Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Byron on Waterloo
 Chapter I: Napoleon's return from...
 Chapter II: Napoleon's preparations...
 Chapter III: Preparations of the...
 Chapter IV: Opening of the...
 Chapter V: Movements of the...
 Chapter VI: Quatre Bras--June 16th,...
 Chapter VII: Lingy--June 16th,...
 Chapter VIII: Waterloo--June 18th,...
 Chapter IX: How the battle was...
 A selection from the letters and...
 Back Cover

Title: The Story of Waterloo, or, The fall of Napoleon
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00049079/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Story of Waterloo, or, The fall of Napoleon
Alternate Title: The fall of Napoleon
Physical Description: 127, <4> p. : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: William P. Nimmo & Co ( Publisher )
Home and MacDonald ( Printer )
Publisher: William P. Nimmo & Co.
Place of Publication: Edinburgh
Manufacturer: Home and MacDonald
Publication Date: 1879
Subject: Waterloo, Battle of, Waterloo, Belgium, 1815 -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1879   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1879   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1879
Genre: Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Scotland -- Edinburgh
General Note: Includes publisher's catalog.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00049079
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001615746
oclc - 23715856
notis - AHP0185

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Byron on Waterloo
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Chapter I: Napoleon's return from Elba
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Chapter II: Napoleon's preparations for war
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Chapter III: Preparations of the allies
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Chapter IV: Opening of the campaign
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Chapter V: Movements of the allies
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    Chapter VI: Quatre Bras--June 16th, 1815
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Chapter VII: Lingy--June 16th, 1815
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    Chapter VIII: Waterloo--June 18th, 1815
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Chapter IX: How the battle was won
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    A selection from the letters and despatches of the Duke of Wellington, concerning the battle of Waterloo
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text

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"The desolater desolate,
The victor overthrown."-Byron.

8 7 9.














iv Contents.











June 18. 1815.


And there was mounting in hot haste : the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips-" The foe they come!
they come !"

And wild and high the Cameron's gathering rose!
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes :
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill! But with the breath which fills
Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers
"With that fierce native daring which instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years,
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears!

6 Byron on Waterloo.

And Ardeaves waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with nature's tear-drops, as they pass,
Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieve,
Over the unreturning brave,-alas I
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.

Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay,
The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,
The morn the marshalling in arms-the day
Battle's magnificently stern array I
The thunder clouds close o'er it, which when rent
The earth is covered thick with other clay,
"Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent,
Rider and horse,-friend, foe,-in one red burial blent I

The Psalmist numbered out the years of man:.
They are enough; and if that tale be true,
Thou, who didst grudge him even that fleeting span,
More than enough, thou fatal WATERLOO !
Millions of tongues record thee, and anew
Their children's lips shall echo them, and say-
Here, where the sword united nations drew,
Our countrymen were warring on that day "
And this is much, and all which will'not pass away.
BYRON, Childe Harold, c. iii. st. 25, 26, 27, 28, and 35.



Thou isle,
Which seest Etruria from thy ramparts smile,
Thou momentary shelter of his pride,
Till wooed by Danger, his yet weeping bride !
Oh France, retaken by a single march,
"Whose path was through one long triumphal arch!
BYRON, The Age of Bronze.

E island of Elba lies off the coast of
Tuscany, from which it is separated
by the Strait of Piombino, a channel
nowhere exceeding five miles in
breadth. Its greatest length is about eighteen
miles, and its breadth varies from three to ten
miles. This irregularity arises from the bold
sweeps and indentations of both its northern and
southern shores. Its surface is broken up by a
chain of mountains, which, running from east
to west, divides into two spurs at the eastern
extremity of the island; the loftiest summit

8 The Story of Waterloo.

attaining an elevation, in Monte della Cassana, of
3600 feet above the sea level. The crest of
this wild and romantic range is almost every-
where naked and barren; but on its declivities,
and in the low sheltered valleys, the vine, the
olive, and the mulberry flourish exceedingly.
The climate is temperate and healthy. There
are numerous springs, though the streams are
few. The mineral wealth of the island is great:
marble, alum, vitriol, and loadstone are plentiful;
and a mountain in the eastern district, two miles
in circumference, and several hundred feet in
height,'is one huge mass of iron ore, and of ore
so rich that it gives from 50 to 75 per cent. of
metal. Nor is Elba without its pastoral and
agricultural treasures; sheep, goats, pigs, and
asses abound; and it produces white, red, and
sweet wines of excellent quality; wheat, Indian
corn, vegetables, and water-melons. The popu-
lation of the island is about 21,000; of the
capital town, Port Ferrajo, about 3000.
Thither, on the conquest of France by the
Allied Powers in 1814, and the occupation of
Paris, was Napoleon Bonaparte banished, with
a sufficient income to provide for all his wants,
the title of Emperor, a few of his most faithful
followers, and a small military force. The island

Napoleon's Return from Elba. 9

was allotted to him for life as a secure and tranquil
residence, and, it was supposed by the allied
sovereigns, as a place from which it would be
impossible for him to make any fresh attempts
to disturb the peace of Europe. It was assuredly
a change from Paris and all its splendours, from
France and all its glory, from that magnificent
empire which he had lost through his treachery,
his greed, and his insatiable ambition. Standing
upon one of its hills, he could behold at once the
entire extent of his sea-washed realm. Ah, it
must be confessed," he exclaimed, "that my
island is somewhat small!"
He took possession of his new sovereignty in
May 1814. With characteristic energy he at
once addressed himself to the task of developing
its resources. He ordered new roads to be con-
structed; repaired and restored public buildings;
opened up fresh mines and quarries; encouraged
the insular potteries; promoted commerce; and
fostered among his subjects a spirit of enterprise.
But a mind which had been occupied with the
control of the affairs of Europe, soon grew weary
of these petty occupations. He soon learned
from his emissaries that the Bourbon ruler who
had been restored to the throne of France had
no real hold on the affections of the nation, and

10 The Story of Waterloo.

that the army, which he had so often led to
victory, longed for their Emperor's return. For-
getful of his engagements with the Allied sove-
reigns, and chafing at the inaction to which his
fiery spirit was condemned, he resolved to make
one bold and daring stroke for the crown he had
lost. He carefully drilled his small but trusty
band of veteran soldiers. He despatched his
agents to France to stimulate the hopes and
encourage the loyalty of his adherents; and on
the morning of the 26th of February 1815, he
embarked with his guards, on board some small
vessels, and successfully eluding the British
cruisers, he stood once more upon the soil of
France, at three o'clock in the afternoon of the
memorable first of March. His little army
bivouacked that evening on some open ground
that lay outside the town of Cannes on the east.
An effort was made to seduce the garrison at
Antibes, but the commander of the fortress proved
loyal to Louis XVIII., arrested the soldiers who
had been employed on this mission, and threatened
to fire upon any who should repeat the attempt
Cambronne, one of the generals who accompanied
Napoleon, repaired to Cannes, and demanded of
its magistrate six thousand rations for the troops.
The demand was reluctantly complied with, for

Napoleon's Return from Elba. 11

the ex-Emperor's presence incensed the people,
who were weary of wars, conscriptions, and
revolutions. Some said that if he came into the
town they would shoot him. At four o'clock on
the morning of the 2d of March, the troops, in
number about 800, with Napoleon at their head,
attended by his old companions in arms, Bertrand,
Drouet, and Cambronne, commenced their hazard-
ous march upon Paris.
This landing in the Gulf of St Juan on the 1st
of March, was the prologue to one of the most
exciting historical dramas ever acted, the "Hun.
dred Days,"-a period counting from the 13th
of March, when Napoleon re-assumed the
government of France, to the 22d of June, when
he finally abdicated.
The ex-Emperor's departure from Elba was
not known to the sovereigns of Austria, Prussia,
and Russia, and to the representatives of the
other European powers assembled in congress at
Vienna, until the 7th of March, when the Duke
of Wellington received a despatch from Lord
Burghersh, the British ambassador at Florence,
communicating the unwelcome and unexpected
tidings. It was some days later before the
landing at Cannes and the march upon Paris
were known at Vienna. And such, in those

12 The Story of Waterloo.

days, was the slowness of communication, that,
on the 5th of March it was not known in Paris
that Napoleon had abandoned the island-realm
all too narrow for his genius and his ambition.
It cannot be said that the administration of
Louis XVIII., after his restoration to the throne,
was characterized by prudence or sagacity. It
seemed the great object of the king and his
ministers to treat the twenty years of the Re-
public and the Empire as something which had
never been. They appeared to think it possible
for a nation to forget a period of its annals
which, if marked by some disasters, had also
been crowned by the most splendid successes,-
to forget a ruler who, if ambitious, and reckless
of the lives of his subjects, and arbitrary in his
home government, had nevertheless raised France
to the supremacy of Europe, and carried the
tricolor in triumph from the Tiber to the Elba,
and the Tagus to the Moskwa.
"The Parisians," says Mr Knight, in his
admirable history, "laughed at the littleness
which set the upholsterers to work in defacing
the N. (Napoleon's initial), which was multiplied
on the carpets and hangings of the Tuilleries;
but they were angry when the white flag took
the place of the tricolor. The anger of the

Napoleon's Return from Elba. 13

bourgeoisie was perhaps of little consequence.
The discontent of the idle pleasure-seeking
Parisians would not have brought back Napo-
leon, had not offence been given to a much more
united and powerful body. The army felt more
acutely than the people the suppression of the
tricolor. The men hid their old cockades in their
knapsacks; the officers, when the cockades and
the standards were required to be given up,
concealed the eagles, or burnt the standards
which they had followed to victory. Thousands
of old soldiers were pouring into France, abased
as prisoners of war, or turned out from the
fortresses of provinces once annexed to the
empire. The distinctive numbers of the regi-
ments were entirely changed, so that the peculiar
glory and heroism of each regiment were lost in
the renown of the general mass. The army
was reduced with imprudent haste; officers of
the regiments retained by the restored govern-
ment were put upon half-pay, and their places
were supplied by young men who had seen no
service, or by ancient gentlemen whose only
merit was to have emigrated. Numerous
invalids (or pensioned soldiers) were turned out
from their refuge in Paris to exhibit their wounds
and proclaim their wrongs in the provinces. The

14 The Story of Waterloo.

power which had so long dominated over France
was not judiciously reduced; its vanity was
outraged by unnecessary affronts. The head of
that wondrous military organisation which had
so long kept Europe in terror, was his own
master, in an island within two days' sail of the
shores of France, unwatched and uncared for, as
if he had utterly gone out of the minds of his
idolators. The symbols of his authority had
disappeared from the palaces and public buildings
of France; but a symbol was invented to indicate
that with the return of spring the hero would
come back to chase the Bourbons from their
throne, and to repair the disasters of the last
year of the empire." This symbol was the
violet, which the Bonapartists wore openly in
their coats, and whose colour the Bonapartist
ladies adopted in their attire. Little pictures of
bouquets of violets were sold in the shops, in
which the flowers were so arranged as to trace
the classic outline of a well-known face. Pere
la Violette was the name by which the hero was
now recognized, and before the violets blossomed
in wood and dale, this sign had passed from
soldier to soldier. As they looked around them
with military haughtiness, and talked mysteriously
in spite of the royalist agents, men began to

