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the fire of the British artillery, arrested their the most furious attacks made by the enemy upon BOOK XV. progress; but they were at length obliged to our position was defeated.” give way. The 3d royals and 44th regiments The enemy was not to be deterred by this re- Chap. VII. were then sent to occupy the ground wbich the pulse. He immediately sent a large body of caBelgians had abandoned; but these troops, after valry to cover bis infantry, and the attack com 1815. the most gallant conduct and the greatest exer- menced again. These attacks were sometimes tions, were, in about half-an-hour, also forced to carried on by cavalry and infantry intermixed, yield; and the enemy succeeded in getting to the and sometimes separate. Io those, however, made hedge that ran in front of the position. At this at this period of the day, both were employed, in moment General Pack commanded the 92d to ad- which the most desperate attempts were made to vance. “ You must charge,” said he to them, “all drive the British from their position at the vil. these troops in your front; and do it your own lage of Mount St. John; but they were unsucway." The troops answered by a loud cheer, and cessful. The cannonade, at this moment, on both they advanced with a firm countenance to the sides, was dreadful. The French artillery, wbich, charge. The enemy were panic struck with their was led by Count d'Erlon, vomited forch terboldness ; they stood for a moment, till the British rible showers of grape-shot, which made frightwere within a few yards, when they turned to the ful chasms in all the left of the British line, rigbt, and fled as fast as possible. The Scotch
The Scotch which, nevertheless, remained firm and immovegreysimmediately followed, and did terrible execu- able. The British artillery also did considerable tion. The enemy, however, rallied, and with fresh execution. It cut to pieces the masses of the enetroops renewed the attack. The French troops my’s infantry and cavalry as they advanced. The advanced in deep and solid columns, with loud Freuch, exasperated at the loss wbich they suscheers, and confident of victory. General Picton, tained, attempted to charge the guns with their who was with his division on the road from cavalry. In these charges, the artillerymen stood Brussels to Charleroy, advanced with the bay- at their guns as long as they could, and then reonet to receive them. This gallant body of tired under the bayonets of the infantry; and as infantry, with their brave commander at their soon as the French cavalry were driven back, they head, charged first the infantry and then the returned to their guns, and gave them a parting cavalıy of their adversaries. The conflict here salute. became close and murderous ; but the intrepid During all this first terrible struggle on the bravery of this band of heroes finally sueceeded left
, the scene, said a person who was present, was in repelling the utmost strength of the enemy. indescribably grand and terrific. The atmosUnable to withstand the shock, the French sol- phere, for sometime, was heavy and tempestudiers turned and fell back in disorder, suffering ous, which prevented the smoke, occasioiied by at the same time a terrible loss. In this furious the caunon and musketry, from rising; and conflict, however, General Picton fell, mortally while both armies fought under these gloomy wounded while leading on his division to the charge. clouds, ibey served to conceal the advance of the A musket-ball passing through his right temple, columns of the Freneh infantry till they were penetrated to the skin on the opposite side, from close at hand. Hence the prospect was more terwhenee it was eat out with a razor. Upon strip- rifir. The cries of the wounded and dyingping the body, it was found that he had been se the thunder of the artillery- the vollies of musverely wounded on the 16th, but which he had ketry—the bursting of shells--the noise occasioned concealed. The wound had got into such a pu- by Congreve's rockets--the fury of the com trid state, that he could not have survived 'its batants--the cries of “ Vive l'Empereur,” op effects. On the 11th of June only he bad em- the one side, and of " Vive le Roi," and the Bri barked from England, and seven days afterwards tish huzza, intermixed with the loud cheers o he died gloriously at Waterloo. He had served in « Scotland for ever," from the other side, formed all the campaigns of the Peninsula, and in all of a scene which it is impossible to describe. The which he distinguished himself, particularly at the shot from the Freuch artillery passed, over the taking of Badajoz, where he converted a feint line of the British guns, and fell into the squares into a real attack, and took the castle, after the of infantry behind them, and occasioned a great troops had been repulsed in every other quarter. loss to several regiments, without their having His division was known by the name of the been at all engaged. In this situation, several of
fighting division” and the right hand of Wel the regiments expressed the greatest impatience, lington." When he left England, he had a pre- when the commander-in-chief appeared uear them, sentiment that he should never return ; but when to be allowed to charge the enemy. But this bis you hear of my death," said he to a friend,“ you
you superior judgment prevented. Not yet," he will bear of a bloody day.”-"He fell gloriously,” replied, to the earnest solicitations of the 95th said his illustrious commander, “ leading bis di- regiment—"not yet, my brave men, but you
BOOK xv. The French army was also similarly situated ing against them, flew off in an
oblique direcwith regard to the tremendous fire of their an tion. On their beads they had large massy bel Cear. VIII. tagonists. Many of the rockets, in particular, mets ; and their weapons were straight long
carried destruction to a great distance, passed swords and pistols. These troops being brought 1815
over the front lines, and fell amidst the equipage forward, they advanced against the British line which was placed behind on the road, which ren with the utmost confidence. The attack of this body dered it indispensably necessary to remove the of troops was tremendous, and for a considerable train to a greater distance.
