Imatges de pÓgina

He also ex

the instances of gallantry displayed juined from the line of the Duke of by the British in this action. But Wellington's operations. The march the death of the distinguished Colonel of the Prussians was followed and obCameron, who fell at the head of the served by Marshal Grouchy, with the 92d regiment, which he had so often third and fourth corps, and the caled to victory, was deservedly distin- valry of General Pajol. The rest of guished by peculiar regret. Nor is the French army, under Napoleon's it possible to omit the touching cir- immediate command, made a move. cumstances attending the fate of ment to their left, and thus united Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, who, when themselves with Ney, with the purmortally wounded in the attack on pose of attacking the English general the Bois de Bossu, desired to see the in his position at Quatre Bras. colours of the regiment once more It required some hours ere this ere he died; they were waved over movement could be executed; and his head, and the expiring officer de- it was about eleven o'clock when clared himself satisfied.

the whole French army was drawn pressed to his intimate friend Colonel out in line of battle on the heights of Thomas, his satisfaction that he him- Frasnes, in expectation of immediate self should have met this fate rather battlé. But they did not, as they than his friend, who had been but expected, find the Duke of Wellinglately married. Alas! ere the hour ton in the position which he had so had expired, Colonel Thomas had well defended on the preceding day. shared the fate which his dying He had masqued, with great skill, a friend wished should be exhausted by retreat, which, corresponding in exhis own misfortune.

Such scenes tent with that of Blucher, might again must not escape the notice of history, place him in communication with the as too minute for her annals; they unwearied veteran. The French sol. give life, feeling, and truth to her diery regarded this maneuvré as the sombre pictures of indiscriminate care symptom of an easy triumph, and nage, connecting the direful events made little doubt that the English which she records with the kinder were on the full march to embark at feelings of our nature, and holding up Antwerp. The most gasconading to posterity the character of the Bri- letters were dispatched to Paris, an. tish soldier as it exists, gentle in his nouncing the annihilation both of the bravery, and carrying alike his kind- English and Prussian armies, comness and his enthusiasm into the field plete victory, and unalloyed triumpb. of battle, and the hour of honourable The little that might remain to be death.