Napoleon's Return from Elba. 15

suspect that a crisis was coming, and that the
Bonaparte bee might once more replace the Bour-
bon fleur-de-lis on the imperial robes, and the
chairs of sovereignty.
I have dwelt upon these circumstances because
they will account for the wonderful success of
Napoleon's rapid march upon Paris, and at the
same time, for his disastrous fall after Waterloo.
The army was with him, but the country was
not. The Parisians were sullen and discon-
tented, but though they despised the Bourbons,
they hated the Emperor and the statesmen of
France. Her robust minds, her aristocracy, and
her commercial classes, kept aloof from one who
used his genius to perpetuate a despotism, and
sought to hide his crimes against liberty under
the veil of military glory.
Napoleon marched from Cannes to Grenoble,
through the scantily populated mountainous
regions of Dauphind, without encountering any
serious resistance. He had opened up com-
munications with the gallant and imprudent
Labedoyere, who was an officer of the garrison
at Grenoble, and he found the young colonel
and his men prepared and anxious to hoist the
tricolor. General Marchand, the governor of
Grenoble, refused, however, to break the oath

16 The Story of Waterloo.

of allegiance he had sworn to Louis XVIII., and
sent out a detachment to observe the force that
was approaching. Napoleon, when he saw the
troops advancing, went out to meet them, un-
attended, and opening wide his well-known
grey coat, exclaimed, "I am your Emperor;
fire upon me if you will!" The soldiers, at the
sight and voice of the hero who had led them to
victory on a hundred fields, were overpowered,
flung themselves on their knees, drew from their
knapsacks their treasured tricolor-cockades,
eagerly mounted them, and with loud shouts
joined his .ranks. LabedoyBre and his men soon
swelled the increasing army, and Napoleon
entered Grenoble amidst the cheers of the
soldiers and the clang of martial music. On the
12th of March he reached Lyons. From this,
the capital of southern France, and the ancient
seat of the Revolution, he issued his imperial
edicts as if already in possession of the supreme
authority. He declared the chambers of peers
and deputies dissolved; banished the returned
emigres; abolished all titles of honour, except
those granted for services rendered to the
nation; and struck off the list of the army the
emigrant officers who had received commissions
from the Bourbon government. All opposition

Napoleon's Return from Elba. 17

to his advance was useless. The army every-
where flung aside the white cockade, and re-
sumed the tricolor. Marshal Ney, the bravest
of the brave," who, on the 7th of March, had
taken leave of King Louis with the assurance
that he would bring back Bonaparte in an iron
cage, on the 14th of March issued a proclama-
tion to the army at Auxerre, which began thus
significantly:-" Citizens and soldiers! The
cause of the Bourbons is irrecoverably lost; the
legitimate dynasty which the French nation has
adopted, will never more mount the throne."
On the 19th of March, Louis, by proclamation,
dissolved the chambers. On the same day, after
midnight, he drove out of Paris by the road to
St Denis, only a few hours before Napoleon, on
the 20th, drove in by the Barrier of Italy; and
on the 23d he arrived safely at Ghent. Napo-
leon, on the 21st, slept in the historic palace of
the Tuilleries, having been borne up the grand
staircase by an enthusiastic crowd, and welcomed
in the old familiar salons by the ladies of his
former court, who, with characteristic French
sentimentality, showered upon him fragrant
bouquets of violets. The wives and daughters
of his marshals and guards had been neglected,
or openly insulted, by the proud aristocracy who

18 The Story of Waterloo.

had flocked to the levees and assemblies of the
restored monarch. The ladies of the Imperial
court now had their revenge.
On the surface, indeed, all seemed smooth and
bright, and to the uninstructed eye it seemed as
if Napoleon, after a brief interval of rest, had
once more resumed his despotic power. But
such was not the case. He was Emperor, but
not ruler. He was at the head of an army, but
not of a people. The column, to all appearance,
was firm, massive, and lofty, but there was
hollowness at the base, and the foundation on
which it rested was insecure.*

"The Emperor had appeared once more," says Mr
Hooper, "but when he entered Paris, he ceased to be
Emperor. He had to compound and to temporise. Those
writers alone take a correct view of the supreme crisis in
the career of Napoleon, who insist that his only chance
of success against combined Europe, was to be found in
an appeal to the revolutionary spirit, in an emphatic
declaration that the country was in danger, and in rousing
a whole people to arms. But these very writers forget
that the wars of the empire had exhausted the spirit as
well as the body of the Revolution, and that no matter
how imperiously the Emperor might have stamped his
foot upon the soil of France, all his stamping could not
have called forth the race of men whom he had consumed
in his gigantic wars "- Waterloo, p. 27.



Some barbarous dream of Empire to fulfil,
Those iron ages he would have restored,
"When Law was but the ruffian-soldier's will :
Might governed all, the sceptre was the sword;
And Peace, not elsewhere finding where to dwell,
Sought a sad refuge in the convent-cell.
SOUTHEY-The Poet's Pilgrimage to Waterloo.

APOLEON had no sooner seated him-
self upon the throne, than he
addressed all his energies to the task
of re-organizing the whole military
strength of the French Empire. He knew that
the Allied Powers would never suffer him to
retain the imperial crown without a struggle;
that England regarded him as the disturber of
Europe; that Russia, Prussia, Austria, had
each their special wrongs to avenge. He knew
that Russia had not forgotten Borodino; that
Austria still mourned over Austerlitz; and that

20 The Story of Waterloo.

Prussia remembered Jena with an implacable
hatred. He knew that attempts at negotiation
were useless: he had broken so many treaties,
that all Europe had learned to distrust him.
The overtures he put forward through his chosen
diplomatists were, indeed, received with con-
temptuous indifference; and, on the 13th of
March, a few days after the news of his landing
near Cannes had reached them, the ministers of
England, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sweden,
Spain, and Portugal, affixed their signatures to
a manifesto which declared Napoleon Bonaparte
an outlaw. And we may here add, that a treaty
was afterwards concluded, by which the seven
Powers bound themselves to enforce that decree,
and to carry on the war until Napoleon should
be driven from the throne of France, and
rendered incapable of again disturbing the
peace and order of Europe.
Napoleon, therefore, found himself confronted
by armed Europe. He had no friend-not a
single ally. He recognized the greatness of the
peril, but he bated not one jot of heart or hope.
" I desire peace," he said to Benjamin Constant,
"but I can obtain it only by means of victories.
I do not wish to give you false hopes; I allow
it to.be said that negotiations are in progress.

Napoleon's Preparations for War. 21

Nothing of the kind! I foresee a difficult
struggle, a long war." In his anticipations he
was only partly correct: the struggle was diffi-
cult, but not long.
His first measure, in which he was not very
successful, was to secure the hearty support of
the legislature, by professing himself desirous
to reign constitutionally. "The repose of a
constitutional king," he was fond of saying,
" will suit me; and will suit my son better."
But the French statesmen replied that this admis-
sion of constitutional government was of very
recent origin; and wisely doubted whether so
imperious a spirit, and so arbitrary a genius,
would ever submit to any restraint or limitation.
They suspected, and rightly, that he espoused
constitutional doctrines, not because he loved
them or believed in them, but that he might
obtain present support, and gain time to establish
imperialism on a foundation of successful war.
His next step was to strengthen and recruit
his army. Knowing that at the period of his
return from Elba the best troops of England
were in America, that the Germans had but
a comparatively small force on the Rhine, that
the Russian hosts were in Poland, he calculated
that the Allies would be unable to open the

22 The Story of Waterloo.

campaign until the middle of July; and, for
a moment, he hoped, by appealing to the
sympathies of his father-in-law, the Emperor of
Austria, and by stimulating the jealousy of the
Russian Czar against his allies, if not to reduce
his enemies to two, England and Prussia, at
least to protract the commencement of hostilities
until the autumn. By that time he hoped to have
eight hundred thousand men under arms.
His calculations were erroneous on two points :
he underrated the energy and determination of
the Allies, and he overrated the military re-
sources of France. He forgot that he had
drained the country of its best blood; had
taught it to loathe war; had almost sickened
it of glory; and that he could no longer fill
his ranks by the conscription,*-for his long
series of costly campaigns had exhausted the
youth and manhood of the nation.
All that he could do he did; and if he did no
more it was fiomr want of materials, not from
any decline in the ardour and energy of his
genius. In less than three months he reinforced
and improved the artillery; he augmented and
renovated the cavalry; he once more called
The proper conscription for 1815 had been levied in
the autumn of 1 1..

Napoleon's Preparations for- War. 23

into existence that imperial guard of veterans
which had decided the fate of so many battles.
He found ready to his hand, when he re-ascended
the throne, a force of 223,972 men of all arms-
officers included-giving a disposable effective
of 155,000 men ready to take the field. By the
13th of June, his almost incredible exertions
raised this force, including officers, to a total
of 276,982 men; that is, 247,609 of the line,
and 29,373 of the Imperial Guards. The num-
ber available for war was 198,130; and it
follows, therefore, that Napoleon had increased
the general effective by 53,010 men, and that
part of it disposable for war by 43,130. He
also directed and completed the fortification and
armament of the north side of Paris; supplied
the first line of frontier fortresses with provisions
for six months, and the fortresses of the other
lines in proportion; threw up entrenched works
round several provisional towns, and fortified
the defiles of the Jura, the Vosges, and the
Argonne; he succeeded in obtaining horses
absolutely required for the cavalry and artillery,
and supplied the latter with harness for nearly
600 guns; he more than doubled the number of
effective muskets. In addition to this, he totally
re-organized the army, revived (as we have

24 The Story of Waterloo.

said) the Imperial Guards, and provided for the
increase of the regiments of the line from two to
five battalions, thus giving employment to the
half-pay officers, so discontented under the
Bourbons; had restored to the regiments the
old numbers so foolishly taken away; he added
two squadrons to each regiment of cavalry:
and he raised upwards of two hundred battalions
of National Guards. In short, by unceasing
labour, he mastered the whole military details of
the empire; and, in so far as it was possible,
he saw that what he ordered was done. No
man could have effected more, few men so much,
with the same means in the same time.
Napoleon, on the 30th of April, had issued
a decree convoking the Electoral College for
the nomination of Deputies to the Chamber of
Representatives. The majority of the people
abstained from voting. The Emperor felt that
it was necessary he should do something strik-
ing-something adapted to impress the imagi-
nation of France; and, for this purpose, he
bethought himself of reviving the old revolu-
tionary fete of the Champs de Mars. It did not
take place in May, however, but in June.
Napoleon, attired in his Imperial robes, appeared
on a lofty platform erected in the Champs de

Napoleon's Preparations for War. 25

Mars, attended by a glittering procession of
ministers, statesmen, courtiers, prelates, officers,
and surrounded by two hundred thousand soldiers
and citizens. In a spirited harangue, he an-
nounced that the wishes of the nation having
restored him to the throne, his whole thoughts
were directed to the foundation of the liberty of
the people, on a constitution resting on their
wishes, and bound up with their interests. And
he concluded with an animated appeal to the
honour and pride of France. The powers who
resist all popular rights, he said, are determined
on war. For war we must prepare!
On the 11th of June, having nominated a
Provisional Government to act in concert with
the Chambers, he left Paris in the evening. I
go to measure myself with Wellington," he ex-
claimed, as he stepped into his carriage. Before
we follow him to the scene of war, we must glance
at the nature of the preparations made by the
Allies to ensure the defeat of their formidable



-The arms are fair,
"When the interest of bearing them is just..

-War is honourable
In those who do their native rights maintain;
In those whose swords an iron barrier are
Between the lawless spoiler and the weak;
But is, in those who draw th' offensive blade
For added power or gain, sordid and despicable
As meanest office of the worldly churl.
-Joanna Baillie.