time every attempt that was made to repel them Though repulsed in every onset, and notwith- proved unavailing. The British light-cavalry standing the loss which the enemy had sustained, were found to suffer cruelly in their unequal conhe still persevered and sent forward fresh troops test with the ponderous and sword-proof cuiras. to reinforce tbose wbich had been defeated. İn siers, and even with the lancers. They were driven one of these attacks, General Ponsonby charged back with considerable loss, and many were made the enemy with his brigade, consisting of the 1st prisoners. Even the German legion, so distindragoon-guards, the Scotch greys, and the oth, guished for discipline and courage during the pe or Inniskillen dragoons. Sir William Ponsonby ninsular war, were unequal, on this occasion, to led the charge at the head of the latter regiment, sustain their shock. which cut down every thing before thein ; and the They then attacked the infantry, who, notwith. enemy's troops were overthrown with great loss. standing the loss which tbey sustained, remained The enemy admitted the serious effects of this immoveable, and repelled every attack made upon charge : for he says, the second brigade of the them. The 28th regiment particularly distinguishfirst division of Count d'Erlon “was charged by a ed itself; and its colonel, Sir Philip Belson, had corps of English cavalry, which occasioned it much four horses shot under bim.
In this manner the loss." The charge, however, though successful, engagement continued at this point upwards of an proved fatal to the brave Sir William Ponsonby. hour. Both sides behaved with the most extraIn returning from the charge wbich he had made, ordinary gallantry, and neither the one nor the bis horse stuck fast in a newly-ploughed field. other would yield an inch of ground. The attacks The enemy had rallied, and were again
advancing of the enemy, however, were incessant and severe; Finding it impossible to escape from a column of and three times was he upon tbe point of carry lancers, be alighted, and was in the act of giving ing the position at this point, and as often was he his aid-de-camp bis watch and a picture, in order repelled. The cuirassiers deliberately advanced that these memorials might be delivered to his to the mouth of the British cannog. At one time wife and family, when the lancers came up. Both they galloped along, and at another cooly walked were cut to pieces in an instant; and when his their horses in front of the British squares
, coebody was found it was pierced with seven lances. tinuing to look for an opening into which they His brigade afterwards came up, and amply re might dash. But none appeared. The ranks venged his death, and the lancers were nearly were filled up as soon as they were broken by the annibilated. In Sir William Ponsonby his enemy's fire; while with the bayonet they resisted country sustained a severe loss : be was a brave, and unhorsed these armour-equipped cavaliers
. an active, and an intelligent officer; and certainly Some of these men were so bold, 1.at they freone of the brightest orvaments to his profession. quently rushed singly out of their columus, ad
Finding all his efforts fruitless, the enemy now firing their pistols in front of the British line, etsent another column of cavalry against the British deavoured to irritate the troops so as to make lines. At the bead of this column marched those them throw away their fire upon them, and that formidable troops named cuirassiers. These sol their main columns might attack with more safety. diers were not only clad in armour, but were all The cuirassiers repeatedly charged the 30th chosen men, about six feet high. Their horses regiment; but they did not succeed in making were the best and strongest which could be pro- the least impression. When the horseinen had cured ; and it was necessary to have served in passed, the regiment deployed into line, that is three campaigns, and to have been twelve years fire inight be more extended and effectual. As in the service, before they got into that corps. soon as this was done, the word was given, " Re From their chin downwards to the lower part of form square ; prepare to receive cavalry.”. The the body they were cased in armour. The front cuirassiers, several times, walked round this galcuirass was made bright, and in form of a pigeon's lant regiment, eagerly watcbing for an opportquity egg. The back one was made to fit the back. to dash in. Finding no opportunity of breaking The inside was s'uffed with a pad, and both were this regiment, the cuirassiers marched off to try fitted on with a clasp. They were easy put off and a'o'her; and having come upon the 69th, before on, and weighed from nine to eleven pounds each, the square was coinpletely formed, cut down a according to the size of the man. They resisted vast number. These canalfy frequently pene in a great measure 'musket-balls, wbich strik- trated between the squares to the very rear of tbe
British line ; but in retiring they suffered dread-. Friedland, and Wagram. Io the struggle to take Book XV. fully.
it, it was much tarnished, and covered with blood The crisis was important. In order to repel and dirt. It was a Serjeant Ewart, of the Scotch Chap. VIII. these desperate attacks on the British line, Sir greys, who captured this tropy; and, in effectJohn Elley, now quarter-master general, was di- ing which, he first killed the bearer, theu a
1915 rected to bring up the heavy brigade of cavalry, as lancer, and, lastly, a foot soldier, who, at the the other cavalry were found inadequate to the task. moment, successively attacked him. The cuiThese consisted of the life-guards, Oxford blues, rassiers also lost an eagle, which was taken by and the Scotch greys, who instantly charged, and the royal horse-guards. The loss of the cuiras. the most sanguinary cavalry-fight ever witnessed siers was dreadful.
siers was dreadful. They fell before the British took place. Notwithstanding the weight and ranks in heaps, and the ground was literally armour of the cuirassiers, and the power of covered with the dead and mortally wounded. their horses, they proved altogether unable to From the commencement of the action little mawithstand the sbock of the heavy brigade, being nouvring was necessary in either army. literally rode down both horse and man, while the While this tremendous struggle was going strength of the British soldiers were no less pre on in the centre and left of the British line, the eminent, when they mingled and fought hand to attack upon Hougoumont and the right was rehand. Several hundreds of French were forced newed with greater fury than before. The enemy headlong over a sort of quarry, or gravel-pit made the most furious attempts against Hougou. where they rolled a confused and undistinguish- mont, in order to turn the right of the British able mass of men and horses, exposed to a fire position ; but the guards disputed the wood and which, being poured closely into them, soon put a' orchard most gallantly, period to their struggles.
About three o'clock, when Bonaparte found Amidst the fury of this dreadful conflict, some that Jerome's division could not drive the guards traces occurred of military indifference, which from Hougoumont, be ordered the chateau to be must be recorded. The life.guards coming up set on fire. The shells from several mortars, in the rear of the 95th, which distinguished regi- which were brought to bear upon the houses, soon ment acted as sharp-shooters in front of the line, had the desired effect; but the British troops,' sustaining and repelling a most formidable onset retiring into the garden, did not yield one inch of the French, called out to them, “ Bravo, 95th, of their ground ; and the only thing which he do you lather them, and we'll shave them.”-Many gained by this cruel measure was the destruction i zdividuals distinguished themselves by feats of of some wounded British soldiers, who were too
ersonal strength and valor. Among these should ill to be removed, and who fell a prey to the ot be forgotten the famous Shaw, a corporal of flames. At one time, the enemy bad penetrated ne life-guards, well known as a pugilistic cham a considerable way into the wood; but the Duke ion, and equally formidable as a swordsman. It of Wellington having sent a reinforcement, con
supposed he had slain or disabled ten French- sisting of the coldstream and 3d regiment, they een before he was killed, by a' musket or pistol were driven out of it, and every subsequent strug. hot. Sir John Elley, who led the charge, was also' gle they made to re-possess themselves of it proved
istinguished for personal prowess. He was at abortive. The conflict, however, maintained at one time surrounded by several of the cuirassiers; this point was very destructive to both parties, as but, being a tall and uncommonly powerful man, máy be judged of by the following account, decompletely master of his sword and horse, he cut rived from the best authority. A British officer, his way out, leaving several of his assailants on sent out with twenty men, returned with one, and the ground. Officers of rank and distinction, being again sent out with 150 returned with fifty. wbom the usual babits of modern war render To gain possession of this place the enemy made rather the directors than the actual agents of vast sacrifices, but he made them in vain. slaughter, were, in this desperate action, seen Meanwhile, the attack was renewed along the fighting hand to hand like common soldiers. whole line of the British right wing, by succes
This great movement of the enemy against the sive columns of cavalry, whó rolled after each left comprehended one of the severest attacks other like waves of the sea. These were supmade by him during this tremendous day. His ported by a most tremendous fire of artillery, cav alry was completely beaten off
, after losing which seemed to threaten to sweep every thing immense numbers ; and of his infantry, two re before it. The Belgian horse were forced to giments, the 45th and 105th, were broken; and give way, and galloped from the field in great lost an eagle and a standard, and from 2 to 3,000 confusion. The advanced line of guns were prisoners. The colours of the 105th were a pre- stormed by the French. The artillerymen had! sent from the Ex-Empress Maria Louisa. The received orders to retire within the squares of the eagle of the 45th was most superbly gilt, and infantry; and thus some pieces fell into the hands' inscribed with the names of Austerlitz, Jena, of the enemy. After gaining these, the French
BOOK XV. cavalry rode furiously up and down among the Jatter was critical.
