« PreviousContinue »
BOOK XV. the extremes of agony and want. The Dutch torn epaulets, and se bre sashes, bathed in blood.
and Belgians exerted themselves to reach their shewed how furious and how destructive the bat. Chap. VIII. homes, and the French their own country. After tle had here been. Mixed with these were seen
a damp day, on the 18th, the night became clear the flaring red poppy, rearing its head amidst the 1815. and chill, which had a fatal effect on the wound- fresh-dug mould, while the sweet little wild-flow.
ed. Thousands perished for want of timely me er, Forget me noi," unconcious of the ruin bear dical aid. Many were found in cottages and ob- it, in a few days began to spread its beauties scure retreats, their bodies become half putrid round the warrior's grave. Soldiers' caps, pierced from the severity of their wounds, yet still in life. with many a ball, belts, helmets, cuirasses, tal Thousands were cut off in the extremes of hunger tered cloathes, cartouch-boxes, inilitary decora
. and distress. At the end of ten, twelve, and tions, crosses of the legion of bonor, French fifteen days, there were found, in bye-corners, novels, German testaments, packs of cards, letters wounded men who had preserved life by gnawing from lovers to the objects of their affection, from the flesh from the dead bodies of their dead com parents to their children, mangled bodies, legs, rades, or of horses that chanced to be near them. heads in the helmets intended to protect them Others, slightly wounded, were found several days and arms, strewed in fearful confusion, lay alone after the battle, on the field, using the French cui these bloody fields. Besides the loss of men, and rasses as frying pans to dress their scanty meals. all the best borses which Bonaparte had for a Even in the rear of the allied position, such valry, the French army lost above 300 pieces of scenes of distress were numerous. From Water cannon, 500 caissons, all their baggage, and al. loo to Brussels, the road, for nine miles, was so most all their arms. Such were the
consequences, choaked up with scattered baggage, that the in part, of Napoleon's escape from Elba; and wounded could with difficulty be brought along. such the third page of that terrible sheet, on The way was lined with unhappy wretches who which, according to the Moniteur, in March pre. had crept from the field; and many, unable to ceding,
ceding, “the emperor had just written the finest proceed, lay down and died. Holes dug by the page of history, and to which the annals of the side of the road formed their graves, while their world afford no comparison.”
The present page tattered garments and accoutrements covered the indeed, in blood and its results, stands unparal surrounding lands. In Brussels alone, more than leled in the annals of the world. The sheet of 23,000 wounded were assembled, where they Napoleon's political life to which it belonged was were treated with the utmost kindness and atten- nearly full. The last page alone remained. The tion. The people, in crowds, went out to meet consequences of Waterloo filled it! them with refreshments, bandages, &c. The Amongst the heroes who signalized themselra principal families, and women of rank, supported on this glorious day, on whom Wellington bethem with every necessary, and frequently admi- stowed praise, and whose loss he mentioned with nistered to their wants with their own hands. The regret, are the following names, with which the treatment, however, of the French prisoners by public had long been familiar. Major-general the peasantry were different. These were treated Coke, who was severely wounded, Major.general with harshness; and these poor creatures now Maitland, and Major-general Byng. Lieutenasifelt the severest want and neglect. By the Bri- geheral Sir H. Clinton, Major-general Adam, tish only were they treated with humanity. These Lieutenant-general Charles Baron Alten, who were seen, though wounded themselves, binding were severely wounded. Colopel Ompteda, Coup the wounds of their enemies. What a contrast lonel Blitchell, Major-general Sir James Kemp, in their conduct! Every thing on these fields, and Sir Dennis Pack; Major-general Lamber, for a great extent, was laid waste. For five miles Major-general Lord E. Somerset, Major-general round, the country appeared like a sandy waste Sir" Williain Ponsonby, Major-general Sir C. covered with hills and heaps of slain. The corn Grant, Major-general Sir H. Vivian, Major-gefields were so beaten that they resembled stubble. neral Sir 0. Vandeleur, Major-general Dornberg
, The ground was completely ploughed up by the and General Lord Hill. Colonel Sir G. Wool, bullets and the feet of horses, and cut into Colonel Smith, Adjutant Major-general Barnes trenches by the wheels of the artillery. Scarcely who were wounded; and Quarter-master-general a clod of earth but was wet with the best blood Colonel Delancey, who was also severely woudeof Britain and of Prussia, and with the fiercested in the middle of the engagement, and atteblood of France. At Hougoumont, every tree in wards died. Lieutenant-colonel Lord Fitzrej the wood seemed as if blighted, and were pierced Somerset, who was severely wounded; Lieutena3with cannon-bullets. Some were pierced with colonel the honorable Sir Alexander Gord, twenty. Their branches were broken off and who died of his wounds. General Kruse, of ile destroyed. Immense graves and dreadful heaps Nassau service, General Trip, and General l'atof ashes, the remains of burnt bodies, marked hope, the latter commanding a brigade of inlaithis fatal spot. Broken swords, sbaltered helmets, try belonging to the King of the Netherlands