E have said that a treaty was signed
on the 25th of March, whereby the
Allied Powers bound themselves to
make war against Napoleon, the
common enemy of Europe, and pledged them-
selves not to lay down their arms until he should
have been rendered absolutely unable to create
disturbance, or to renew his attempts for pos-
sessing himself of supreme power in France.

Preparations of the Allies. 27

This treaty was signed by the Duke of Welling-
ton on behalf of England, and his action was
unanimously approved by the British Govern-
ment, and, on the whole, by the Parliament and
the country. There was, indeed, a small knot
of ultra-liberals who professed themselves that
Napoleon should have another trial; that is,
should have been allowed time to augment the
resources of France, until he might once more be
in a position to dictate laws to Europe! But
even these men admitted that his professions
of moderation were not to be trusted! Their
argument was, that if England acknowledged
him as the ruler of France, the French constitu-
tionalists, without whose aid, they said, it was
impossible for him to carry on the government,
would be in a position to extort from him adequate
securities, and so to dominate in his councils as
to prevent him from ever resuming his schemes
of aggrandisement. The only excuse that can
be made for such a plea is, that those who put
it forward did not understand the character of
the man, or the people he ruled. It was as
impossible for Napoleon to have governed con-
stitutionally as for France to be satisfied with
a military king who rested in inglorious peace."
The condition by which he won power was the

28 The Story of Waterloo.

sole condition by which he could keep it; that
is, ministering to the French army's boundless
lust of glory and plunder! Moreover, it is to
be remembered that, for the maintenance of
peace upon the bases adopted in 1814 at Paris
and Vienna, the European Powers had no
guarantee but the worthless promises of a man
whose exclusion from the French throne was the
primary article of the treaty of Paris. France,
by receiving back Napoleon, had violated that
treaty, and insulted Europe. The possibility
that a new-born constitutional party could strive
with any success against the Emperor and his
soldiers, was much too vague and unsubstantial
to serve as a foundation for a European peace.
In the hour of uncertainty and disaster the
constitutional party was strong; but it was felt
that with the first gleam of military success, the
first indication that Napoleon had resumed his
career of victory, it would sink into utter nothing-
ness. Therefore, it was better at once to resort
to the arbitrament of war, and to impose upon
France such conditions that she should not be
able, at all events for a considerable period, to
disturb again the tranquility of Europe.
Having come to this conclusion, England and
her Allies made ready to support it energetically.

Preparations of the Allies. 29

At the period of Napoleon's return from Elba,
the common enemy of every European nation
was on a peace footing. On the frontiers of
France, however, between the Meuse and the
Moselle, some 26,000 Prussians were in canton-
ments under the command of General Kleist, and
about 40,000 English, Hanoverians, and Dutch-
Belgians, under the Prince of Orange, were dis-
tributed through Belgium.
On the 4th of April, when the Duke of Wel-
lington reached Brussels, and took the command
of the British, Hanoverian, and DTutch-Belgian
armies, he found that he had at his disposal,
exclusive of garrisons, only 25,000 Anglo-Ger-
man troops, of which 5000 were cavalry; and
10,000 Dutch-Belgians, of whom 2000 were
cavalry. The quality of the latter were very
inferior, for they were mostly young recruits;
and the same might justly be said of the British
troops, the flower of our army being in America.
The Duke intimated to his Government that
he required 40,000 British infantry and Ger-
man legionaries, exclusive of garrison troops,
18,000 cavalry, and 150 British field-guns; but,
at first, the chances did not seem great that his
demands would be complied with. However, his
energy was inexhaustible, and he used his influ-

30 The Story of Waterloo.

ence at home so effectually that, by the 3d of
May, he found himself at the head of 70,000
men fit for service in the field. In the mean-
time, the 26,000 Prussians had grown into
80,000. Blucher, the Prussian generalissimo,
popularly known, in allusion to his headlong
courage, as old "Marshal Forwards," had also
arrived, and met the Duke on the 2d of May at
Tirlemont. On the 21st of May, Wellington in-
formed Prince Schwartzenberg, the Austrian
commander, that, without counting the troops in
the various garrisons, he could place in the field
60,000 bayonets, and nearly 16,000 sabres, and
that, of the latter, 10,000 were equal to any in
the world.
Reinforcements continued to pour in; and, by
the middle of June, the total force under the
command of the Duke, from all sources, had
been augmented to 105,950 men, and 196 guns;
while the army under Prince Blucher had in-
creased to nearly 120,000 men, with upwards of
300 guns. Such, at least, are the figures given by
Captain Siborne, a deservedly accredited authority.
But of what material were these great armies
composed? The kernel, or, rather, the heart of
Wellington's force was the British battalions,
squadrons, and batteries, taken in conjunction

Preparations of the Allies. 31

with the regiments and batteries of the King's
German Legion. Most of the regiments had at
some period served in the Peninsula, but nearly
one-half was composed of second battalions, and
a large portion were half-trained recruits, who
had volunteered from the militia, when the regu-
lar battalions were hurriedly filled up to their
proper complement for foreign service. But the
supply of old soldiers was not inconsiderable;
and of the young it might fairly be said, that
whatever their imperfections of discipline, they
possessed all the old British pluck, tenacity, and
physical prowess. Some of the regiments, in-
deed, did such honour to the English flag, 'that
even the cold and unimpassioned Wellington, when
speaking of them, was warmed into enthusiasm.
He was especially moved to admiration by his
cavalry. Not only were they magnificently
mounted, but they were admirably trained.
"Some had to 'fight for a name;' and some
had to keep a name; and all were animated by
the true military spirit."
The artillery, though not numerous, was
splendidly effective, both horse and foot; and
by substituting 9-pounder for 6-pounder guns
in the horse batteries, Colonel Frazer had
rendered them better able to meet their oppo-

32 The Story of Waterloo.

nents. The foot batteries were not inferior even
to Wellington's Peninsula infantry in stedfast-
ness and "staying power;" and the horse
batteries in dash and rapidity equalled the
brigades of cavalry to which they were attached.
Praise not less warm might fairly be bestowed
on the German Legionaries, who, from long asso-
ciation, and race-qualities, had thoroughly ac-
quired the spirit and method of their old allies.
Of the rest of Wellington's army, if we ex-
cept the older Hanoverian battalions, little good
could be said. As Mr Hooper points out, the
Dutch-Belgian soldiers, who had been hastily
raised, and were poorly officered, had not reached
that steadiness of discipline which* would have
made them safe soldiers. The greater part of
the foot were militia; and the horse, newly
raised like -the rest, were inexperienced, and did
not possess that confidence in themselves and
their leaders so essential to all soldiers who
engaged the French in fight. It should be re-
membered, too, that the ranks of the whole
Dutch-Belgian army contained numbers of officers
and soldiers who had served under Napoleon.
Many were inspired by the truest courage and
patriotism; but the courage and patriotism of
the majority were weakened by their superstitious


Preparations of the Allies. 33

belief in Napoleon's invincibility. The Bruns-
wick troops were young and untried, but breathed
a spirit of reckless gallantry. The Nassauers
were also young, and not particularly good either
in body or spirit; but they were mostly experi-
enced soldiers.
This mixed army, says MIr Hooper, so unequal
in its elements, so abruptly brought together,
had not at the opening of the campaign acquired
that consistency and mutual confidence so essen-
tial to successful operations in war. The soldiers
and officers spoke four or five languages and
many dialects. The special merits of the British
soldiers were unknown to many of their Conti-
nental comrades. Wellington had been a vic-
torious general, but the renown he had derived
from his campaigns in the Peninsula was as
nothing in their eyes compared with that of
Napoleon, or the best of Napoleon's marshals.
Yet, it may safely be said that Wellington alone
held together the incongruous body which had
been assembled in the rich plains of Belgium.
The Prussian army was compact, homogene-
ous, and composed of trained and veteran soldiers,
who were animated by the fiercest hatred of
Napoleon and the French. They were devoted
to their leader, whose burning valour and bril-


34 The Story of Waterloo.

liant military qualities fully justified their devo-
tion. As early as 1806, Blucher, then a prisoner
of war at .Hamburg, had predicted the fall of
Napoleon, and he had remained constant in this
belief throughout the astonishingly successful
career of the French Emperor. And his faith,
like that of Wellington, who had always ex-
pressed the same confidence, was still more
earnest and resolved in 1815 than it had been
at an earlier period-for it had been justified by
the glorious events of 1814.




The cannons have their bowels full of wrath;
And ready mounted are they to spit forth
Their iron indignation.

"AVING thus seen the strength and
character of the forces assembled
on either side, it now becomes neces-
sary for us to ascertain their dispo-
sition, and to examine the movements by which
they approached each other for the purpose of
deciding the future destiny of Europe on the
field of battle.
The object of Wellington and Blucher was
twofold: they had to guard an extensive and
open frontier ; and they had to hold themselves
in readiness to move towards any point which
their great enemy might select for delivering
his first blow.

36 The Story of. Waterloo.

Wellington, therefore, divided his troops into
two corps d' armee and a reserve-the former
commanded respectively by the Prince of Orange
and Lord Hill, the last by himself. The first
corps included the English and German divisions
under Cooke and Alten, and the greater part of
the Dutch-Belgians under Chass6, Papoucher,
and Colbaert; the second comprehended Colville's
and Clinton's divisions, and a division and a-half
of Dutch-Belgians under Prince Frederick of
Orange. The reserve was composed of Picton's
and Cole's divisions-the Nassauers and Bruns-
wickers. The guns were partially distributed
through the divisions. The cavalry was placed
under the orders of the Earl of Uxbridge, a
dashing and capable soldier; and the British
squadrons were kept together in cantonments.
Three tried and trusty regiments of British
infantry were detached to give solidity to the
garrisons of the maritime fortresses. And, with
the remainder of his army, Wellington lay across
the road to Brussels and Antwerp, and protected
his line of communications with England.
His front was, therefore, ve- / extensive. Com-
mencing from the right, at Ostend, the line fol-
lowed the frontier-Nieuport, Ypres, Courtray,
Tournai, and Mons-these strong fortified cities,

Opening of the Campaign. 37

which had figured so conspicuously in the War
of the Succession, had been so strengthened as
to render them embarrassing to any force attempt-
ing to break into Belgium between the Scheldt
and the Lys, or between the Scheldt and the
Sambre, and, at the same time, to utilize them
in covering the movement of troops in their rear.
Wherever it was practicable, the sluices had
been opened, and the country inundated. Be-
hind these fortified cities, and between them and
Antwerp and Ghent, lay Wellington's army.
From Courtray to Mons, a chain of cavalry out-
posts watched the movements of the enemy,
The great mass of the troops were cantoned
in the open plains between the Scheldt and the
great road from Charleroi through Brussels to
Antwerp. Lord Hill's head-quarters were at
Ath, on the Dender, and the brigades of his corps
extended on the right as far as the Lys, and on
the left in the direction of Mons. The first corps
formed the left of the army; the head-quarters
were at Brain le Comte; and the divisions ex-
tended along either side of the highway from Mons
to Brussels. The extreme post on the right was
at Binche, and on the left at Frasne. In the
rear of Lord Hill was accumulated the flashing
squadrons of the cavalry-huzzar, lancer, and

