Route 11. WATERLOO. Sketch of
caused a report to be spread amongst them that Grouchy was approach-
ing to their aid, although well knowing this to be impossible.
Napoleon accordingly commanded eight battalions of his reserve Guards
to advance in two columns (to adopt a convenient expression, for it was
really one column or mass, in two parts, advancing en échelon), one to-
wards the centre of the Allied right, the other nearer to Hougomont,
while they were supported by a reserve of two more battalions, consisting
in all of about 5000 veteran soldiers, who had not as yet been engaged in
the action. Wellington hastened to prepare the wreck of his army to
meet the attack; every available gun was posted in front of the line,
and the orchard and plantations of Hougomont were strengthened by
reinforcements. After a renewed and furious cannonade, which caused
frightful havoc among the Allies, Donzelot’s division made a determined
but unsuccessful attack towards the left of the British position; but the
chief fury of the storm was to burst forth farther to the right. The two
magnificent columns of the Imperial Guard, the flower of the French
army, were put in motion, one towards Hougomont and Adam’s brigade,
the other and main part in the direction of Maitland and his Guards.
Supported at first by a cannonade from their own batteries and undeterred
by the destructive fire of the hostile cannon, the French guards intrepidly
forced their way to the summit of the heights of the Allies. Here, how-
ever, the Duke had ordered Maitland’s brigade of Guards to lie down
behind the ridge; and these, at a signal, instantaneously sprang from the
earth and saluted their enemy with a fierce and murderous discharge.
The effect was irresistible: the French column was rent asunder and
vainly endeavoured to deploy, and the British Guards fairly drove their
assailants down the hill. A similar fate met the second French column.
The Imperial Guard was forced to retire. In this direction, therefore, the
fate of the French was sealed, and the Allies were triumphant. On the
extreme left, however, the right wing of the French was still unbroken,
and the Young Guard valiantly defended Plancenoit against the Prussians,
who fought with the utmost bravery and perseverance notwithstanding the
fearful losses they were sustaining. Lobau also stoutly opposed Bulow
and his gradually-increasing corps. With the Guard utterly routed, the
cavalry dispersed, and the reserves consumed, the cry of ‘Tout est perdu!
Sauve qui peut!’ arose from the French troops. This was about 8 o’clock
in the evening, and the whole of the Allied line, with the Duke himself
among. the foremost, now descended from their heichts. and, notwith-
standing a final attempt at resistance on the part of the wreck of the
Imperial Guard, swept all before them, mounted the enemy's heights,
and even passed Belle Alliance itself. Still the battle raged fiercely at
and around Plancenoit, but shortly after 8 o’clock the gallant efforts of
the Prussians were crowned with success. Plancenoit was captured, Lobau
and the Young Guard defeated after a most obstinate and sanguinary
struggle, the French retreat became general, and the victory was at length
completely won. Not until the Duke was perfectly assured of this did he
finally give the order for a general haJt, and the Allies desisted from the
pursuit at a considerable distance beyond Belle Alliance. On his w J
back to Waterloo Wellington met Bliicher at the Maison Rouge, or Maison
du Roi, not far from Belle Alliance, and after mutual congratulations both
generals agreed that they must advance on Paris without delay. Bliicher,
moreover, many of whose troops were comparatively fresh, undertook that
the Prussians should continue the pursuit, a task of no slight importance
and difficulty, which Gen. Gneisenau most admirably executed, thus in a
great measure contributing to the ease and rapidity of the Allied march
So ended one of the most Sanguinary and important battles which
history records, in the issue of which the whole of Europe was deeply
interested. All the troops fought with great bravery, and many prodigies
of valour on the part of regiments, and acts of daring heroism by indi-
viduals, are on record. The loss of life on this memorable day was com-
mensurate with the long duration and fearful obstinacy of the battle.
Upwards of 50,000 soldiers perished, or were hors de combat. The loss of
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K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
Baedeker, Karl, Belgium and Holland, including the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg: handbook for travellers, K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience