are worthy
  to be Frenchmen. Rise in mass, join my invincible phalanxes, to
  exterminate the remainder of those barbarians, who are your enemies
  and mine; they fly with rage and despair in their hearts.

                                                   “(Signed) NAPOLEON.

                                       “By the Emperor:
                                       “The major-general of the army,
                                                      “Count BERTRAND.
  “At the Imperial Palace of Laeken.”

Little comment need be made upon this letter and proclamation. They
are characteristic of Napoleon. A most able plan of operations is
developed with his usual recklessness of human life: we see him
prepared to sacrifice his troops of the line to save his guard; and
either wing, so that with the other he might make a dash at Brussels.

His overweening confidence of being there even early on the 17th, and
his sanguine expectations that the population would support him, are
clearly shown by the above documents.

Napoleon must evidently have miscalculated the degree of energy and
promptitude necessary to overcome two such generals as Wellington
and Blücher. He sadly underrated the gallant troops which he and his
marshal had to combat. And when adverse writers talk so much of the
calculating, cautious and methodical Wellington (as Napoleon was
pleased to call him,) being taken by surprise in this campaign, we
may venture to ask, was not the Emperor taken by surprise and thrown
out in all his calculations by the extreme vigilance and energy
which brought three corps of the Prussian army, above eighty-five
thousand men, into position at Ligny by mid-day on the 16th? and
but for an error in the transmission of orders, these troops would
also have been joined by Bulow’s corps; and had general Zieten
sent information to general Müffling or to the duke of Wellington
at Brussels, when the French army in three columns was first seen
in his front in advance of Charleroi, the whole allied army might
have been concentrated at Quatre-Bras during the night of the 15th.
Wellington in person was at Ligny on the 16th; observing Napoleon
preparing for battle, and after conferring with Blücher, he returned
to Quatre-Bras in time to give a most critical check to the gallant
Ney. Was it no surprise to Napoleon to find that Wellington, upon
hearing of Blücher’s retreat from Ligny, instead of falling back
to Ostend, etc., immediately retired with ominous steadiness upon
Mont-St.-Jean? and there arrested the ambition of his opponent, who,
instead of being at Brussels early on the 17th, as intimated to Ney,
was compelled to open his eyes, on the morning of the 18th, to the
fact that he was still above twelve miles from Brussels, and unable
to advance a step nearer without fighting a desperate battle, and
staking his empire on the result! He did fight: the stake was lost,
and, by the next morning, he found himself again at Charleroi, whence
he had dispatched his memorable letter to his “cousin” Ney but two
days before. He must have felt an agony of _surprise_ and something
more, as he fled on for his very life, to escape from his enraged

M. de Vaulabelle indeed, in his “Campaign and Battle of Waterloo,”
published at Paris in 1845, attributes the non-arrival of Napoleon
at Brussels, to his having calculated that the Prussians would not
assemble in any great force until the 17th, (page 53;) and further on
(page 54,) the author says, “Napoleon’s plans and arrangements were
frustrated and his sanguine expectations disappointed, on finding a
barrier of ninety-five thousand Prussians assembled between him and
the Belgian capital.” The above author also informs us, (page 68,)
that a longer delay on the 16th, in executing his projected movements
at Ligny, would have compromised his success on that day; and (page
95,) that “on the 17th, fresh delays succeeded those of the two
preceding ones.” Ney’s troops, although the marshal, it is pretended,
received orders to renew the attack on Quatre-Bras at break of day,
were still in bivac at eleven o’clock. We are given to understand by
M. de Vaulabelle, that similar delays occurred to different corps
placed under the direct command of the Emperor and marshal Grouchy.
We are also told that “the soldiers grumbled at this inaction of
which they did not know the motives, questioned their officers, and
interrogated their generals;” in fact, to use the author’s words,
“_L’énergie et l’activité semblaient s’être réfugiées dans leurs
rangs_.” (“All energy and activity seemed to have taken refuge in
their ranks.”) The inhabitants of St.-Amand also affirm that, on a
group of generals passing through the village, the soldiers followed
them with their cries, “We made our soup at break of day in order to
be sooner at the ball, and we have been four hours doing nothing; why
don’t we fight? There is something underhand[85].”

In face of all these discrepant statements, and upon calm reflection
and close examination of the history of the battle of Waterloo,
Napoleon’s disasters should not be attributed to the neglect
or disobedience of his generals, but, under Providence, to the
consummate bravery of the troops, and the skill of the generals
opposed to him.

Napoleon, when at St.-Helena, admitted that the tactics of his army
in the Waterloo campaign had their defects; but on no occasion, to
my knowledge, did he admit that he himself had committed an error.
He invariably endeavoured to shift all blame, more especially the
irretrievable failure at Waterloo, to other shoulders than his
own, to those of his marshals. He accused Grouchy, the well-tried
soldier in many a hard-fought field, and who was banished for his
attachment to the Imperial cause, of having, by neglect, delay and
non-compliance with orders, occasioned his defeat at Waterloo; and
Grouchy’s alleged false movement is the basis of every argument
advanced by those who yet maintain the military infallibility
of their idolized Emperor. One would imagine, from the tenor of
Napoleon’s order of the day on the 14th of June, “Soldiers! we have
forced marches to make, battles to fight, dangers to encounter,”
that he would not have allowed the precious hours of the morning of
the 16th to be frittered away in inactivity, or have left his troops
until near eleven o’clock in the bivac of the night before, chiefly
where they crossed the Sambre, viz. at Charleroi, Châtelet and
Marchiennes, without making a movement to support his advanced troops
at Frasnes and Fleurus. No doubt the French were fatigued and wanted
rest; but, as the success of the campaign depended upon vigorously
pressing forward, and making the most of the first advantages,
there was no time for rest. Again, on the 17th, after the battles
of Quatre-Bras and Ligny, we find Napoleon lingering on the field
of Ligny, visiting the wounded, and expressing his satisfaction at
witnessing the gallantry of his troops; we find him discussing, with
Gérard and Grouchy, subjects in no way connected with the campaign
which should decree him Emperor or exile; we find it to be near
one o’clock P.M. (17th,) before he put his own force in motion to
join Ney in pursuit of us, or before he gave Grouchy his orders
to pursue the Prussians. Early in the morning, Pajol’s cavalry and
Teste’s infantry divisions were detached towards Namur, in pursuit
of the Prussians; and, strange to say, when, after capturing a
Prussian battery on the Namur road, and sending it to the Imperial
head-quarters, they found themselves completely baffled and at fault,
they returned to their bivac of the preceding night near Mazy, and
lay there till next morning, the 18th.

The Prussians, after their line had been broken about nine o’clock
on the 16th at Ligny, were allowed to retreat upon Wavre unmolested;
nor did Grouchy, who was subsequently ordered by Napoleon “to follow
the Prussians and not to let them out of his sight, to complete their
defeat by attacking them and prevent their effecting a junction with
the allies,” know until the afternoon of the 17th by what route the
main Prussian army had retreated. Grouchy’s advance-guard did not
come up with the Prussian rear till half-past ten A.M. of the 18th,
when three out of the four Prussian corps were already on their march
to join us: of this Grouchy knew nothing; so far from it, he believed
he had the whole Prussian army before him.

If it be objected to Grouchy, that he did not act up to the letter or
the spirit of his instructions, we affirm that it was impossible for
him to do so, the delay in giving him his orders having enabled the
Prussians to gain fourteen hours start of him.

This fact the marshal communicated to the Emperor, who replied that
he, with the rest of his army, was about to follow the English and
give them battle, should they take position in front of the forest of
Soigne, directing Grouchy to communicate with him by the paved road
of Quatre-Bras[86]: but not a word about that general’s joining in
his attack on the English. Napoleon followed us by the paved road to
La Belle-Alliance: Grouchy followed the Prussians by cross-roads to
Gembloux, about six miles, where he halted for the night, and wrote
to Napoleon; receiving the following answer, dated

                                    “FARM OF CAILLOU, ten o’clock A.M.
                                    June 18th, 1815.

  “I am directed,” says the Adjutant-General (Soult,) “by the
  Emperor, to acquaint you that he is going to attack the English
  who are in line of battle in front of Waterloo, near the forest of
  Soigne. His Majesty directs you will move upon Wavre, to be nearer
  to us, to report your operations, to keep up a communication, etc.”

Again, not one word about marching to assist the Emperor: and here
we may observe that Wavre is not in the direction of Mont-St.-Jean.
When, however, at one o’clock, Napoleon found that Wellington was not
to be trifled with, and that a Prussian corps was hovering upon his
right flank, he dispatched another order, dated

                          “FIELD OF BATTLE, WATERLOO, one o’clock P.M.
                          June 18th, 1815.


  “You wrote from Gembloux this morning at two o’clock, informing the
  Emperor, you were about to march to Sart-lez-Walhain. His Majesty
  now directs you will manœuvre in _our_ direction; you must find
  out the point, in order to keep up the communication, and be at
  hand to fall upon and destroy any enemy that may attempt to attack
  our right. At this moment we are engaged in battle on the line of
  Waterloo, the enemy’s centre is Mont-St.-Jean; so manœuvre to join
  our right without loss of time.

                              “The adjutant-general, DUKE OF DALMATIA.

  “_P.S._—An intercepted letter informs us that the Prussian general
  Bulow is about to attack our right flank; we think we see the corps
  on the heights of St.-Lambert; so approach us without losing an
  instant, and destroy Bulow, should you catch him in the fact.”

The order was in itself no doubt sound and judicious; but the
original vice we have already alluded to, as characterizing the
movements of the French army after the passage of the Sambre,
rendered obedience impossible. The letter, written at one o’clock,
did not reach Grouchy until seven, about which time Napoleon’s right
had been attacked and driven back by Bulow’s advanced brigades.

It was half-past seven o’clock A.M. on the 18th of June, when Grouchy
moved from his bivac at Gembloux, and, owing to the bad state of the
roads, nearly half-past eleven, before he reached Sart-lez-Walhain,
a distance of about six miles. At the latter place, the report of a
heavy cannonade was distinctly heard in the direction of Waterloo:
Grouchy was strongly urged by some of his generals to march towards
the firing; and for not doing so, he has been attacked at all points.
He declined the proposition of his generals, on the ground that he
did not consider it his duty to march towards the battle already
raging elsewhere, but to attack, according to his instructions, the
Prussians with whom he had just come up. Grouchy has since declared,
that he did not consider it his duty to follow the advice of Gérard
and the other generals, and that to have done so would have been
acting contrary to his orders. To have detached a portion of his
force towards the main French army would have separated his two corps
by the Dyle river, whose waters were much swollen by the heavy rains,
and whose banks were so swampy, that it would have been impossible
for his divisions to have mutually supported each other; consequently
he continued his march upon Wavre.

For argument’s sake, we will suppose that Grouchy adopts the advice
of his generals, and commences his march at the time the firing was
first heard, about half-past twelve o’clock. On average roads in fair
condition, an army of thirty-two thousand men of all arms would take
seven hours to march fifteen miles; they had already marched about
six miles, as we have seen, over bad roads. From Sart-lez-Walhain to
Plancenoit, Napoleon’s right, the distance is about sixteen miles,
and over bad roads; how could they have come up in time, and that,
without taking into account the obstructions which they must have
encountered from the Prussian corps who were scouring the whole of
that part of the country? It was utterly impossible for Grouchy,
after breaking up his bivac at Gembloux so late as half-past seven
o’clock on the morning of the 18th, to prevent the three Prussian
corps, who well knew his movements, from forming a junction with
us, or from attacking the French right. Had Grouchy left Gembloux
at two o’clock A.M., and marched, unmolested by the Prussians, by
St.-Guibert and Moustier to St.-Lambert, and taken position near
the defiles of the Lasne and St.-Lambert, he might have kept Bulow
from attacking the French right, and Napoleon might, before eight
o’clock, about which time a brigade of Pirch’s and part of a brigade
of Zieten’s corps came up, have attacked Wellington with his whole
remaining force.

After the unaccountable delay on the 17th, the division of his force
by Napoleon appears a false move; for a corps of cavalry would
have sufficed to watch the Prussians. Grouchy, unquestionably, was
dilatory, and wanting in his former energy and judgment; for though
he must have known that the Prussians, or a large portion of them,
would attempt their junction with us, he sent out no patrols to
ascertain whether the contemplated movement was in operation, and
neglected to keep up that which is always so essential, a close
communication with the main body of the French army. His whole
attention appears to have been directed to his right; the events on
his left he entirely neglected.

We have stated Napoleon’s anxiety to impute the blame of the failure
exclusively to his two marshals. We have endeavoured, in the fair
and fearless spirit of military criticism, to examine how far such
inculpation is borne out by facts in the case of marshal Grouchy,
and we now, in the same impartial manner, propose to analyze the
accusation made against the gallant and daring Ney, “the bravest
of the brave.” The charges are twofold: delay at Quatre-Bras, and
rashness at Waterloo.

Ney, as we have seen, had been ordered by Napoleon, on the morning
of the 16th, to seize Quatre-Bras, to occupy Genappe if practicable,
and to be ready to march on Brussels the same evening, (16th,) or on
the morning of the 17th at latest, as the seizure of the capital by a
_coup de main_ on the 17th was the Emperor’s grand object. For this
purpose Ney was, if possible, to press forward three or four leagues
at least, on the 16th, and to be supported by the light cavalry of
the Imperial guard.

Now, Ney is blamed by Napoleon and other military writers (French,)
for not having gained possession of Quatre-Bras early on the 16th,
before our force came up. Certainly no British soldier underrates
the value of an early attack: (as Aroyo-de-Molinos can testify:) but
was Ney justified in attempting to obtain possession of Quatre-Bras?
We incline to think he was not. More than one half of his force was
still in the rear: D’Erlon’s corps was on the Sambre, or close to it,
Girard’s division of Reille’s corps was near Fleurus with Grouchy,
and Kellermann’s cavalry had not joined. No blame to him, the gallant
Ney, for _that_; he had joined the army but the evening before, (the
15th). Notwithstanding these untoward events, he ordered forward
Reille’s (second) corps; but finding that heavy masses of the enemy
were concentrating at St.-Amand on his right, and ignorant of the
force in his front, he judiciously declined to press on till D’Erlon
came up as a support.

Napoleon, before he left Charleroi, sent another order to Ney to
unite his force, (Reille’s and D’Erlon’s corps, and Kellermann’s
cuirassiers who were about to join him,) remarking, “With this
force you ought to overwhelm any strength the enemy may oppose to
you.” When Ney commenced his attack on Quatre-Bras he was cautious.
Napoleon had now arrived at Fleurus, and sent word to Ney, that
Grouchy would attack the Prussians at half-past two o’clock; that he,
Ney, was to press vigorously upon any enemy in his front, and then
turn round and assist in crushing the Prussians at Ligny. About three
o’clock, Ney got another dispatch, informing him that the battle of
Ligny had already begun, directing him to manœuvre _immediately_, so
as to fall upon the Prussian rear with all his force, which would
be utterly destroyed if he acted with vigour, adding, in his own
emphatic language addressed to a heart so susceptible and patriotic
as Ney’s, “The fate of France is in your hands!” But that which
pre-eminently characterized Napoleon’s early career, that to which he
almost exclusively owed his brilliant victories, that in which all
men of all nations will admit his wonderful excellence,—rapidity in
executing his plans,—here again failed him. Lightning may slumber;
but _Time_ will ceaselessly march on, heedless of the errors of
heroes! The Emperor’s delay enabled our noble Picton, with his
gallant band, to come up from Brussels, closely followed by the
Brunswickers, headed by their cherished and chivalrous duke, who
found Quatre-Bras to be his last battle field. Such foes occupied
Ney: and Napoleon knew it not!

Observe, Napoleon (who, according to French historians, could not
err,) intrusting the fate of France to a flank movement by Ney, who
was unable ultimately to hold his own position! He accuses Ney of
having kept Reille’s and D’Erlon’s corps detached, saying, “Had he
united them, not an Englishman would have escaped at Quatre-Bras;”
and yet it was by Napoleon’s _own_ order, (in a pencilled note,)
conveyed by colonel Laurent, that Ney was ordered to detach D’Erlon’s
corps to St.-Amand! Laurent, falling in with the head of the column
then marching on Frasnes, upon his own responsibility changed its
direction. On inquiring for count D’Erlon, he was informed that, as
was his habit, he had gone ahead to Frasnes, preceding his column.
On his arrival at the latter place, Laurent found the general, and
handed over to him the pencilled note, stating, at the same time, the
position in which he might find the head of his column.

At this time general Delcambre, chief of the staff of the 1st
(D’Erlon’s) corps, went to acquaint the prince de la Moskowa of the
change in the line of march. Ney, who was himself then hard pressed
by Wellington, sent back Delcambre with peremptory orders to D’Erlon
to march on Quatre-Bras: but _ere the order could reach_ him, he
was close to St.-Amand, and consequently at too great a distance to
return in time to render assistance to Ney.

Could Ney therefore be made responsible for the absence of D’Erlon’s
corps, its change of direction, or this assumed want of vigour
consequent on either?

It is evident from the tenor of the dispatch from Napoleon at two
o’clock on the 16th, addressed to Ney at Gosselies, that Napoleon did
not imagine that the marshal had left Gosselies _at that hour_, much
less that he had attacked us. Where now was Ney’s delay when, with
a _fraction_ of his force, (three divisions of Reille’s corps and
Piré’s cavalry,) he attacked us at Quatre-Bras?

This proves the fallacy of the assertions contained in the _Mémoires
historiques de Napoléon_, and something perhaps stronger than
fallacies in Gourgaud’s campaign of 1815. In these Ney is assailed
for not attacking us _early_ in the morning of the 16th. We will not
however leave the posthumous fame of the gallant Ney to be sacrificed
to Imperial infallibility. We assert that Ney, on the 16th, did all
at Quatre-Bras that circumstances warranted, and attempted more;
we assert that if he failed in his attempt, (viz. of occupying
Quatre-Bras,) his failure is to be, so far as Ney and his force are
concerned, ascribed to British bayonets, and not to any want of
skill, daring or rapidity on the part of Ney[87], or to any want of
gallantry, or deadly devotion on the part of the brave troops of
Reille, Piré and Kellermann.

We arrive now at the different versions which have been published of
the battle of Waterloo, and which issued from St.-Helena. How much
credit should be attached to these accounts, may be judged by the
following extracts from the able work entitled “The Military life of
the Duke of Wellington:”

“It may perhaps be remarked, that we have attached little authority
to the accounts of this campaign which emanated from St.-Helena. The
writer of this portion of the present work had the honour of being
intimately acquainted with some of the persons composing Napoleon’s
suite at Longwood; and although he has reason to believe the volumes
given to the world with the names of generals de Montholon and
Gourgaud perfixed to them to be genuine; that is, that they were
prepared from Napoleon’s notes and dictation; yet, he conceives,
he has equal reason for rejecting them as testimony. An officer of
Bonaparte’s establishment told him at Longwood, that the termination
of the battle of Waterloo had occasioned the utmost perplexity
amongst them; and that he himself, having been employed by the
ex-Emperor to write an account of the campaign, had presented no less
than _six_ distinct modes of ending the battle, all of which had been

                     “_Ab uno disce omnes._”[88]

Various accounts of the battle that subsequently emanated from
St.-Helena, Grouchy characterizes as containing “supposed
instructions and orders, imaginary movements, etc., deductions
made after the event;” (“_des instructions et des ordres supposés,
des mouvements imaginatifs_, etc.; _des assertions erronées, des
hypothèses faites après coup_.”) I will not trouble my readers with
any further remarks upon accounts so destitute of truth. Gourgaud’s
account, dictated by Napoleon himself, is, for the most part,
indignantly and completely refuted by marshal Grouchy as a mere
“military romance.”

From this trait of history-making, we may judge of the rest of the
accounts that were concocted in the ever fertile imagination of
Napoleon. His utter disregard of truth was part of his policy; and
if, for a time, it enabled him to deceive a high-minded and gallant
people, amongst whom the liberty of the press had been annihilated,
in the end it contributed to his ruin, nearly as much as did the
bravery and perseverance of his victorious opponents. Why did we meet
him at Waterloo? We were not at war with France, with its legitimate
sovereign, or with the French people. But we were at war with
Napoleon: he had been declared _hors la loi_ (outlawed) by civilized
Europe[89]; the idol indeed of a fine army, but a man devoid of
truth and principle, whom no treaties could bind, and whose restless
ambition was utterly incompatible with the peace of Europe.

His chief aim was to obtain universal dominion, and his inordinate
love of glory made him conceive the chimera of a universal monarchy,
of which he was to be the chief. Few have denied him to have been an
able and daring commander, gifted with great military talents; and
the duke of Wellington never hesitated in affirming, that of all the
chiefs of armies in the world, the one in whose presence it was most
hazardous to make a false movement was Napoleon[90].

[Illustration: (Napoleon)]

      “The triumph and the vanity,
          The rapture of the strife,
      The earthquake voice of victory,
          To him the breath of life;
      The sword, the sceptre and the sway,
      That men seem’d born but to obey.”

It was against this man, and not against France, that Wellington
uniformly declared he was leading his troops: “France,” said the Duke
in a letter dated June 4th, 1815, “has no enemies, as far as I know:
I am sure that she does not deserve to have any. We are the enemies
of one man only, and of his partisans, of him who has misused his
influence over the French army, to overthrow the throne of the king,
in order to subjugate France, and then to bring back to all of us the
days of misery which we thought were gone by.... Our state then ought
not to be called one of war with France, but of war on the part of
all Europe, comprising therein France herself, against Napoleon and
against his army, whose bad conduct is the cause of all the evils
which are going to happen, and which we all deplore[91].”

Lest our neighbours may think this view of Napoleon’s character drawn
by English prejudice, and as not affording sufficient reasons for the
determination of Wellington to aim solely at his destruction, and
with a steadiness of resolve not to be turned aside till complete
success attended the efforts of the allies, I beg to record the
following character of Napoleon, and his iron rule over the French
people. It will be observed that this character was drawn by the pen
of Frenchmen, proclaimed by French authorities, and placarded by them
on all the walls of Paris, whose inhabitants knew too well the facts
on which the proclamation was founded. The general and municipal
Council of Paris thus addressed the people, the year before the
battle of Waterloo:

“You owe all the evils which overwhelm you to one man, to him who
every year, by the conscription, decimates your families. Who amongst
us has not lost a brother, a son, relatives, friends? And why have
all these brave men fallen? For him alone, and not for the country.
In what cause have they fallen? They have been immolated to the
mad ambition of leaving behind him the name of the most dreadful
oppressor that ever weighed on the human race.... It is he that
has closed against us the seas of the two worlds. To him we are
indebted for the hatred of the people of all nations, without having
deserved it; for, like them, we have been the unhappy victims as
well as the sad instruments of his madness. What matters it that he
has sacrificed but few to his private hatred, if he has sacrificed
France,—we should not say, France only, but all Europe, to his
boundless ambition? Look at the vast continent of Europe, everywhere
strewed with the mingled bones of Frenchmen, and people with whom we
had no disputes, no causes of mutual hatred, who were too distant
from us to have any cause of quarrel, but whom he precipitated into
all the horrors of war, solely that the earth might be filled with
the noise of his name. Why boast of his past victories? What good
have those dreadful triumphs brought us? The hatred of other nations,
the tears of our families, our daughters forced to remain unmarried,
our matrons plunged into premature widowhood, the despair of fathers
and mothers, to whom there remains, out of a numerous progeny, but
the hand of an infant to close their eyes: behold! these are the
results of all those victories, which have brought foreign armies
within our very walls.... In the name of our most sacred duties, we
abjure all obedience to the usurper; we return to our legitimate

“How just,” adds a French historian, “are these accusations,
although they were made by men who a little before had been
prodigal of flattery and incense to the author of all these public

With such a man as Napoleon is here described, whose towering
military genius no one can call in question, and whose influence had
so long, and so fatally fascinated the gallant French people, whose
eyes were at length opened to the real character of his rule, it must
not be wondered at, that we went to war; nor should our triumph over
him ever be regarded as a triumph over the French nation: between
that high-minded people and the rest of the civilized world, may the
peace, which is already of unexampled duration, and which we bought
so dearly, continue forever!