The Duke of Welliogton small squares of British infantry, seeking some had placed all bis best troops in front; and these Crap. VIII. point where they might break in upon them. In had suffered so dreadfully, that it became neces.
ibe meantime, a brigade of horse-artillery, com sary to bring forward troops from the second line. 1815.
manded by Major Norman Ramsay, opened its fire These were not of equal quality, and some of upon the French cavalry, which forced them to them were found unequal to the task. The duke retreat repeatedly. They again advanced with himself saw a Belgian regiment give way at the new fury. As often as they retired, the British instant it crossed the ridge of the hill: he rode artillerymen rushed out of the squares where they up to them in person, halted the regiinent, and sheltered themselves, and began again to work again formed it, intending to lead them into the their pieces. On the part of the French, a most fire himself. They accordingly shouted, En avant! wonderful degree of bravery was displayed in this En avant! (Forward! forward !)-but as soon as part of the battle-and, on the part of the British, they crossed the ridge of the will, and again at least an equal degree of bravery, united with encountered the storm of balls and shells, ebey much inore coolness.
went to the right-about once more, and fairly Two British officers of artillery, being in a left the duke!! Upon this he brought up á square which was repeatedly charged, rushed Brunswick regiment, who kept tbeir ground with out of it the instant the cavalry retreated, loaded more steadiness, and behaved very well. one of the deserted guns which stood near, and The battle continued to rage with the utmost fired it upon the horsemen. A French officer fury in every part of the line; and the British observed that this manæuvre was repeated more army,” as Blucher justly said, “ fought with a than once; and, at the next retreat of his squad- valor which nothing could surpass. ron, he stationed bimself by the gun, waving his enemy renewed his attacks with such rapidity sword, as if defying the British officers again to and vigor, that with whalever firmness the allied approach it. He was, however, soon shot by a army maintained their position, it was impossible grenadier ; but by this act of self-devotion, he but that such heroic conduct, and such continued prevented a considerable loss to his countrymen. and immense exertions, must have had a limit. The Other French officers and men also behaved with arrival of the Prussians, therefore, who were a wonderful degree of gallantry. One officer of known to be advancing to co-operate with them, rank, after leading his men as far as they would was most anxiously expected. The Duke of follow him towards one of the squares of infantry, Wellington had dispatched an officer of his staff, found himself deserted by them, and instantly about two o'clock, to the bead-quarters of Field. rode upon the bayonets, at the same time throw. marshal Blucher, to ascertain his movements, ing open his arms as if to welcome the bullet and to know when it was probable bis advance which should bring him down. The cool deter would coine in contact with the enemy. mined courage of the British soldiers was also Nearly four hours bad now elapsed, during remarkable. “ Amid the infernal noise, hurry, which the battle had been maintained with the and clamour of the bloodiest action ever fought, most determined courage and obstinacy on both the British officers were obeyed as if on the pa- sides. Yet it was little in comparison to what rade; and such was the precision with which followed. It was three in the afternoon. Affairs these men gave their fire, that the aid-de-camp became more urgent. The enemy having been could ride round each square with perfect safety, baffled in every attempt which he had made being sure that the discharge would be reserved upon the British lines, except the temporary till the precise moment wben it ought regularly success at La Haye Sainte, resolved to make to be made. The firing was rolling or alternate, some alteration in his plan of attack. He keeping up that constant and uninterrupted blaze had first tried the right, then the left
, and upon which it is impossible to force a concentrat then the right again, in order to force his way: ed and effective charge of cavalry. Thus, each but in vain. By pressing the right wing of little phalanx stood by itself, like an impregna- the allied army, he seemed to have in view to ble fortress, while their crossing fires supported. crush it completely in the contest; and by turneach other, and dealt destruction among the ene-, ing the army by the right, to gain the Brussels my, who frequently attempted to penetrate the road from ihai direction; thus throwing the intervals, and to gain the flanks, and even the whole defeated army of Wellington back in the rear of these detached masses. The Dutch, direction of the Prussians, of whom, in the early Hanoverian, and Brunswick troops, maintained part of the day, be seems either to have made a the same solid order, and the same ready, res- slight account or pone at all. If he effected this trained, and destructive fire, as the British regi- object, he not only gained the capital of the ments with whom they were intermingled.” But . Netherlands, but cut off all the British supplies though the French had hitherto not been able to and reinforcements advancing from Ostend." I break the British line, yet the situation of the this object he failed. He next made the terrible
“ It un
attack we have related, from the centre to the The British cavalry was driven to the rear of the BOOK. XV.