38 The Story of Waterloo.

dragoon-their tents dappling the green slopes
of the Dender Valley-their head-quarters being
at Grammont; and in the rear of the Prince of
Orange was stationed the reserve, in and about
Brussels, with one brigade of Cole's division at
Ghent. Thus, on the right, between Dender and
the Scheldt, were posted nearly 30,000 men, and
nearly as many on the left, between the Dender
and the Brussels and Charleroi road; about
8000 horsemen in and about Grammont and
Ninhove, a central position; and the 25,000
men of the reserve near Brussels. Hence, two-
thirds of the army were really east of the Dender,
upon the great roads leading from Valenciennes
and Maubeuge upon Brussels, and on the flank
of the road through Charleroi to the Belgian
The Prussian army was posted to the left of
the Anglo-Belgian, and so much to the left that
the point of concentration of the most distant
corps wis Ligge, on the Meuse. It was
divided into four corps, and a complete army in
itself-being composed of four brigades of
infantry, with a due proportion of horse and
guns. Corps No. 1, under General von Ziethen,
stood on the right; the 2d, under General Pirch,
in the right centre; the 3d, under General von

Opening of the Campaign. 39

Thielmann, on the left centre, thrown forward
over the Meuse; and the 4th, under Count
Bulow, on the left. The point of concentration
for the fourth corps was Lidge, and its brigades
were posted chiefly on the north and west of
head-quarters. The third corps occupied the
country between the Meuse and the Ourte, hav-
ing its head-quarters at Ciney, midway between
the two rivers, and one brigade at IIuy, on the
Meuse. The outposts were extended southwards
towards the frontier as far as Rochefort and
The head-quarters of the second corps was'at
Namur; its brigades lying along the road from
that place towards Louvain, but one brigade
was at Huy. The outposts were stationed on
the left bank of the Meuse, the most advanced
being at Sossoye, communicating ofi its left with
Thielmann, and on its right with Ziethen.
Finally, the head-quarters of the first corps
were at Charleroi, and its battalions occupied
the line of the Sambre from Thain on the right
bank to Moustier sur Sambre on the left. The
cavalry and reserve were stationed in Sombref
and Gembloux. The outposts tracked the course
of the Sambre from Lobbes and Thain to Charle-
roi, and thence extended through Gerpinnes

40 The Story of Waterloo.

across the angle formed by the Sambre and
Meuse towards Sossoye. Thus, the Prussian
right overlapped the British left; and here,
owing to the disposition of the two armies, was
the weak point of their army; the bulk of the
Prussians lying away to the left, and the bulk
of the Anglo-Belgians to the right, a faulty
arrangement, but forced upon Wellington and
Blucher by the long extent of position they had
to cover, and by the necessity of protecting their

Napoleon's forces, or the Grande Armee, as he
called it, consisting of about 200,000 infantry,
cavalry, and artillery, were thus disposed of:-
To guard his northern frontier, he kept there four
corps, and a mass of cavalry, between the Meuse
and the Lys; one corps was stationed on the
Moselle, and the Imperial Guards, for the time,
at Paris. The larger part of the remainder of
the disposable effective of regular troops,
together with 38,000 picked National Guards,
in all 90,000 men, were divided into six small
bodies, of which two, the 5th and 7th, were
styled corps d' armee, and four were called corps
of observation. According to Mr Hooper, whose
clear and accurate narrative we shall closely

Opening of the Campaign. 41

follow in this chapter, they were scattered
between Strasbourg and Antibes in the following
manner :-
The 5th corps-19,000 regular and 3000
National Guards-under Count Rapp, held the
famous line of the Lauter, the scene of some of
Marlborough's finest military manoeuvres, be-
tween Hagenau and Landau, with its head-
quarters at Strasbourg.
When he sent Rapp to take the command of
the Upper Rhine, Napoleon promised him 40,000
troops of the line; but, at the opening of the
campaign, he had not half that number under
arms: a very inadequate force to keep in check
the masses swarming in Baden and Wurtem-
burg, and in the provinces on the left bank of
the great German river.
On the left of Rapp, but at a considerable
distance, General le Courbe, with a force of 4446
regulars and 10,000 National Guards, watched
Basle, and the passes of the Jura range; while
a weak division of National Guards did their
best to maintain the communication with Rapp.
On the right of Le Courbe, Marshal Suchet,
with the 7th Corps, a mixed force like the others,
8814 regulars and 12,000 National Guards,
occupied Chambrey and Grenoble. His corps

42 The Story of Waterloo.

was styled the Army of the Alps; but its con-
tingent of National Guards was something like
Falstaff's "ragged regiment:" men of inferior
physique, half-armed, barely equipped, and
poorly clad.
A still weaker body, not numbering above
4081 men, under Marshal Brune, was distributed
between Toulon and the Var.
On the Spanish frontier, Decaen was at Tou-
louse, in front of the Eastern, and Clauzel at
Bordeaux, watching the Western Pyrenees; the
aggregate of their troops, National Guards in-
cluded, did not exceed 14,000 men.
The forces at the disposal of the Emperor
were further reduced by 8500 troops of the line,
and 6000 National Guards, who, under General
Lamarque, contended with internal enemies; for
the Royalists had risen in the west, and they
occupied the attention of Lamarque until the end
of June, in the old battle-grounds of La Vendee.
Behind all these troops were the depots, but
these were nearly drained of men; and in the
fortresses were distributed some 150,000 National
Guards, sailors, and local troops.

When Napoleon found that the Allies held
firmly together, and were rapidly accumulating

Opening of the Campaign. 43

such immense armies, that they would be able
in a few months to pour into France an irresistible
flood of bayonets and cannon, he resolved imme-
diately to assume the offensive, in the hope that
he might encounter his enemies one by one, and
beat them in detail. With an eagle eye he
detected the weak point of the long array of
Wellington and Blucher, and it was at this he
determined to strike with all his might. Sum-
moning to his aid all the resources of his genius,
he concentrated, with unequalled skill and
rapidity, an army of nearly 130,000 men,
between the Sambre and the Meuse. It con-
sisted of the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 6th corp,
d' armee, commanded respectively by D'Erlon,
Reille, Vandamme, G6rard, and Lobau; of the
Imperial Guards; and of four corps of reserve
Early in June, the corps of D'Erlon, Reille,
and Vandamme were stationed in cantonments
on the northern frontier, between Lille on the
Scheldt, and MeziBres on the Meuse-both be-
ing fortified towns of great strength, the con-
necting links being Rocroi, Avesnes, Maubeuge,
and Valenciennes. All the frontier-roads were
closely watched, and every precaution was taken
to prevent Wellington and Blucher from learning

44 The Story of Waterloo.

the movements of the Imperial troops. Behind
these three corps stood Lobau at Laon, where
Marshal Soult, temporarily in command of the
whole, had his head-quarters. The four cavalry
corps, under Pajol, Excelmans, Kellerman, and
Milhaud, about to be placed under the orders of
Marshal Grouchy, were distributed between
Laon and Avesnes. The artillery was at La
Fere, on the river Serre; and in the rear of the
whole lay the Imperial Guard at Compiegne.
Gerard's corps, somewhat pretentiously called
the Army of the Moselle, watched the banks of
that river, so famous in legend and song, from
Metz to Thionville. But when Napoleon resolved
to break in upon the centre of the Allied lines,
he recalled Gerard to the Army of the North.
The concentration of these forces is admitted
to have been one of Napoleon's most remarkable
displays of military genius. As it was his
object to take the Allies by surprise, it was
needful he should strike suddenly; and that he
should divert their attention, if possible, from the
real object of his attack. He, therefore, ordered
the garrisons along the whole line, from the
Moselle to the North Sea, to mask the march of
the several corps, while he arranged that, on the
frontier, between Dunkirk and Maubeuge, at

Opening of the Campaign. 45

the moment when the troops in cantonments
marched for the point of concentration the ad-
vanced post should be tripled, so that the enemy,
deceived as to the Emperor's real object, might
suppose that the whole French army was gather-
ing towards its left. The British cavalry out-
posts did not fail to observe their movements;
but they afforded no sufficient indication of the
enemy's intentions, and though they may have
made Wellington cautious, they did not influence
him so far as to induce him to change the station
of a single battalion.
Gerard, who, as will be seen from a glance at
the maps, had the greatest distance to traverse,
was the first to move. He took his departure
from Metz on the 6th of June, and regulated his
march so as to reach Phillipeville on the 13th.
On the 8th, the Imperial Guards left Compiegne,
taking the direction of Beaumont. Next, Van-
damme worked to his left, and Reille and D'Erlon
to their right, while the cavalry gradually drew
towards the front. For some days, streams of
infantry, and horsemen, and guns, poured into
the flat country between the Sambre and the
Meuse; and the well-conceived orders of their
chief were so well executed by eager officers and
enthusiastic soldiers, that, to Napoleon's infinite

46 The Story of Waterloo.

gratification, the whole army was. concentrated
on the morning of the 14th.
Napoleon reached Avesnes on the 13th, and,
the same evening, he issued his final instructions
to his lieutenants. He had now so disposed his
troops that they lay close to the position, though
not actually upon it. On the extreme left lay
the 1st and 2d corps-Reille at Lens, and D'Erlon
behind him at Sobre sur Sambre. These were
ordered to march on the morning of the 15th,
the first following the second, so as mutually to
support each other. Vandamme's corps, the
3d, and Lobau's, the 6th, were stationed three
miles in front of Beaumont; two miles in the
rear lay the veteran infantry of the Imperial
Guard-one regiment excepted-which was in
the town: while the cavalry were posted behind
them. Towards the right, the four corps of
reserve cavalry were posted on the right front
of Beaumont, and between that town and Wal-
court; and still further to the right, G6rard's
corps lay in front of Phillippeville. All received
orders to strike their tents on the morning of
the 15th; the greater part at three o'clock, but
the Guards and the 6th corps a little later.
Thus, then, this imposing force presented, as
Mr Hooper points out, a concave front-the

Opening of the Campaign. 47

left being thrown as far forward as'the point
where the old frontier line of France crossed the
Sambre. The bulk of the Imperial army was
concentrated around Beaumont, and pointed
directly upon Charleroi, Grouchy's cavalry con-
necting the solid centre with the lighter right
wing at Phillipeville. All the generals had re-
ceived strict orders to keep secret the intentions
of their chief; to prevent any person from cross-
ing the frontier; and to conceal the fires of their
bivouacs from the enemy. In the last-named
object, however, their precautions proved ineffec-
tual. Though the fires were kindled in the
valleys, and on the inner slopes of the hills, the
keen eyes of the Prussian general, Ziethen, who
was on the watch both night and day, detected
the presence of the French army by the reflection
of their concealed fires on the blue sky of the
night-and he did not fail to profit by the timely
The army thus brought together with so much
skill and surprising accuracy, consisted of-
20 divisions of infantry;
14 divisions of cavalry;
31 batteries of foot artillery; and
16 batteries of horse artillery :-
making a total of 128,088 men-that is, 89,415

48 The Story of Waterloo.

infantry, 22,300 cavalry, and- 15,871 artillery,
with 344 guns.* Perhaps," it is said, "the
finest and most complete army ever commanded
by Napoleon: an army which believed in him
and in victory with a force and devotion never
On the 14th of June, Napoleon issued the
following address to his army, spirited and elo-
quent like all his bulletins-and, like all his
bulletins, crowded with misrepresentations :-

NAPOLEON, by the Grace of God, and the Con-
stitution of the Empire, Emperor of the
French, &c., to the Grand Army.

At the Imperial Head-Quarters,
Avesnes, June 14, 1815.
Soldiers! this day is the anniversary of
Marengo and of Friedland, which twice decided
the destiny of Europe. Then-as after Auster-
litz, 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, league together, they assail the

These are the figures given by Colonel Charras.