I may here present to the reader the sentiments of a noble and
distinguished writer, who had long been near Napoleon and had closely
watched his career. On hearing of his arrival at St.-Helena, this
French statesman and scholar gave the following commentary to the
world. No one who is acquainted with the writings of Chateaubriand
will suspect him of any bias towards the British character: yet he
wrote thus of our vanquished foe:

“The bloody drama of Europe is concluded, and the great tragedian,
who for twenty years has made the earth his theatre, and set the
world in tears, has left the stage for ever! He lifted the curtain
with his sword, and filled the scenes with slaughter. His part
was invented by himself, and was terribly unique. Never was there
so ambitious, so restless a spirit; never so daring, so fortunate
a soldier. His aim was universal dominion, and he gazed at it
steadfastly with the eye of the eagle, and the appetite of the

“He combined within himself all the elements of terror, nerve, malice
and intellect; a heart that never trembled, a mind that never wavered
from its purpose. The greatness of his plans defied speculation,
and the rapidity of their execution outstripped prophecy. Civilized
nations were the victims of his arts, and savages could not withstand
his warfare. Sceptres crumbled in his grasp, and liberty withered
in his presence. The Almighty appeared to have intrusted to him the
destinies of the globe, and he used them to destroy. He shrouded the
sun with the clouds of battle, and unveiled the night with his fires.
His march reversed the course of nature: the flowers of the spring
perished, the fruits of autumn fell; for his track was cold, and
cheerless, and desolate, like the withering, wintry blast. Amid all
the physical, moral and political changes which he produced, he was
still the same. Always ambitious, always inexorable; no compassion
assuaged, no remorse deterred, no dangers alarmed him. Like the
barbarians, he conquered Italy, and rolling back to its source the
deluge that overwhelmed Rome, he proved himself the Attila of the
West. With Hannibal, he crossed the Alps in triumph; Africa beheld in
him a second Scipio, and standing on the Pyramids of Egypt, he looked
down on the fame of Alexander. He fought the Scythian in his cave,
and the unconquered Arab fled before him. He won, and divided, and
ruled nearly all modern Europe. It became a large French province,
where foreign kings still reigned by courtesy, or mourned in chains.
The Roman pontiff was his prisoner, and he claimed dominion over
the altar with the God of hosts. Even his name inspired universal
terror, and the obscurity of his designs rendered him awfully
mysterious. The navy of Great Britain watched him with the eye of
Argus, and her coast was lined with soldiers who slept on their arms.
He made war before he declared it; and peace was with him a signal
for hostilities. His friends were the first whom he assailed, and
his allies he selected to plunder. There was a singular opposition
between his alleged motives and his conduct. He would have enslaved
the land to make the ocean free, and he wanted only power to enslave

“If he was arrogant, his unparalleled successes must excuse him. Who
could endure the giddiness of such a mountain elevation? Who, that
amid the slaughter of millions had escaped unhurt, would not suppose,
that a deity had lent him armour, like Achilles? Who, that had risen
from such obscurity, overcame such mighty obstacles, vanquished so
many monarchs, won such extensive empires, and enjoyed so absolute
a sway? Who, in the fulness of unequalled power and in the pride of
exulting ambition, would not believe himself the favourite of Heaven?

“He received the tribute of fear, and love, and admiration. The
weight of the chains which he imposed on France was forgotten in
their splendour: it was glorious to follow him, even as a conscript.
The arts became servile in his praise; and genius divided with him
her immortal honours. For it is mind alone that can triumph over
time. Letters, only, yield permanent renown.

“This blood-stained soldier adorned his throne with the trophies of
art, and made Paris the seat of taste as well as of power. There,
the old and the new world met and conversed; there, Time was seen
robbed of his scythe, lingering among beauties which he could not
destroy; there, the heroes and sages of every age mingled in splendid
alliance, and joined in the march of fame. They will appeal to
posterity to mitigate the sentence which humanity claims against the
tyrant Bonaparte. Awful indeed will be that sentence; but when will
posterity be a disinterested tribunal? When will the time arrive that
Europe shall have put off mourning for his crimes? In what distant
recess of futurity will the memory of Moskow sleep? When will Jena,
Gerona, and Austerlitz, when will Jaffa, Corunna, and Waterloo be
named without tears of anguish and vows of retribution? Earth can
never forget, man can never forgive them.

“Let him live, if he can endure life, divested of his crown, without
an army, and almost without a follower. Let him live, he who never
spared his friends, if he can withstand the humiliation of owing
his life to an enemy. Let him live, and listen to the voice of
conscience. He can no longer drown it in the clamorous report of war.
No cuirass guards his bosom from the arrows of remorse. Now that the
cares of state have ceased to distract his thoughts, let him reflect
on his miserable self; and, with the map before him, retrace his
bloody career. Alas! his life is a picture of ruin, and the light
that displays it is the funeral torch of nations. It exhibits one
mighty sepulchre, crowded with the mangled victims of murderous
ambition. Let him reflect on his enormous abuse of power, on his
violated faith, and shameless disregard of all law and justice.

“Let him live, and repent; let him seek to atone in humility and
solitude for the sins of his political life, an example of the
catastrophe of the wicked, and the vanity of false greatness. Great
he unquestionably was, great in the resources of a misguided spirit,
great in the conception and execution of evil; great in mischief,
like the pestilence; great in desolation, like the whirlwind.”

From the equivocal loyalty to the common cause of many of the troops
in the allied army, and the severity of the contest, we were not so
surprised as we were vexed, to see them skulk away, and make for
Brussels, or seek shelter in the woods. Our numbers were greatly
reduced by this sort of defection, long before the close of the
battle. General Müffling estimates the runaways at ten thousand,
(far below the real number). Of course, such heroes would invent
narratives and retail them in their dishonourable flight, in order to
cover themselves from the reproaches and contempt richly merited by
such unsoldierly behaviour. A gallant officer records a fact in point:

“Having been sent before day-light, on the morning after the battle,”
says lieutenant-colonel Basil Jackson, “to communicate the Duke’s
orders for his array to move on Nivelles, ... I had an opportunity
of witnessing how disgraceful had been the conduct of many of the
foreign troops. I saw thousands making their way to the front, who
had quitted their colours during the battle and fled to the forest.
The commanding officer of a cavalry regiment showed me a hundred and
forty men, stating that his loss in the battle had reduced it to that
number. I believe this regiment was not engaged; for very nearly the
original complement of eight hundred men were forthcoming a few days
after! The Duke degraded it, by turning it over to the commissariat
to furnish escorts[93].”

Some there were who wore the British uniform, who took advantage of
the duty of carrying the wounded to the rear, and did not return
to their duty on the field. This circumstance has been pitiably
exaggerated, and even distorted into a tale that the British
generally were flying off to Brussels when the Prussians came up.

The duke of Wellington, in his general order, issued at Nivelles,
two days after the battle, thus noticed the conduct of those who had
improperly absented themselves from their colours:

... “3. The Field-Marshal has observed that several soldiers, and
even officers, have quitted their ranks without leave, and have gone
to Brussels, and even some to Antwerp; where, and in the country
through which they have passed, they have spread a false alarm, in a
manner highly unmilitary, and derogatory to the character of soldiers.

“4. The Field-Marshal requests the general officers commanding
divisions in the British army, and the general officers commanding
the corps of each nation of which the army is composed, to report to
him in writing what officers and men,—the former by name,—are now, or
have been, absent without leave since the 16th[94].”

It may not be out of place to offer a few general remarks on some
points in which the public have felt much interest, and upon which
opinions have greatly differed.

It is certain that the duke of Wellington would not have accepted
battle at Waterloo, had he not been sure of the cooperation of the
Prussians; and the loss which they sustained during the short time
they were engaged, proves the value of that cooperation.

The diversion of the Prussians diminished the French force against
us, by count de Lobau’s corps, eleven battalions of the Imperial
guard, and eighteen squadrons of cavalry, amounting to above fifteen
thousand men and sixty-six guns. It is evident that the blow, which
decided the fate of the day, was given by the Duke when he defeated
the Imperial guard, attacked the French reserves, and forced their
centre: by this, D’Erlon’s columns were turned on their left, and
Reille’s on their right: then followed the general advance of
Wellington’s whole line.

With the splendid light cavalry force Napoleon had at his command,
and Grouchy, detached with thirty-two thousand men of all arms
to watch the Prussians, it is most extraordinary that the first
intimation the Emperor had of their advance upon his right, was
about one o’clock on the 18th, when, from his position above La
Belle-Alliance, he himself saw them at St.-Lambert.

Notwithstanding the numerous charges made by the French cavalry, not
one was made upon our left wing; nor was their cavalry of the right
wing put in motion, till the ardour of our heavy cavalry carried
them upon the French position, when their lancers, cuirassiers and
dragoons were let loose upon our broken and disordered cavalry, who
suffered severely.

D’Erlon’s infantry columns, and the last two attacking columns of the
Imperial guard were entirely unsupported by cavalry, or they never
could have been so closely pursued, and so roughly handled.

The French army under Napoleon was composed almost exclusively of
veterans; many of whom, the year before, had been liberated from
the English, Russian and Austrian prisons: men whose trade was
war, and who were well inured to it; whose battles equalled their
years in number; all of one nation, devoted to their leader and his
cause, most enthusiastic, and well equipped: in fact the finest
army Napoleon ever brought into the field. One more gallant, or more
complete in every respect, never stood before us.

We, on the contrary, were of different nations. Our foreign
auxiliaries, who constituted more than half our numerical strength,
with some exceptions, were little better that raw militia-men.

It would not perhaps be out of place if we now notice an assertion
of French, and even of English writers; namely, that the duke
of Wellington was taken by surprise at the commencement of this
campaign. Surely the French must laugh in their sleeves when they
find English writers credulous enough to print statements which
have originated in the lively imaginations of our neighbours, and
to support the assertion that the Duke depended upon such a man as
Fouché, for information of Napoleon’s arrival in Belgium, and of his
plan of operations. We find a very late writer even quoting Fouché,
to prove what he advances. One would imagine that such authors were
perfectly ignorant of the contents of the Duke’s twelfth volume of
the Dispatches, or of Fouché’s reputation. They deny his Grace the
possession of common prudence, if they believe he would intrust
the safety of his army, and thereby the interests of Europe, to
an ignoble police-spy, whose memory is justly despised by every

In reply to the unfounded statement that Wellington relied on any
information from that archtraitor and lump of duplicity, it is
sufficient to give the following extract from a letter in the Duke’s
Dispatches, (vol. XII, page 649,) addressed to Dumouriez: “_Avant mon
arrivée à Paris, au mois de juillet, je n’avais jamais vu Fouché,
ni eu avec lui communication quelconque, ni avec aucun de ceux qui
sont liés avec lui_.” (“Before my arrival in Paris, in July, I had
never seen Fouché, nor had had any communication with him, nor with
any one connected with him.”) Of the French movements the Duke had
timely information from a very different source. I was told by sir
Hussey Vivian, (when he visited the field in 1839,) that he was aware
on the 13th of June; of the French being concentrated and ready to
attack; and that he reported the circumstance to the Duke: this is
corroborated in Siborne’s history, at page 49, vol. I: these are
undoubted authorities.

Those who have attentively followed the Duke in his operations during
this campaign, or referred to his correspondence, will have found
that, for weeks before, his Grace had foreseen Napoleon’s intentions
and had made deliberate arrangements to render them unavailing. The
allied army was so cantoned by Wellington, that its divisions could
be promptly united when the plans of Napoleon should be sufficiently
developed. The admirable organization of the allied army, effected
by the Duke so shortly after he took the command, must have struck
our readers: it is evident he was at once the main-spring, directing
head, and very soul of the grand European coalition; and it could
only be a just confidence in the admirable plan he had drawn up for
the conduct of the allied troops, that dictated the letter addressed
to sir Henry Wellesley, June 2d, 1815, and which expresses the
following very remarkable anticipation of coming events:

... “We have as yet done nothing here.... Towards the 16th, I hope
we shall begin. I shall enter France with between seventy and eighty
thousand men; the Prussians near me, with twice as many[95].”

This document was penned a fortnight before the action at
Quatre-Bras, where we began work in earnest, as the Duke had
anticipated, exactly on the 16th. This fact, of itself, should
suffice to stop the mouths of those who delight in telling us that
Wellington was taken by surprise. There were moments indeed, when he
thought that Napoleon’s ambition might be so far controlled by common
prudence, as to be content with remaining within the boundaries of
France, and leaving the odium of acting aggressively to the allied
powers; and in such moments, the Duke spoke and wrote of awaiting
for the combined movements of the Austrians and Russians. But not
for a single instant did he lose sight of the possibility, nay
probability, that Bonaparte would rush across the borders, begin
offensive operations, and make a dash to seize the person of Louis
XVIII, or to get possession of the city of Brussels. Against these
contingencies, how early and how ably our great chieftain provided,
let facts, and not the dreams of mortified narrators, inform the

On the 6th, 7th, and 10th of June, the Duke dispatched letters to the
Prussians’ head-quarters], informing them that the enemy was in great
strength about Maubeuge, where Bonaparte was said to be on the 9th,
and thence to have gone along the frontiers towards Lille; and that
an attack was to be forthwith expected[96].

With this intelligence received by Wellington, and actively
circulated by him among all who were exposed to be attacked by the
French, how was it possible that he should be taken by _surprise_?
Every movement of the enemy was quickly known to him; and his
characteristic vigilance, and matured judgment, enabled him to
foretell the very time and place of the grand attack. All that
depended on him was in perfect readiness, several days before
fighting began. If the Prussians were unaccountably remiss in not
forwarding to his Grace earlier intelligence of the descent of the
enemy into Belgium, it was not for want of watchfulness on the
part of the Duke; _he_ was quite awake. Let the reader turn to the
Appendix of this work, (No. I,) for proof that Wellington was not
easily to be surprised, but that he had all his forces so well in
hand on the 30th of April, that they could march at a moment’s
notice, and unite at any point really attacked.

In reply to the assertion made by French, and even by Prussian
official writers, “that Blücher and his troops saved the allied
army,” it may be observed, the battle of Waterloo must be always
considered as a battle fought by the right wing of an army, for the
purpose of maintaining a position until the arrival of the Prussians,
its left wing, should render victory certain. The safest tactics, in
the Duke’s opinion, were to act entirely on the defensive, and he
had, in consequence, thoroughly matured his arrangements with Blücher
for mutual support. The Duke, therefore, was not only justified
in receiving battle, but had every reason to expect to have been
reinforced several hours before the Prussians came up. Waterloo might
have terminated with much less sacrifice of life, and as decisively
at three, as it afterwards did at eight o’clock. But even admitting,
for a moment, that the arrival of the Prussians saved us at Waterloo,
we undoubtedly saved them by holding our position until they came up.
Had we given way before they cleared the defiles of St.-Lambert, they
would have been annihilated; of this they were aware, as our readers
will be convinced on reference to the letters from the Prussian to
the allied head-quarters[97].

But facts are stubborn things, and it is doubtful whether Napoleon
could have driven the British from the ground, even if the Prussians
had not arrived. The English troops had maintained their position
for eight hours against the most experienced army and the ablest
general ever France sent into the field; not a British regiment was
broken, nor the allied army in a panic, nor, at any time, in serious
danger of being penetrated. Further, even if the Prussians had not
arrived, we are inclined to think that Napoleon could not, in the
exhausted and dispirited condition of his troops, and the lateness of
the hour, have driven the British from their ground. His cavalry was
nearly annihilated: while three brigades of British infantry, one of
the King’s German legion, and two brigades of British cavalry[98],
had, except in the loss sustained by the 27th regiment, and 12th
dragoons, suffered but comparatively little; many of the foreign
troops had not fired a shot: and after the arrival of Vivian and
Vandeleur, the _British cavalry_ were, as our readers have seen,
masters of the field. The junction of the Prussians was a part of
Wellington’s combinations for the battle. Their flank movement at
Waterloo was similar to Desaix’s from Novi to Marengo; with this
no small difference, that upon Bulow’s troops joining, they found
the allied army firm and unbroken, and rather in advance of their
position of the morning[99]: when Desaix joined Bonaparte, he was in
full retreat, one wing of his army destroyed, and obliged to change
his whole front to save the rest from destruction; this eventually
gave him the victory. We are not astonished that the French should
employ this argument as a balm to their disappointment, but it comes
with a peculiar bad grace from the Prussians. Surely, in thus taking
the lion’s share in this glorious victory, they do not think to cover
their defeat at Ligny, or their unaccountable delay in arriving on
the field of Waterloo.

“The roads were very bad, and the Prussians had a numerous artillery,
not over-well horsed. Yet supposing them to have been put in motion
at eight o’clock in the morning, (their official account says _break
of day_,) they were ten or eleven hours in marching little more
than a like number of miles! May we not therefore be allowed to
conjecture, that there was some hesitation on the part of Blücher in
marching upon Waterloo, until he could feel assured of his army being
in little danger from Grouchy?” (JACKSOS and SCOTT’S _Life of the
Duke of Wellington_.)[100].

And if true, as the Prussian official report represents, that Blücher
had such a large force on the field to act, previous to, or during
Napoleon’s last attack upon us, why did not Blücher, to use the
language of two excellent military writers, roll up the French army
as Pakenham’s division did at Salamanca? I have often thought that
if lord Hill could, by any means, have been transferred across the
field to where Bulow debouched, with the same force of British troops
under his command as Bulow had of Prussian, (30,000,) our illustrious
Chief’s table that night might have been honoured by the presence of
Napoleon and his chief officers, and most of the French army favoured
with a free passage to England.

Lieutenant-colonel B. Jackson, in his _Military life of Wellington_,
(vol. II, page 806,) says, “There can exist no doubt whatever that,
paradoxical as it may at first sight appear, the cooperation, thought
somewhat tardy, of the Prussians, produced, _not the defeat_, but the
total rout of Bonaparte’s army: for the duke of Wellington could not,
weakened as his force was at the close of the day, have hazarded an
attack with his whole army, had Blücher not been at hand to support
the movement. The service rendered by our brave allies was therefore
most opportune, and of the highest value.... An error of half an
hour—and men do not consult their watches during the excitement of
battle—made either by the Prussians or ourselves, is sufficient to
account for much of the discrepance existing between their statements
and our own.”

That English and Prussian writers should altogether agree as to the
apportionment of the glory of the day, was not to be expected. It is
clear, to the lasting honour of the two allied nations, that whatever
feelings may have since grown up on this subject, none interfered
at the time with the cordiality of their combined operations. The
following lines, from a Prussian pen, will show that just national
pride is not inconsistent with candour:

“Upon the question, who really fought and won the battle of the
18th, no discussion, much less contention, ought to have arisen.
Without in the slightest degree impeaching the just share of Prussia
in the victory, or losing sight for a moment of the fact that she
bore a great share of the danger, and drew much of it from her
allies and upon herself at a decisive moment, no unprejudiced person
can conceal from himself that the honour of the day is due to the
Anglo-Netherlandish army, and to the measures of its great leader.
The struggle of Mont-St.-Jean was conducted with an obstinacy,
ability, and foresight of which history affords few examples. The
great loss of the English also speaks the merit of their services.
More than seven hundred officers, among them the first of their army,
whether in rank or merit, and upwards of ten thousand soldiers, fell,
or retired wounded from the field[101].”

No one unacquainted with war can form the most distant idea of the
weak state and disorganization to which even a victorious army is
reduced by a long, trying, severe day’s battle. The number of men
absent from the ranks is incredible, and long continued excitement
nearly exhausts the rest.

Although we place little reliance on statements which have originated
from St.-Helena, yet we must be excused if we quote O’Meara, whose
conversations with the Emperor have been faithfully given to the
world. They contain several allusions to the battle of Waterloo, and
attest the Emperor’s conviction of the completeness of our victory
over him, and the hopelessness of all his plans, as well as his utter
despair before he quitted the field.

What other honest interpretation can be given to these words, “I
ought to have died at Waterloo; but, as ill luck will have it, when
you seek death you cannot meet with it. There were numbers killed
close to me, before, behind, on every side of me; but there was no
bullet for me!” Why should a man desire to be struck down, if, as
the fond tale goes amongst some of his indiscriminate admirers, he
had thrice won the battle of Waterloo? He desired death, because
he saw that all his resources were gone, and that the British,
notwithstanding the day’s dreadful carnage, were about to deal the
decisive blow with irresistible force.

The same author relates several facts connected with the battle of
Waterloo, communicated to him by general Gourgaud, under Napoleon’s
roof. These are the general’s words, as written down at the time,
(August 23d, 1817:)

“At the close of the battle of Waterloo, and after the unsuccessful
charge of the French, the English cavalry which charged in return,
approached within two or three hundred yards of the spot where
Napoleon was, with none about him but Soult, Drouot, Bertrand, and
Gourgaud himself. At a short distance from them was a small French
battalion, that had formed square. Napoleon directed general Gourgaud
to order two or three field-pieces belonging to this battalion to be
fired, in order to arrest the cavalry which was coming on. The order
was executed, and one of the balls wounded lord Uxbridge in the leg.
Napoleon put himself at the head of the column, exclaiming, ‘Here we
must die! we must die on the field of battle!’”

Let us observe, that Napoleon must, at this moment, have felt himself
beaten, and that his conquerors were the British, to whom, as the
most noble of his enemies, he paid the compliment, wishing to die by
our hands rather than by those of the Prussians, who were advancing
on his right, ready enough to gratify his wish. But, to continue
general Gourgaud’s account:

“At the very instant that Napoleon was desirous of making a charge
with the handful of men left about him, the English light infantry
was gaining ground. Labédoyère galloped round them, sword in hand,
seeming to court a glorious death on the field of honour. We
prevented Napoleon from rushing into the midst of the enemy. It was
Soult who seized his horse by the bridle, and said, ‘They will not
kill you: you will be taken prisoner;’ and that general, with the
assistance of a few others who gathered round, prevailed on Napoleon
to fly from the field of battle.”

We have often, throughout this discussion, quoted several of our
opponents: let us now give two great authorities on every question
connected with the field of Waterloo, viz. the duke of Wellington and
lord Hill. It is also a conversation, but related by B. R. Haydon
Esq., (_United Service Magazine_, February 1844, page 281:)

“When sir Walter Scott was at Paris in 1815, he was permitted to
ask, and he did put the following questions, at his Grace’s table,
relating to Waterloo, and I repeat them as sir Walter detailed
them to me at my own: ‘Suppose, your Grace, Blücher had not come
up.’ The Duke replied, ‘I could have kept my ground till next
morning.’—‘Suppose Grouchy had come first.’—‘Blücher would have been
close behind him.’—‘But let us suppose, your Grace had been compelled
to retreat.’—‘I could have taken position in the forest of Soigne,
and defied all till the allies joined.’—‘Was there any part of the
day when your Grace despaired?’—‘Never,’ was the reply.

