"Sire, I know the British; they will die on the ground on which they stand, rather than lose it."
|--||Marshal Nicholas Jean de Dieu Soult,|
the morning of June 18, 1815
"I say to you that Wellington is a bad general, that the English are bad troops, and that this affair will be over by lunch!"
|--||Napoleonís reply to Soult|
"Never did I see such a pounding match - Napoleon did not manoeuvre at all. He first moved forward in the old style, and was drawn off in the Old Style."
|--||The Duke of Wellington,|
after the Battle of Waterloo
- Among those who escorted King Louis XVIII as he fled Paris on March 19, 1815, was Louis-Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne (1769-1834), Napoleon’s classmate at the Brienne Military (1779-1784), who had for many years served as imperial secretary and special diplomatic agent, until fired for excessive corruption in 1810.
- In 1773 Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742-1819), who would command the Prussians during the Waterloo Campaign, submitted his resignation from the army to Frederick the Great, who wrote on it “Captain von Blücher has leave to resign and may go to the devil as soon as he pleases.”
- War was tough on the 140,000 or so horses that took part in the Campaign of 1815, thousands of which perished; French Marshal Michel Ney (1769-1815) losing two at Quatre Bras and five at Waterloo, where Captain Edward Cheney (1777-1847) of the Royal Scots Greys also lost five, though he received a brevet promotion to major in return.
- In 1914 many Imperial German regiments carried Prussian honors for Waterloo, and several held British honors, inherited from the dozen or so infantry battalions or cavalry regiments present during the campaign from Hanover, which the King of England also ruled at the time.
- Taking all sides together (the Anglo-Allied Army, the Prussians, and the French), about 360,000 men were engaged in the Waterloo Campaign (June 14-18, 1815).
- During the Waterloo Campaign, the crossroads of Quatre Bras was the scene of a desperate delaying action by Wellington's troops against the French under Marshal Ney on June 16, 1815, where one of the original “eyewitness” buildings now houses an American fast food operation.
- Although figures are somewhat uncertain, at least 550 Jewish men appear to have served in the Prussian Army during the campaign of 1815 (including a few NCOs, technicians, and even officers), 55 of whom were killed and 16 of whom were reportedly awarded the Iron Cross for the campaign.
- Among personal items that Napoleon abandoned in his flight from the field of Waterloo were his silver service, including his chamber pot, his 400 volume traveling library, and a bottle of rum.
- · During the Battles of Quatre Bras (June 16, 1815) and Waterloo (June 18, 1815), Anglo-Allied battalions or equivalent formations experienced 28 instances of “friendly fire,” approximately 0.13-0.14 incidents per unit per day (the equivalent of about one incident per battalion for every eight days under fire), oddly, a statistic substantially the same as that found during combat operations over the past 60 years.
- · Napoleon’s favorite remedy for pretty much all ills was to douse himself liberally with eau de cologne, which Prussian Marshal Blücher also used, but in his case to mask the smell of booze which often clung to his person.
- Of about 840 British infantry officers engaged during the Waterloo Campaign (June 16-18, 1815), almost half were killed or wounded, compared with only about a fifth of their troops.
- The last victory memorialized on Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe is the Battle of Ligny (June 16, 1815).
- Louis Victor Baillot, who was born on April 9, 1793, and died at 104 on Feb. 3, 1898, is believed to have been the last survivor of the Waterloo Campaign; A veteran of the 105e Régiment de Ligne, he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur by Napoleon III, nearly a half-century after the battle.
Blasts from the Past
Over the years a number of items about the Waterloo campaign have appeared in CIC, and here are links to some of them. Occasionally you may have to scroll down a bit to find the piece.
“Napoleon’s Empire of Elba”
“The Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815”
“Comparative General Officer Ranks, The Waterloo Campaign, 1815”
“Horses at Waterloo”
“The French Royal Army in the Waterloo Campaign”
“A Fair Price?”
“The Duke of Wellington Never Apologizes”
of "Al Nofi's CIC" have appeared previously in Military Chronicles,
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