Opening of the Campaign. 49

independence and the 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 these same Prus-
sians, now so arrogant, you were one to three;
and at Montmirail one to six.
Let those among you who have been captives
among the English describe the nature of their
prison-ships, and the frightful miseries they
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 all nations. They
know that this coalition is insatiable! After
having devoured twelve millions of Poles,
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 humilia-
tion of the French people is beyond their power.
If they enter France they will find their graves.
Soldiers! we have forced marches to make,

50 The Story of Waterloo.

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 regained.
To every Frenchman who has courage, the
moment has now arrived to conquer or to die!
(Signed) NAPOLEON.



Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs-
Piercing the night's dull ear ; and from the tents,
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation.

W HE British commander had placed his
head-quarters at Brussels. Thither
came all reports, and thence all
orders issued. He was of opinion
that his great antagonist would move upon the
Scheldt, or between the Scheldt and the Lys,
or from Maubeuge upon Mons. But he was
not unprepared for an attack by the Sambre
and the Meuse, and was able to meet the blow
which Napoleon delivered in that direction.
It was not until three o'clock in the afternoon
of the 15th that he received any certain informa-
tion of the French movements, and learned that

52 The Story of Waterloo.

Charleroi was threatened. He then issued
orders for the various divisions of his army to
assemble, and pushed forward Alten, Chassi,
and Perponcher to Nevilles; Cooke to Enghien;
Clinton to Ath; Colville to Grammont; the
cavalry to Ninhove; while the reserve, which
lay around Brussels, was ordered to be ready to
march at daybreak on the 16th. Having thus
got his troops well in hand, he went, as every
body. knows, to a ball given by the Duchess of
Richmond, where he appeared as cool, immovable,
and unconcerned as if he had not to measure
himself, in a few hours, with the greatest com-
mander of the age.
On the morning of the 16th, Napoleon, acting
upon the data his generals had collected, deter-
mined to attack the Prussians in full force, in
the hope of annihilating them before the British
could come to their support. But it is to be
observed that he was by no means accurately
informed as to the true position or strength of
the Prussians; and that, on the 16th, as on the
18th, he displayed an extraordinary amount of
hesitation and indecision, so that some writers
have not scrupled to affirm that, either from
physical or mental causes, he was not wholly
master of himself.

Movements of the Allies. 53

He now divided his army into two wings and
a reserve. The left wing consisted of the first
and second corps, Gerard's division excepted;
of Kellerman's heavy cavalry, and of the light
cavalry of the Imperial Guard; a force, if united,
numbering 33,520 infantry, 8800 cavalry, and 96
guns. Marshal Ney was in command of this wing.
The right wing included the third, fourth, and
sixth corps, together with three of Grouchy's
cavalry divisions; that is, of 42,869 infantry,
15,023 cavalry, and 144 guns. It was under
the command of Marshal Grouchy.
The reserve, under Napoleon himself, consisted
of the Imperial Guard; 13,206 infantry, 1718
horse, and 96 guns.
After much waste of precious time, Napoleon
ordered Ney to press forward and occupy Quatre
Bras, Genappe, and Marbuis, with the view of
seizing Brussels on the morning of the 17th;
while Grouchy was directed to march upon
But Grouchy knew, what his Imperial master
did not know, that the Prussian army was
posted in great strength at and about Sombref,
and all he could do was to advance as far as
Fleurus, where he was joined by Napoleon and
the Imperial Guard about an hour after noon.

54 The Story of Waterloo.

Here, to his surprise, he found Blucher ready
to meet him, and boldly lying right across his
path. "He mounted the steps of a windmill
near the town, and surveyed the scene before
him, still reluctant to believe even his own senses.
He despatched several officers to the front, and
he rode himself at a leisurely pace, attended by
a small staff, along the whole line of vedettes
which covered the front of his divisions. More
than one hour was spent in satisfying himself
of the reality of the spectacle before him, and
in forming a conception of the position occupied
by the enemy." But even now, owing to the
nature of the ground, he formed an incorrect
opinion of the disposition of the Prussian forces,
and persisted in believing that only a body of
troops was before him, and not the Prussian
army. He therefore ordered Ney to attack
vigorously whatever was before him, and then
to move towards himself, so as to put the
Prussian force between two fires.
During the interval which elapsed between
Napoleon's arrival at Fleurus, and his decision
to attack the Prussians, the Duke of Wellington
had ridden across the country from Quatre Bras
to hold a council with Blucher. Sir Henry,
afterwards Lord, Hardinge had been directed

Movements of the Allies. 55

by the Prussian generalissimo to proceed to
Quatre Bras, and obtain some assistance from
the British. I set out," he says, but I had
not proceeded far when I saw a party of horse
coming towards me, and, observing that they
had short tails, I knew at once that they were
English, and soon distinguished the Duke. He
was on his way to the Prussian head-quarters,
thinking they might want some assistance; and
he instantly gave directions for a supply of
cavalry. How are they forming ?' he inquired.
' In column, not in line,' I replied; the Prussian
soldier, Blucher says, will not stand in line.'
'Then the artillery will play upon them, and
they will be beaten damnably,' was the com-
ment of the Duke."
Continuing his course, Wellington came up
with Blucher near the mill of Bussy. Then,
while the French Emperor was examining the
Prussian position, and making arrangements to
act upon its right, the Allied Commanders were
discussing a similar plan of operations for the
defeat of the French. They resolved that
Blucher should accept battle; and that Welling-
ton, with all possible speed, should move up
from Quatre Bras troops designed to act upon
the left flank of the Imperial army.

56 The Story of Waterloo.

At this moment, there is reason to believe,
Wellington calculated, and on good grounds,
that more than one half of his army could be in
line at Quatre Bras by three o'clock. But this
is not the significant fact which should be com-
mended to the reader's notice. That fact is, that
Napoleon had failed at the outset to separate the
two armies, for they were then in close and solid
communication; the two Commanders-in-Chief,
though he knew it not, were conferring together
on the hills overlooking his position; and we
are justified in asserting that the foundation of
the coming victory at Waterloo was laid in the
memorable interview between Wellington and
Blucher at the Mill of Bussy."
Wellington was not surprised" by Napoleon,
as some authorities have seen fit to assert; nor
did he fight the battle of Waterloo without a
perfect knowledge of the resources on which he
had to depend. It was in full reliance, as we
shall see, on their concerted plan of operations
that Blucher met the French at Ligny, and
Wellington awaited the shock of battle at
Waterloo. The Allied Generals thoroughly
understood each other, and thoroughly under-
stood their troops; and victory was no more
possible for Napoleon at the beginning of the

Movements of the Allies. 57

brief campaign than it was at the end. He
committed the fatal mistake of undervaluing
his adversaries. It is true enough that in his
disposition on the 16th and 18th, the French
Emperor was guilty of errors which in his
palmier days he would never have committed;
but it may be held as certain that had his genius
been as fiery and unhesitating as at Austerlitz
or Wagram, he must still have been beaten.
He had no army which could defeat the British,
much less an army which could defeat both
British and Prussians.



Men in armour clad,
Upon their prancing steeds disdainfully,
With wanton paces trampling on the ground :
S. . Footmen threatening shot,
Shaking their swords, their spears, and iron bills,
Environing their standard round, that stood
As bristle-pointed as a thorny wood.
-Christopher Marlowe.

FTER a difficult and fatiguing march
of twenty miles, through a country
destitute of water, and in sultry
weather, the British troops, in
obedience to Wellington's instructions, reached
Quatre Bras at two o'clock in the morning of
the 16th of June.
Quatre Bras is a small and irregularly-built
village, situated, as its name indicates, at the
junction of four roads, and sheltered on the
right by a thick and extensive wood. Of this
wood the French, at the time of Wellington's

Quatre Bras. 59

arrival, had gained possession, having compelled
the Prince of Orange's inferior force to retire.
Wellington's first operation was to recover
the important post of le Bois de Bossu, and,
with this view, he ordered the 95th Regiment to
attack the tirailleurs who held it. The order
was obeyed, and, after a sharp contest, the
French withdrew. The Royals and the 28th
were then moved forward on the left, and the
44th and Highland regiments on the right.
Ney immediately ordered his men to attack
them, and both parties rushed to the encounter
animated by the old traditional spirit of national
rivalry. The British steadiness prevailed, and
the French were rolled back upon their supports
in terrible disorder.
Meanwhile, the French general, Foy, fell upon
the troops of the Duke of Brunswick, who occu-
pied the centre. Up to this moment, he had
gallantly sustained a heavy cannonade, to which,
from want of artillery, he could make no reply.
Coolly smoking a pipe, he rode up and down in
the front of his line, like a paladin of old, undis-
mayed by the storm of shot which rained around
him. Foy came down in column along the skirt
of the wood, with a cloud of cavalry on his right
flank, and a swarm of light troops protecting

60 The Story of Waterloo.

his front. Without a moment's delay, and
rejoicing in the prospect of the coming battle,
the Duke of Brunswick advanced at the head of
his Lancers; but Foy's veterans, trained on
many a hard-fought field, received them with
an unfaltering murderous fire, and the young
soldiers, appalled, lost heart, turned round their
horses' heads, and galloped away. On came the
French cavalry, glittering in steel; and the
Brunswick infantry, shrinking from the deadly
shock, followed the bad example of their cavalry,
retiring slowly at first, but as the horsemen
came upon them, more and more rapidly, until
they broke up in complete disorder-some seek-
ing shelter in the wood, and others making for
Quatre Bras. Their heroic prince vainly endea-
voured to keep them together in masses; and,
while engaged in rallying the fugitives, received
a mortal wound. The Brunswick hussars,
worthier of their chief, plunged right into the
French column; but, after a hand-to-hand com-
bat, were overpowered by numbers, and forced
to retire.
Having gained possession of this part of the
field, the victorious French cavalry wheeled to
the right, and made a gallant charge at the
British van. The 42d Highlanders were not

Quatre Bras. 61

quick enough in forming square, and Ney's
Lancers cut into their very midst. The flank
companies as they fell in were mowed down to
the ground, but the French were unable to
break the square. The stout Scotchmen refused
to move, and furiously attacking those who had
ridden in among them, killed them with ball or
steel, unless they yielded themselves prisoners.
The affray was fierce and glorious.
Again and again these heavy charges were
delivered by the French horsemen against the
British infantry, and again and again they proved
unsuccessful. It is true that a regiment or two,
taken by surprise, were much disordered, and
suffered severely; but the general resistance
opposed to the French was as successful as it
was spirited. An incessant rolling fire brought
cuirassiers and lancers to the ground; and, in
spite of their furious onslaughts, and of the
terrible cannonade by which they were sup-
ported, the British stood unshaken, and as
the dead and dying fell out, calmly closed up
their ranks, and kept unbroken their line of
flashing steel. "One regiment," says Mr Max-
well, after sustaining a furious cannonade, was
suddenly, and on three different sides, assailed
by cavalry. Two faces of the squares were

62 The Story of Waterloo.

charged by lancers, while the cuirassiers gallope&,
down upon another. It was a trying moment.
There was a dead-like silence; and one voice
alone, clear and calm, was heard. It was their
colonel's, who called upon them to be Steady.'
On came the enemy !-the earth shook beneath
the horsemen's feet; while on every side of the
devoted band, the corn bending beneath the rush
of cavalry disclosed their numerous assailants.
The lance-blades nearly met the bayonets of the
kneeling front rank-the cuirassiers were within
a few paces-yet not a trigger was drawn. But
when the word 'Fire !' thundered from the
colonel's lips, each side poured out its deadly
volley; and, in a moment, the leading files of
the French lay before the square, as if hurled
by a thunderbolt to the earth. The assailants,
broken and dispersed, galloped off for shelter to
the tall rye, while a constant stream of musketry
from the British square carried death into the
retreating squadrons." The 42d and the 92d,
however, were terribly cut up; and the battle
remained undecided until the English Guards
came upon the field, at half-past six, enabling
Wellington to recover le Bois de Bossu, and drive
the French out of the farm of Germincourt, which
they had occupied in the early part of the day.