“This was the reply of the first in command. In 1833, the writer of
this letter dined at lord Palmerston’s; on his right sat lord Hill.
As his Lordship lived near the author, he offered to set him down.
When alone in the carriage with lord Hill, remembering what sir
Walter had affirmed of the Duke’s confidence, he said, ‘Was there any
part of the day at Waterloo, my lord, you ever desponded as to the
result?’—‘Desponded!’ replied lord Hill, ‘never: there never was the
least panic; we had gained rather than lost ground, by the evening.
No, there was not a moment I had the least doubt of the result.’”

In conclusion, and as a final answer to the depreciators of British
valour, we offer them the speech of the celebrated Ney, uttered
in the Chamber of Peers four days after the battle, and which is,
perhaps, of the French accounts the most worthy of attention, and too
remarkable to be omitted on the present occasion.

When the peers were assembled, Carnot gave them a flaming account of
Grouchy’s admirable retreat from Wavre, at the head, the minister
said, of sixty thousand men; of Soult’s success in collecting
together twenty thousand of the old guard; of new levies from the
interior, with two hundred pieces of cannon. Ney, highly incensed at
these mischievous untruths, and keenly suffering from the injustice
done to him in Napoleon’s bulletins, started up, and declared
Carnot’s statement to be utterly false:

“Will they dare to assert,” exclaimed the exasperated marshal,
“before eyewitnesses of the disastrous day of the 18th, that we have
yet sixty thousand soldiers embodied? Grouchy cannot have under him
above twenty or five-and-twenty thousand soldiers, at the utmost.
Had he possessed a greater force, he might have covered the retreat,
and the Emperor would still have been in command of an army on the
frontiers. Not a man of the guard will ever rally more. I myself
commanded them; I myself witnessed their total extermination, ere
I left the field of battle: they are annihilated. The enemy are at
Nivelles with eighty thousand men; they may, if they please, be at
Paris in six days. There is no safety for France, but in instant
propositions for peace[102].”

This speech opened the eyes of all Paris to the facts, and prepared
the entry of the allies into France, almost without striking a blow.
It was truly, like my pages, A VOICE FROM WATERLOO and is the last
testimony we shall present to the reader, in refutation of the tale,
that we were beaten before the arrival of the Prussians. It was not
against the latter that the devoted Ney led the Imperial guard, nor
were they by the Prussians annihilated; they were defeated on no
other spot but the allied position on the field of Waterloo.

[Illustration: (end of chapter; image of a cannon)]


[84] A large quantity of these proclamations was found amongst the
Imperial baggage.

[85] _Campagne et Bataille de Waterloo_, par ACHILLE DE VAULABELLE,
p. 95-96. Paris, 1845.

[86] A positive proof that Napoleon was of opinion that the Prussians
were retiring upon Namur and the Meuse; or why did he direct the
communication to be kept up by the paved road of Quatre-Bras?

[87] It is notorious that Ney was one amongst the last who quitted
the scene of carnage; it is also certain, we had our hands full to
wrest victory from the French. Had all Napoleon’s generals acted with
the same energy, gallantry and constant audacity as Ney did on his
last field, our day’s work would have been more troublesome, and not
so many of us left to tell the tale. As a soldier, I am sorry that
both Ney and the Emperor did not die a soldier’s death at Waterloo.

[88] _Military life of the Duke of Wellington_, by major BASIL
JACKSON and captain ROCHFORT SCOTT; page 609, vol. II.

[89] _See_ GURWOOD, vol. XII, p. 352.

[90] _Quarterly Review_, No. LXX, page 478.

[91] _See_ GURWOOD, vol. XII, page 441.

[92] _Histoire de Napoléon_, par A. GABOURD, p. 345-346.

[93] _Military life of the Duke of Wellington_, by major BASIL
JACKSON and captain ROCHFORT SCOTT; vol. II, page 604.

[94] See _General orders_, in GURWOOD’S _Selections from Dispatches_,
page 865.

[95] _See_ GURWOOD, _Dispatches_, vol. XII, page 438.

[96] _See_ GURWOOD, _Dispatches_, vol. XII, p. 449, 453, 457.

[97] _See_ Appendix, No. V.

[98] 4th, 27th, 40th, (Lambert’s); 52d, 71st, 95th, (Adam’s); 14th,
23d, 51st, (Mitchell’s); 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th line of the German
legion, (Duplat’s); with Vivian’s 10th and 18th British, and 1st
German hussars, and Vandeleur’s 11th, 12th, and 16th light dragoons.

[99] At the time the Prussians first became engaged, Duplat’s
Germans, a part of Halkett’s Hanoverians, with Adam’s brigade,
altogether above five thousand bayonets, stood in their advanced
position, between the north-east angle of the orchard of Hougoumont
and a little to the right of where the Lion now stands.

[100] _See_ Appendix, No. V, page 252.

[101] _Geschichte des Preussischen Staates_, 1763-1815; Frankfort,
1820; vol. III, page 371.

[102] _See_ Ney’s letter, Appendix, No. V, page 253.


[Illustration: (decorative separator)]

No. I.


_for H. R. H. the prince of Orange, the Earl of Uxbridge, Lord Hill,
and the Quarter-Master-General._

                                          “BRUSSELS, April 29th, 1815.

“1. Having received reports that the Imperial guard had moved
from Paris upon Beauvais, and a report having been for some
days prevalent in the country that Bonaparte was about to visit
the northern frontier, I deem it expedient to concentrate the
cantonments of the troops, with a view to their early junction in
case this country should be attacked, for which concentration the
Quarter-Master-General now sends orders.

“2. In this case, the enemy’s line of attack will be either between
the Lys and the Scheldt, or between the Sambre and the Scheldt, or by
both lines.

“3. In the first case, I should wish the troops of the 4th division
to take up the bridge on the Scheldt, near Avelghem, and with the
regiment of cavalry at Courtray, to fall back upon Audenarde,
which post they are to occupy, and to inundate the country in the

“4. The garrison of Ghent are to inundate the country in the
neighbourhood likewise, and that point is to be held at all events.

“5. The cavalry in observation between Menin and Furnes are to fall
back upon Ostend, those between Menin and Tournay upon Tournay, and
thence to join their regiments.

“6. The 1st, 2d, and 3d divisions of infantry are to be collected
at the head-quarters of the divisions, and the cavalry at the
head-quarters of their several brigades, and the whole to be in
readiness to march at a moment’s notice.

“7. The troops of the Netherlands to be collected at Soignies and

“8. In case the attack should be made between the Sambre and the
Scheldt, I propose to collect the British and Hanoverians at and in
the neighbourhood of Enghien, and the army of the Low-Countries at
and in the neighbourhood of Soignies and Braine-le-Comte.

“9. In this case, the 2d and 3d divisions will collect at their
respective head-quarters, and gradually fall back towards Enghien,
with the cavalry of colonel Arentschild, and the Hanoverian brigade.

“10. The garrisons of Mons and Tournay will stand fast; but that of
Ath will be withdrawn, with the 2d division, if the works should not
have been sufficiently advanced to render the place tenable against a
_coup de main_.

“11. General sir William Ponsonby’s, sir J. O. Vandeleur’s, and sir
Hussey Vivian’s brigades of cavalry, will march upon Hal.

“12. The troops of the Low-Countries will collect upon Soignies and

“13. The troops of the 4th division, and the 2d hussars, after taking
up the bridge at Avelghem, will fall back upon Audenarde, and there
wait for further orders.

“14. In case of the attack being directed by both lines supposed,
the troops of the 4th. division, and 2d hussars, and the garrison
of Ghent, will act as directed in Nos. 3 and 4 of this Memorandum;
and the 2d and 3d divisions, and the cavalry, and the troops of the
Low-Countries, as directed in Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 337-8.)


_for Colonel Sir William de Lancey, Deputy Quarter-Master-General._


                                           “BRUSSELS, June 15th, 1815.

“General Dornberg’s brigade of cavalry, and the Cumberland hussars,
to march this night upon Vilvorde, and to bivac on the high-road near
to that town.

“The earl of Uxbridge will be pleased to collect the cavalry this
night at Ninove, leaving the 2d hussars looking out between the
Scheldt and the Lys.

“The 1st division of infantry to collect this night at Ath and
adjacent, and to be in readiness to move at a moment’s notice.

“The 3d division to collect this night at Braine-le-Comte, and to be
in readiness to move at the shortest notice.

“The 4th division to be collected this night at Grammont, with the
exception of the troops beyond the Scheldt, which are to be moved to

“The 5th division, the 81st regiment and the Hanoverian brigade of
the 6th division, to be in readiness to march from Brussels at a
moment’s notice.

“The duke of Brunswick’s corps to collect this night on the high-road
between Brussels and Vilvorde.

“The Nassau troops to collect at day-light to-morrow morning on the
Louvain road, and to be in readiness to move at a moment’s notice.

“The Hanoverian brigade of the 5th division to collect this night at
Hal, and to be in readiness at day-light to-morrow morning to move
towards Brussels, and to halt on the high-road between Alost and
Assche for further orders.

“The prince of Orange is requested to collect at Nivelles the 2d and
3d divisions of the army of the Low-Countries; and, should that point
have been attacked this day, to move the 3d division of British
infantry upon Nivelles, as soon as collected.

“This movement is not to take place until it is quite certain that
the enemy’s attack is upon the right of the Prussian army, and the
left of the British army.

“Lord Hill will be so good as to order prince Frederick of Orange
to occupy Audenarde with five hundred men, and to collect the 1st
division of the army of the Low-Countries, and the Indian brigade, at
Sotteghem, so as to be ready to march in the morning at day-light.

“The reserve artillery to be in readiness to move at day-light.

                                       (_Gurwood_, vol XII, p. 472-3.)



_Signed by Colonel Sir William De Lancey, Deputy

_To General Lord Hill._

                                                     “June 16th, 1815.

“The duke of Wellington requests that you will move the 2d division
of infantry upon Braine-le-Comte immediately. His Grace is going to

_To the same._

                                                     “June 16th, 1815.

“Your Lordship is requested to order prince Frederick of Orange to
move, immediately upon the receipt of this order, the 1st division
of the army of the Low-Countries, and the Indian brigade, from
Sotteghem to Enghien, leaving five hundred men, as before directed,
in Audenarde.”

_To the same._

                                            “GENAPPE, June 16th, 1815.

“The 2d division of infantry to move to-morrow morning at day-break
from Nivelles to Quatre-Bras.

“The 4th division of infantry to move at day-break to-morrow morning
to Nivelles.”

                                                     “June 16th, 1815.

“The reserve artillery to move at day-break to-morrow morning, the
17th, to Quatre-Bras, where it will receive further orders.”

_To Major-General Sir J. Lambert._

                                                     “June 16th, 1815.

“The brigade of infantry under the command of major-general sir J.
Lambert, to march from Assche at day-break to-morrow morning, the
17th inst., to Genappe, on the Namur road, and to remain there until
further orders.”
                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 274-5.)

[Illustration: (end of Note; decorative separator)]

No. II.

The reader will observe that the letters from which I make the
following extracts, were written at three o’clock in the morning of
the battle.

_To Sir Charles Stuart._

                                           “WATERLOO, June 18th, 1815,
                                           three o’clock A.M.


... “You will see in the letter to the duc de Berry the real state of
our case, and the only risk we run. The Prussians will be ready again
in the morning for anything.

“Pray keep the English (in Brussels,) quiet, if you can. Let them all
prepare to move, but neither be in a hurry nor a fright, as all will
yet turn out well.

“I have given the directions to the governor of Antwerp, to meet the
_crotchets_ which I find in the heads of the king’s governors upon
every turn....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 476.)

_To His Royal Highness the Duc de Berry._

                                         “WATERLOO, June 18th, 1815,
                                         three o’clock in the morning.


“I have not written to your Royal Highness since Thursday, as I had
nothing to communicate ... and I have had a great deal to do.

“We had a very sanguinary battle on Friday last: near the farm of
Quatre-Bras; the Prussians, about Sombreffe. I had very few troops
with me, and no cavalry: I however drove the enemy back, and had
considerable success. The Prussians suffered a good deal, and
retreated during the night; and in consequence I retired also during
the day. I saw very little yesterday of the enemy, who followed us
very gently, and the Prussians not at all. The Prussians have been
joined by their fourth corps, more than thirty thousand strong, and I
have also nearly all my men together.

“It may happen that the enemy will turn us by Hal, although the
weather is terrible and the roads are in a shocking state, and
although I have posted prince Frederick’s corps between Hal and
Enghien. If this should happen, I beg your Royal Highness to march on
Antwerp ... and to inform his Majesty (Louis XVIII,) that I beg him
to leave Ghent for Antwerp by the left of the Scheldt. He will find
no difficulty in crossing at the _Tête de Flandre_.

... “I hope, and I have every reason to believe, that all will turn
out well; but we must take every possible precaution, and avoid
great losses. It is with this view, that I beg your Royal Highness
to follow the directions here given, and his Majesty to make for
Antwerp, not upon false reports, but upon certain information that
the enemy has got into Brussels, in spite of me, in turning me by

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 476-7.)

The following letters, written just after the battle, will show how
deeply the duke felt the loss of his companions in arms: the renown
his success would ensure was no consolation to him for the loss of
friends and heroes: patriotism, and the confident expectation that an
effectual stop was at length put to the horrors which had desolated
Europe for more than twenty years, were the sources of such comfort
as he could feel himself, or offer to others, for the expenditure of
so many valuable lives.

_To the Earl of Aberdeen, K. T._

                                           “BRUSSELS, June 19th, 1815.


“You will readily give credit to the existence of the extreme grief
with which I announce to you the death of your gallant brother,
(colonel Gordon,) in consequence of a wound received in our great
battle of yesterday.

“He had served me most zealously and usefully for many years, and on
many trying occasions; but he had never rendered himself more useful,
and had never distinguished himself more, than in our late actions.

“He received the wound which occasioned his death, when rallying
one of the Brunswick battalions which was shaking a little; and he
lived long enough to be informed by myself of the glorious result of
our actions, to which he had so much contributed by his active and
zealous assistance.

“I cannot express to you the regret and sorrow with which I
look round me, and contemplate the loss which I have sustained,
particularly in your brother. The glory resulting from such actions,
so dearly bought, is no consolation to me, and I cannot suggest it
as any to you and his friends; but I hope that it may be expected
that this last one has been so decisive, as that no doubt remains
that our exertions and our individual losses will be rewarded by the
early attainment of our just object. It is then that the glory of the
actions in which our friends and relations have fallen, will be some
consolation for their loss.

                                                     “Believe me, etc.

“Your brother had a black horse, given to him, I believe, by lord
Ashburnham, which I will keep till I hear from you what you wish
should be done with it.”
                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 488-9.)

_To the Duke of Beaufort, K. G._

                                           “BRUSSELS, June 19th, 1815.


“I am very sorry to have to acquaint you that your brother Fitzroy
is very severely wounded, and has lost his right arm. I have just
seen him, and he is perfectly free from fever, and as well as
anybody could be under such circumstances. You are aware how useful
he has always been to me, and how much I shall feel the want of his
assistance, and what a regard and affection I feel for him; and you
will readily believe how much concerned I am for his misfortune.
Indeed, the losses I have sustained, have quite broken me down; and I
have no feeling for the advantages we have acquired. I hope, however,
that your brother will soon be able to join me again; and that he
will long live to be, as he is likely to become, an honour to his
country, as he is a satisfaction to his family and friends.

                                                     “Believe me, etc.
                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 489.)

_To Marshal Prince Schwarzenberg._

                                           “JONCOURT, June 26th, 1815.

... “Our battle on the 18th was one of giants; and our success was
most complete, as you perceive. God grant I may never see another!
for I am overwhelmed with grief at the loss of my old friends and

“My neighbour and fellow-labourer (Blücher) is in good health, though
he suffers a little from the fall of a horse, wounded under him in
the battle of the 16th....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 510.)

The following extracts will prove the early and complete conviction
of the Duke, that all had been decided at Waterloo.

_To General Dumouriez._

                                           “NIVELLES, June 20th, 1815.

... “You must have heard what I have done; and I hope you are
satisfied. I never saw such a battle as the one the day before
yesterday; and never before did I gain such a victory. I trust it is
all over with Bonaparte. We are in hot pursuit of him....

                                        (Gurwood, vol. XII, page 490.)

_To General the Earl of Uxbridge._

                                           “LE CATEAU, June 23d, 1815.

... “My opinion is that we have given Napoleon his death-blow.... He
can make no head against us ... _il n’a qu’à se pendre_,” (he has
only to hang himself)....

                                    (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 499-500.)

_To the Prince de Talleyrand._

                                          “LE CATEAU, June 24th, 1815.

... “It was I who recommended to the king (Louis XVIII,) to enter
France at present, because I was aware of the extent of our success
in the battle of the 18th....

“I enclose you, in confirmation of my opinion of the extent of our
success, the _Journal de l’Empire_ of the 22d, in which you will find
Bonaparte’s account of the action, the truth of which, as far as it
goes against himself, cannot be doubted....

“I conclude that you can have no scruple about joining the king
forthwith, a measure which I earnestly entreat you and the other
members of the king’s council to adopt without loss of time.

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 502-3.)

I may here remark, that in political foresight, the Duke was in
advance of Talleyrand himself, as the letter above demonstrates.

_To Marshal Lord Beresford._

                                              “GONESSE, July 2d, 1815.

“You will have heard of our battle of the 18th. Never did I see such
a pounding match. Both were what the boxers call gluttons. Napoleon
did not manœuvre at all. He just moved forward in the old style, in
columns, and was driven off in the old style....

“I had the infantry for some time in squares; and we had the French
cavalry walking about us as if they had been our own. I never saw the
British infantry behave so well....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 529.)

The subjoined extracts show how steadily Wellington kept in view the
sole object of the war; and that he was not to be cajoled by any
diplomatic chicanery, and what pains he took to keep statesmen to the

_To Earl Bathurst._

                                           “JONCOURT, June 25th, 1815.

“To advanced posts ... yesterday received a proposition to suspend
hostilities, as it was stated that Bonaparte had abdicated in favour
of his son, and has appointed a provisional government, consisting
of Fouché, Carnot, Caulincourt, general Grenier, and Quinette; that
these persons had sent ministers to the allied powers to treat for

“It appeared both to prince Blücher and to me, that these measures
were a trick....

“The object of the alliance of the powers of Europe is declared by
the first article of the treaty of the 25th of March, to be to force
Napoleon Bonaparte to desist from his projects, and to place him in a
situation in which he will no longer have it in his power to disturb
the peace of the world; and, by the third article, the powers of
Europe have agreed not to lay down their arms till ... it shall have
been rendered impossible for Bonaparte to excite fresh troubles....

“I could not consider his abdication of a usurped power in favour of
his son, and his handing over the government provisionally to five
persons named by himself, to be that description of security which
the allies had in view, which should induce them to lay down their
arms; and therefore I continue my operations....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 508.)

_To the French Commissioners._

                                      “HEAD-QUARTERS, June 26th, 1815.

... “Since the 15th instant, when Napoleon Bonaparte, at the head
of the French armies, invaded the dominions of the king of the
Netherlands, and attacked the Prussian army the Field-Marshal has
considered his sovereign, and those powers whose armies he commands,
in a state of war with the government of France; and he does not
consider the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte of his usurped
authority, under all the circumstances which have preceded and
attended that measure, as the attainment of the object held out in
the declarations and treaties of the allies, which should induce them
to lay down their arms.

“The Field-Marshal cannot consent therefore to any suspension of
hostilities, however desirous he is of preventing the farther
effusion of blood.

“Their Excellencies ... will probably consider any interview with him
a useless waste of their time....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 512.)

It will appear, by the subjoined documents, that Wellington was
tender of the life of Napoleon, who had not spared that of the duc
d’Enghien, and who had declared that he would treat in the same way,
that is, put to death, any Bourbon prince he should catch within
the boundaries of his empire. Blücher was eager to put Bonaparte to
death, as the guilty author of so much rapine and bloodshed; and
to punish the Parisians by fines, the destruction of the bridge of
Jena, and of their city itself, if they proved refractory. From this
dreadful retaliation, it required all the influence of the Duke over
Blücher to preserve them. Posterity should know, if the French will
not pay attention to the fact, through whose intervention Napoleon’s
life was spared, and Paris saved from dishonour, if not pillage and
utter destruction.

_To Sir Charles Stuart, G.C.B._

                                            “ORVILLÉ, June 28th, 1815.


“I send you my dispatches, which will make you acquainted with the
state of affairs. You may show them to Talleyrand if you choose.

“General —— has been here this day to negotiate for Napoleon’s
passing to America, to which proposition I have answered that I have
no authority. The Prussians think the Jacobins wish to give him over
to me, believing that I will save his life. Blücher wishes to kill
him; but I have told him that I shall remonstrate, and shall insist
upon his being disposed of by common accord. I have likewise said
that, as a private friend, I advised him to have nothing to do with
so foul a transaction; that he and I had acted too distinguished
parts in these transactions to become executioners; and that I was
determined, that if the sovereigns wished to put him to death, they
should appoint an executioner, which should not be me....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 516.)

_To Marshal Prince Blücher._

                                              “GONESSE, July 2d, 1815.


“I requested general Müffling to write to your Highness yesterday,
upon the subject of the propositions which had been made to me by the
French commissioners for a suspension of hostilities, upon which I
have not yet had a positive answer from your Highness....

“If we choose it, we can settle all our matters now, by agreeing to
the proposed armistice....

“By adopting this measure, we provide for the quiet restoration of
his Majesty to his throne; which is that result of the war which the
sovereigns of all of us have always considered the most beneficial
for us all, and the most likely to lead to permanent peace in Europe.

“It is true we shall not have the vain triumph of entering Paris at
the head of our victorious troops; but ... I doubt our having the
means at present of succeeding in an attack upon Paris; and, if we
are to wait till the arrival of marshal prince Wrede to make the
attack, I think we shall find the sovereigns disposed, as they were
last year, to spare the capital of their ally, and either not to
enter the town at all, or enter it under an armistice, such as it is
in your power and mine to sign this day.

“I earnestly urge your Highness ... to let me have your decision
whether you will agree to any armistice, or not....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 526-7.)

_To the French Commissioners._

                                              “GONESSE, July 2d, 1815.

“It is my duty to apprize your Excellencies, that I have just
received a letter from marshal prince Blücher, who expresses the
greatest aversion to granting an armistice.... I have written to him
once more, having the greatest desire to save your capital from the
danger which menaces it; and I expect his answer to-night....

                                       (_Gurwood_, vol XII, page 528.)

_To Marshal Prince Blücher._

                                     “PARIS, July 8th, 1815, midnight.


“Several reports have been brought to me during the evening and
night, and some from the government, in consequence of the work
carrying on by your Highness on one of the bridges over the Seine,
which it is supposed to be your intention to destroy.

“As this measure will certainly create a good deal of disturbance in
the town, and as the sovereigns, when they were here before, left all
these bridges, etc., standing, I take the liberty of suggesting to
you to delay the destruction of the bridge, at least till they shall
arrive; or, at all events, till I can have the pleasure of seeing you
to-morrow morning.

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 549.)

The duke of Wellington was obliged to continue his mediation with
Blücher, to prevent the exasperated veteran from punishing the
pockets and humbling the pride of the Parisians; and for this his
generous and enlightened intervention the Duke did not receive the
gratitude that was due to him, as must appear from the following

_To Marshal Prince Blücher._

                                               “PARIS, July 9th, 1815.