The Russian General Pozzo di Borgo, the Aus- praised by Bonaparte himself, who frequently BOOK. XV trian General Baron Vincent, the Prussian Ge- exclaimed, as he saw thein beat some of his best neral Muffling, and the Spanish General Alava, soldiers, “What superb troops !”, The 42d, Char. VIII. also distinguished themselves greatly. The lat- 79th, and 92d, though dreadfully reduced in ter general, so well known in the peninsular war, numbers, both in Picton's and other severe at
1815. was the Spanish minister to the court of the Ne- tacks, here shewed the same courage and skill therlands; and, being at Brussels at the time, he which they did at Quatre Bras. The 30th and joined the hero he admired, and was close beside 73d regiments, placed in a part of the line
exposbim throughout the day. The Prince of Orange ed, in a particular manner, to the attacks of the also particularly distinguished himself; and until cuirassiers, suffered severely. In an attack by he received a severe wound in the right shoulder, the cuirassiers against Sir Colin Halket's brigade, he was never absent froin the post of danger. the enemy attempted a ruse de guerre, by the Henry, Earl of Uxbridge (now Marquis of An- commanding officer advancing and lowering his glesea) was also noticed for his extraordinary sword to General Halket. Several officers imgallantry on this memorable day. During the mediately called out, Sir, they surrender ; but whole of the engagement, bis exertions were great Sir Colin was not to be duped. He justly susand unremitting, while his example was most pected an offer of surrender to a body of infantry, animating. Scarce a squadron charged but he fixed to the spot, in a defensive position, by a body was at their bead; and wherever the cavalry of cavalry, who had the option of galloping ott, could be of service, there he led them. Though with all the plain open behind them.« Be firm, exposed to the hottest of the fire, he bad escaped and fire,” said he to his officers. The volley sent unhurt; but almost the last shot which the enemy the cuirassiers, as usual, about: and while the fired shattered his right knee and deprived bin balls rung against their armour, a laugh of deris of a leg. Few general officers escaped untouched, sion, which arose in the British line, added to and many commanding-officers fell. Every officer their mortification. At the close of the battle, on the personal-staff of the Duke of Wellington the brave General Halket received a ball in his was either killed or wounded. Among these were cheek, which carried away the palate, and incaLieutenant-colonels Gordon and Canning. The pacitated him from tasting any food. The conformer officer was earnestly and affectionately re duct of the guards exceeded all praise. The monstrating with the duke, that he was exposing 520 and 71st regiments, when in pursuit of the his invaluable life more than any private soldier, young guard, suddenly separated, and, running when he was struck by a musket-ball and instant in an oval, met again at a considerable distance, ly fell. Colonel Canning had been sent by the and thus cut off several thousand prisoners. Late duke with some important orders to a distant part in the day, a very affecting circumstance occurred of the line, and was returning, when a grape-shot in General Halket's brigade. Two officers, who struck him in the breast. As he fell, his friend, were not on terms of good understanding with the Lord March, hastened to his assistance. The others of the regiment to which they belonged, colonel, with difficulty, raised himself up, and for having opposed some expensive regulations in eagerly inquired whether the duke was yet safe. the mess, owing to their having families, and also Being answered in the affirmative, he exclaimed, two sisters to support, bad, from being thus in a "God bless him!” and then seizing the hand of manner placed by themselves, formed the most Lord March, said, “God bless you, and expired. intimate friendship. Towards the evening, the He had accompanied the Duke of Wellington as one jocosely said to the other, “ I always told you aid-de-camp during the whole of the peninsular they would never hit me." Scarcely had be
Colonel Ferrier, of the let foot-guards, spoken these words, when he was shot dead, to fell, after leading his regiment eleven times to the the inexpressible grief of his friend, who stood charge. Lord Hill's coolness and determined for some moments motionless ; and then, rushing bravery never shone more conspicuous than on to the body, tbrew himself beside it, exclaiming, the 18th of June; though, from commanding the " Oh, my friend my only friend !"
Even at reserve, his exertions were not so much called for this moment the scene drew tears from the eyes on this as on many former days. All the above of every beholder. The gallant Colonel Delanofficers, and many others, signalized theniselves on cy, who fell by the side of the Duke of Welling. this glorious day. To particolarize every indi ton, when he found that his wound was mortal, vidual who distinguished himself would be im would not allow the surgeons to take up their possible, as “ there is no officer por description time with attending to him. He was carried to if troops," said the Duke of Wellington, “who Brussels, where he expired. He had been mardid not bebave well."
ried only three weeks before, to a beautiful and Every regiment in the British army signalized deserving woman. Colonel Miller, of the guards, itself in this memorable battle. The conduct of when dying, requested that they would bring the the Scotch greys was .particularly noticed, ald colours of his regiment, the 1st foot-guards; and
BOOK XV. after beholding them, he requested that they the last troop of cavalry, when, looking behind
might be waved over bim till he died. Captain hiin, he observed a French regiment formed CRAP. VIII. Curzen, Lord Scarsdale's son, met his fate with across the road to charge. He instantly turned
similar spirit. Falling from his horse, he said to round, and alone galloped back towards the 1815,
his friend, Lord March, who was near him, enemy, waving bis hat to his soldiers, who had
Good bye, March ;" and afterwards seeing him advanced some way on their retreat, and were at animating his corps, be exclaimed, though in the a considerable distance from their general. Ma. last stage of life, “ Well done, Mareh." Colonel jor Kelly, of the horse-guards, was the first per
. Halket, a brother of the general, made a dash at son to join his lordship at full gallop, and these a French general, who had advanced in front of two heroes remained alone for a minute or two, his men, giving them orders, and brought him off close in front of the French, wbo stirred not, in the full view of bis astonished followers as a amazed, as it would seem, by the gallantry wbich prisoner. A Higbland serjeant had the basket. they witnessed. The regiment soon came up, hilt of his sword so bruised that he could not get and charging, the enemy were forced to retire. his hand out till be got the aid of a blacksmith. The British army, at Waterloo, exceeded all
The humanity of two French officers in this its former exploits; and all the laurels whicha battle deserve to be noticed. The honorable they had previously gained were here wove in. Colonel Ponsonby, of the 12th light dragoons, to one immortal wreath to adorn their browe
, fell in the first of the three charges of the light The merits of the British soldiers, on this ocra. horse, soon after the commencement of the action. sion, were properly appreciated : and the princeHis wounds were desperate, and he was lying in regent extended solid rewards to every rark and a helpless state, when a lancer, prokably to as
Every regiment which had certain the fact of his existence, in the barbarous been present was permitted from thenceforth to manner of all soldiers, plunged bis lance at his bear the word “ Waterloo” upon their colours; shoulder, which penetrated to his lungs; meaning, all the privates were to be borne upon the musas it was supposed, afterwards to plunder him, ter-rolls and pay-lists of their respective corps as when an advance of another corps drove him Waterloo-men, and every Waterloo-man allowed away. In this state he lay for a considerable to reckon that day's work as two years service time, with several severe wounds, and suffering in the amount of his time for increase of
pay, or great agony, particularly from thirst. At length for a pension when discharged. The subaltern his situation was noticed by a French officer, who officers were, in like manner, to reckon two years' lay severely wounded at some distance, and, with service for that victory; and a regulation was great difficulty, crept towards bim, and presented made, that henceforward the pensions granted for a pocket-pistol to his mouth, when he was at the wounds should rise with the rank to which the last gasp, and from which be drank some kind of officer attained. A medal was also given to each spirit. From this humanity, Colonel Ponsonby of the survivors, of the same materials for officers attributed his strength to go through his suffer and men, that they who had been companions ings. After his recovery, he made every endea in danger, might also wear the same badge of vour to find this officer, that he might return his honor. At the sight of this noble appendage
, grateful acknowledgements. Colonel Hervey, of their parents, friends, and future offspring will rethe 14th, was in a charge of the light cavalry, joice, and their foes lament with sorrow. France when he found himself opposed to a French of will long remember it with mourning and anficer, who was proceeding to make a cut at bin, guish; and the name of Waterloo, for a century wben perceiving the colonel had but one arm, he to come, will make her daughters weep and he dropt bis sword, exclaiming, be would never use sons tremble. Deep, indeed, and severe are the his sword against a man thus situated. In this wounds of grief in the bosoms of surviving friends, instance, also, the gallant colonel was not able to for those who have fallen in this glorious battie; find bis noble opponent.