Quatre Bras. 63

Ney made one brilliant effort for victory,
directing Kellerman's cavalry at the Guards,
who, in their impetuous career, had left the
protection of the wood. But the Guards com-
prehended their danger, and as, owing to the
rapid advance of the horsemen, they had no
time to form square, they spontaneously faced
about and ran into a ditch which marked the
boundary of the wood; forming a line therein,
and opening up a heavy and well-directed fire,
which soon cleared many a saddle, and drove
back the enemy discomfited. The French general
then knew that he was beaten, and fell back in
front of Frasne. Night fell upon the hard-
fought field in the possession of the British; and
Wellington had succeeded in maintaining his
communications with Blucher, who, on the same
day, had been disastrously engaged, as we shall
see, with the French right and centre, undef
Napoleon, and been compelled to retire upon
At Quatre Bras both armies sustained heavy
losses. The Allies, inferior in cavalry and
artillery, and attacked in detail, lost 4659 men
in killed, wounded, and missing-of whom 2480
were English. The fury of the battle was
chiefly borne by the brigades under Generals Pack

64 The Story of Waterloo.

and Kempt, and out of 5063 men who went into
action, 1569 were put hors de combat. 878
men were lost by the three Highland regiments
alone; 554 by the Guards.
The loss of the French is estimated at 4375
men-a larger loss in proportion to their strength
than that sustained by the Allies; Ney losing
about 1 in 4, and Wellington 1 in 7 of the force
actually brought into action.*

"* There is much confusion in the statements of different
authorities as to the strength of the armies, and their
respective losses, in the Waterloo campaign. We have
generally adopted the figures given bySiborne and Charras.



They stood, and everywhere with gallant front
Opposed in fair array the shock of war.
Desperately they fought, like men expert in arms,
And knowing that no safety could be found,
Save from their own right hands. .
The evening darkened, but the avenging sword
Turned not away its edge till night had closed
Upon the field of blood.

HILE Wellington and the British were
engaged in repulsing Ney at Quatre
SBras, Blucher and the Prussians were
called upon to oppose the onset of
Napoleon himself at Ligny.
Blucher, as soon as he became aware of the
Advance of the Imperial forces-who moved for-
ward from Fleurus in the direction of St Amand
and Ligny-occupied these villages with strong
detachments, crenellated the stone cottages and

66 The Story of Waterloo.

garden walls for musketry, planted cannon on
every commanding ground, and lined the hedges
and the orchards with his best marksmen. The
brunt of the French attack fell in the first place
upon St Amand, and it was so resolute and
so impetuous, that the Prussians, though they
fought well, were driven out of it. Fresh troops
came up to their support, and a part of the
village was recovered; but the French also re-
ceived reinforcements, and, once more driving
out their opponents, they deliberately pushed
forward until they reached the foot of the hill
between Ligny and Wagnelie, where they were
arrested by the tremendous fire of the Prussian
artillery. The sole advantage they had gained
by their brilliant charge was, so far, the posses-
sion of the two villages of St Amand and Le
Humeau, beyond which, however, they seemed
wholly unable to advance.
Meantime, a desperate effort had been made
by the French centre to capture the important
post of Ligny. Ggrard, who commanded in this
part of the field, formed his troops into three
columns, and with music and loud shouts, they
marched onwards to their death. No sooner did
they come within musket range, than the Prus-
sians, most of whom were under shelter, poured

Ligny. 67

in a deadly fire: a fire so deadly, indeed, that
it brought the French to a momentary pause.
Recovering themselves, however, they resumed
their advance, and, bounding up to the hedges
and walls, with fire and shot, endeavoured to
break through.
Nevertheless, the sturdy Prussians held their
own along the whole front, and these gallant
soldiers were forced to retire. Again they rushed
to the charge, and again recoiled before the
murderous fire of their enemy. By this time,
the shells poured into Ligny by the French
artillery had set on fire the thatched roofs of
the stone cottages, and columns of lurid flame
rose above the lurid smoke-clouds of the battle.
As if inspired by the appalling spectacle, the
French troops came on for the fourth time.
"The dark columns, raised to fury by three
defeats, and reinforced by fresh battalions, whose
restrained ardour now broke all bounds, dashed
into the position of the defenders, passed on
with wild cries, and, in spite of the splendid
fighting of the Prussians, gained ground, and,
once setting them in motion, pursued them
through the enclosures and orchards, swept them
out of nearly the whole of the village on the
right bank, and followed them across the brook.

68 The Story of Waterloo.

A brilliant onset it was; but the Prussians
speedily poured three fresh battalions into the
village, and this compact mass coming on with
great vigour, struck and forced the most daring
of the French over the rivulet, and into the very
outermost houses of the village. Yet no farther.
Recovering from the confusion caused by the
Prussians' vehement counterstroke, the French
rallied, and a combat of the deadliest kind began
in this confined space. None demanded, none
gave, quarter. Each slew the enemy where
and how he could. It was a melee of gladiators
doomed to conquer or die. The bayonet, the
butt of the musket, the bullet, by turns inflicted
death or mortal wounds. There were no sur-
vivors but the victors. And over this horrible
struggle the flames played and raged, and the
burning timbers of many a rooftree fell upon
antagonists who, insensible to this peril, were
absorbed by one passion-a desire to kill. It
is a tragedy which reminds one of the last com-
bat of the Niebelungen in the hall of King Elzil."
At half-past five, after three hours' desperate
fighting, the position of the battle was as fol-
lows :-The Prussians had lost St Amand on
their right; on their left they had been driven
back by Grouchy; in the centre, Prussians and

Ligny. 69

French were fiercely contending for the posses-
sion of Ligny, the key of the battle-field.
Napoleon, recognizing this fact, and seeing,
too, that the centre was the weakest portion
of the Prussian line, determined to deliver against
it a formidable blow, with the hope of cutting
through it, and separating Blucher's army into
two unequal and isolated sections. For this
purpose he brought up his Guards and cavalry-
a mass of 18,000 foot, 4800 horse, and 100
guns; and, as the sun went down, and dark-
ness began to gather over the dreadful scene,
he sent them against the Prussian centre. Ney
moved forward with an impetuosity which could
not be denied, drove back their stubborn enemy
literally at the point of the bayonet, and cap-
tured Ligny. The battle was won. Blucher,
in person, led a desperate cavalry charge in the
hope of re-taking the village, but it was useless.
His horse was shot, and, in falling, rolled upon
his veteran rider, who narrowly escaped being
made prisoner. The Prussian infantry retreated
unwillingly, but surely, pressed by the over-
whelming masses hurled against them. Though
defeated, however, they were not routed. Theyre-
tired in good order, and mustered about one o'clock
at Tilly and Gentinnes on the road to Wavre.

70 The Story of Waterloo.

Napoleon's victory, therefore, was compara-
tively worthless. He had not succeeded, though
he supposed he had, in separating Blucher from
Wellington, and he had no chance of beating
the two armies in detail. With a loss of 11,000
men, however, he had inflicted on the Allies a
loss of 25,000 men, and, by driving Blucher
out of Ligny, he compelled Wellington on the
following day to fall back from Quatre Bras,
in order that his communications might not be
endangered. This was not one of those dazzling
successes which had illustrated his earlier career,
when a single victory had crushed an army and
determined the fate of a kingdom. This was
no Jena or Austerlitz. But, then, he had en-
countered troops of very different mettle from
those he had defeated at Jena and Austerlitz;
and he himself was not the man he had been
on those memorable days of battle.

Before we proceed to describe the great and
crowning fight of Waterloo, it is necessary to
explain that, on the 17th, the Prussians fell
leisurely back upon Wavre, where Blucher rallied
nearly 90,000 men and 260 guns, and wrote
to the British commander that, on the following
day, he would join him with his whole army;

Ligny. 71

and, added he, "if the enemy does not attack
you on the 18th, we will attack him together
on the 19th." Wellington assembled his forces
around and about Mont St Jean, in the neigh-
bourhood of Waterloo. No attempt was made
to impede his movements; and, early in the
evening, arms were piled; guns packed; the
cavalry picketed their horses; and fires speedily
blazed along the whole extent of the Allied lines.
Napoleon, utterly ignorant of the real position
of affairs, despatched Marshal Grouchy with
only 32,000 men and 96 guns, to prevent the
junction of the Prussians with the British!
Then, with the remainder of his forces, he
slowly advanced as far as Planchenoit and the
village of La Belle Alliance.


Sure that the progeny of this fair isle
Hath power as lofty actions to achieve,
As were performed in man's heroic prime.

HE ever-memorable field of Waterloo
has been described as a valley, cr
hollow, of irregular width, bounded
north and south by winding chains
of low grassy hills, which extend for some two
or three miles in length, and subside gently,
but with frequent undulations, towards the basin
in the centre. In the rear of the northern ridge,
and about midway, stands the village of Mont
St Jean; in a similar position behind the southern
ridge is situated that of La Belle Alliance.
Through both these villages, and, consequently,
crossing the valley almost at right angles, runs
the broad oaved highroad from Charleroi, which,

Waterloo. 73

under the green boughs and through the dense
leafy masses of the Forest of Soignies, strikes
onwards to Brussels. Almost on the margin
of this same forest lies the little hamlet of
On the morning of the 18th of June, the
Anglo-Belgian army was stationed along the
northern ridge of hills; its extreme right pro-
tected by a village and ravine called Merke
Braine; and its left by the small hamlets of
La Haye and Papelotte; communication with
the Prussians being maintained by the Ohain
road. Moreover, on the right, at the foot of
the hills, were situated the chateau, gardens,
and wood of Goumont, or Hougoumont, extend-
ing fully half-a-mile into the plain. Close to the
British lines lay an extensive orchard, surrounded
by thick tall hedges, with a deep ditch running
outside the whole of the northern boundary. To
the west of this orchard stood the garden, the
chateau, and its appurtenances, a substantial
mass of buildings, enclosed on all sides. A
farm gate opened on the north into an avenue
which led to the Nivelles road; a larger and
more substantial gate on the northern side, the
main entrance, opened on an avenue which
traversed the wood, and lost itself in the fields.