“The subjects on which lord Castlereagh and I conversed with
your Highness and general comte Gneisenau this morning, viz. the
destruction of the bridge of Jena and the levy of the contribution
of one hundred millions of francs upon the city of Paris, appear to
me to be so important to the allies in general, that I cannot allow
myself to omit to draw your Highness’s attention to them again in
this shape.

“The destruction of the bridge of Jena is highly disagreeable to the
king and to the people, and may occasion disturbance in the city.
It is not merely a military measure, but is one likely to attach to
the character of our operations, and is of political importance. It
is adopted solely because the bridge is considered a monument of the
battle of Jena, notwithstanding that the government are willing to
change the name of the bridge.

“Considering the bridge as a monument, I beg leave to observe that
its immediate destruction is inconsistent with the promise made
to the commissioners on the part of the French army, during the
negotiation of the convention; viz. that the monuments, museums,
etc., should be reserved for the decision of the allied sovereigns.

“All that I ask is, that the execution of the orders given for the
destruction of the bridge may be suspended till the sovereigns shall
arrive here, when, if it should be agreed by common accord that the
bridge ought to be destroyed, I shall have no objection....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 552-3.)

_To Monsieur_ ——.

                                              “PARIS, July 13th, 1815.

“I have received your letter of the 10th. Perhaps if you had taken
the trouble to inform yourself respecting the works of the Prussian
army at the bridge of Jena, and the part I have acted in this affair,
you would think that I do not merit the reproaches which you with
your signature, and others anonymously, have made me on this subject.

“But I ascribe them to the levity with which impressions are received
and are allowed to influence the actions of men, and the most
important measures, in this country; and if the injustice you have
done me in your letter lead you to inquire and reflect before you
ever again bring a charge against a public man, I pardon you.

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 555-6.)

The pains which the Duke took to preserve the strictest discipline
amongst the troops under his command, and which far surpassed the
care taken by other commanders in similar circumstances, entitled him
to the gratitude of the Parisians, but did not always exempt him from
ill-timed and unreasonable demands. The following severe but just
reply was provoked by general comte de Vaubois, who seems to have
importuned the Duke for compensation for damages said to be done by
the British troops to the French people:

_To General Comte de Vaubois._

                                          “PARIS, November 10th, 1815.


“You, who have served, must be well aware that it is not possible to
give compensation to the full amount for all the damages arising
from the presence of an army in a country, or the irregularities
of individual soldiers, or the inevitable consequences of military
occupation. It is quite true that I usually require reparation to be
made for damages caused to the inhabitants by any irregularities of
the troops, especially of English troops. But it is more as a means
of discipline than as a full compensation to the inhabitants; and I
cannot adopt in every case the same means with foreign troops, who
are not so well, nor so regularly paid.

“The fact is, _M. le général_, that France, in carrying her arms
into other countries, caused misery, devastation and ruin: I myself
have been eyewitness of the destruction of property throughout whole
provinces, that refused to submit to the yoke of the tyrant, and that
were in consequence entirely depopulated.

“Although private revenge ought never to be the motive of a man, and
most assuredly it is not that of the allied sovereigns, we can hardly
expect that soldiers, men taken from the poorest and most hardy ranks
of society, after having seen their properties, or those of their
relatives, burned, sacked, destroyed by the French, should have any
very great respect for French property, when, by the fortune of war,
they find themselves in France.

“It is our duty, it is the interest of all of us, more even, I
think, than that it is the duty of the French government, to prevent
those acts of devastation; and I believe that there is no one who
has endeavoured to do this duty so much as I have. But, _M. le
général_, you know what armies are; and I appeal to your judgment:
is it possible entirely to prevent such occurences in such an army
as is under my command; particularly when the soldier is excited by
the remembrance of the evils which he and his relatives have had to
endure at the hands of French troops?...

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 685-6.)

_To H.R.H. Prince Frederick of Orange._

                                          “PARIS, November 10th, 1815.

“I send you a letter I have just received from general comte
de Vaubois, concerning the damages done by the soldiers of the

“You will see that their officers were not present at their bivac ...
and that the damage done by them amounts to 30,000 francs, a sum ten
times greater perhaps than the general will have to pay, as his part
of the contribution to the allies, in five years. It is clearly of
great importance that the allies prevent these irregularities.

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 686.)

Many have been pleased to say that the duke of Wellington both
could and ought to have interposed to save marshal Ney from being
ignominiously executed. Without entering into the question, whether
Ney was a perjured traitor to Louis XVIII, and if so, what was the
meetest punishment for his treason, it may be confidently averred
that Napoleon would have spared no man under similar circumstances.
The following documents are worthy of attention:



                                          “PARIS, November 19th, 1815.

“It is extraordinary that Madame la maréchale Ney should have thought
proper to publish in print parts of a conversation which she is
supposed to have had with the duke of Wellington; and that she has
omitted to publish that which is a much better record of the Duke’s
opinion on the subject to which the conversation related; viz. the
Duke’s letter to the maréchal prince de la Moskowa, in answer to the
maréchal’s note to his Grace. That letter was as follows:

                                                “November, 14th, 1815.

  “I have had the honour of receiving the note which you addressed
  to me on the 13th November, relating to the operation of the
  capitulation of Paris on your case. The capitulation of Paris of
  the 3d July was made between the commanders in chief of the allied
  British and Prussian armies on the one part, and the prince
  d’Eckmühl, commander in chief of the French army, on the other; and
  related exclusively to the military occupation of Paris.

  “The object of the 12th article was to prevent the adoption of any
  measures of severity, under the military authority of those who
  made it, towards any persons in Paris on account of the offices
  which they had filled, or their conduct, or their political
  opinions. But it was never intended, and could not be intended,
  to prevent either the existing French government, under whose
  authority the French commander in chief must have acted, or any
  French government which should succeed to it, from acting in this
  respect as it might deem fit.”

“It is obvious from this letter that the duke of Wellington, one
of the parties to the capitulation of Paris, considers that that
instrument contains nothing which can prevent the king from bringing
marshal Ney to trial in such manner as his Majesty may think

“The contents of the capitulation fully confirm the justice of the
Duke’s opinion. It is made between the commanders in chief of the
contending armies respectively; and the first nine articles relate
solely to the mode and time of the evacuation of Paris by the French
army, and of the occupation by the British and Prussian armies.

“The 10th article provides that the existing authorities shall be
respected by the two commanders in chief of the allies; the 11th,
that public property shall be respected, and that the allies shall
not interfere _en aucune manière dans leur administration et dans
leur gestion_; (in any manner, either in their administration or in
their management;) and the 12th article states, _Seront pareillement
respectées les personnes et les propriétés particulières: les
habitants, et, en général, tous les individus qui se trouvent dans
la capitale, continueront à jouir de leurs droits et libertés, sans
pouvoir être inquiétés, ni recherchés en rien relativement aux
fonctions qu’il occupent, ou auraient occupées, à leur conduite, et
à leurs opinions politiques_. (The persons as well as the property
of individuals, shall be equally respected; the inhabitants, and in
general every individual residing in the capital, shall continue in
full possession of their rights and liberties, without being molested
in any manner, on account of the functions which they may have
filled, their conduct, or their political opinions.)

“By whom were these private properties and persons to be respected?
By the allied generals and their troops mentioned in the 10th and
11th articles; and not by other parties to whom the convention did
not relate in any manner.

“The 13th article provides that _les troupes étrangères_, (the
foreign troops) shall not obstruct the carriage of provisions by land
or water to the capital.

“Thus it appears that every article in the convention relates
exclusively to the operations of the different armies, or to the
conduct of the allies and that of their generals, when they should
enter Paris; and, as the duke of Wellington states in his dispatch of
the 4th of July, with which he transmitted the convention to England,
it ‘decided all the military points then existing at Paris, and
touched nothing political[104].’

“But it appears clearly that, not only was this the Duke’s opinion of
the convention at the time it was signed, but likewise the opinion of
Carnot, of marshal Ney, and of every other person who had an interest
in considering the subject.

“Carnot says, in the _Exposé de la conduite politique de M. Carnot_,
(page 43,) _Il fut résolu d’envoyer aux généraux anglais et prussiens
une commission spéciale chargée de leur proposer une convention
purement militaire, pour la remise de la ville de Paris entre leurs
mains, en écartant toute question politique, puisqu’on ne pouvait
préjuger quelles seraient les intentions des alliés, lorsqu’ils
seraient réunis_. (It was decided to forward to the English and
Prussian generals a special commission, to the purport of proposing
to them a convention, purely military, for the surrender of the city
of Paris into their hands, setting aside all political questions,
since it was impossible to foresee what might be the ultimate
intentions of the allies, when they should be assembled.)

“It appears that marshal Ney fled from Paris in disguise, with a
passport given to him by the duc d’Otrante, under a feigned name,
on the 6th of July. He could not be supposed to be ignorant of the
tenor of the 12th article of the convention; and he must then have
known whether it was the intention of the parties who made it, that
it should protect him from the measures which the king, then at
St.-Denis, should think proper to adopt against him.

“But if marshal Ney could be supposed ignorant of the intention of
the 12th article, the duc d’Otrante, could not, as he was at the
head of the provisional government, under whose authority the prince
d’Eckmühl must have acted when he signed the convention[105].

“Would the duc d’Otrante have given a passport under a feigned name
to marshal Ney, if he had understood the 12th article as giving the
marshal any protection, excepting against measures of severity by the
two commanders in chief?

“Another proof of what was the opinion of the duc d’Otrante, of
the king’s ministers, and of all the persons most interested is
establishing the meaning now attempted to be given to the 12th
article of the convention of the 3d July, is the king’s proclamation
of the 24th July, by which nineteen persons are ordered for trial,
and thirty-eight persons are ordered to quit Paris, and to reside in
particular parts of France, under the observation and superintendence
of the police, till the Chambers should decide upon their fate[106].

“Did the duc d’Otrante, did any of the persons who are the objects of
this proclamation, did any person on their behalf, ever then, or now,
claim for them the protection of the 12th article of the convention?
Certainly the convention was then understood, as it ought to be
understood now, viz. that it was exclusively military and was never
intended to bind the then existing government of France, or any
government which should succeed it.

                                                (_Gurwood_, p. 694-6.)


                                            “CAMBRAY, June 28th, 1815.

... “In the plot which they contrived, I perceive many of my subjects
to have been misled, and some guilty. I promise—I who never promised
in vain, as all Europe can witness,—to pardon to misled Frenchmen
all that has transpired since the day I quitted Lille amidst so
many tears, up to the day I re-entered Cambray, amidst so many
acclamations. But the blood of my people has flowed in consequence of
a treason unprecedented in the annals of the world. That treason has
summoned foreigners into the heart of France; every day reveals to
me a new disaster. I owe it, therefore, to the dignity of my crown,
to the interest of my people, and to the repose of Europe, to except
from pardon the instigators and authors of this horrible plot. They
shall be delivered over to the vindication of the laws by the two
Chambers, which I propose forthwith to assemble....


_To ——[107], Esq._

                                             “PARIS, August 8th, 1815.


“I have received your letter of the 2d, regarding the battle of
Waterloo. The object which you propose to yourself is very difficult
of attainment, and, if really attained, is not a little invidious.
The history of a battle is not unlike the history of a ball. Some
individuals may recollect all the little events, of which the great
result is the battle won or lost; but no individual can recollect the
order in which, or the exact moment at which they occurred, which
makes all the difference as to their value or importance.

“Then the faults or the misbehaviour of some gave occasion for the
distinction of others, and perhaps were the cause of material losses;
and you cannot write a true history of a battle without including the
faults and misbehaviour of part at least of those engaged.

“Believe me that every man you see in a military uniform is not a
hero; and that, although in the account given of a general action,
such as that of Waterloo, many instances of individual heroism must
be passed over unrelated, it is better for the general interests to
leave those parts of the story untold, than to tell the whole truth.

“If, however, you should still think it right to turn your attention
to this subject, I am most ready to give you every assistance and
information in my power.

                                                     “Believe me, etc.
                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 590.)

_To the same._

                                            “PARIS, August 17th, 1815.


“I have received your letter of the 11th, and I regret much that I
have not been able to prevail upon you to relinquish your plan.

“You may depend upon it, you will never make it a satisfactory work.

“I will get you the list of the French army, generals, etc.

“Just to show you how little reliance can be placed, even on what are
supposed the best accounts of a battle, I mention that there are some
circumstances mentioned in general Müffling’s account which did not
occur as he relates them.

“He was not on the field during the whole battle, particularly not
during the latter part of it.

“The battle began, I believe, at eleven.

“It is impossible so say when each important occurrence took place,
nor in what order. We were attacked first with infantry only; then,
with cavalry only; lastly, and principally, with cavalry and infantry

“No houses were possessed by the enemy in Mont-St.-Jean, excepting
the farm in front of the left of our centre[108], on the road to
Genappe, can be called one. This they got, I think, at about two
o’clock, and got it from a circumstance which is to be attributed to
the neglect of the officer commanding on the spot.

“The French cavalry were on the plateau in the centre between the two
high-roads for nearly three quarters of an hour, riding about among
our squares of infantry, all firing having ceased on both sides. I
moved our squares forward to the guns; and our cavalry, which had
been detached by lord Uxbridge to the flanks, was brought back to
the centre. The French cavalry were then driven off. After that
circumstance, repeated attacks were made along the whole front of the
centre of the position, by cavalry and infantry, till seven at night.
How many I cannot tell.

“When the enemy attacked sir Thomas Picton I was there, and they got
as far as the hedge on the cross-road, behind which the —— had been
formed. The latter had run away, and our troops were on our side of
the hedge. The French were driven off with immense loss. This was
the first principal attack. At about two in the afternoon, as I have
above said, they got possession of the farm-house on the high-road,
which defended this part of the position; and they then took
possession of a small mound on the left of the high-road going from
Brussels, immediately opposite the gate of the farm; and they were
never removed from thence till I commenced the attack in the evening:
but they never advanced farther on that side.

“These are answers to all your queries; but remember, I recommend to
you to leave the battle of Waterloo as it is.

                                                     “Believe me, etc.
                                    (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, p. 609-610.)

The fair inference is, that the Duke, on seeing the orchard and
garden of La Haye-Sainte in possession of the enemy about two o’clock
P.M., thought the farm was also in their hands, which certainly was
not the case till about five o’clock.

The farm-house in question, La Haye-Sainte, was lost from a
deficiency of _proper_ ammunition; its gallant defenders were
riflemen. Who was to be blamed for that deficiency, it is difficult
now to ascertain: the Duke, it appears, thought the officer
commanding on the spot was censurable on this account. Let me be
allowed to record my regret, that on this and many other occasions,
valuable lives and important posts were often lost, owing to our
having three different sizes for ball cartridges. If there were
but one size, as I think there might be, for cavalry, infantry
and rifles, the mutual supply of ammunition would be at all times
practicable, and, in critical moments, of the utmost value.

_To His Royal Highness the Duke of York._

                                            “ORVILLÉ, June 28th, 1815.

... “I would beg leave to suggest to your Royal Highness the
expediency of giving to the non-commissioned officers and soldiers
engaged in the battle of Waterloo, a medal[109]. I am convinced it
would have the best effect in the army; and, if the battle should
settle our concerns, they will well deserve it....

                                      (_Gurwood_, vol. XII, page 520.)

_To Earl Bathurst._

                                         “PARIS, September 17th, 1815.


“I have long intended to write to you about the medal for Waterloo.
I recommend that the men should all have the same medal, hung on the
same ribbon as that now used with the medals....


[Illustration: (end of Note; decorative separator)]

No. III.



  Born                                                1st May, 1769.
  Ensign                                            7th March, 1787.
  Lieutenant                                    25th December, 1787.
  Captain                                           30th June, 1791.
  Major                                            30th April, 1793.
  Lieutenant-Colonel                           30th September, 1793.
  Colonel                                              3d May, 1796.
  Major-General                                    29th April, 1802.
  Lieutenant-General                               25th April, 1808.
  General, in Spain and Portugal                    31st July, 1811.
  Field-Marshal                                     21st June, 1813.

  Governor of Seringapatam                            6th May, 1799.
  The inhabitants of Calcutta vote a
    sword of the value of 1,000_l._ to
    Major-General Wellesley                     21st February, 1804.
  The officers of his division vote to
    Major-General Wellesley a gold
    vase, which is afterwards changed
    to a service of plate embossed with
    “Assye.”                                    26th February, 1804.
  Appointed a Knight Companion of
    the Bath                                    1st September, 1804.
  Thanked by parliament                             8th March, 1805.
  Returned to serve in parliament                  12th April, 1806.
  Sworn a Privy Counsellor                          8th April, 1807.
  Secretary to Ireland                             19th April, 1807.
  Negotiates capitulation at Copenhagen         5th September, 1807.
  Thanked in parliament for the same.            1st February, 1808.
  A piece of plate, commemorating the
    battle of Vimeiro, voted to Lieutenant-General
    Sir Arthur Wellesley
    by the general and field-officers
    who served at it                               22d August, 1808.
  Thanked in parliament for Vimeiro              27th January, 1809.
  Appointed to command the army in
    Portugal                                         2d April, 1809.
  Appointed Marshal-General of the
    Portuguese army                                  6th July, 1809.
  Created Baron Douro of Wellesley
    and Viscount Wellington of Talavera           26th August, 1809.
  Thanks of parliament voted for Talavera        1st February, 1810.
  Pension of 2,000_l._ per annum, voted
    to him and his two succeeding
    heirs male                                  16th February, 1810.
  Thanks of parliament for the liberation
    of Portugal                                    26th April, 1811.
  License granted in the name of the
    King by the Prince Regent, to
    accept the title of Conde do Vimeiro,
    and the insignia of Knight
    Grand-Cross of the Tower and
    Sword from the prince regent of
    Portugal                                     26th October, 1811.
  Created by the regency of Spain a
    Grandé, with the title of Duque
    de Ciudad-Rodrigo                                 January, 1812.
  Thanks of parliament for Ciudad-Rodrigo       10th February, 1812.
  Advanced in the British peerage by
    the title of Earl Wellington                18th February, 1812.
  Voted 2,000_l._ per annum in addition         21st February, 1812.
  Thanks of parliament for Badajoz                 27th April, 1812.
  The order of the Golden Fleece conferred
    by the regency of Spain                              July, 1812.
  Appointed Generalissimo of the
    Spanish armies                                12th August, 1812.
  Advanced in the British peerage by
    the title of Marquis of Wellington.           18th August, 1812.
  Advanced by the regent of Portugal
    to the title of Marquez de
    Torres-Vedras                              12th September, 1812.
  Thanks of parliament for Salamanca.             3d December, 1812.
  A grant of 100,000_l._ from parliament,
    to be laid out in the purchase of
    lands as a reward for his services.          7th December, 1812.
  Advanced by the regent of Portugal
    to the title of Duque da Victoria.          18th December, 1812.
  Elected a Knight of the Garter                    4th March, 1813.
  Thanks of parliament for the battle
    of Vittoria                                      8th July, 1813.
  The regency of Spain, on the proposition
    of the Cortes, offers to
    bestow on the Duque de Ciudad-Rodrigo
    the estate of Soto-de-Roma,
    in Granada                                       22d July, 1813.
  Thanks of parliament for San-Sebastian
    and the operations subsequent
    to Vittoria                                   8th October, 1813.
  The prince Regent grants permission
    to the Marquis of Wellington to
    accept and wear the insignia of
    Grand-Cross of the following orders:
      Imperial and Royal Austrian
      Military order of Maria-Theresa;
      Imperial Russian Military order of
      Royal Prussian Military order
        of the Black Eagle;
      Royal Swedish Military order
      of the Sword                                  4th March, 1814.

  Thanks of the Prince Regent and the
    parliament for Orthez                          24th March, 1814.
  Advanced in the British peerage by
    the titles of Marquis of Douro and
    Duke of Wellington                                 3d May, 1814.
  A grant of 400,000_l._ voted by parliament,
    in addition to the former
    grants                                          24th June, 1814.
  Ambassador to France                               5th July, 1814.
  Assists at Congress at Vienna                       January, 1815.
  Takes command of the British forces
    on the continent                               11th April, 1815.
  Battle of Waterloo                                18th June, 1815.
  Thanks of the Prince Regent and
    parliament for Waterloo                          22d June, 1815.
  A grant of 200,000_l._ voted by parliament,
    in addition to the former
    grants                                           6th July, 1815.
  Created Prince of Waterloo by the
    king of the Netherlands                         18th July, 1815.
  Commander in chief of the allied
    armies of occupation                          22d October, 1815.
  Appointed Field-Marshal in the Austrian,
    Russian and Prussian armies                 15th November, 1818.
  Visits Waterloo with George IV                  1st October, 1821.
  Commander in Chief                              22d January, 1827.
  First Lord of the Treasury                    13th February, 1828.
  Appointed Lord Warden of the
    Cinque Ports                                 20th January, 1829.
  Elected Chancellor of the University
    of Oxford                                    29th January, 1834.

[Illustration: (end of Note; decorative separator)]

No. IV.

The reader should be aware, that in military returns, the figures
which represent the strength of regiments often greatly exceed the
actual number of effective men _present_. There are always numerous
casualties, not accounted for in returns, particularly before a
battle. The _missing_ are not all eventually _loss_; for, if not
taken prisoners most of them join after the strife. The strength of
the British was of course greater on the 16th, before the action at
Quatre-Bras, where the loss was particularly severe, as may be seen
in the subjoined tables, in the 1st foot-guards, 1st Royal Scots,
32d, 33d, 42d, 44th, 69th, 79th, and 92d regiments.

The officers who afterwards died of their wounds, are here returned


  _of the strength (officers, non-commissionned officers, drummers,
  trumpeters, rank and file) of the British army, on the morning of
  the 18th of June 1815; and of the total loss, in killed, wounded
  and missing, on the three days: 16th, 17th, and 18th._


KILLED.—The duke of Brunswick, sir Thomas Picton, sir William
Ponsonby. _Colonel_ sir William De Lancey. _Lieutenant-colonel_
Currie. _Captains_: W. Crofton (54th Reg.), T. Smith (93d Reg.).

WOUNDED.—H.R.H. the prince of Orange. _Lieutenant-general_ sir G.
Cooke. _Major-generals_: Sir E. Barnes, sir James Kempt, sir Colin
Halkett, sir Denis Pack, sir Colquhoun Grant, sir W. Dornberg, sir
F. Adam. _Lieutenant-colonels_: Waters, sir G. Berkeley (35th Reg.).
_Majors_: A. Hamilton, Hunter Blair, Hon. G. Dawson. _Captains_: Hon.
E. S. Erskine, E. Fitzgerald (25th Reg.), W. Murray, H. Seymour, T.
Wright, H. M^cLeod, J. Mitchell (25th Reg.), J. Tyler, A. Langton, H.
Dumaresque. _Lieutenants_: W. Havelock (43d Reg.), J. Hamilton (46th
Reg.), J. Rooke, D. Hall.

Officers who were killed or wounded, serving on the staff but
belonging to regiments which were on the field, are here included in
the returns of their respective regiments.

By adding together the figures in the first two columns opposite to
any regiment, the reader may obtain its total effective strength, at
the opening of the campaign.

      (page 238)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                     |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                     |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS KILLED.              |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                     |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                     |
  |  1st Life- |   245  | 18  |  65 |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Ferrior.        |
  |   Guards.  |        |     |     |_Captain_ Lind.                      |
  |  2d Life-  |   235  |  ”  | 155 |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Fitzgerald.     |
  |   Guards.  |        |     |     |                                     |
  |Royal Horse-|        |     |     |                                     |
  |   Guards.  |   246  |  8  |  98 |_Major_ R. Packe.                    |
  |  (Blues.)  |        |     |     |                                     |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Fuller.         |
  | 1st Dragoon|   571  |  ”  | 246 |_Majors_: Graham, Bringhurst.        |
  |   Guards.  |        |     |     |_Captain_ Battersby. _Lieutenant_:   |
  |            |        |     |     |Brooke. Schelver, _adjutant_.        |
  |            |        |     |     |_Cornet_ Hon. B. Bernard.            |
  |            |        |     |     |_Captains_: E. Windsor, C. Foster.   |
  |  1st Royal |   428  |  ”  | 196 |_Lieutenant_ R. Magniac. _Cornet_    |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     | J. Sykes. Shepley, _adjutant_.      |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ J. Hamilton.    |
  |  2d Royal  |        |     |     |_Captain_ T. Reignolds. _Cornets_:   |
  |  Dragoons. |   442  |  ”  | 199 |E. Westby, H. C. Kinchant,           |
  | (Scots     |        |     |     |L. Barnard, T. Trotter, L. Shuldham. |
  |   Greys.)  |        |     |     |                                     |
  | 6th (Innis-|        |     |     |                                     |
  |   killing) |   445  |  ”  | 217 |_Lieutenant_ P. Ruffe.               |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |M^cCluskey, _adjutant_.              |

      (page 239)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                       |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                       |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS WOUNDED.               |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                       |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                       |
  |  1st Life- |   245  | 18  |  65 |_Captains_: J. Whale, E. Kelly,        |
  |   Guards.  |        |     |     |S. Richardson, S. Cox.                 |
  |  2d Life-  |   235  |  ”  | 155 |_Lieutenant_ Waymouth.                 |
  |   Guards.  |        |     |     |                                       |
  |Royal Horse-|        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: Sir J. Elley,   |
  |   Guards.  |   246  |  8  |  98 |sir R. C. Hill, C. Hill. _Lieutenants_:|
  |  (Blues.)  |        |     |     |C. Shawe, E. W. Bouverie.              |
  |            |        |     |     |                                       |
  | 1st Dragoon|   571  |  ”  | 246 |_Captains_: M. Turner, P. Sweny,       |
  |   Guards.  |        |     |     |J. Naylor, _Lieutenant_ D. Irvine.     |
  |            |        |     |     |_Major_ C. Radclyffe. _Captain_        |
  |  1st Royal |   428  |  ”  | 196 |A. Clark. _Lieutenants_: G. Gunning,   |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |T. Keily, S. Trafford, C. Ommaney,     |
  |            |        |     |     |C. Blois, S. Goodenough, S. Wyndowe.   |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: J. B. Clarke,   |
  |  2d Royal  |        |     |     |T. P. Hankin. _Major_ R. Vernon.       |
  |  Dragoons. |   442  |  ”  | 199 |_Captain_ J. Poole. _Lieutenants_:     |
  | (Scots     |        |     |     |J. Mills, F. Stupart, J. Carruthers,   |
  |   Greys.)  |        |     |     |C. Wyndham.                            |
  | 6th (Innis-|        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: J. Muter,       |
  |   killing) |   445  |  ”  | 217 |F. S. Miller, W. F. Browne.            |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |_Captain_ Hon. S. Douglas.             |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant_ A. Hassard.               |

      (page 240)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                     |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                     |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS KILLED.              |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                     |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                     |
  |     7th    |   362  | 46  | 150 |_Major_ E Hodge. _Lieutenant_        |
  |   Hussars. |        |     |     |A. Meyers.                           |
  |     10th   |   452  |  ”  |  94 |_Major_ Hon. F. Howard.              |
  |   Hussars. |        |     |     |_Lieutenant_ G. Gunning.             |
  | 11th Light |   435  |  3  |  73 |_Lieutenant_ E. Phelips.             |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |                                     |
  | 12th Light |   427  |  ”  | 111 |_Captain_ E. Sandys. _Lieutenant_    |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |L. J. Bertie. _Cornet_ E. Lockhart.  |
  | 13th Light |   448  |  1  | 105 |_Captain_ J. Gubbins.                |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |                                     |
  |    15th    |   417  |  ”  |  70 |_Major_ E. Griffith.                 |
  |  Hussars.  |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: J. Sherwood,          |
  |            |        |     |     |H. Buckley.                          |
  | 13th Light |   434  |  ”  |  32 |_Captain_ J. Buchanan.               |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |_Cornet_ A. Hay.                     |
  |   18th     |   442  |  2  | 102 |               ”                     |
  | Hussars.   |        |     |     |                                     |
  | 23rd Light |        |     |     |                                     |
  |  Dragoons. |   341  |  6  |  72 |_Lieutenant_ S. Coxen.               |

      (page 241)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                       |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                       |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS WOUNDED.               |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                       |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                       |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-general_ the earl of       |
  |            |        |     |     |Uxbridge. _Major_ W. Thornhill.        |
  |     7th    |   362  | 46  | 150 |_Captains_: W. Verner, T. W.           |
  |   Hussars. |        |     |     |Robbins, P. A. Heyliger, T. Wildman,   |
  |            |        |     |     |J. J. Frazer, J. D. Elphistone.        |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: R. Douglas, J. R.       |
  |            |        |     |     |Gordon, E. J. Peters, F. Beatty.       |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ G. Quentin.       |
  |     10th   |   452  |  ”  |  94 |_Captains_: J. Grey, Gurwood, C. Wood. |
  |   Hussars. |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: H. Arnold, A. Bacon.    |
  | 11th Light |   435  |  3  |  73 |_Lieutenants_: F. Wood, R. Coles,      |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |J. T. Moore, R. Milligan. _Cornet_     |
  |            |        |     |     |J. A. Schreiber.                       |
  | 12th Light |   427  |  ”  | 111 |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Hon. F. Ponsonby. |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |_Lieutenant_ W. H.  Dowbiggen.         |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Boyse. _Captain_  |
  | 13th Light |   448  |  1  | 105 |J. Doherty. _Lieutenant_: G. Doherty,  |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |C. R. Bowers, J. Geale, G. Pym,        |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Mill, G. H. Packe, J. E. Irving.    |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ L. Dalrymple.     |
  |    15th    |   417  |  ”  |  70 |_Captains_: J. Thuckwell, J. Whiteford,|
  |  Hussars.  |        |     |     |J. Buckley._Lieutenants_: W. Byam,     |
  |            |        |     |     |E. Byam, G. F. Dawkens, R. Mansfield.  |
  | 18th Light |   434  |  ”  |  32 |_Lieutenant-colonel_ J. Hay. _Captain_ |
  |  Dragoons. |        |     |     |R. Weyland. _Lieutenants_: W. Osten,   |
  |            |        |     |     |N. D. Crichton.                        |
  |   18th     |   442  |  2  | 102 |_Lieutenant_ C. Hesse.                 |
  | Hussars.   |        |     |     |H. Duperier, _adjutant_.               |
  | 23rd Light |        |     |     |_Major_ J. M. Cutcliffe. _Captains_:   |
  |  Dragoons. |   341  |  6  |  72 |C. W. Dance, T. Gerrard.               |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: T. B. Wall, B. Disney.  |

      (page 242)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                     |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                     |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS KILLED.              |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                     |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                     |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: Sir           |
  |  1st Foot- |        |     |     |F. D’Oyley, W. H. Milnes, Thomas     |
  |   Guards,  |   781  | 285 | 153 |Miller. _Captains_: T. Brown, Robert |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |Adair. _Lieutenant_ Hon.             |
  |            |        |     |     |T. Barrington.                       |
  |  1st Foot- |        |     |     |_Colonels_: E. Stables, C. Thomas.   |
  |   Guards,  |   860  | 262 | 342 |_Captains_: E. Grose, N. Chambers.   |
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     |_Ensigns_: E. Pardoe, James,         |
  |            |        |     |     |Lord Hay.                            |
  | Coldstream |        |     |     |_Captains_: J. L. Blackman,          |
  |   Guards,  |  1,045 |  ”  | 308 |E. Sumner, G. R. Buckley,            |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |G. H. Percival.                      |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: Hon. Sir      |
  |  3d Foot-  |  1,056 |   7 | 239 |Alexander Gordon, C. F. Canning.     |
  |   Guards   |        |     |     |_Captains_: S. W. Stothert,          |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |T. Crawford, J. Ashton, Hon. H.      |
  |            |        |     |     |Forbes. _Ensign_ C. Simpson.         |
  |            |        |     |     |_Captain_ W. Buckley. _Lieutenants_: |
  | 1st Royal  |        |     |     |J. Armstrong, J. E. O’Neill,         |
  |   Scots,   |   453  | 218 | 144 |W. Young. _Ensigns_: Robertson,      |
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     |Kennedy, Anderson.                   |

      (page 243)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                       |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                       |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |      OFFICERS WOUNDED.                |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                       |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                       |
  |            |        |     |     |_Colonels_: Askew, R. H. Cooke.        |
  |  1st Foot- |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: Sir H. Bradford,|
  |   Guards,  |   781  | 285 | 153 |sir Henry Hardinge*, sir T. N. Hill,   |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |lord Fitzroy Somerset. _Captains_:     |
  |            |        |     |     |Hon. O. Bridgeman, J. Simpson,         |
  |            |        |     |     |S. Burgess. _Lieutenants_: G. Fludyer, |
  |            |        |     |     |T. C. Croft, F. Luttrell,  C. P. Ellis,|
  |            |        |     |     |Hon. H. Lascelles.                     |
  |  1st Foot- |        |     |     |_Colonels_: Hon. W. Stewart, Hon. H.   |
  |   Guards,  |   860  | 262 | 342 |Townshend, H. D’Oyley, G. Fead.        |
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     |_Captains_: R. Adair, T. Streatfield,  |
  |            |        |     |     |Hon. R. Clements. _Lieutenants_:       |
  |            |        |     |     |R. Batty, R.Bruce, W. Barton.          |
  | Coldstream |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: J. M^cDonell,   |
  |   Guards,  |  1,045 |  ”  | 308 |D. M^cKinnon, Hon. A. Abercromby, C. H.|
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |Wyndham. _Captains_: Hon. R. Moore,    |
  |            |        |     |     |Hon. E. Lascelles. _Lieutenants_:      |
  |            |        |     |     |H. Griffiths, J. Montague, H. Vane.    |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: C. Dashwood,    |
  |  3d Foot-  |  1,056 |   7 | 239 |E. Bowater, C. West. _Captains_: R. B. |
  |   Guards   |        |     |     |Hesketh, G. Evelyn, H. Montgomery.     |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: C. Lake, D. Baird.      |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_: C. Campbell.     |
  |            |        |     |     |_Majors_: L. Arguimbau, R. M^cDonald,  |
  | 1st Royal  |        |     |     |H. Massey. _Captain_ R. Dudgeon.       |
  |   Scots,   |   453  | 218 | 144 |_Lieutenants_: A. Morrison, W. J. Rea, |
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     |J. Ingram, W. Clarke, A. Cameron,      |
  |            |        |     |     |_adjutant_; J. Stoyte, R. Scott,       |
  |            |        |     |     |G. Lane, J. Symes, J. Alstone, J. Mann,|
  |            |        |     |     |W. Dobbs, J. F. W. Millar, G. Stewart, |
  |            |        |     |     |J. L. Black. _Ensigns_: C. Graham,     |
  |            |        |     |     |T. Stephens, J. M^cKay, L. M. Cooper.  |
  |            |        |     |     |_Quarter-master_ T. Griffiths.         |

                                        * Wounded at Ligny.

      (page 244)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                     |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                     |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS KILLED.              |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                     |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                     |
  |   4th Reg. |        |     |     |                                     |
  |     Foot,  |   670  |  ”  | 134 |_Lieutenant_ W. Squire.              |
  |   1st Bat. |        |     |     |                                     |
  |  14th Reg. |        |     |     |                                     |
  |     Foot,  |   630  |  ”  |  36 |             ”                       |
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     |                                     |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ sir H. W. Ellis.|
  |  23d Royal |   741  |  ”  | 478 |_Captains_: Hawtyn, C. Jolliffe,     |
  |    Welsh   |        |     |     |T. Farmer. _Lieutenants_:            |
  |  Fuzileers |        |     |     |G. Fensham, J. Clyde,                |
  |   1st Bat. |        |     |     |W. Leebody (24th).                   |
  |27th (Innis-|        |     |     |                                     |
  |  killing)  |   750  |  ”  | 104 |_Captain_ G. Holmes. _Ensign_        |
  | Reg. Foot. |        |     |     |J. Ireland.                          |
  |  28th Reg. |   556  |  75 | 177 |_Major_ W. P. Meacham.               |
  |    Foot.   |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: J. Clarke, C. Ingram. |
  |            |        |     |     |_Major_ T. Chambers. _Captain_       |
  |  30th Reg. |        |     |     |A. M. Nabb. _Lieutenants_: H. Beere, |
  |    Foot.   |   635  |  51 | 228 |E. Prendergast. _Ensigns_: J. James, |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Bullen.                           |

      (page 245)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                       |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                       |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |        OFFICERS WOUNDED.              |
  |            |  18th. | and |18th.|                                       |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                       |
  |   4th Reg. |        |     |     |_Captains_: G. D. Wilson, C. J. Edgell.|
  |     Foot,  |   670  |  ”  | 134 |_Lieutenants_: J. Browne, G. Smith,    |
  |   1st Bat. |        |     |     |H. Boyd, A. Gerard. _Ensigns_: W. M.   |
  |            |        |     |     |Mathews, B. Collins, G. Richardson.    |
  |  14th Reg. |        |     |     |                                       |
  |     Foot,  |   630  |  ”  |  36 |_Ensigns_: A. Cooper, A. Ormsby (24th).|
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     |                                       |
  |  23d Royal |   741  |  ”  | 478 |_Captains_: H. Johnson, J. H. Hill.    |
  |    Welsh   |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: A. Griffiths, Fielding. |
  |  Fuzileers |        |     |     | _Quarter-master_ A. Sidley.           |
  |   1st Bat. |        |     |     |                                       |
  |27th (Innis-|        |     |     |_Captains_: J. Hare, J. Tucker,        |
  |  killing)  |   750  |  ”  | 104 |_Lieutenants_: G. M^cDonnell,          |
  | Reg. Foot. |        |     |     |W. Henderson, R. Handcock, E. Drewe,   |
  |            |        |     |     |W. Fortescue, J. Millar, C. Manley,    |
  |            |        |     |     |T. Craddock. _Ensigns_: T. Handcock,   |
  |            |        |     |     | T. Smith, J. Ditmas.                  |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Nixon. _Captains_:|
  |  28th Reg. |   556  |  75 | 177 |R. Llewellyn, R. Kelly, J. Bowles,     |
  |    Foot.   |        |     |     |T. English, C. Teulon. _Lieutenants_:  |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Wilkinson, R. Gilbert, R. P. Eason, |
  |            |        |     |     |W. Irwin, H. Hilliard, J. Coen,        |
  |            |        |     |     |C. Carrothers,  J. Shelton, J. Deares. |
  |            |        |     |     |_Ensign_: Mountsteven, H. Bridgeland,  |
  |            |        |     |     |_adjutant_.                            |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Hamilton._Majors_:|
  |  30th Reg. |        |     |     |W. Bailey, C. A. Vigoureux. _Captain_  |
  |    Foot.   |   635  |  51 | 228 |A. Gore. _Lieutenants_: R. C. Elliott, |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Rumley, R. Daniell, J. Roe, R.      |
  |            |        |     |     |Hugues, P. Lockwood, J. Pratt,         |
  |            |        |     |     |W. O. Warren, T. Monypenny. M. Andrews,|
  |            |        |     |     |_adjutant_.                            |

      (page 246)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                     |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                     |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS KILLED.              |
  |            |  18TH. | and |18th.|                                     |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                     |
  |   32d Reg. |   503  | 196 | 174 |_Captains_: J. Boyce, T. Cassan,     |
  |     Foot.  |        |     |     |E. Whitty.                           |
  |   33d Reg. |   576  | 106 | 185 |_Captains_: J. Haigh, H. R. Buck.    |
  |    Foot,   |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: J. Boyce, A. Gore,    |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |T. D. Haigh, J. Cameron, J. Hart.    |
  |  40th Reg. |   862  |  ”  | 219 |_Major_ R. Heyland. _Captain_        |
  |    Foot.   |        |     |     |W. Fisher.                           |
  |     42d    |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ sir R. M^c Ara. |
  |Highlanders,|   329  | 288 |  49 |_Captain_ G. Davidson.               |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |_Lieutenant_ R. Gordon.              |
  |            |        |     |     |_Ensign_ G. Gerard.                  |
  |  44th Reg. |        |     |     |_Lieutenant_ W. Tomkins.             |
  |    Foot,   |   480  | 138 |  64 |_Ensign_ P. Cooke.                   |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |                                     |

      (page 247)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                       |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                       |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |        OFFICERS WOUNDED.              |
  |            |  18TH. | and |18th.|                                       |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                       |
  |            |        |     |     |_Captains_: W. H. Toole, J. Crowe,     |
  |            |        |     |     |H. Harrison, C. Wallett. _Lieutenants_:|
  |   32d Reg. |   503  | 196 | 174 |H. W. Brookes, G. Barr, M. Meighan, D. |
  |     Foot.  |        |     |     |Davies, _adjutant_; J Boase, T. R.     |
  |            |        |     |     |Lewin, H. Butterworth, J. Colthurst,   |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Robinson, J. Fitzgerald, T. Horan,  |
  |            |        |     |     |E. Stephen, H. Quill, J. Jagoe, S. H.  |
  |            |        |     |     |Lawrence. _Ensigns_: H. Metcalfe,      |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Birtwhistle, A. Stewart, W. Bennett,|
  |            |        |     |     |C. Dallas, J. M. Conchy.               |
  |   33d Reg. |   576  | 106 | 185 |_Major_ E. Parkinson. _Captains_: M^c  |
  |    Foot,   |        |     |     |Intyre, C. Knight, Harty._Lieutenants_:|
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |T. Reid, J. Murkland, R. Westmore, J.  |
  |            |        |     |     |Ogle, S. Pagan, J. Furlong. _Ensigns_: |
  |            |        |     |     |H. Bain,  J. Alderson, J. A. Howard,   |
  |            |        |     |     |G. Drury. W. Thain, _adjutant_.        |
  |            |        |     |     |_Captains_: C. Ellis, J. Barnett.      |
  |  40th Reg. |   862  |  ”  | 219 |_Lieutenants_: R. Moore, J. Anthony,   |
  |    Foot.   |        |     |     |J. Mill, T. Campbell, Hon. H. Browne.  |
  |            |        |     |     |_Ensigns_: J. Robb, F. Ford, A. Clerke.|
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ R. Dick. _Major_  |
  |     42d    |        |     |     |A. Menzies. _Captains_: M. M^c Pherson,|
  |Highlanders,|   329  | 288 |  49 |D. M^c Donald, D. M^c Intosh, R. Boyle.|
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: D. Chisholm, D. Stewart,|
  |            |        |     |     |D. M^c Kenzie, H. A. Fraser, J.        |
  |            |        |     |     |Malcolm, A. Dunbar, J. Brander, J. Orr,|
  |            |        |     |     |G. G. Munro. _Ensigns_: W. Fraser,     |
  |            |        |     |     |A. L. Fraser. J. Young, _adjutant_.    |
  |            |        |     |     |_Quarter-master_ M^cIntosh.            |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: Hamerton, G.    |
  |  44th Reg. |        |     |     |O’Malley. _Captains_: A. Brugh, D.     |
  |    Foot,   |        |     |     |Power, W. Burney, M. Fane, J. Jessop.  |
  |   2d Bat.  |   480  | 138 |  64 |_Lieutenants_: R. Russell, R. Grier,   |
  |            |        |     |     |W. B. Strong, J. Campbell, J Burke,    |
  |            |        |     |     |W. Hern. _Ensigns_: C. Christie, B.    |
  |            |        |     |     |Whitney, T. M^cCann. _adjutants_: J. C.|
  |            |        |     |     |Webster, A. Wilson.                    |

      (page 248)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                     |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                     |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS KILLED.              |
  |            |  18TH. | and |18th.|                                     |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                     |
  | 51st Light |        |     |     |                                     |
  |  Infantry. |   619  |  ”  |  42 |               ”                     |
  | 52d Light  | 1,148  |  ”  | 199 |_Ensign_ W. Nettles.                 |
  | Infantry.  |        |     |     |                                     |
  |  69th Reg. |        |     |     | _Colonel_ C. Morice. _Captains_:    |
  |    Foot,   |   541  | 155 |  85 | B. Hobhouse, Hon. W. Curzon,        |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     | P. Blackwood. _Lieutenant_          |
  |            |        |     |     | M. Wightwick.                       |
  |    71st    |        |     |     |                                     |
  | (Highland) |        |     |     |_Captain_ E. L’Estrange.             |
  |   Light    |   929  |  ”  | 202 |_Lieutenants_: J. R. Elwes, J. Todd. |
  | Infantry.  |        |     |     |                                     |
  |            |        |     |     |_Captains_: A. Robertson,            |
  |  73d Reg.  |        |     |     |J. M. Kennedy. _Lieutenants_:        |
  |    Foot,   |   498  |  56 | 280 |J. Strachan, W. Hollis, J. Acres,    |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |Brown. _Ensigns_: W. S. Lowe,        |
  |            |        |     |     |C. Page.                             |
  |            |        |     |     |_Captains_: M^cKay, M^cRa, Neil      |
  |            |        |     |     |Campbell, J. Cameron, J. Sinclair.   |
  |    79th    |   440  | 304 | 175 |_Lieutenants_: D. Cameron,           |
  |Highlanders.|        |     |     |D. M^cPherson, E. Kennedy,           |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Kynock. _adjutant_, J. Rowling.   |