done, it was confidently prophesied, During the night of the 15th, and would be easily achieved. The the succeeding day, the Prussians, emperor is here!" The pontoons were without annoyance from the French, anxiously hurried forward, which the united themselves with the division French soldiers took as an omen that of Bulow, and evacuating Sombref, they were soon to pursue the enemy Brie, and the other villages, which among the canals of Holland. Thielman had maintained during the In the meanwhile, amid torrents of action of Ligny, concentrated their rain, which rendered the roads very whole army upon the small river bad, and the fields impracticable for Dyle, in the vicinity of Wavre, about the passage of troops, the English six leagues to the rear of their former army, in no very triumphant mood, position, and considerably farther dis- were winning their way to a position nearer to Brussels and the Prussians, down with its weight, and overset to than that which they had left. The tally the ranks which opposed them. best and bravest among them scarce. The lancers, and cuirassiers who suply hoped that the Prussians, after a ported them, fled in great disorder, day of such slaughter as that of Ligny, and gave no further disturbance to the would be speedily organized, and English retreat. At five o'clock, the they themselves leaving, in the posi- British army arrived on the ground tion of Quatre Bras, the only advan- which long before the Duke of Weltage they had derived from the ac. lington had caused to be surveyed by tion of the 15th, were, in all pro- the quarter-master-general, as a fabability, now to contend, unaided, yourable situation, in case circumwith the whole French army. The stances should require a stand to be hostile cavalry, indeed, were not long made before Brussels. in making their appearance on the The field of Waterloo, as this me. causeway to harass the retreat. But morable spot is now most generally the fields were rendered so deep by named, is very easily described. The the rain as to make it impossible army occupied a chain of heights, exfor them to act upon the Aank tending from a small village on the of the British, who occupied the right called Merke Braine, to a bamcauseway; and it was only near the let called Ter la Haye on the left. village of Genappes that they of- The extent may be a mile and a half. fered any serious interruption or an- This line of heights corresponds with noyance to the English army. Ge- a similar, but somewhat higher, chain, nappes is a small town, situated on running parallel to those on which the the causeway to Brussels, which pass- English army was posted. The two es through its confined street, and lines are divided from each other by a crosses the Dyle, a deep and sluggish valley, which winds betwixt them, of stream, over a long narrow bridge, various breadth at different points, forming a defile very unfavourable but, generally speaking, not exceedfor a retreating army. A corps of ing half a mile. The declivity on lancers here attacked the rear of the each side has a various, but, general. British, while they were engaged in ly speaking, a very gentle slope, and filing through the village. The Earl is diversified by a number of undulaof Uxbridge ordered the 7th hussars ting banks, which seem as if formed to attack the lancers. They advanced by the action of water, though no gallantly to the charge ; but, from stream flows through the little valley. the length of the enemies' weapons, This ground is traversed by two highand the manner in which they were roads, or causeways, both leading to drawn up, having each flank well se- Brussels, the one from Charleroi cured, and a mass of cavalry in their through Genappes, by which the Brirear, the British regiment sustained tish army had just retreated, and the a repulse. The lancers kept their other from Nivelles. After intersectranks, but were nevertheless some. ing the valley and reaching the sumwhat disordered by the vivacity of mit of the heights, these two roads the attack, when Lord Uxbridge or- unite at the hamlet of Mont Saint dered the life-guards to attack them. Jean, which is considerably to the The long swords, strong horses, and rear of the British position. The tall men of these fine regiments, ef- farm of Mont Saint Jean, which must jected what the hussars had been un. be distinguished from the village, is able to accomplish. Their charge bore more immediately close to the rear; and another farm-house, called La to the east, and about the centre of the Haie Sainte, (from the only hedge in British right-wing, is the mansion of the neighbourhood, which runs along Hougoumont, an old-fashioned Flethe ridge behind it,) is situated upon mish villa, with a chapel and courtthe Charleroi causeway, near the foot yard, a garden surrounded by a wall of its descent from the heights into and a hedge, and about two acres of the valley. Exactly fronting Montpark-ground filled with tall beech trees. Saint Jean, on the opposite eminence, The rest of the valley is open ground, and on the same road from Charleroi, and was then covered with rye and is La Belle Alliance, another small wheat of great height. Such was the hamlet; and these two points form aspect and bearings of the ground, nearly the respective centres of the which, after few hours, was to become French and English positions. Farther immortal in history.


Disposition of the British Army.--The French come on the Ground. Their

Dispositions.-The Action commences. Attack on Hougoumont-And on the British Right.--The Mode of receiving it. It is finally unsuccessfulAttack on the British Centre and Left.Death of Picton.-Cavalry Engage ment.Bulow's Corps begins to enter into Action.-Reiterated Attacks of the French.--Personal Conduct of the Duke of Wellington.--Great Loss of the British Troops.-Attack by the Imperial Guards = It is totally defeated.- The British attack in Line.— The Prussians come up in Force. The French are totally Rouled.-Flight of Buonaparte.Movements of the Prussians.--Affair at Wavre.-Pursuit of the French by Blucher.-Loss of the Armies engaged.