and lasting will be the sorrow round the banks The close of the battle was destructive to many of the Thames, the Shannon, the Forth, and the British officers. Sir Francis D'Oyley, of the 1st Oder. In many a town, and in many a village
, foot-guards, fell in the very last charge to which the tear of affection will flow on the 18th of June. his regiment was led, and at the moment when But while a British beart can feel a glow of pleathe enemy was breaking and preparing to fly. sure at the thought of its country's security and Colonel Fitzgerald, of the life guards, likewise honor, so long will this grief be softened by the fell, as he was cheeriog his men to pursue the recollection of the day wl'erein those for whom enemy. We bave already mentioned the gallant they mourn were taken away from them. For conduct of the Marquis of Anglesea, and of bis the relief of the wounded, and of the relatives being wounded by almost the last shot that was of the slain, a subscription was immedietely comfired. This nobleman, on the 17th, when the menced in Evgland, in which the munificent British army were retreating, was in the rear of charity of Great Britain and its dependencies far
But that pru
exceeded all its former exertions. A committee an age where all are brave, and wherein thou- BOOK XV. of distribution was appointed, and in a short sands are conspicuous. His conduct on this metime upwards of 400,0001. sterling was cheerfully morable day, as a general, as a soldier, and as a Chap. VIH. raised for the purpose of administering to the ne man, will live the theme of the admiration and cessities of the wounded, and to the comfort of applause of every succeeding age. As a general,
1818. the orphans and widows of the dead. To the Waterloo has made him immortal,: It was abilimemory of Generals Picton and Ponsonby, the ties and resources of the highest order he had British legislature decreed the erection of monu here to oppose him. He swept those from the ments, in the repository of her mighty dead, face of the political world in a moment, without a where Nelson lies, who at Trafalgar gave Bri- vestige being left to shew that such things had tain the undisputed empire of the ocean ; as the ever been. As a soldier, he was often seen ralo cause of their death, at Waterloo, gave her de lying broken battalions, and leading them to the .cidedly the preponderance in the scale of Europe. charge, amidst the greatest danger. The nature
It is a curious fact, that as near as a land en of the ground was such that to obtain a full view gagement can approach to one at sea, that the of the enemy there was bo avoiding the imminent batile of Waterloo was the battle of Trafalgar in risks which this great man ran during the whole every thing but victory reversed. The mode of day. His aids-de-camp, men endeared to him attack by Napoleon was as near as possible si- by their long services, in the career of victory, milar to that followed by Nelson ; and the man and by their personal devotion to him, fell, killed ner in which the British iroops were drawn up in or wounded, one after another. Of those who lines and squares was similar to that in which accompanied him, his old friend, the Spanish GeVilleneuve drew up the French fleet in a double neral Álava, was the only one who was untouched, line, but so placed that in breaking through be- either in bis person or his borse. At one motween two ships in the front line, the vessel ment, when the duke was very far advanced, obwhich did so came full on a broadside of a ship serving tbe eneiny's movements, one of his aidsin the second, and in this situation remained ex de-camp ventured to hint that he was exposing posed to the fire of both lines.
himself too much; the duke answered, with his dent plan was rendered of no avail, hy Nelson noble simplicity, “I know I am, but I naust die, coming down in two diverging lines, each of or see what they are doing.” With bis telescope which, as it came near, separated and broke in his hand, in the midst of every danger, he through at every point. Similar to the French stood and surveyed the extent of that dreadful ships were the British squares placed at Water- field, with as much calmness and self-possession loo; and similarly Bonaparte attacked, with the as an astronomer would view the satellites of numbers in his favor,
Jupiter. His eye beheld every thing.-Wbile The conduct of the foreign troops in the Bri the motions of the enemy were yet in embryo he tish army, engaged in this battle, was most con forestalled them, and through the dark columns spicuous and exemplary. The Hanoverians and of smoke, that concealed their advance, he antiBrunswickers greatly distinguished themselves. cipated every movement of the foe. Like the The Prussians also well performed their part in genius of the storm, upborne on its wings, he this great engagement; and the Duke of Wel was seen riding about, repelling the attack of lington, with the liberality of an honorable mind, conflicting elements, and directing bis thunders in bis public dispatches, made the fullest ac to burst where they should be most fatal. In adknowledgment of their services. “ I should not,” dition to the particulars already related, at a most said he, * do justice to my feelings, or to Marshal critical moment, be put hiinself at the head of the Blucher and the Prussian army, if I did not at 95th regiment, charged and drove back the most tribute the successful result of this arduous day advanced of the enemy. At another time a select to the cordial and timely assistance I received party of French cavalry cut their passage through from them. The operation of General Bulow the line where he was, and very nearly succeeded upon the enemy's flank was a most decisive one; in taking him prisoner. As a man), be wept for and even if I bad not found myself in a situation the loss of the former companions of many a to make the attack which produced the final re- bloody field, and days of former glory and danbult, it would bave forced the enemy to retire, if ger. “ I cannot express," said he, in a letter to his attacks should have failed, and would bave the brother of Sir Alexander Gordon, “in ade. prevented him froin taking advantage of them, if quate terms, the grief which I feel in contemplating they should unfortunately have succeeded." the loss which we have sustained in the death of To Wellington himself there was wanting but
80 many valued friends.