      (page 249)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                       |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                       |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |         OFFICERS WOUNDED.             |
  |            |  18TH. | and |18th.|                                       |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                       |
  | 51st Light |        |     |     |_Captain_ S. Beardsley. _Lieutenant_   |
  |  Infantry. |   619  |  ”  |  42 |C. W. Tyndale.                         |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ J. Rowan.         |
  | 52d Light  | 1,148  |  ”  | 199 |_Captains_: W. Rowan, J. F. Love, C.   |
  | Infantry.  |        |     |     |Diggle. _Lieutenants_: C. Dawson, M.   |
  |            |        |     |     |Anderson, G. Campbell, F. Cottingham.  |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Winterbottom, _adjutant_.           |
  |  69th Reg. |        |     |     |_Captains_: J. L. Watson, H. Lindsay.  |
  |    Foot,   |   541  | 155 |  85 |_Lieutenants_: H. Anderson, J. Stewart,|
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |B. Pigot, C. Busteed. _Ensign_ E.      |
  |            |        |     |     |Hodder. _Volunteer_ Clarke.            |
  |    71st    |        |     |     |_Colonel_ T. Reyneel. _Major_ A. Jones.|
  | (Highland) |        |     |     |_Captains_: D. Campbell, A. Grant, J.  |
  |   Light    |   929  |  ”  | 202 |Henderson, C. Johnstone. _Lieutenants_:|
  | Infantry.  |        |     |     |J. Barralier, R. Lind, J. Roberts, C.  |
  |            |        |     |     |Lewin, R. Law, J. Coote, W. Hanson.    |
  |            |        |     |     |W. Anderson, _adjutant_.               |
  |            |        |     |     |_Colonel_ G. Harris. _Major_ A. J.     |
  |  73d Reg.  |        |     |     |M^cLean. _Captains_: A. Coane, E. T.   |
  |    Foot,   |   498  |  56 | 280 |Pirch, W. Wharton, J. Garland.         |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: J. M^cConnell, T.       |
  |            |        |     |     |Reynolds, D. Browne, J. Lloyd.         |
  |            |        |     |     |_Ensigns_: R. Hesilrige, T. Deacon,    |
  |            |        |     |     |W. M^cBean, C. B. Eastwood, G. D.      |
  |            |        |     |     |Bridge. P. Hay, _adjutant_.            |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonels_: N. Douglas,     |
  |            |        |     |     |A. Brown, D. Cameron. _Captains_:      |
  |            |        |     |     |T. Mylne, J. Campbell, N. Campbell,    |
  |    79th    |   440  | 304 | 175 |W. Marshall, M. Fraser, W. Bruce. _    |
  |Highlanders.|        |     |     |Lieutenants_: A. Cameron, T. Brown,    |
  |            |        |     |     |W. Maddocks, W. Leaper, J. Fraser,     |
  |            |        |     |     |D. M^cPhee, E. Cameron, A. Forbes,     |
  |            |        |     |     |C. M^cArthur, J. Powling, W. A. Riach. |
  |            |        |     |     |_Ensigns_: J. Nash, J. Robertson,      |
  |            |        |     |     |A. S. Crawford. _Volunteer_ Cameron.   |

      (page 250)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                     |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                     |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |       OFFICERS KILLED.              |
  |            |  18TH. | and |18th.|                                     |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                     |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ Cameron.        |
  |     92d    |        |     |     |_Captains_: W. C. Grant, gu. Little. |
  |Highlanders.|   422  | 286 | 116 |_Lieutenants_: J. Chisholm,          |
  |            |        |     |     |G. Mackie, _Ensigns_: A. Beecher,    |
  |            |        |     |     |R. M^cPherson.                       |
  |95th Rifles,|   418  |  64 | 156 |_Majors_: C. Smith, C. Ecles.        |
  |  1st Bat.  |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: J. Stilwell,          |
  |            |        |     |     |E. D. Johnston.                      |
  |95th Rifles,|   655  |   ” | 246 |_Lieutenant_ Backhouse.              |
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |                                     |
  |95th Rifles,|        |     |     |                                     |
  |two companies|  202  |   ” |  50 |_Lieutenant_ W. Lister.              |
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     |                                     |
  |    Royal   |  4,944 |  28 | 476 |_Majors_: Lloyd, N. Ramsay,          |
  | Artillery. |        |     |     |Cairnes, Beane, Bolton.              |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: W. L. Robe,           |
  |            |        |     |     |M. Cromie, C. Spearman,              |
  |            |        |     |     |F. Manners, F. Troughton.            |

      (page 251)
  |            |        |LOSS ON THE|                                       |
  |            |STRENGTH|-----+-----|                                       |
  | REGIMENTS. | on the |16th |     |         OFFICERS WOUNDED.             |
  |            |  18TH. | and |18th.|                                       |
  |            |        |17th.|     |                                       |
  |            |        |     |     |_Colonel_ J. Mitchell. _Captains_:     |
  |     92d    |        |     |     |G. W. Holmes, D. Campbell, P. Wilkie,  |
  |Highlanders.|   422  | 286 | 116 |A. Ferrier. _Lieutenants_: R.          |
  |            |        |     |     |Winchester, T. Hobbs, T. M^cIntosh, D. |
  |            |        |     |     |M^cDonald, J. Ross, R. M^cDonald, H.   |
  |            |        |     |     |Innes, G. Logan, J. M^cInlay, A.       |
  |            |        |     |     |M^cPherson, J. Hope. _Ensigns_: J.     |
  |            |        |     |     |Branwell, R. Logan, A. M^cDonald, R.   |
  |            |        |     |     |Hewit._Assistant surgeon_ J. Stewart.  |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenant-colonel_ sir A. Barnard.   |
  |95th Rifles,|   418  |  64 | 156 |_Majors_: A. Cameron, Beckwith.        |
  |  1st Bat.  |        |     |     |_Captains_: E. Chawner, W. Johnston.   |
  |            |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: J. P. Gardner, J.       |
  |            |        |     |     |Fitzmaurice, W. Shenley, J. Molloy,    |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Gardner, G. Simmons, A. Stewart,    |
  |            |        |     |     |J. Wright, J. Church.                  |
  |            |        |     |     |_Majors_: A. Norcott, G. Wilkins.      |
  |95th Rifles,|   655  |   ” | 246 |_Captains_: G. Miller,J. G. M^cCulloch.|
  |   2d Bat.  |        |     |     |_Lieutenants_: Humbley, D. Cameron, E. |
  |            |        |     |     |Coxon, R. Cochran, J. Fry, J. Ridgeway,|
  |            |        |     |     |J. Lynam, R. Eyre, J. Walsh, P. Webb.  |
  |95th Rifles,|        |     |     |_Major_ J. Ross. Captain J. Fullerton. |
  |two companies|  202  |   ” |  50 |_Lieutenants_: T. Worsley,             |
  |   3d Bat.  |        |     |     | G. W. Shenly.                         |
  |            |        |     |     |_Captains_: Napier, J. Parker, Bull,   |
  |    Royal   |  4,944 |  28 | 476 |Winyates, Dansey, R. M^cDonald, Webber,|
  | Artillery. |        |     |     |W. Strangeway, D. Crawford, A.         |
  |            |        |     |     |M^cDonald. _Lieutenants_: W. Brereton, |
  |            |        |     |     |W. Smith, Barnes, Bloomfield, Barton,  |
  |            |        |     |     |Forbes, W. Harvey, Foster, D. Crawford,|
  |            |        |     |     |J. Day, W. Poole, C. H. Baines, T.     |
  |            |        |     |     |Harvey, J. W. Pringle. _Captain_ Robt. |
  |            |        |     |     |Thomson, _Royal Engineers_.            |

[Illustration: (end of Note; decorative separator)]

No. V.



_Marshal Blücher to Baron Müffling._

                                              “WAVRE, June 18th, 1815.

“Your Excellency will assure the duke of Wellington from me, that,
ill as I am, I shall place myself at the head of my troops, and
attack the right of the French, in case they undertake anything
against his Grace. If, on the other hand, the day should pass over
without their making any attack, it is then my opinion that we should
jointly attack them to-morrow.

“I beg your Excellency to convey to the Duke my full and firm
conviction, that this is the best measure to be adopted in our
present situation.


General count Gneisenau, the chief of the staff, felt alarmed at the
tenor of the above letter, which told plainly the decided manner it
was to be carried out. Fearing the Prussian army might be placed in
a dangerous situation, should the allies be forced to retire before
they could arrive, he wrote the following note:

“General count Gneisenau concurs with the views expressed in the
enclosed letter, but entreats your Excellency to ascertain most
particularly, whether the duke of Wellington _has really adopted the
decided resolution of fighting in his present position_; or whether
he only intends some demonstration, which might become very dangerous
to our army.

“Your Excellency will be so good as to acquaint us with the result of
your observations on this point, as it is of the greatest consequence
that we should be informed of the Duke’s real intention.”

_The Prince de la Moskowa to the Duc d’Otrante._


“The most false and defamatory reports have been spreading for some
days over the public mind, upon the conduct which I have pursued
during this short and unfortunate campaign. The newspapers have
reported those odious calumnies, and appear to lend them credit.
After having fought for twenty-five years for my country, after
having shed my blood for its glory and independence, an attempt is
made to accuse me of treason; an attempt is made to mark me out to
the people, and to the army itself, as the author of the disaster it
has just experienced.

“Forced to break silence, while it is always painful to speak of
one’s self, and, above all, to answer calumnies, I address myself to
you, sir, as the President of the Provisional Government, for the
purpose of laying before you a faithful statement of the events I
have witnessed.

“On the 11th of June, I received an order from the minister of
war to repair to the Imperial presence. I had no command, and no
information upon the composition and strength of the army. Neither
the Emperor nor his minister had given me any previous hint, from
which I could anticipate that I should be employed in the present
campaign; I was consequently taken by surprise, without horses,
without accoutrements, and without money, and I was obliged to
borrow the necessary expenses of my journey. Having arrived on the
12th at Laon, on the 13th at Avesnes, and on the 14th at Beaumont,
I purchased, in this last town, two horses from the duc de Trévise,
with which I repaired, on the 15th, to Charleroi, accompanied by my
first aide-de-camp, the only officer who attended me. I arrived at
the moment when the enemy, attacked by our troops, was retreating
upon Fleurus and Gosselies.

“The Emperor ordered me immediately to put myself at the head of
the 1st and 2d corps of infantry, commanded by lieutenant-generals
d’Erlon and Reille, of the division of light cavalry of
lieutenant-general Piré, of the division of light cavalry of the
guard under the command of lieutenant-general Lefebvre-Desnouettes
and Colbert, and of two divisions of cavalry of count de Valmy;
forming, in all, eight divisions of infantry, and four of cavalry.
With these troops, a part of which only I had as yet under my
immediate command, I pursued the enemy, and forced him to evacuate
Gosselies, Frasnes, Mellet, Heppignies. There they took up a position
for the night, with the exception of the first corps, which was still
at Marchiennes, and which did not join me till the following day.

“On the 16th, I received orders to attack the English in their
position at Quatre-Bras. We advanced towards the enemy with
an enthusiasm difficult to be described. Nothing resisted our
impetuosity. The battle became general, and victory was no longer
doubtful, when, at the moment that I intended to order up the first
corps of infantry, which had been left by me in reserve at Frasnes, I
learned that the Emperor had disposed of it without adverting me of
the circumstance, as well as of the division of Girard of the second
corps, on purpose to direct them upon St.-Amand, and to strengthen
his left wing, which was vigorously engaged with the Prussians.
The shock which this intelligence gave me, confounded me. Having
no longer under me more than three divisions, instead of the eight
upon which I calculated, I was obliged to renounce the hopes of
victory; and, in spite of all my efforts, in spite of the intrepidity
and devotion of my troops, my utmost efforts after that could only
maintain me in my position till the close of the day. About nine
o’clock, the first corps was sent me by the Emperor, to whom it had
been of no service. Thus twenty-five or thirty thousand men were, I
may say, paralyzed, and were idly paraded during the whole of the
battle from the right to the left, and the left to the right, without
firing a shot.

“It is impossible for me, sir, not to arrest your attention for a
moment upon these details, in order to bring before your view all
the consequences of this false movement, and, in general, of the
bad arrangements during the whole of the day. By what fatality,
for example, did the Emperor, instead of leading all his forces
against lord Wellington, who would have been attacked unawares,
and could not have resisted, consider this attack as secondary?
How did the Emperor, after the passage of the Sambre, conceive it
possible to fight two battles on the same day? It was to oppose
forces double ours, and to do what military men who were witnesses
of it can scarcely yet comprehend. Instead of this, had he left a
corps of observation to watch the Prussians, and marched with his
most powerful masses to support me, the English army had undoubtedly
been destroyed between Quatre-Bras and Genappe; and this position,
which separated the two allied armies, being once in our power, would
have opened for the Emperor an opportunity of advancing to the right
of the Prussians, and of crushing them in their turn. The general
opinion in France, and especially in the army, was, that the Emperor
would have bent his whole efforts to annihilate first the English
army; and circumstances were favourable for the accomplishment of
such a project: but fate ordered otherwise.

“On the 17th, the army marched in the direction of Mont-St.-Jean.

“On the 18th, the battle began at one o’clock, and though
the bulletin, which details it, makes no mention of me, it
is not necessary for me to mention that I was engaged in it.
Lieutenant-general count Drouot has already spoken of that battle,
in the House of Peers. His narration is accurate, with the exception
of some important facts which he has passed over in silence, or of
which he was ignorant, and which it is now my duty to declare. About
seven o’clock in the evening, after the most frightful carnage which
I have ever witnessed, general Labédoyère came to me with a message
from the Emperor, that marshal Grouchy had arrived on our right, and
attacked the left of the English and Prussians united. This general
officer, in riding along the lines, spread this intelligence among
the soldiers, whose courage and devotion remained unshaken, and who
gave new proofs of them at that moment, in spite of the fatigue
which they experienced. Immediately after, what was my astonishment,
I should rather say indignation, when I learned, that so far from
marshal Grouchy having arrived to support us, as the whole army had
been assured, between forty and fifty thousand Prussians attacked
our extreme right, and forced it to retire!

“Whether the Emperor was deceived with regard to the time when the
marshal could support him, or whether the march of the marshal was
retarded by the efforts of the enemy longer than was calculated upon,
the fact is, that at the moment when his arrival was announced to us,
he was only at Wavre upon the Dyle, which to us was the same as if he
had been a hundred leagues from the field of battle.

“A short time afterwards, I saw four regiments of the middle guard,
conducted by the Emperor, arriving. With these troops, he wished
to renew the attack, and to penetrate the centre of the enemy. He
ordered me to lead them on: generals, officers, and soldiers, all
displayed the greatest intrepidity; but this body of troops was too
weak to resist, for a long time, the forces opposed to it by the
enemy, and it was soon necessary to renounce the hope which this
attack had, for a few moments, inspired. General Friant had been
struck with a ball by my side; and I myself had my horse killed,
and fell under it. The brave men who will return from this terrible
battle will, I hope, do me the justice to say, that they saw me on
foot with sword in hand during the whole of the evening, and that I
only quitted the scene of carnage among the last, and at the moment
when retreat could no longer be prevented. At the same time, the
Prussians continued their offensive movements, and our right sensibly
retired; the English advanced in their turn. There remained to us
still four squares of the old guard to protect the retreat. These
brave grenadiers, the choice of the army, forced successively to
retire, yielded ground foot by foot, till, overwhelmed by numbers,
they were almost entirely annihilated. From that moment, a retrograde
movement was declared, and the army formed nothing but a confused
mass. There was not, however, a total rout, nor the cry of _Sauve
qui peut_, as has been calumniously stated in the bulletin. As for
myself, constantly in the rear-guard, which I followed on foot,
having all my horses killed, worn out with fatigue, covered with
contusions, and having no longer strength to march, I owe my life
to a corporal who supported me on the road, and did not abandon me
during the retreat. At eleven at night, I found lieutenant-general
Lefebvre-Desnouettes; and one of his officers, major Schmidt, had
the generosity to give me the only horse that remained to him. In
this manner I arrived at Marchiennes-au-Pont at four o’clock in the
morning, alone, without any officers of my staff, ignorant of what
had become of the Emperor, who, before the end of the battle, had
entirely disappeared, and who, I was allowed to believe, might be
either killed or taken prisoner. General Pamphile Lacroix, chief of
the staff of the second corps, whom I found in this town, having told
me that the Emperor was at Charleroi, I was led to suppose that his
Majesty was going to put himself at the head of marshal Grouchy’s
corps, to cover the Sambre, and to facilitate to the troops the means
of rallying towards Avesnes, and, with this persuasion, I went to
Beaumont; but parties of cavalry following on too near, and having
already intercepted the roads of Maubeuge and Philippeville, I became
sensible of the total impossibility of arresting a single soldier
on that point, to oppose the progress of the victorious enemy. I
continued my march upon Avesnes, where I could obtain no intelligence
of what had become of the Emperor.

“In this state of matters, having no knowledge of his Majesty nor
of the Major-General, confusion increasing every moment, and, with
the exception of some fragments of regiments of the guard and of
the line, every one following his own inclination, I determined
immediately to go to Paris by St.-Quentin, to disclose, as quickly as
possible, the true state of affairs to the minister of war, that he
might send to the army some fresh troops, and take the measures which
circumstances rendered necessary. At my arrival at Bourget, (two
leagues from Paris,) I learned that the Emperor had passed there at
nine o’clock in the morning.

“Such, _M. le duc_, is the history of this calamitous campaign.

“Now I ask those who have survived this fine and numerous army, how I
can be accused of the disasters of which it has been the victim, and
of which our military annals furnish no example. I have, it is said,
betrayed my country, I who, to serve it, have shown a zeal which I
perhaps have carried to an extravagant height: but this calumny is
supported by no fact, by no circumstance. But how can these odious
reports, which spread with frightful rapidity, be arrested? If, in
the researches which I could make on this subject, I did not fear
almost as much to discover as to be ignorant of the truth, I would
say, that all was a tendency to convince that I have been unworthily
deceived, and that it is attempted to cover, with the pretence of
treason, the faults and extravagancies of this campaign; faults which
have not been avowed in the bulletins that have appeared, and against
which I in vain raised that voice of truth which I will yet cause to
resound in the House of Peers.

“I expect, from the candour of your Excellency, and from your
indulgence to me, that you will cause this letter to be inserted in
the _Journal_, and give it the greatest possible publicity.

                                        “MARSHAL PRINCE DE LA MOSKOWA.

  “PARIS, June 26th, 1815.”

[Illustration: (end of Note; decorative separator)]

No. VI.



At a period of the battle, when the Duke was surrounded by his staff,
it was evident they had become the object of the fire from a French
battery. The shot fell fast around them. Their horses became restive,
and Copenhagen himself (the Duke’s horse,) so fidgety, that the Duke
became impatient, and having reasons for remaining on the spot, said,
“Gentlemen, we are rather too close together: better divide a little.”

On one occasion Wellington rode up to Picton’s division, just as a
hot fire of musketry opened upon the 92d. The staff expected every
instant to see him drop, as he sat coolly watching the effect of the
enemy’s fire: but he remained untouched; as did also lord Arthur
Hill, who was the only officer that had accompanied him to the crest
of the ground.

During the battle, a British artillery officer rode up to the duke of
Wellington and said, “Your Grace, I have a distinct view of Napoleon,
attended by his staff: my guns are well pointed in that direction,
shall I open fire?” The Duke replied, “Certainly not, I will not
allow it; it is not the business of commanders to fire upon each

From this it is evident that circumstances alter cases, as may be
seen by the following expression of the Duke: “I cannot discover the
policy of not hitting one’s enemy as hard as one can, and in the most
vulnerable place.” (_Dispatches_, vol. XI, page 547.)

Whilst the Duke was occupied intently in observing with his telescope
a movement in the enemy’s line, some of their skirmishers were
pressing on, and the musket-balls began to whistle round his Grace in
such profusion, that colonel Gordon was induced to take the bridle of
the Duke’s charger, and lead him forward to a hollow, where he was in
shelter; and so intent was his Grace in observing the enemy, that it
was accomplished without his noticing it. Throughout this long and
trying day, the Duke was always to be seen where danger threatened,
or difficulties arose, fearlessly passing from point to point, and
constantly exposed to the fire of the enemy, protected doubtlessly by
a merciful and all-wise Providence, to add still further lustre to
his name by his continued services to his country.

During the heat of the battle, the Duke was about to pass in front of
a Nassau square, the troops composing which had served Napoleon, when
several of his staff requested his Grace to pass by its rear: had he
rode along the front, the simple process of pulling a single trigger
might have blasted all our expectations, and injured the cause of
Europe more than did the whole efforts of Napoleon and his army.

The arms, clothing, and general bearing of the Nassau-men were truly
French: their splendid rifle-green uniform, broad buff cross-belts,
handsome white cased cap and tall black plume, produced a martial and
imposing appearance.

A hussar and a cuirassier had got entangled in the _mêlée_, and met
in the plain, in full view of our line; the hussar was without a
cap, and bleeding from a wound in the head, but that did not hinder
him from attacking his steel-clad adversary. He soon proved that the
strength of cavalry consist in good horsemanship, and the skilful use
of the sword, and not in being clad in heavy defensive armour. The
superiority of the hussar was visible the moment the swords crossed:
after a few wheels a tremendous facer made the Frenchman reel in his
saddle, and all his attempts to escape his more active foe became
unavailing; a second blow stretched him on the ground, amidst the
cheers of the light horseman’s comrades, the 3d German hussars, who
were ardent spectators of the combat.

During the cavalry charges, a man, named Gilmore, of captain
Elphinstone’s troop, and belonging to my regiment, was lying under
his wounded grey horse, about two hundred yards in our front. The
cuirassiers were advancing; and as I was aware they spared none who
fell into their hands, I sprang from my saddle, soon reached the
spot, and seizing the bridle raised the horse’s head; when the animal
making a struggle, Gilmore was enabled to extricate himself, and to
reach our line just before the enemy’s cavalry came up. The pleasure
I felt on this occasion will be understood by any one who has had the
opportunity of saving life.—Two other human beings, one, a lad, David
Bale, at Clapham, in Surrey; another, a boy, named Tannis, in the
village of Mont-St.-Jean, I was providentially enabled to rescue from

I witnessed an encounter during the battle, between an artillery-man
and a cuirassier: the former was under his gun; the latter dodging
round, endeavouring to run his sword through him. At length the
cuirassier’s horse was shot, and the gunner, getting from his place
of shelter, dealt a blow with his ramrod upon the head of his
antagonist, which felled him to the ground: he then seized upon the
cuirassier’s sword, and collaring him, proceeded towards the rear.
On passing us, the gunner gave his prisoner a kick on the hind part
of his person, saying, “Be off to the rear.”

On the morning of the 18th, colonel Ellis, of the 23d Royal Welsh
fuzileers, issued an order that no man was to fall out of the ranks
to assist the wounded. Upon the colonel being severely wounded,
captain Brown ordered two men to follow and assist him to the rear;
but the gallant colonel declined their services, observing, “There
are not too many bayonets in the Royal Welsh, return to your post.”
This strict adherence to discipline, and disinterestedness, no doubt
cost him his life, and deprived the service of one of its brightest
ornaments. (See _Dispatches_, vol. XII, p. 610-611.)

The day before the battle of Waterloo, captain Elphinstone, of the
7th hussars, was grievously wounded and taken prisoner. His condition
was noticed by Napoleon, who immediately sent one of his surgeons
to dress his wounds; and perceiving that, from loss of blood,
Elphinstone had swooned away, he sent a silver goblet full of wine
from his own store. On the arrival of the Bellerophon in England,
lord Keith presented his grateful thanks to Napoleon, for having
saved the life of his nephew.

On the 29th of May, (prior to the battle,) we had a grand review
of the cavalry and horse artillery. After the review most of the
superior officers breakfasted with lord Uxbridge, at Ninove. Old
Blücher was amongst them, and openly declared, he had not given the
world credit for containing so many fine men as he had seen that day.
Our infantry, although not such fine-looking fellows, still bore away
the foremost laurels of the day of battle. On parting, Blücher wished
all a good day, exclaiming, “We shall soon meet again in Paris.”

In 1818, Blücher was one of a large party at Berlin, where much
merriment and jesting went on from the proposal and solution of
enigmas. Blücher at once absorbed the attention of all the guests,
by saying, “I will do what none of you can, I will kiss my own head;”
and while all were wondering how that was to be done, the old man
added with the utmost assurance, “This is the way;” when rising, he
approached his friend Gneisenau, whom he kissed and embraced most

Blücher, when at dinner with the ministers of several different
states of Europe, gave as a toast, “May the diplomatists not again
spoil with their pens, that which the armies have with so much cost
won with their swords!”