74 The Story of Waterloo.

Attached to the chateau was a large pleasure-
garden, enclosed by a brick will about eight
feet high, the eastern side passing into the
orchard, and the southern the wood; but
between the wood and the southern wall, and
separated from it by a belt of the orchard, ran
a very thick hedge formed of large trees and
tall bushes. This hedge extended as far east-
ward as the outmost limits of the enclosure.
South of this post rose the wood, a dense mass
of large trees, closely packed together. This
wood, about three hundred and fifty yards in
length, and two hundred and fifty in breadth,
screened the chateau from view, and rendered
it impossible for an enemy to make a correct
estimate of the strength of the post. On the
eastern side of the wood were two enclosed
fields; on the western, a field and kitchen-gar-
den bordered the whole of that side. Here,
again, the large trees growing closely together
in the hedges formed a natural pallisade. It was
a field fortress covered on two sides by a living
screen. Such was Hougoumont."
The British commander thought it possible
that an enemy so skilful and audacious as
Napoleon might make a bold effort to turn his
right, and march direct upon Brussels. He,

Waterloo. 75

therefore, stationed a corps of observation of
18,000 men at Hal, under Prince Frederick of
the Netherlands; and it is important to remem-
ber that this corps did not come under fire at
all on the 18th. The splendid regiments of the
Guards, under General Coote, were formed into
two brigades, Maitland's and Byng's, and dis-
tributed on the rising ground near Hougoumont,
into which important post they threw several
companies as a garrison. The centre of the
Allied line was occupied by Baron Alten's
division, behind the farm-house of La Haye
Sainte, which was also held by a considerable
body of troops. The Brunswickers were partly
arranged in line with the Guards, and partly
kept in reserve; the Nassauers were attached
to Alten's division; infantry and riflemen were
posted in the wood of Hougoumont, under the
command of the Prince of Orange; Colville's
and Clinton's British division, two Hanoverian
brigades, and a Dutch corps, under Lord Hill,
were massed en potence in front of the right
On the left, between the Charleroi road and
La Haye (not La Haye Sainte), and lining a
lane and thick hedgerow which crossed the sum-
mit of the slope, were stationed the gallant Sir

76 The Story of Waterloo.

Thomas Picton's division, a brigade under Sir
John Lambert, a corps of Hanoverians, and
some Netherlands regiments. La Haye and
Papillote were garrisoned by a detachment of
the Nassau soldiery, under the Prince of Saxe
Weimar. As Wellington could not rely on the
firmness or loyalty of the Belgians, he took
care not to place them together in brigades or
divisions, but to distribute them, by regi-
ments, among those corps best known for their
The second line of the British army was
formed of cavalry, under the Earl of Uxbridge,
a dashing cavalry soldier, who had distinguished
himself in the Peninsula.
The strength of the Anglo Belgian forces, on
the 18th of June, may be thus stated :-

Infantry 49,608
Cavalry 12,402
Artillerymen 5,645

Of these 24,000 were British; 6000 German
Legion; 7500 Hanoverians; and 21-,000 Bel-
gians and Nassauers.
In all-67,655 men, with 156 guns.
The British regiments who took part in the
action were the following:-

Waterloo. 77

1st and 2d Life Guards.
Royal Horse Guards (Blues).
1st Dragoon Guards.
1st Royal Dragoons.
2d Royal Dragoons (or Scots Greys).
6th Dragoons (or Inniskillings).
7th and 10th Hussars.
11th, 12th, and 13th Light Dragoons.
15th Hussars.
16th Light Dragoons.
18th Hussars.
23d Light Dragoons.

1st Foot Guards (2d and 3d battalions);
Coldstream Guards (2d battalion); 3d
Foot Guards (2d battalion).
1st Foot, or Royal Scots (3d battalion).
4th Foot (1st battalion).
14th Foot (3d battalion).
23d Foot, or Royal Welsh Fusiliers (1st
27th Foot (1st battalion).
28th Foot (1st battalion).
30th Foot (2d battalion).
32d Foot (1st battalion).

78 The Story of Waterloo.

33d Foot (1st battalion), the Duke's own
40th Foot (1st battalion).
42d Highlanders, or the Black Watch (1st
44th Foot (2d battalion).
51st Light Infantry.
52d Light Infantry (1st battalion).
69th Foot (2d battalion).
71st Light Infantry (1st battalion).
73d Foot (2d battalion).
79th Highlanders (1st battalion).
92d Highlanders (1st battalion).
95th Rifles (2d and 3d battalions).
Royal Artillery.

We now proceed to consider the distribution
which Napoleon had made of his Grand Army :-
Drawn up in two lines, it occupied the southern
ridge of hills, its centre resting upon La Belle
Alliance, and its right protected in the rear by
the village of Planchenoit. The first line was
composed of the corps commanded by Count
D'Erlon on the right, and that of Count Reille
on the left, and numbered seven divisions of
infantry and two of cavalry. The right wing

Waterloo. 79

of the second line was formed of Milhaud's
corps of heavy cavalry; the left wing, of
Kellerman's cuirassiers. Thus, each corps of
infantry had a corps of cavalry in its rear;
and in the centre, the second line was further
strengthened by a corps of infantry and two
divisions of cavalry, drawn up on either side of
La Belle Alliance. The reserves were com-
posed of the famous Imperial Guards, in three
bodies-the Old Guard, the Middle Guard, and
the Young Guard-with their proper proportions
of chasseurs and lancers on the right, and of
grenadiers and dragoons on their left.
This masterly arrangement of his force of
each arm has been warmly commended by
almost every military critic. "It presented to
its skilful designer," says Captain Siborne,
" the most ample means of sustaining, by an
immediate and sufficient 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 upon himself,
from whatever quarter it might be made. It
was no less remarkable for the regularity and
precision with which the several masses, con-
stituting thirteen distinct columns, advanced to
their destined stations, than for the unusual

80 The Story of Waterloo.

degree of warlike pomp and high military bear-
ing with which the lines drew up in their mighty
battle-array." As their commander looked upon
the splendid battalions he had gathered together,
inspired by the recollection of a hundred victories,
strong in their confidence in themselves, and in
the genius of their great captain, he might be
pardoned for believing that no army could suc-
cessfully resist them. We are told that when,
in the grey light of early morning, he reconnoitred
the British position, so few troops were visible
as to lead him to suppose that Wellington had
retreated, and that the rear-guard was about to
follow. General Foy, who had served in the
Peninsular War, knew better. "Wellington,
sire," said he, "never shews his troops; but if
he is yonder, I must warn your Majesty that
the English infantry in close fighting is the very
devil!-en duel c'est le diable I" Soult put for-
ward a similar warning; but Napoleon's belief
in his star, in his genius, and in his soldiers,
remained unshaken; and as he rode along his
magnificent army,* he was received with an

At St Helena, Napoleon, speaking of the appearance
of his army, said, La terre paraissait orgueilleuse deporter
tant de braves (The very earth seemed proud to bear so
many brave men).

Waterloo. 81

enthusiastic shout of welcome, which could not
but convince him that every soldier there would
die in his cause, and for the glory of la belle
The strength of the Imperial army, on the
18th of June, may be estimated at the follow-
Infantry 48,950
Cavalry 15,765
Artillerymen 7,232

In all-71,947 men, with 246 guns.
It will be seen that Napoleon was slightly
inferior to the Anglo-Belgians in infantry, but
superior in cavalry and artillery.

At the commencement of the battle, which
began with a desultory cannonade, the Emperor
took up his position on a gentle knoll* behind
the farmhouse of La Belle Alliance. There he
remained for a considerable part of the day,
dismounted, pacing to and fro with his hands
behind him, receiving communications from his
aides-de-camp, and issuing orders to his officers.
As the battle became more doubtful, he ap-
proached nearer the scene of action, and betrayed

Known as the Butte of Rossomme.

82 The Story of Waterloo.

increased impatience to his staff by .violent
gesticulations, and using immense quantities of
snuff. At three o'clock he was on horseback
in front of La Belle Alliance; and, in the even-
ing, just before he made his last attempt with
the Imperial Guard, had reached a hollow close
to La Haye Sainte."

Wellington spent the night at his head-
quarters in the village of Waterloo. After a
few hours' sleep he rose, while it was yet dark,
and wrote several official letters, after which he
dictated the orders necessary to ensure a regular
retreat upon Brussels, should the issue of the
coming battle prove unfavourable. He then
inspected the ammunition reserve, and the ar-
rangements made for the reception of the
wounded. Mounting his favourite charger, a
small thorough-bred chesnut, named Copenhagen,
he rode onward to the Anglo-Belgian position,
and carefully surveyed every feature of the
ground. When he had satisfied himself that
his lieutenants understood his directions, and
had ascertained that the spirit of the men was
resolute and cheerful, he galloped towards the
right of his centre, and, for a time, took up his

Waterloo. 83

position on the rising ground immediately in the
rear of La Haye Sainte.
Napoleon's plan of battle was simple-namely,
to deliver a simultaneous attack on the British
left and centre, with the view of forcing that
part of the position, driving Wellington back
in disorder on his right, and wresting from him
the great road to Antwerp and Brussels. Wel-
lington's,plan was still simpler-to hold his
ground until Blucher came up; and then, to
turn upon the French, and, by force of numbers,
completely annihilate them.

The battle began shortly after eleven o'clock
on the morning of Sunday, the 18th of June.
Captain Diggle, "a cool old officer of the
Peninsula, took out his watch, turned to his
subaltern officer, Gawler, who was of the same
Peninsula mould, and (on hearing the first
cannon shot) quietly remarked, There it goes !'"
The hands of the watch indicated twenty minutes
past eleven.
Under the protection of a heavy cannonade,
Napoleon ordered a powerful division of the
second corps, under Prince Jerome Bonaparte,
to attack and carry the post of Hougoumont,
whose importance he fully recognized. As they

84 The Story of Waterloo.

advanced, the British guns, which, though in-
ferior in number to the French, were admir-
ably served throughout the day, immediately
opened fire. The assault upon Hougoumont
was made with an impetuosity and a resolution
worthy of the renown of the French soldiery;
and was repulsed with a steady courage, worthy
of the veterans of the Peninsular campaigns.
As fast as one man fell, another took his place;
and never was a struggle fiercer or more
desperate waged'on a battle-field. At length
the French obtained possession of the wood;
but not all their efforts could carry them fur-
ther. The British Guards, who occupied the
chateau, and had pierced its walls with loopholes
for musketry, maintained on every side an in-
cessant and destructive fire. The rattling shot,
the whistling shell, the blaze of beam and rafter,
for a part of the buildings was in flames, the
fierce cheers of the English, the passionate
screams of the French, all lent a peculiar horror
to the deadly affray that eddied and swelled for
hours round about Hougoumont. Napoleon sent
regiment after regiment into the wood, and, at
tines, the chateau was completely encircled by
a dense ring of French troops, but the Guards
surrendered not. In the space of some thirty to

Waterloo. 85

forty minutes 1500 men were slain in the ad-
joining orchard, that is, in an area of less than
four acres. At one time the French brought
their bayonets right up to the walls, as the men
of the Coldstreams retired into the great court-
yard. The latter set to work to barricade the
gate, but the French drove it open, and poured
into the open area beyond. There a desperate
hand-to-hand encounter took place, but British
endurance and British prowess proved too much
for French impetuosity. Nearly every man who
entered the courtyard was killed on the spot;
and as the few survivors retreated, five of the
Guards, whose names well deserve to be re-
corded-Colonel Macdonnell, Captain Wyndham,
Ensigns Gooch and Hervey, and Sergeant Graham
-rushed forward, and shut the gate in spite of
the desperate exertions of the French, strongly
barricading it against further attacks.
Over and through the loopholed walls the
gallant defenders now kept up a deadly fire of
musketry. It was fiercely answered by the
French, who swarmed around the cartilage "like
ravening wolves." The shells from their batteries
fell fast and furious into the besieged place, one
of which set part of the chateau and some of the
out-buildings on fire. Sergeant Graham, who

86 The Story of Waterloo.

happened to be standing near Colonel Macdonnell
at the wall, and who had displayed an heroic
intrepidity and calmness, now asked permission
of his commanding officer to retire for a moment.
Macdonnell replied, "By all means, Graham,
though I wonder you should ask leave now."
"And I would not, sir," replied Graham, "only
that my brother is wounded, and lies in that out-
building yonder, which has just caught fire."
Flinging down his musket, Graham hastened to
the blazing spot, lifted up his brother, and laid
him in a ditch where he was tolerably well pro-
tected from the enemy's fire. Then he ran back
to his post, and was plying his weapon again
before his absence was observed by any except
his colonel.
Upon this gallant soldier was afterwards con-
ferred the annuity offered by an English clergy-
man to the "bravest of the brave."
The attack upon Hougoumont had lasted about
two hours, when Napoleon ordered Ney to ad-
vance against the British left. The columns
moved off in "deep narrow masses," showing a
front of about 150 or 200 men, with a depth of
from twelve to twenty-four or twenty-seven
ranks. Half the left column, flanked by a body
of cuirassiers, was despatched against La Haye

Waterloo. 87

Sainte, the other half moving up on the right of
the Charleroi road. There was a distance of
about four hundred paces between the rear of
the leading and the head of the following columns,
and an interval of some width, but how much is
not known. In this order they marched along,
drums beating noisily, and the soldiers scream-
ing out their war-cry. The two flanking posts
of La Haye Sainte and Papelotte narrowed the
front, and to execute the movement Ney had
been compelled to throw the right towards the
centre. Another cause soon forced the left also
to incline inwards, so that the tendency of the
columns was towards the centre of the British
left wing. As each column passed beyond the
line of the grand battery, the guns, which were
for a moment covered by their progress, re-
opened fire, flinging their shot over the heads of
the attacking force. The dark, dense, heavy
masses moved slowly over the soft ground, and
through the heavy crops, receiving as they
passed the battery the fire of the British guns on
the crest. It was a striking spectacle, which
those who saw would never forget; the sort of
parade movement of these columns into the
valley, covered by the fire of their numerous
artillery. The forces they were to fight were

88 The Story of Waterloo.

hardly to be seen, since the hedges along the
Wavre road, and the slope in rear, screened
them from view. Only the dark forms of the
95th on the left, and the Belgians in the centre,
and the light cavalry on the right, were visible.
The heroes of Quatre Bras were unseen."
As the columns of the French, in admirable
order, ascended the slope towards this position,
their tirailleurs opened fire. They then came in
contact with the Dutch-Belgians, who speedily
showed signs of wavering, and at length took
to their heels, and fled in the most shameful
manner. But Wellington's second line was here
composed of Pack and Kemp's British brigades,
under the gallant Picton, who, though sorely
wounded at Quatre Bras, had concealed his hurt
that he might take his share of the day's fight-
ing. He now brought forward his veterans,
some 3000 ih number, in a thin two-deep line.
The French, halting on the summit of the ridge,
attempted to deploy, when Picton shouted to
Kemp's brigade, "A volley, my lads, and then
charge!" A blaze of musketry rolled along the
British ranks, and brought the foremost sections
of the French column to the ground. A loud
cheer, a ringing British cheer, and with levelled
steel Picton's heroes rushed forward to the

Waterloo. 89

charge. As they advanced, their chivalrous
leader fell dead, with a bullet through the right
temple, crashing into the brain. Woe to the
French! The fury of the- British was raised to
the highest pitch, to that white heat which every
enemy of the Anglo-Saxon race has learned to
fear, for it burns and consumes everything with
which it comes in contact. They threw them-
selves on the French battalions, and literally bore
them headlong down the slippery slope.
With equal success Pack's brigade had rent
the other columns; and as the disordered mass
of infantry reeled to and fro, unable to withstand
the storm of shot and the gleam of steel, right in
among them rode the heavy cavalry of Pon-
sonby's brigade; the splendid English Royals, the
magnificent Scots Greys, and the fiery Irish
Inniskillings, scattering them on either side, like
chaff before a whirlwind, slaying their hundreds,
taking prisoners their hundreds, and capturing a
couple of the French eagles.*

*One of these was captured by Sergeant Ewart of the
Greys, who has left on record a graphic account of his
gallant achievement:-" It was in the first charge," he
says, "that I took the eagle from the enemy. He and I
had a hard contest for it. He thrust for my groin ; I
parried it off, and cut him through the head, after which


90 The Story of Waterloo.

Even this did not satisfy them. They galloped
up to Ney's artillerymen, sabred them at their
guns, severed the traces, and cut the horses'
throats, rendering their guns entirely useless to
the French during the remainder of the battle.
One would have thought the audacious troopers
had made up their minds to engage and con-
quer the entire French army! Their charge,
however, carried them too far, and their very
success threw them into disorder. While endea-
vouring to close up their ranks, Napoleon sent
down upon them a heavy force of lancers and
cuirassiers, and they were compelled to retreat,
suffering considerably. But Vandeleur gallantly
brought up his light cavalry to their support,
and charging the enemy, drove them back with
pitiable slaughter.
Then, as Hooper says, the grand attack on
the British left had failed, and Napoleon knew
better than to repeat it.
I was attacked by one of their lancers, who threw his
lance at me, but missed the mark by my throwing it off
with my sword by my right side. Then I cut him from
the chin upwards, which went through his teeth. Next
I was attacked by a foot soldier, who, after firing at me,
charged me with his bayonet, but he very soon lost the
combat, for I parried it, and cut him down through the
head. So that finished the contest for the eagle."

Waterloo. 91

Meantime, a fierce fight had raged in and
around the farm-house of La Haye Sainte. Five
hundred German riflemen defended it stoutly
against a vastly superior body of French infantry.
Shot and shell poured upon them incessantly.
The barn broke out into flames, and filled the air
with lurid smoke. Wellington could spare no re-
inforcements. But still the courageous legionaries
held their ground. Thrice the French attacked
them; thrice they were driven back. At length
the Germans found their supply of ammunition
failing, and slackened fire. The French made a
focarth attempt. "Though the door," says Max-
well, "was burst in, still the Germans held the
house with their bayonets; but, having ascended
the walls and roof, the French fired on them
from above, and, now reduced to a handful, the
post was carried. No quarter was given, and
the remnant of the brave riflemen was bayoneted
on the spot. This was, however, the only point
where, during the long and sanguinary conflict,
Napoleon succeeded. He became master of a
dilapidated dwellings its roof destroyed by shells,
and its walls perforated by a thousand shot-
holes; and, when obtained, an incessant torrent
of grape and shrapnels from the British artillery
on the heights above, rendered its acquisition

92 The Story of Waterloo.

useless for future operations, and made his per-
sistence in maintaining it a wanton and unneces-
sary sacrifice of human life.

\, \/C'0



The desolater desolate,
The victor overthrown,
The arbiter of others' fate,
A suppliant for his own.
-ByRoN, Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte.

N ineffectual attempts upon the Allied
right, Napoleon wasted almost all
his magnificent heavy cavalry, who
rode right up to the compact and
solid squares formed by the British infantry,
but were unable to make any impression upon
them, and were compelled to retire, after a brief
interval, discomfited and sorely weakened.
Charge after charge was repeated, but always
with the same result. The cuirassiers fell back
before the fire and shot of the British squares,
as the waves fall back from the impregnable

94 The Story of Waterloo.

rocks. It must be owned, however, that the
British suffered severely, and that in this part
of the field the battle was very hotly contested.
A striking picture of the character of the struggle
in all its fierce monotony, occurs in the journal
of. Major Macready, an officer of the 30th regi-
ment. He and his company had been thrown
forward as skirmishers, in conjunction with some
grenadiers of the 73d, but were retired to the
brigade (Halkett's), at the commencement of
the French cavalry's attacks upon their position.
The Major's narrative is so full of incidents
that we give it here without abridgment:-
"When I reached Lloyd's abandoned guns,
I stood over them for about a minute to con-
template the scene; it was grand beyond de-
scription. Hougoumont and its wood sent up
a broad flame through the dark masses of smoke
that overhung the field; beneath this cloud the
French were indistinctly visible. Here a waving
mass of long red feathers could be seen; there
gleams, as from a sheet of steel, showed that
the cuirassiers were moving; four hundred
cannon were belching forth fire and death on
every side; the roaring and shouting were in-
distinguishably commixed; together they gave
me the idea of a labouring volcano. Bodies of

How the Battle was Won. 95

cavalry and infantrywere pouring down on us, and
it was time to leave contemplation: so I moved to-
wards our columns, which were standing up in
squares. Our regiment and the 73d formed one,
and the 33d and 69th another; to our right, be-
yond them, were the guards; and on our left, the
Hanoverians and German'legion of our division.
As I entered the rear face of our square, I
had to step over a body; and looking down, re-
cognised Harry Beere, an officer of our grenadiers,
who about an hour before shook hands with me,
laughing, as I left the columns. I was on the
usual terms of military intimacy with poor Harry
-that is to say, if either of us had died a natural
death, the other would have pitied him as a good
fellow, and smiled at his neighbour as he con-
gratulated him on the step; but seeing his manly
frame and animated countenance thus suddenly stiff
and motionless before me (I know not whence
the feeling could originate, for I had just seen
my dearest friend drop, almost with indifference),
the tears started in my eyes, as I sighed out,
'Poor Harry!' The tear was not dry on my
cheek when poor Harry was no longer thought
of. In a few minutes after, the enemy's cavalry
regalloped up and crowned the crest of our posi-
tion. Our guns were abandoned, and they formed

96 The Story of Waterloo.

between the two brigades, about a hundred paces
in our front. Their first charge was magnificent.
As soon as they quickened their trot into a gallop,
the cuirassiers bent their heads, so that the peaks
of their helmets looked like visors, and they
seemed cased in armour from the plume to the
saddle. Not a shot was fired till they were
within thirty yards, when the word was given,
and our men fired away at them. The effect
was magical. Through the smoke we could see
helmets falling; cavaliers starting from their
seats with convulsive springs, as they received
our balls; horses plunging and rearing in the
agonies of fright and pain; and crowds of the
soldiery dismounted; part of the squadron in re-
treat; but the more daring remainder backing
their horses to force them on our bayonets. Our
fire soon disposed of those gentlemen. The main
body reformed in our front, and rapidly and gal-
lantly repeated their attacks. In fact, from this
time (about four o'clock) till near six, we had a
constant repetition of those brave but unavailing
charges. There was no difficulty in repulsing
them; but our ammunition decreased alarmingly.
At length an artillery waggon galloped up,
emptied two or three casks of cartridges into the
square, and we were all comfortable. ..

How the Battle was Won. 97

"Though we constantly thrashed our steel-
clad opponents, we found more troublesome cus-
tomers in the round shot and grape, which all
this time played on us with terrible effect, and
fully avenged the cuirassiers. Often, as the
volleys created openings in our square, would
the cavalry dash in; but they were uniformly
unsuccessful. A regiment on our right seemed
sadly disconcerted, and at one moment was in
considerable confusion. Halkett rode out to
them, and seizing their colours, waved it over
his head, and restored them to something like
order, though not before his horse was shot
under him. At the height of the unsteadiness
we got the order to 'right face,' to move to
their assistance; some of the men mistook it for
' right about face,' and faced accordingly, when
old Major M'Laine, 73d, called out, 'No, my boys,
it's "right face;" you'll never hear the "right
about" as long as a French regiment is in front
of you!' In a few moments he was mortally
wounded. A regiment of light dragoons-by
their facings either the 16th or 23d-came up to
our left, and charged the cuirassiers. We cheered
each other as they passed us; they did all they
could, but were obliged to retire, after a few
minutes at the sabre.

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