the carnage on both sides was dreadful. The Crap. VIII. upon the beaten troops, and thus separate the French cavalry then charged the infantry, who,
1815. whole from the Prussian army. Foiled, however, being in squares, repulsed them. in both objects, by the bravery and skill of his bowever, returned to the attack, and charged adversaries, and in a very particular manner by with both infantry and cavalry in such numbers, the defenders of Hougoumont, and the heroes on that it required every effort on the part of the the left, be was compelled to turn his attention, British to resist them; and the coinbat became without delay, to accomplish the defeat of the close and sanguinary. About 300 pieces of arallied army by any means he could. The weak- tillery opened against the British lines, the fire est part of the British line, near the left centre, from which was incessant and terrible. was therefore the point against which he in future fortunately,” said General Alava, “ made horrible directed his uimost fury. The preceding plans ravages iu our line, and killed and wounded ofwere daring-fitting his genius, and marks ficers, artillerists, and horses, in the weakest part strongly the character of the man; but all his of the position." proceedings were in extremes, and cousequently The loss of the third battalion of the 1st regidangerous, when undertaken against such adver ment of guards, and the rifle battalion of the king's saries as Wellington and Blucher.
German legion, was immense. Files upon files In order to appreciate fully the nature of this were carried out to the rear from the caruage ; contest, we must bear in inind, that the plan the ammunition of many of the English soldiers. laid down by the Duke of Wellington was to act being expended; some fell back to procure it, altogether on the defensive, till the arrival of the whicb, with their continual loss, quite unsteadied force under Blucher. It is scarcely necessary to
the line: this, at one critical moment, was only add, the plan of the enemy was directly opposite. held up by main strength, the serjeants having Their junction he could not possibly prevent, placed their pikes in line against the men's backs, but he was determined to render them of no not for want of courage in the latter, for they avail, by the defeat of the one he dreaded most, fought most desperately, but because their thinned before the arrival of the other. Bonaparte had ranks scarcely enabled them to withstand the overhitherto remained on an eminence near La Belle whelming forces brought against them. Shock Alliance from whence he had a clear view of the ing as the slaughter was, it would have been whole field-of-battle. He continued walking in much greater had it not been for the state of the Jeep, thought, sometimes with his hands joined ground, which was thorougbly soaked with rain ; ogether, and at other times taking snuff copiously, for although this, by preventing dust, afforded put all the while in great anxiety. The story of better aim
to the artillerymen, many shots never als standing upon the observatory, wbicb is a mile rose after they had touched the ground, and none listant, is an idle tale. At La Belle Alliance bounded so often as they would otherwise bave vas bis station during the afternoon.
done. The shells also frequently turned themselves, here," said Marshal Blucher, " that Napoleon and, when they exploded, threw up the mud like vas during the battle; it was there he gave his a fountain. rders, and that he flattered himself with the hope For more than three hours, the enemy
continuf victory." From this point he contemplated ed to make charge after charge, from one end of he immediate and complete success of those the British line io the other, in order to force it errible French tactics, whích bad so often appalled wherever he could. Victory was several times is enemies. He was, however, much chagrined doubtful; but the Duke of Welliogton was every phen he saw some of bis best troops, and bis where present, exposed to the hottest fire, aniavalry and cuirassiers, driven back, heels over mating bis men. He often threw himself into the ead, at every onset by the British line, and with midst of the squares, in full determination to mazing carnage. A great part of his army had stand or fall with them. Indeed, at this period lready been engaged, except his guards, which of the battle, he exposed his person with a freeere the flower of his army, and who idolized dom which, while the positions of the armies and nd adored him. He, therefore, determined to the nature of the ground rendered it inevitably ring a part of these troops forward, and with necessary, made all around him tremble for that: Il bis cavalry, formed into masses, to make one fe on which it was obvious that the fate of the esperate effort against the centre of the British battle depended. There was scarcely a square rmy. Having formed his plan, the infantry and but he visited in person, encouraging the men by avalry were formed into columns, and advanced his presence, and the officers by bis directions, apidly to the attack, under cover of a most tre- Many of his short phrases are repeated by them lendous cannonade, which was directed against as if they were possessed of a talismanic effect.
“ It was