Happening to meet the Prussian minister, prince Hardenberg, he thus
boldly addressed him, “I only wish I had you gentlemen of the pen,
exposed for once to a pretty smart skirmishing fire, that you might
learn what it is when the soldier is obliged to repair with his
life’s blood the errors which you so thoughtlessly commit on paper.”

The following fact shows that no personal considerations restrained
him from indulging in his splenetic humour against the great
diplomatist of the day:

Nearly everybody knows that, immediately after the convention of
Paris, Blücher was desirous to destroy the bridge of Jena, and that
he would undoubtedly have carried his intentions into effect, had it
not been for the urgent representations of the duke of Wellington.

On that occasion, count von der Golz, formerly his aide-de-camp, and
then Prussian ambassador in Paris, made a written application to
him in behalf and in the name of prince Talleyrand, beseeching the
preservation of the bridge. Blücher replied in his own hand-writing,
“I have resolved upon blowing up the bridge, and I cannot conceal
from your Excellency how much pleasure it would afford me, if
Monsieur de Talleyrand would previously station himself upon it; and
I beg you will make my wish known to him.”

When Blücher was at Oxford, in 1814, with the emperors and kings, the
Prince Regent and the duke of Wellington, he received an intimation
that the heads of the University intended to confer upon him the
dignity of a Doctor. Blücher, who never dreamed of becoming one
of the learned, could not refrain from laughter, and jocularly
remarked, “Well, if I am to be a doctor, they cannot do less than
make Gneisenau an apothecary: for we both work together; and it
is he who has to make up the pills, which I am in the habit of

On the 15th of June, 1815, the French general Bourmont, colonels
Clouet and Villoutreys, with three captains, deserted Napoleon, and
came over to the Prussians. When Bourmont was presented to Blücher,
the latter could not refrain from evincing his contempt for the
faithless soldier. Some officers tried to impress him more favourably
towards the general, by directing his attention to the white
cockade which he wore in a conspicuous fashion: the Prince bluntly
remarked, “It matters not what a man sticks in his hat for a mark; a
mean-spirited scoundrel always remains the same.”

In a private letter from Blücher to sir Hudson Lowe, written many
months anterior to Bonaparte’s quitting Elba, after disavowing all
desire for future triumphs, he expressed a hope, that if again called
upon to act, it might be in conjunction with the general and army
that had immortalized themselves in the Peninsula, when Wellington
and himself would go hand in hand to victory. It was truly a
prophetic epistle.

“It has always occurred to me, however,” says the Duke, (upon the
battle of Leipsick,) “that if Bonaparte had not placed himself in a
position that every other officer would have avoided[111], and had
not remained in it longer than was consistent with any notions of
prudence, he would have retired in such a state, that the allies
could not have ventured to approach the Rhine.” (_Dispatches_, vol.
XI, page 435.)

It is always interesting to know what estimate great commanders
have formed of one another. During the Peninsular campaign, marshal
Marmont, with about sixty thousand men, approached Wellington’s
position at Fuente-Guinaldo, when the iron Duke’s force did not
exceed two thousand five hundred horse, and two weak divisions of
infantry. Still he exhibited the same coolness and imperturbable
self-possession, which, in emergency, invariably marked his
distinguished and successful career. On this occasion, the Spanish
general Alava, whose enlightened patriotism and high military
qualities had endeared him to the Duke, thus accosted him, “Here you
are with a couple of weak divisions in front of the whole French
army; and you seem quite at your ease! Why, it is enough to put
any man in a fever!”—“I have done according to the very best of my
judgment all that can be done,” was the characteristic reply of the
British commander, “and therefore I care not either for the enemy in
front, or for anything which they may say at home.”

Upon Marmont’s being informed, that, for thirty-six hours,
Wellington, with about fourteen thousand men, had lain within cannon
range of him, his astonishment was unbounded; and he is said to have
exclaimed, that, “Brilliant as was Napoleon’s star, Wellington’s was
more brilliant still.” Marshal Marmont’s discrimination was amply
proved at Waterloo.

Lieutenant-colonel Ponsonby, of the 12th light dragoons, gives the
following account of himself on being wounded. He says,

“In the _mêlée_ (thick of the fight) I was almost instantly disabled
in both my arms, losing first my sword, and then my rein; and,
followed by a few of my men who were presently cut down, no quarter
being asked or given, I was carried along by my horse, till,
receiving a blow from a sabre, I fell senseless on my face to the
ground. Recovering, I raised myself a little to look round, being
at that time in a condition to get up and run away, when a lancer
passing by, cried out, ‘_Tu n’es pas mort, coquin!_’ and struck his
lance through my back. My head dropped, the blood gushed into my
mouth, a difficulty of breathing came on, and I thought all was over.
Not long after, a skirmisher stopped to plunder me, threatening my
life: I directed him to a small side-pocket, in which he found three
dollars, all I had; but he continued to threaten, tearing open my
waistcoat, and leaving me in a very uneasy posture.

“But he was no sooner gone, than an officer bringing up some troops,
and happening to halt where I lay, stooped down, and addressing me,
said, he feared I was badly wounded. I answered that I was, and
expressed a wish to be moved to the rear. He said it was against
orders, to remove even their own men; but that, if they gained the
day, (and he understood that the duke of Wellington was killed, and
that six of our battalions had surrendered,) every attention in his
power should be shown me. I complained of thirst, and he held his
brandy bottle to my lips, directing one of his soldiers to lay me
straight on my side, and place a knapsack under my head: they then
passed on into action, soon perhaps to want, though not to receive,
the same assistance; and I shall never know to whose generosity I was
indebted, as I believe, for my life.

“By and by, another skirmisher came up, a fine young man, full of
ardour, loading and firing: he knelt down and fired over me many
times, conversing with me very gaily all the while: at last he ran
off, saying, ‘_Vous serez bien aise d’apprendre que nous allons nous
retirer. Bonjour, mon ami._’ (‘You will be pleased to learn that we
are going to fall back. Good day, my friend.’) It was dusk, when
two squadrons of Prussian cavalry crossed the valley in full trot,
lifting me from the ground, and tumbling me about cruelly.

“The battle was now over, and the groans of the wounded all around
me, became more and more audible: I thought the night never would
end. About this time, I found a soldier lying across my legs, and
his weight, his convulsive motions, his noises, and the air issuing
through a wound in his side, distressed me greatly; the last
circumstance most of all, as I had a wound of the same nature myself.
It was not a dark night, and the Prussians were wandering about to
plunder: many of them stopped to look at me as they passed; at last
one of them stopped to examine me: I told him that I was a British
officer, and had been already plundered. He did not however desist,
and pulled me about roughly.

“An hour before midnight, I saw a man in an English uniform, coming
towards me; he was, I suspected, on the same errand. I spoke
instantly, telling him who I was: he belonged to the 40th, and had
missed his regiment. He released me from the dying soldier, took up a
sword, and stood over me as sentinel. Day broke, and at six o’clock
in the morning a messenger was sent to Hervé: a cart came for me, and
I was conveyed to the village of Waterloo, and laid in the bed, as
I afterwards understood, from which Gordon had but just before been
carried out. I had received seven wounds; a surgeon slept in my room,
and I was saved by excessive bleeding.”

_Related by an officer._

... “Early on the following morning, the survivors arose and hurried
out to seek, amidst the dying and the dead, those comrades and
friends of whose fate they were as yet ignorant[112]. But even
earlier still had the wretches who hang on the skirts of every army,
for the purpose of rifling the new-made corpse, been at work: the
watches and purses of many were already gone; while many a brave
heart, still throbbing, had received its _coup de grâce_ from the
hands of these merciless plunderers.

“Waterloo was won; the sun set upon a scene of slaughter, and the
stillness of death succeeded the roar of battle. The thunder of
five hundred cannons, the roll of musketry, the shock of mail-clad
horsemen, the Highland slogan, the Irish huzza, were heard no more;
and the moon gleamed coldly on a field of death, whose silence was
only broken by the groans of the wounded, as they lay in helpless
wretchedness beside their dead companions.

“While many a sufferer listened to every sound in anxious expectation
of relief, a dropping fire was occasionally heard in the direction
of Genappe, announcing that the broken army of Napoleon was fiercely
followed by its conquerors.

“Wearied by the unparalleled exertions of the tremendous day of
Waterloo, the British pursuit gradually relaxed, and the light
cavalry halted on the right of the road to Quatre-Bras; but the
Prussians, less fatigued, continued to harass the flying enemy,
and the mingled mass of fugitives were forced from every village
where they had attempted to form bivacs. A barrier was hastily
thrown across the entrance of Genappe, to arrest the progress of the
_jägers_ and hussars that hung upon the rear of the guard; but it was
blown down by a few discharges of a howitzer, and the French were
driven from the town. Throughout the disastrous night not a moment of
repose was granted to the terror-stricken. To attempt anything like
serious resistance to their pursuers, where all were inextricably
confused, was absurd. Officers and soldiers were mobbed together;
discipline had ended: none attempted to direct, where none were found
to obey; and with unrelenting fury the Prussian cavalry sabred the
exhausted fugitives, till, after passing Gosselies and Charleroi, the
wreck of Napoleon’s army found a temporary shelter beneath the walls
of Philippeville.

“That night, the British bivac was on the same ridge which their
beaten enemy had occupied on the preceding one; and as I lay upon
the ground, I heard at times, and at no great distance from me, the
voices of my more fortunate companions who had escaped from the
slaughter, and some were roaming over the field in search of plunder.
Momentarily, I expected that a friendly straggler would pass by. I
must have been for a considerable period insensible; for the place
where I fell, although the theatre of the final struggle between
the relics of Ney’s columns and the British guards, was now totally
deserted by the living, and cumbered only with the dying and the dead.

“I seemed as if awakening from a dream: a difficulty of respiration
painfully annoyed me, and I endeavoured to rise; but a weight,
too mighty to be removed, pressed me to the earth. My sight was
imperfect, my eyelids felt closed. I disengaged my left hand, and
raising it to my face, found that a mask of congealed blood covered
it. I rubbed it away, and, prepared as I was for a sanguinary
spectacle by the continuous moanings of wounded men and dying horses,
I closed my eyes in horror, when the clear cold moonlight revealed
the sickening scene.

“Directly over me, and in the very attitude in which he had groaned
his last, an officer of the old guard was stretched: our faces were
nearly touching, and his open eyes had fixed their glassy stare on
mine. A sword-cut had divided his upper lip, and, exposing the teeth,
gave to the dead man’s countenance a grin so horrible and ghastly,
that I who had witnessed death in every form, was glad to avert my
eyes. I made a desperate effort to shake him off; but a horse’s neck
rested on my legs, and my feeble exertions were quite unequal to rid
me of this double load.

“While suffering great inconvenience of position, I felt the cold
intense, and thirst intolerable. No relief was attainable; the groans
of the dying were unheard, and I sullenly submitted to my fate. But
morning must soon break, and then probably I should be succoured.
Could I but disengage myself from the dead man who pressed me almost
to suffocation, I might endure pain, cold, and thirst. I made another
effort, it failed; and, in despair, I laid my head upon the ground,
moistened with my own blood and that of my departed enemy. Just then
a voice immediately beside me, uttered a feeble supplication for
some water. I turned my head, and saw a young ensign, whose leg had
been shattered by the wheels of a gun, raise himself upon his elbow,
and look across the field, in hope of discovering some one who would
relieve him. Nor were his cries unheard: a man dressed in the dark
uniform of a Prussian _jäger_, and armed with the short sword which
rifle-troops carry, approached the sufferer; but, alas! he was not on
the errand of mercy. Seizing the wounded man rudely, and deaf to his
entreaties, he commenced his work of plunder. I heard the chinking
of a purse, and a trinket, a watch, or locket, glittered in the
moonlight, as he tore it from the bosom of the prostrate ensign.

“Oh! no, no, I cannot, will not part with that!” a low weak voice
muttered; “it was my mother’s dying gift: I will never part with it!”
A struggle ensued, but it was a short one: the ruffian, irritated
at resistance, raised himself, and with a home-thrust silenced the
poor youth for ever. Great God! that such a scene of death should be
increased by the hand of murder!

“I grew sick; I feared to breathe: my death was to be the next,
for he had quickly plundered the body of his victim, and turned to
the dead guardsman who lay across my breast. Suddenly he stopped,
listened, and gazed suspiciously around; then sank down behind, and
stretched himself upon the field.

“My heart beat again. Two men came forward, and they too were
plundering. But surely, all could not be so ruthless as the crouching
wretch beside me! Nearer and nearer they approached; and, sounds of
joy! they conversed in my native tongue. I listened with exquisite
delight, and never did human voices appear so sweet as theirs. They
were grenadiers of the line, and one of them wore a sergeant’s
stripes. Without a moment’s hesitation I addressed them; and an
appeal in their native language was not disregarded, I was promptly
answered in kindly tones; and while one caught the defunct Frenchman
by the collar and flung him aside, his comrade extricated my legs
from the dead charger, and assisted me to rise up.

“I found myself in the centre of a heap of corpses; to take a second
step without treading on a body was impossible; yet I scarce regarded
the scene of slaughter: my eyes were riveted upon one corpse, that of
the poor lad whom the crouching _jäger_ had so brutally murdered.

“I stood up with difficulty; a faintness overpowered me: I
staggered, and would have fallen, but the sergeant supported me,
while his comrade held a canteen to my mouth. It contained brandy
diluted with water, and, to one parched as I was, the draught was
exquisitely grateful. My deliverers appeared anxious to move off,
either to obtain fresh plunder, or secure that already acquired; and
which, to judge from the size of their havresacs, must have been
considerable. I begged them to assist me from the field; but they
declined it, alleging that they must rejoin their regiment before
day-break. At this moment my eyes encountered those of the _jäger_,
who lay as motionless behind the dead horse as any of the corpses
that surrounded him. If I remained, (and I could not walk without
support,) the chances were immense that the villain would speedily
remove one who had witnessed a deed of robbery and murder, and I made
a fresh appeal to my worthy countrymen:

“Sergeant, I will reward you handsomely: do not desert me.”

“I cannot remain longer, sir: morning is breaking, and you will soon
have relief enough,” was the reply.

“It will never reach me: there is one within three paces, who will
not permit me to look upon another sun.”

“Both soldiers started.

“What do you mean?” exclaimed the sergeant eagerly.

“Mark you that Prussian sharp-shooter who skulks behind the horse?”

“What of him?” asked the grenadier.

“Yonder dead officer supplicated assistance from that scoundrel, and
he answered him with curses, and commenced plundering him directly. I
saw him take a purse, and tear away his epaulette. Some other article
the poor fellow feebly attempted to retain; and the villain, before
my eyes, stabbed him to the heart. Hearing your approach, he hid
himself behind that charger: need I add, that there he lies until you
leave this spot, and that I shall most probably be his next victim?”

“You shall not, by Heaven!” exclaimed the sergeant, as he drew his
sword and stepped over the dead horse. The Prussian, who had no
doubt watched the conference attentively, sprang upon his feet on
the first movement of the grenadier; but his fate was sealed: before
the sergeant’s comrade could unsheath his bayonet, the _jäger_ was
cut down, and the murderer rolled in the agonies of death beside the
unfortunate youth whom but a few minutes before he had so ruthlessly

“The corpse was speedily plundered by the grenadiers, and the spoil
of the rifleman, when united to their booty, made, as I suspect, a
valuable addition.

“The moonlight was now yielding to the grey tint of early day, and
the chief cause of my apprehensions being removed by the _jäger’s_
death, I found leisure to scrutinize my deliverers.

“The first was a very powerful and athletic man, whose years might
be set down at forty: his vigorous frame was perfectly unbroken,
and his look bespoke a daring and unhesitating resolution. Indeed,
his whole appearance was much above his rank; he seemed a war-worn,
dissipated soldier: to him a field of battle was no novelty; and the
perfect _nonchalance_ with which he dispatched the Prussian, betrayed
a recklessness regarding human life, rather befitting a bandit than a

“His companion, a very young man, was a fine strapping flanker,
and in everything appeared to be wholly governed by the will of
his comrade. He touched the dead, I thought, with some repugnance,
and seemed of gentler heart and milkier disposition than might be
expected in a midnight plunderer upon a battle field.

“See, the dawn breaks rapidly,” said the non-commissioned officer to
the young grenadier: “we must be off, Macmanus.... We leave you safe,
sir; yonder black sharp-shooter will never draw another trigger. Pick
up a musket for the gentleman; we must not leave him without the
means of keeping stragglers at a distance, should any come prowling
here, before the fatigue-parties arrive to carry off the wounded.
Here, sir, take another pull at the brandy-flask; nothing keeps up a
sinking heart so well.”

“Thanks, my kind fellow, I owe you my life. Had you left me to yon
black scoundrel, he would have served me as he did our comrade there.
What are your names, your regiment? I shall take care to report your
timely services to....”

The elder of the grenadiers laughed: “You are but a young soldier,
sir, and this, as I suspect, your first field. I know you mean us
kindly, but silence is the best service you can render us. We should
have been with the advance near Genappe, instead of collecting lost
property upon the plains of Waterloo. Well, we fought hard enough
yesterday to allow us a right to share what no one claims, before
the Flemish clowns come here by cock-crow. Adieu!” As he spoke, his
companion handed me a musket, after trying the barrel with a ramrod,
and ascertaining from flint and pan that it was both loaded and

“Enough; I ask no questions. But here are a few guineas.”

“Which we do not require,” said the sergeant. “We have made a good
night’s work, and your money, young sir, we neither want, nor take.
If we have rendered you service, it was for the sake of the old
country. It is hard to shut one’s ears, when the first language that
we lisped in from the cradle asks pity in the field. Farewell, sir;
morning a comes on apace.”

“And yet,” I replied, “I might perhaps at some time serve you. You
know the fable: the Mouse once cut a net, and saved a Lion. I am
indeed but a young soldier: but should I be able to be serviceable at
any future period, ask for J—— B——, and he will remember the night of

“Of all the fields that ever were seen, Waterloo presented perhaps
the most bloody. The small space over which the action had been
fought, rendered the scene indeed appalling: masses of dead appearing
as it were piled on each other.”

The field of Waterloo is twelve miles and a quarter from
Brussels; Quatre-Bras, twenty-one; and Ligny, twenty-eight miles:
notwithstanding the great difference in the distances of those
places, the firing at Ligny and Quatre-Bras was more distinctly heard
at Brussels on the 16th, than that of Waterloo on the 18th.

Our detached force at Hall, which is about nine miles from Waterloo,
heard nothing of the firing, nor did they know until the following
morning, (the 19th,) how busily we had been engaged.

[Illustration: (end of Note; decorative separator)]

No. VII.

As a tribute of the Author’s respectful gratitude for the information
he has obtained from many officers who have visited the field,
and, with all the advantages of being on the spot, have discussed
the leading questions which have been raised in the United Service
Journal, and so many other publications, respecting the details of
the battle, their names are subjoined:


  Lord John Hay.
  Sir Hussey Vivian.
  Sir A. Barnard.
  Sir H. Ross.
  Sir Colin Campbell.
  Sir Guy Campbell.
  Sir F. Adam.
  Alexander Macdonald.
  J. B. Parker.
  D. Mercer.
  W. Mayne.
  T. Reynell.
  H. Murray.
  Thomas Hunter Blair.
  T. W. Robbins.
  J. S. Kennedy.


  Hon. Keppell.
  Sir W. Verner, Bart.
  Sir Henry Floyd, Bart.
  Sir G. Hoste.
  G. Gurwood.
  T. Wildman.
  N. Norcliffe.
  Lord Douro.
  Lord Grosvenor.
  Lord Wellesley.
  Hon. G. Cathcart.


  Edward Macready.

Two other officers of high rank, who served on the Duke’s staff,
have given me information respecting some of the most important
occurrences of the day, but not permission to publish their names,
as they had previously refused this favour to several writers of

The following letters are submitted to the reader as offering
satisfactory evidence of the Author’s competency to attempt a
narration of the battle, and to act as guide to the visitors to the
field, as well as of the authenticity of the spoils and relics, which
any one may inspect at his residence, Mont-St.-Jean:

                                                 “EMS, July 23d, 1839.


“I promised to write to you, but I have not had time to do so till
now, since I saw you at Waterloo. You were desirous of having my
testimony of the authenticity of the different articles collected
from the field, that I saw in your house. I can have no hesitation in
giving it generally. Many of the things I saw, I could speak to as
having belonged to regiments of my own brigade.

“It is but just also to you to say, that the account you gave me of
the various occurrences of the day, was, as far as I knew, extremely
correct, and by no means exaggerated, and I give you full credit
for the pains you have taken to collect the details. I sincerely
hope, that from the occupation you have undertaken, you will derive
the means of passing the remainder of your days in competence and
comfort; and thus reap the reward of your intelligence, on a field
where you had previously proved your courage.

                                  “Your friend,
                                  “HUSSEY VIVIAN, lieutenant-general.”

“I have seen at various times, Sergeant-Major Cotton’s collection of
spoils of the campaign of 1815, and I am of opinion that they are
genuine relics, and such as may be relied on.

                              “HENRY FLOYD, Bart., colonel unattached,
                              captain 10th hussars at Waterloo.

  “BRUSSELS, 1848.”

                                          “BRUSSELS, October 2d, 1845.


“I received so much satisfaction from our walk over the field
of Waterloo yesterday, that I am induced to leave with you the
expression of it.

“Being anxious to satisfy myself regarding certain operations of
the day, particularly the movements of the light brigade, (52d,
71st, 95th,) to which I belonged, I found your exact knowledge of
the ground, and the numerous details you have collected, highly
instructive and interesting.

“I am glad to learn that you intend publishing a memoir of the
battle, and will not fail to become a purchaser as soon as it appears.

                                       “Your sincere well-wisher,
                                       “THOMAS HUNTER BLAIR, colonel.”

                                              “NAMUR, June 29th, 1846.


“I have read your book ... with very great interest.... Thinking from
our conversation on the field respecting the present condition of the
ground on which Halkett’s brigade acted, that you would be pleased
to know the opinion of even so undistinguished a member of that body
as myself, respecting your explanation of the events of the battle
thereabouts, ... I hesitate not to say that I was at once surprised
and gratified to hear from you ... the best and most correct detail
of the proceedings ... that I have either heard or read.... Further
... you made me far better acquainted with the details of what
occurred at Hougoumont, and to its right, than I ever was before.

“Hoping you may long enjoy health to pursue the interesting
occupation for which your soldierly qualities and intelligence so
well fit you, I remain, etc.

                                   “EDWARD MACREADY, major unattached;
                                   of the 30th, at Waterloo.”

The following document is to the Author, and probably it will be to
not a few of his readers, deeply interesting: it is from the late
lamented colonel Gurwood, whose labour in collecting and publishing
the Wellington Dispatches, whilst it rendered an invaluable, perhaps
an unrequited service to his country and to civilization, broke his
health, and bore down his gallant spirit:

                         “70, LOWNDES-SQUARE, LONDON, June 18th, 1843.


“I have had a set of the _Dispatches of the Duke of Wellington_
packed up to be forwarded to you, which I shall endeavour to send you
on the return of king Leopold to Brussels, to the care of sir G. H.
Seymour, her Majesty’s minister, to whom I shall write to inform you
when they arrive.

“The marquis of Anglesey has much enhanced the value of my present
to you, in writing his name in the title page at my request, and he
appeared much pleased at gratifying an old soldier of his regiment.

                                               “Very faithfully yours,
                                               “J. GURWOOD.”


On the 15th of May 1846, colonel Macdonald, of the Royal artillery,
visited the Author’s interesting collection at Mont-St.-Jean, of
arms, etc., spoils of the Waterloo campaign. The gallant veteran
recognized his own sword of a curious workmanship, that had been lost
on the field, when he was wounded.

This precious relic the colonel left with the Author, giving him the
following certificate:

  “This sword I wore at the battle of Waterloo, and after I was
  wounded my servant left it on the field.

                                        “ALEXANDER MACDONALD, colonel,
                                        “Royal horse artillery[113].

  “WATERLOO, May 15th, 1846.”

Amongst the kind presents which the Author has received from his
countrymen, for his Waterloo Museum and library, at Mont-St.-Jean, he
gratefully mentions the following:

“_Selections from Dispatches, etc., of the Duke of Wellington, by
colonel Gurwood_;

“Presented by Lieutenant-Colonel N. Norcliffe, K. H., of
Langton-Hall, Yorkshire, to his fellow soldier, Sergeant-Major
Cotton, late of the 7th hussars.

  “July 25th, 1842.”

                                         “BLACKHEATH, July 30th, 1846.


“Alderman Moon rejoiced in being able to gratify the patriotic
feelings of an old Waterloo hero, and at once offered to present you
with a copy of his celebrated engraving of the Waterloo Banquet,
which he trusts you will frame and place in your Museum.

                                                    “FRANCIS BENNOCK.”

“Mr. Billen has much pleasure ... in sending Sergeant-Major Cotton
an engraved portrait of the brave general Sir James Kempt, and
further promises, should he have the honour to engrave any other
officers who took part in that eventful day, to send an impression to
Sergeant-Major Cotton.

  “23, HIGH-STREET, CAMDEN-TOWN, 6th September, 1842.”

Of the _first edition_ of this work, the following notice appeared in
a London journal:

“The author of the unpretending little volume before us is principal
guide to the field of battle. This duty he is well qualified to
perform from his intimate knowledge of the ground, near which he
has resided during eleven years, and from his zealous endeavours
to render himself master of facts, by studious research, and by
communicating on the spot with military men of all ranks and nations.

“The qualifications that recommend sergeant-major Cotton as guide,
have facilitated his efforts to put in print those events which he
is daily required to narrate verbally; and it is but justice to say
that he has accomplished his task lucidly, impartially, and in plain,
straight-forward language, becoming his position and antecedents.

“He states in sober and graphic terms, how the tempest first gathered
and suddenly burst forth in advance of Charleroi, next upon our
allies at Ligny, and our own advance corps at Quatre-Bras; he informs
us of the principal incidents that led to the grand crisis, as well
as of the measures adopted by the British commander to stem the
torrent. The author likewise gives an intelligible sketch of the
limited tactical movements executed during the battle.

“Sergeant-major Cotton shows us how the lion-hearted Glengary,
with Hepburn, Saltoun, and their indomitable brother guardsmen,
immortalized Hougoumont. He carries us with Hamilton and his Grey
squadrons into the thick of the onslaught, where the Household
cavalry and Union brigades, the pride of English chivalry, hurled
themselves upon their brave antagonists. He does not forget the ‘Up,
guards, and make ready!’ or the resistless charge that followed;
nor does he pass over in silence the unflinching valour with which
Baring’s Hanoverians so long maintained their dangerous post. The
author points out where the ardent Irish, thigh by thigh with
heroic Highlanders, or knee by knee with stalworth English, bore
down compactly upon advancing infantry, or with admirable coolness
threw themselves into those impenetrable squares, wherein our
devoted gunners found momentary shelter, when the field was swept
by cuirassed hosts, more impetuous and daring than successful. We
could willingly quote several interesting and graphic passages from
sergeant-major Cotton’s clear and well-written narrative, from which
we have risen with a more distinct acquaintance with the subject and
scene, than we had hitherto derived from works of higher pretensions.
But, as the whole volume merits perusal, we will content ourselves
with expressing hopes that this VOICE FROM WATERLOO may find an echo
in public favour, and that our veteran hussar’s pen may gain for him
laurels more substantial than those already earned by his well-tried
sabre.” (_Morning Chronicle_, 22d January, 1846.)

_Extract from the Brussels Herald._

We have much pleasure in reprinting, from the _Literary Gazette_ of
last Saturday, the following notice of sergeant-major Cotton’s new

“The author was in the fight in the 7th hussars. He has since resided
for years at Mont-St.-Jean, where this volume is published; and he
acts as a guide to visitors when they desire to inspect this famous
battle field.

“Sergeant-major Cotton says, (page 201,) ‘Facts are stubborn things;’
and with the qualifications we have noticed, he is the very man to
tell us all about it. And he has told us in a very circumstantial
manner, separating details from masses, and altogether afforded us
a better idea of this dreadful encounter than we have gathered from
any other quarter. We had, by a curious coincidence, just arrived at
this conclusion on reading his book, when we had an opportunity, in
common with a number of leading artists and connoisseurs, of seeing
Mr. Sidney Cooper’s Battle of Waterloo, painted for the approaching
exhibition in Westminster-Hall. We were at once wonderfully struck
with the apparent realization of the accounts which had just made
such an impression on our minds. It seemed as if the artist had
been present with the writer, and transferred in the most graphic
and spirited manner to the canvass what he had committed with such
particular effect to the paper. The chivalrous encounters, the almost
single combats, the groups of cavalry slaughterings, the flight, the
rally, the rush of riderless horses, the dying and the dead scattered
among the trampled corn: all told the terrible tale of the last
charge and effort of the French to retrieve the discomfiture of the
day. Of these Mr. Cooper has made a stirring and splendid use. It is
indeed a battle-piece, and upon the largest scale, such as never has
been produced before by English painter, if by the greatest foreign
master, in this style of art. The artist is sublime in the mysteries
of moving human columns under the canopy of smoke, through which the
spectator may easily imagine he hears the cannon boom. The whole is
real, yet imaginative; and inspires at the same moment feelings of
intense individual interest, and general awe. With regard to the
author we need not add any other comment. Though he mentions that the
Duke and Blücher met at La Belle-Alliance after the battle, we think
he shows that this could not have been the case; and we have reason
to believe that no such meeting ever took place[114].”


[103] _See_, page 229, the proclamation of Louis XVIII to the French
people, dated Cambray, the 28th June, 1815.

[104] _See_ lord Bathurst’s dispatch of the 7th July, and the Duke’s
answer of the 13th, GURWOOD, vol. XII, page 557.

[105] _See_ the duke of Wellington’s dispatch to lord Bathurst of the
8th July. (GURWOOD, vol. XII, page 549,) detailing a conversation
which took place with the duc d’Otrante at Neuilly, on the night of
the 5th July; the whole of which turned upon a recommendation given
by the duc d’Otrante, that the king should give a _general amnesty_.

[106] “As well as the duke of Wellington recollects, there is in
the war department a letter from the prince d’Eckmühl to marshal
St.-Cyr on this subject, in which he urges every argument against
the proclamation of the 25th July, excepting the 12th article of the
convention of Paris.”

[107] _Scott._

[108] La Haye-Sainte.

[109] _See_ the covering of this book.

[110] Gneisenau was the chief of the Prussian staff. He was at once
the life and soul, main-spring and working head of their army.

[111] At Leipsick, Napoleon selected his own position, and there he
chose a field with a defile over a morass, a mile and a half broad,
which probably was the principal cause of his defeat.

[112] Several ladies were on the field on the morning of the 19th,
going about like ministering angels tending the wounded. How truly in
this instance do Scott’s lines picture the soft sex!

      “O woman! In our hours of ease,
      Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
      And variable as the shade
      By the light quivering aspen made;
      When pain and anguish wring the brow,
      A ministering angel thou!”

[113] Brother to sir John Macdonald, the adjutant-general at the

[114] I wish I were as positive of every part of my narrative. E.C.




[Illustration: (decorative separator)]


1. The following highly finished engravings: Napoleon, Wellington,
Blücher; Wellington and Napoleon at Waterloo; the Waterloo Banquet;
Sir James Kempt; Battle of Waterloo; Capture of an Eagle; the Prince
of Orange wounded.

2. Medallion portraits of Napoleon, Wellington, Blücher, King of the
Netherlands, Lords Hill and Anglesey, Sir Thomas Picton, Count Alten,
Marshals Ney and Soult; General Cambronne, or “_La garde meurt et ne
se rend pas_.”

3. General view of the Field, (oil;) View of Hougoumont.

4. Plans showing different periods of the Battles of Ligny,
Quatre-Bras, Waterloo and Wavre; Map on which is indicated the
distribution of the respective armies at the commencement of

5. Autographs of the following Waterloo Commanders and Officers:
Napoleon, Wellington, Field-Marshal the Marquis of Anglesey, Lord
Somerset, Lord Love, Sir Edward Somerset, Major General Sir William
Gomme, Marshal Grouchy; Generals Vivian, Harris, Sir E. Kerrison,
Hunter Blair, and Macdonald; Colonels Sir Henry Floyd, Bart.,
Gurwood, Hon. G. Cathcart, and Muttlebury; Majors Kennedy, Macready,
and Lindam, Captain J. Braman, etc.

6. The London Gazette of Thursday 22d June 1815, and the Times of the
same date.

7. An interesting collection of RELICS, warranted spoils of the
Waterloo campaign, a part of which are labelled for sale at moderate
prices, although not so cheap as the spurious articles with which the
neighbourhood abounds.

The collection of relics is composed of arms, cuirasses, casques,
caps, clothing, accoutrements, various military ornaments, trappings,
gold and silver Crosses of the Legion of honour, Prussian Crosses and
Medals, etc., etc.

_The most interesting relic is the Sword, of General Alexander
Macdonald, which he left on the field of battle when wounded, and
recognized amongst the relics of the Waterloo Cabinet on revisiting
the field in May 1846. The General’s certificate is attached to the

A pair of Napoleon’s silver spurs.

Several pieces of Napoleon’s kitchen utensils, marked with the
Imperial crown, letter _N_, and “_Tuileries_,” or “_Voyage_.”

A Dragoon’s saddle-bags, with the stains of blood still visible,
etc., etc., etc.

[Illustration: (end of section separator)]


_The celebrated Waterloo Guide and author of the sketch of the battle
entitled: “A voice from Waterloo.”_

      Pause, stranger as you pass this hallowed spot,
        Where guardian angels hover round unseen!
      Reposing here brave Cotton sleeps, whose lot
        On earth has one of dauntless valour been.

      At Hugoument his bleaching ashes lie,
        And mingle with the dust beneath his grave;
      Whilst seraphs waft his loosened soul on high,
        To life eternal which awaits the brave.

      Bold, as a soldier, faithful, as a friend,
        To enemies forgiving and humane,
      He strove through life his country to defend,
        With character unsullied by a stain.

      When War’s rude thunders rent the loaded air,
        And clashing arms bespoke the dread dispute,
      When Heroes pressed the cannon’s front to dare,
        Each heart for Glory in the wild pursuit.

      Amongst them Cotton fought; and lived to tell
        To countless eager ears the mighty fray,
      In which his comrades and opponents fell,
        When victory to Britons gave the day.

      His mortal course he thus pursued by choice,
        And thus performed the labour from him due;
      ’Till lo! as recompense, from Heaven a voice
        Has called to bliss, the “Voice from Waterloo.”

[Illustration: FIELD OF WATERLOO



  Footnote [72] is referenced from Footnote [71], not from the
  main text.

  The seven wide tables on pages 238 to 251 of the original book
  have each been split into two parts. The first four columns
  have been duplicated in each part for readability.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Some hyphens in words have been silently removed, some added,
  when a predominant preference was found in the original book.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  Pg viii: ‘many occurences’ replaced by ‘many occurrences’.
  Pg viii: ‘only irreconcileable’ replaced by ‘only irreconcilable’.
  Pg ix: ‘discrepances which’ replaced by ‘discrepancies which’.
  Pg xi: ‘Prussian ontposts’ replaced by ‘Prussian outposts’.
  Pg xi: ‘CHATER II’ replaced by ‘CHAPTER II’.
  Pg xv: ‘its retread’ replaced by ‘its retreat’.
  Pg xvii: ‘Waterloo at it is’ replaced by ‘Waterloo as it is’.
  Pg 2: ‘allied sovereings’ replaced by ‘allied sovereigns’.
  Pg 2 FN [1]: ‘a good jonrney’ replaced by ‘a good journey’.
  Pg 2 FN [1]: ‘from Napoleau’ replaced by ‘from Napoleon’.
  Pg 4: ‘Napoleons’s name’ replaced by ‘Napoleon’s name’.
  Pg 5: ‘strengh of the enemy’ replaced by ‘strength of the enemy’.
  Pg 6: ‘were to be groud’ replaced by ‘were to be ground’.
  Pg 6: ‘in the propable’ replaced by ‘in the probable’.
  Pg 8 FN [7]: ‘of tha 1st German’ replaced by ‘of the 1st German’.
  Pg 10: ‘of the Prussiam’ replaced by ‘of the Prussian’.
  Pg 10: ‘as ta be concealed’ replaced by ‘as to be concealed’.
  Pg 11: ‘at the independance’ replaced by ‘at the independence’.
  Pg 11: ‘of agressions’ replaced by ‘of aggressions’.
  Pg 12: ‘The centre colum’ replaced by ‘The centre column’.
  Pg 18: ‘Nothwithstanding the’ replaced by ‘Notwithstanding the’.
  Pg 19: ‘Description o the’ replaced by ‘Description of the’.
  Pg 20: ‘aids-de-camp. Shortly’ replaced by ‘aides-de-camp. Shortly’.
  Pg 20: ‘marche from Nivelles’ replaced by ‘march from Nivelles’.
  Pg 21: ‘in somme measure’ replaced by ‘in some measure’.
  Pg 32: ‘but was forgotton’ replaced by ‘but was forgotten’.
  Pg 38: ‘lieutenand-general’ replaced by ‘lieutenant-general’.
  Pg 39: ‘dragoons and lanccrs’ replaced by ‘dragoons and lancers’.
  Pg 40: ‘immediate and efficent’ replaced by ‘immediate and efficient’.
  Pg 41: ‘them, when praticable’ replaced by ‘them, when practicable’.
  Pg 42: ‘und forming a circle’ replaced by ‘and forming a circle’.
  Pg 42: ‘up the alignements’ replaced by ‘up the alignments’.
  Pg 44: ‘the enemy, dit not’ replaced by ‘the enemy, did not’.
  Pg 44: ‘chequered colums’ replaced by ‘chequered columns’.
  Pg 49: ‘at a goad pace’ replaced by ‘at a good pace’.
  Pg 54: ‘which he commited’ replaced by ‘which he committed’.
  Pg 55: ‘galop from the French’ replaced by ‘gallop from the French’.
  Pg 55: ‘of la La Haye-Sainte’ replaced by ‘of La Haye-Sainte’.
  Pg 57: ‘nowithstanding the major’ replaced by ‘notwithstanding
          the major’.
  Pg 59: ‘the position ot this’ replaced by ‘the position of this’.
  Pg 59: ‘staggered the Freneh’ replaced by ‘staggered the French’.
  Pg 60: ‘be gallantly’ replaced by ‘he gallantly’.
  Pg 61: ‘to be wondered as’ replaced by ‘to be wondered at’.
  Pg 62: ‘he hid so’ replaced by ‘he did so’.
  Pg 62: ‘lay and on’ replaced by ‘lay hand on’.
  Pg 64: ‘disloged the German’ replaced by ‘dislodged the German’.
  Pg 65: ‘his coat ant killed’ replaced by ‘his coat and killed’.
  Pg 67: ‘time so catch’ replaced by ‘time to catch’.
  Pg 75: ‘au unknown spot’ replaced by ‘an unknown spot’.
  Pg 76: ‘Hamilton, aid-de-camp’ replaced by ‘Hamilton, aide-de-camp’.
  Pg 76 FN [42]: ‘maintened fop a few’ replaced by ‘maintained for a few’.
  Pg 79: ‘the sergeant sadler’ replaced by ‘the sergeant saddler’.
  Pg 86: ‘home: stil the’ replaced by ‘home: still the’.
  Pg 86: ‘Prince, notwihstanding’ replaced by ‘Prince, notwithstanding’.
  Pg 87: ‘Freemantle, aid-de-camp’ replaced by ‘Freemantle, aide-de-camp’.
  Pg 89: ‘ther huge camp’ replaced by ‘their huge camp’.
  Pg 91: ‘Alten’s divison’ replaced by ‘Alten’s division’.
  Pg 91: ‘sent an aid-de-camp’ replaced by ‘sent an aide-de-camp’.
  Pg 91: ‘ther dislike to’ replaced by ‘their dislike to’.
  Pg 92: ‘his men howerer’ replaced by ‘his men however’.
  Pg 100: ‘were the fate’ replaced by ‘where the fate’.
  Pg 100: ‘as well as be could’ replaced by ‘as well as he could’.
  Pg 107: ‘smyptom of falling’ replaced by ‘symptom of falling’.
  Pg 109: ‘having sarcely fired’ replaced by ‘having scarcely fired’.
  Pg 112: ‘aid-de-camp and many’ replaced by ‘aide-de-camp and many’.
  Pg 113: ‘who prolonghed this’ replaced by ‘who prolonged this’.
  Pg 115: ‘the dreadful carnarge’ replaced by ‘the dreadful carnage’.
  Pg 117: ‘to be inflictied’ replaced by ‘to be inflicted’.
  Pg 117: ‘his own officiers’ replaced by ‘his own officers’.
  Pg 117 FN [64]: ‘by Vandersmiesen’s’ replaced by ‘by Vandersmissen’s’.
  Pg 118: ‘lientenant Banner’ replaced by ‘lieutenant Banner’.
  Pg 119: ‘in a angle’ replaced by ‘in an angle’.
  Pg 125: ‘alongh is front’ replaced by ‘along his front’.
  Pg 126: ‘lieutement Gunning’ replaced by ‘lieutenant Gunning’.
  Pg 129: ‘the Erench position’ replaced by ‘the French position’.
  Pg 129: ‘aid-de-camp to general’ replaced by ‘aide-de-camp to general’.
  Pg 130: ‘The Prussian dragroons’ replaced by ‘The Prussian dragoons’.
  Pg 131: ‘most dreaful struggle’ replaced by ‘most dreadful struggle’.
  Pg 135: ‘connduct of the French’ replaced by ‘conduct of the French’.
  Pg 135: ‘so long a perriod’ replaced by ‘so long a period’.
  Pg 136: ‘full of enthusiam’ replaced by ‘full of enthusiasm’.
  Pg 137: ‘is life and strength’ replaced by ‘his life and strength’.
  Pg 137: ‘he abbors insult and’ replaced by ‘he abhors insult and’.
  Pg 138: ‘ministering angles’ replaced by ‘ministering angels’.
  Pg 140: ‘commencing hostilites’ replaced by ‘commencing hostilities’.
  Pg 141: ‘Ny interest in’ replaced by ‘My interest in’.
  Pg 141: ‘the follewing day’ replaced by ‘the following day’.
  Pg 143: ‘downfal of Napoleon’ replaced by ‘downfall of Napoleon’.
  Pg 147: ‘and majors-generals’ replaced by ‘and major-generals’.
  Pg 147: ‘the battalton of’ replaced by ‘the battalion of’.
  Pg 148: ‘Neitheir did he attempt’ replaced by ‘Neither did he attempt’.
  Pg 150: ‘Higness’s approbation’ replaced by ‘Highness’s approbation’.
  Pg 151: ‘the adjudant-general’ replaced by ‘the adjutant-general’.
  Pg 154: ‘excesive difficulties’ replaced by ‘excessive difficulties’.
  Pg 158: ‘three in the afternon’ replaced by ‘three in the afternoon’.
  Pg 160: ‘the wole army’ replaced by ‘the whole army’.
  Pg 162: ‘attaked in their turn’ replaced by ‘attacked in their turn’.
  Pg 162: ‘embarrassement arising’ replaced by ‘embarrassment arising’.
  Pg 167: ‘throughout our narritive’ replaced by ‘throughout
           our narrative’.
  Pg 168: ‘that pratically shown’ replaced by ‘that practicality shown’.
  Pg 175: ‘your Highnees will’ replaced by ‘your Highness will’.
  Pg 177: ‘by my aid-de-camp’ replaced by ‘by my aide-de-camp’.
  Pg 179: ‘fitfty thousand men’ replaced by ‘fifty thousand men’.
  Pg 180: ‘nessary to overcome’ replaced by ‘necessary to overcome’.
  Pg 184: ‘Yon wrote from Gembloux’ replaced by ‘You wrote from Gembloux’.
  Pg 186: ‘attaking the French’ replaced by ‘attacking the French’.
  Pg 191: ‘wits great military’ replaced by ‘with great military’.
  Pg 192: ‘everthrow the throne’ replaced by ‘overthrow the throne’.
  Pg 192: ‘cause have the fallen’ replaced by ‘cause have they fallen’.
  Pg 193: ‘hehold! these are’ replaced by ‘behold! these are’.
  Pg 196: ‘gaeat in desolation’ replaced by ‘great in desolation’.
  Pg 196: ‘dishonourable fligt’ replaced by ‘dishonourable flight’.
  Pg 199: ‘it they believe’ replaced by ‘if they believe’.
  Pg 200: ‘render them unavailling’ replaced by ‘render them unavailing’.
  Pg 201: ‘Prussians head-quaters’ replaced by ‘Prussians’ head-quarters’.
  Pg 214: ‘and the roards are’ replaced by ‘and the roads are’.
  Pg 216: ‘and honour to’ replaced by ‘an honour to’.
  Pg 219: ‘The Field-Marshall cannot’ replaced by ‘The Field-Marshal
  Pg 222: ‘At this measure’ replaced by ‘As this measure’.
  Pg 223: ‘the greatitude of’ replaced by ‘the gratitude of’.
  Pg 224: ‘I send yon a letter’ replaced by ‘I send you a letter’.
  Pg 225: ‘have throught proper’ replaced by ‘have thought proper’.
  Pg 225: ‘adressed to me’ replaced by ‘addressed to me’.
  Pg 227: ‘as the proprety of’ replaced by ‘as the property of’.
  Pg 227: ‘By whom weere these’ replaced by ‘By whom were these’.
  Pg 227: ‘who had ad interest’ replaced by ‘who had an interest’.
  Pg 227: ‘anglais el prussiens’ replaced by ‘anglais et prussiens’.
  Pg 230: ‘at which, they occured’ replaced by ‘at which they occurred’.
  Pg 232: ‘throught the farm’ replaced by ‘thought the farm’.
  Pg 234: ‘Douro of Wellesly’ replaced by ‘Douro of Wellesley’.
  Pg 253: ‘presenc  I had’ replaced by ‘presence. I had’.
  Pg 253: ‘my first aid-de-camp’ replaced by ‘my first aide-de-camp’.
  Pg 261: ‘frem loss of blood’ replaced by ‘from loss of blood’.
  Pg 262: ‘his aid-de-camp, and’ replaced by ‘his aide-de-camp, and’.
  Pg 264: ‘best of my judment’ replaced by ‘best of my judgment’.
  Pg 268: ‘almost to snffocation’ replaced by ‘almost to suffocation’.
  Pg 271: ‘your timely serviees’ replaced by ‘your timely services’.
  Pg 275: ‘highly instruetive’ replaced by ‘highly instructive’.
  Pg 276: ‘invaluable, perharps’ replaced by ‘invaluable, perhaps’.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A voice from Waterloo: A history of the battle fought on the 18th June, 1815" ***