The glory of such acthis combat to crown the glory wbich be had al tions afford no consolution to me, and I cannt ready earned on the field of danger. He stood suggest it as a consolation to you; but a result from this moment confessedly the first general of so decisive will, in all probability, be followed by:
BOOK XY. an early attainment of the just object of our air with a feeble shout of " Vive l'Empereur !" wishes and exertions, and this
Apotber, at the moment of the preparations to take Csar. VIII. consolation for our loss."
off his leg, declared that there was something be That the French army, and their chief, fought knew of would cure him on the spot, and save 1815.
with the greatest bravery, is a fact undeniable bis limb and the operator's trouble. 'When asked and just. The bravery and enthusiasm of the to explain this wild remark, he said, " A sight of latter were never more conspicuous than at Wa the emperor.” The amputation did not save him. terloo, and never were so severely defeated. The He died in the surgeon's bands, and his last plans of their leader, to accomplish the object words, steadfastly, looking on his own blood, were, which he had in view, were skilfully laid ; but that he would cheerfully shed the last drop in considering the abilities of bis opponents, and his his veins for the great Napoleon. A third was own peculiar situation, they were most hazardous undergoing, with matchless steadiness, the extrac. and dangerous. They were, bowever, all in cha tion of a ball from his left side. In the middle racter of the inan, and also of the nation. But bis of the operation be exclaimed, “An inch deeper
, faults, as a general, does not take away from the and you will find the emperor !" personal bravery of himself and his troops. All It was not so much the loss of men, of cannon, exposed themselves in the most resolute manner; and of reputation, great as these were, wbich at and the prisoners said they never saw the em Waterloo was the greatest loss to Bonaparte. These peror expose himself so much ; that be seemed might have been replaced; but the loss was of to court death, in order not to outlive a defeat a more irrecoverable kind. In the words of fraught with such fatal consequences to him. The Count Lobau, who was taken prisoner, this dread. idle stories about his cowardice on this day de ful day deprived Napoleon of almost every one, serve no attention. They are the tricks of some who, in France, were personally attached to him. vain Frenchmen, who want to make it appear But bravely as the French troops fought, and that their countrymen were defeated solely be- skilful as their leader was, so inuch the more cause their leader was unworthy of his troops. praise and greater honor is due to those who beat It would be doing an act of great injustice to
them. “ Never," said the Duke of Wellington
, those who conquered him, to give any credence in a letter to a relative, “ was I in a harder to such stories. At Waterloo he was worthy of fought battle; never was I obliged to exert myself his troops. His vanity at the commencement of so much, and never was I so near being beaten." the battle, and despair at the end, made him ex This frank acknowledgment, wbile it gives his pose himself more than he had done in any other enemies praise, coofers on bin additional glory. action. He afterwards, indeed, forsook the troops, Such were the immediate, inportant, and deci but not till they durst face their foes no longer. sive results of the terrible battle of Waterloo. During the engagement, they fought with the The victories of Cressy and Agincourt, achieved most determined courage, and at last sealed with by British prowess, twice before settled the fate their blood their attachment to their chief. It is of France. The triumph of Waterloo, won a fact, that they marched to the combat shouting chiefly by the same means, decided not only the * Vive l'Empereur,” and that when wounded and fate of France but of Europe. There is no posmaimed they returned from the field sbouting the sibility of lessening or disguising the humiliation game words. It is also certain, that even in the and defeat which France received on this day. hospitals, sinking under their wounds and disease, In one battle, Britain dealt to ber a blow that they continued to chaunt the same strain, and to went to her heart. Nothing that was done by give the strongest marks of attachment to their hier to either Prussia, or Austria, or Spain, or leader. Nay, many days after, even on the field- Portugal, was so severely disgraceful to the vag
. of-battle, many were found as dead, but who quished, as that which befel herself
. Waterloo were no sooner roused from their state of insensi sent her reeling and tumbling backwards to a bility, than they saluted their bearers with the throne which she had sworn to defend-from same words. As Mr. Simpson passed through which she held the boldest language ; and yet the hospitals at Antwerp, one man was pointed before wbich, we shall presently see, not an art out who bad tossed his own amputated arm in the was raised up in its defence.