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every where ; always where the struggle was most arduous, in the hottest fire, and front of the danger ; he was seen, as Waller says of Lord Falkland,
-Exposing his all-knowing breast Among the throng, as cheaply as the rest. Never were his exertions more needful ; sometimes he was rallying broken infantry, sometimes placing himself at the head of formed squares.
No man indeed ever had more confidence in his troops, or did more justice to them. “When other generals," he said, “commit an error, their army is lost by it, and they are sure to be beaten ; when I get into a scrape, my army gets ine out of it.' The men on their part amply returned the confidence which they so well deserved. “Bless thy eyes !” said a soldier in Spain, when Lord Wellington passed by him for the first time after he had returned from Cadiz to the army. “ Bless thy eyes! I had rather see thee come back, than see ten thousand men come to help us. On the day of Waterloo, both men and leaders were put to the proof; none of their former fields of glory, many as they had seen together, had been so stubbornly contested, or so dearly won. The great object of Bonaparte, his only hope
of success, was to overpower the English before the Prụssians could arrive in any force ; he therefore made a perpetual repetition of attacks with horse and foot, supported by the whole of his artillery. It was one of those great efforts by which he had before more than once decided the fate of a campaign. Under cover of as tremendous a cannonade as ever was witnessed upon a field of battle, he
formed his cavalry into masses ; brought up the whole of the elite of his guards with his reserves ; and made an attack on the British centre, which, if it had been possible to quail the spirit of a British army, would have proved successful. Our cavalry was driven to the rear of our infantry ; our advanced artillery was taken. Every battalion was instantly in squares, and though the French cavalry repeatedly charged, not a square was broken ; more than once did Wellington throw himself into one of these squares, and await the result of the charge, in full reliance on che steadiness of the men, and ready to stand ur fall with them.
When the Prussians at last made their appearance, and were passing our left columns in their advance, they cheered them with that exultation, which the determination and sure hope of conquering inspired, and all their bands played God Save the King. Wellington perceiving their movements, and seeing the confusion of the enemy, took that great and decisive step which has crowned his glory, and saved Europe. He advanced with the greatest celerity the whole line of his infantry, supported by the cavalry and artillery ; he put himself at the head of the foot guards, and spoke a few words to them, which were answered by a general huzza ; and then leading them on himself, the attack was made at all points, and in every point with the most perfect
Sauve qui peut, was now the cry in Bonaparte's army.
A total rout could not be more fully acknowledged than it is by his own account. “A complete panic,
spread at once through the whole field of battle; the men threw themselves
in the greatest disorder on the line of coinmunication ; soldiers, cannoniers, caissons, all pressed to this point ; the old guard, which was in reserve, was infected, and was itself hurried along. In an instant, the whole army was nothing but a mass of confusion; all the soldiers, of all arms, were mixed pell mell, and it was utterly impossible to rally a single corps.”
“The line of the retreat,” says General Gneisenau, resembled the sea shore after some great shipwreck ; it was covered with cannon, caissons, carriages, baggage, arms, and wreck of every kind. Those of this enemy who were foremost in flight, and did not expect to be so promptly pursued, attempted to repose for a time; presently the Prussians were upon them, and thus they were driven from more than nine bivouacs. In some villages, they seemed to recover courage when beholding only their own numbers, and made a show of maintaining themselves : but when they heard the beating of the Prussian drums, or the sound of the Prussian trumpet, their panic returned, and they renewed their flight, or ran into the houses, where they were cut down or made prisoners. Eight hundred of their bodies were found lying where
they had suffered themselves (it is a German who speaks) to be cut down like cattle.' General Duhesme, who commanded the rear-guard, fell in this place. A black hussar of the Duke of Brunswick's corps, sacrificed him to bis master's memory. "The duke fell yesterday,' said the Brunswicker, and thou shalt bite the dust ;' so saying, he cut him down."
So confident was Bonaparte of success, that messengers were actually dispatched from the field to
announce it. On the day of the battle, it was telegraphed to Boulogne, that the emperor had gained a most complete victory over the united British and Prussian armies, commanded by Wellington and Blucher. A bulletin extraordinary was published at Lisle, stating that the emperor himself, setting the example in the war, had fired the first carbine, and had a horse killed under him ; that his astonishing victories of the 15th, 16th, and 17th July, were exceeded by that of the eighteenth, in which he had taken 30,000 prisoners. One account announced his entrance into Brussels ; and another said that the cannons were roaring from the ramparts of the French fortresses to celebrate that event. Bonaparte had indeed invited Marshal Ney to sup with him that night at Brussels ; and at six in the evening he is said to have remarked to him, that they should yet arrive there in good time to keep their engagement. His proclamations to the Belgians upon his victory, were printed, and dated from the Palace of Lacken. He had in short prepared every thing for victory, nothing for defeat.
It has been justly remarked, that " the feeling which this battle produced in England, will never be forgotten by the present generation.” Accustomed as we were to victory, upon the land as well as upon the seas since the star of Wellington had risen ; confident as we were in our general and our army, even they who were most assured of success, and of speedy success, dreamt not of success so signal, so sudden, so decisive. The glory of all former fields seemed, at the time, to fade before that of Waterloo. At Cressy, at Poictiers, at Agincourt, the ease with
which victory had been obtained, appeared to detract from the merit of the conquerors; there the multitude of the enemy had been delivered into our hands by their own insolence and presumption. Blenheim had been less stubborn in the conflict, less momentous in the consequences ; and all the previous actions of the great commander, from Vimiera, or from Eastern Assaye, to Toulouse, now seemed mere preludes to this last and greatest of his triumphs. Heavy as was the weight of private sorrow which it brought with it; severe as was the public loss in the fall of Picton and Ponsonby, and of so many others, the flower of the British youth, the pride and promise of the British army, still we were spared that grief which, on a former occasion, had abated the joy of the very multitude, and made thoughtful spirits almost regret the victory of Trafalgar. The duke's aides-de-camp, men endeared to him by their long services in the career of glory, and by their personal devotion to him, fell killed or wounded, one after another. Of those who accompanied him during this “ his fame,” his old friend, the Spanish General Alava, was the only one who was untouched, either in his person or his horse. At a moment when the duke was very far advanced, observing the enemy's movements, one of his aides-de-camp ventured to hint, that he was exposing himself too much ; the duke
; answered with noble simplicity, "I know I but I must die, or see what they are doing.”
Lord Wellington's feelings after the battle, he thus described in a letter to the Earl of Aberdeen, tu whom he had the painful task of communicating a brother's death.