To the memorable field on which troops were drawn up in two lines, was fought the battle of the eight. the centre being nearly in front of eenth of June, the Prussians gave the the farm of Saint Jean, and the left name of La Belle Alliance, from that extending along the ridge until the of a small bamlet, or cabaret, in the extreme Aank reached a hamlet callcentre of the French position, which ed Smouhen, and a farm-house named seemed to Blucher to bear a happy Papelotte, where it was sufficiently allusion to the confederacy of the covered by buildings, inclosures, ravictors. The French call it the battle vines, and thickets. From Smouhen, of Mont Saint Jean, from a farm- the country to the left is covered with house and hamlet in the centre of thickets and wood, which extend as the British line. But the British have far as Wavre, and by the broken roads given the action a name from the which intersect this difficult ground a little town of Waterloo, the nearest communication was maintained with village of any consequence, although Blucher's army. The right of the two miles in the rear of the actual British army extended along the scene of battle. It was in Waterloo same heights, but following their dis that Lord Wellington established his rection sloped semi-circularly backhead-quarters on the night of the wards, until the extreme right flank 17th, and we retain that name as rested on Merke- Braine, where it most familiar to the British ear and

was protected by a ravine. The imagination.

troops were disposed as follows: The The evening was spent in dispo- right consisted of the second and sing the army in order of battle for fourth English divisions, the third the next day. The arrangement was and sixth Hanoverians, and the first simple and compact. The British Belgians, under Lord Hill. The cen

tre was composed of the corps of the its verge might, by a few resolute Prince of Orange, with the Bruns- troops, be made good against almost wickers and troops of Nassau, ha- any force, as there is no way to peneving the guards, under Gen. Cooke, trate into it for several miles, save by on the right, and the division of Ge. the causeway from Charleroi to Brusneral Alten on the left. The left sels, already so often mentioned. Thus wing consisted of the divisions of Pic. posted, Wellington dispatched a meston, Lambert, and Kempt. The se- sage to Blucher, to apprize him, that cond line was in all instances formed if he could spare him the support of of the troops deemed least worthy of two corps of his army, he was detereonfidence, or which had suffered too mined to abide the fate of battle on severely in the action of the 16th to the ground he now occupied. The be again exposed until extremity. It gallant veteran immediately offered was placed behind the declivity of the to join the English general with his heights to the rear, in order to be safe whole army, and in case Buonaparte from the cannonade, notwithstanding should fail to accept the battle offered which it suffered greatly from the him by Wellington, he proposed they shells thrown at venture beyond the should attack him with their united eminence by the French. The caval- strength on the ensuing day. ry was placed in the rear of the in- The night was tempestuous and fantry, ready to pour through the in. rainy in the extreme, and the British tervals, and act as opportunity offer. officers and soldiers suffered much by ed. It was distributed through all being exposed to its rigour in their the line, but the greater proportion open bivouac. The thunder rolled was placed in the left of the centre, unremittingly, with such sheets of or to the cast of the main causeway lightning and deluges of rain as are from Charleroi. The farm-house of seldom seen but in a tropical climate. La Haye Sainte served as the key to The French were even yet more expothe centre, lying immediately under sed to the severity of the weather, for the middle of the British line. It was they had to deploy out of the line of fortified as well as the time admitted, battle which they had formed in the and garrisoned with Hanoverians. The morning, with a view of attacking the chateau and garden and park of Hou- position of Quatre Bras, and this opegoumont formed at once a very strong ration consumed some time. The Engadvanced post, and the key to the lish, upon the 17th, were therefore long British right. The castle and garden upon theirground forthe nightere their were occupied by a detachment of the enemies appeared. It was nearly twiguards, under Lord Salton and Colo- light when Buonaparte, with his adnel Macdonell, the wood or park by vanced guard, reached a little farmthe sharp-shooters of Nassau.

house called Caillou, about a mile in Such was the order of battle, in which the rear of La Belle Alliance, where the British troops slept on their arms. he established his head-quarters. His Their ground was not strong enough artillery, placed on the corresponding to merit the name of a military posi- range of heights to those of Mont St tion, but it was a fair field, upon which Jean, cannonaded the British posibattle might be offered or accepted tion, and were answered by the with little advantage to either party. Duke's artillery. But most of his la case of disaster, the wood of Soig. troops remained at the little town of nies, a close and extensive forest of Genappes, or in the vicinity, and were beech trees, lay within two miles, and not again marched until the ensuing

« AnteriorContinua »