Waterloo Uncovered

I confess to being a bit of a Mercer hero-worshipper in my youth too. It primed me for the ‘old soldier’ stories all my career, and on here I suppose. Do you have the booklet of letters he exchanged with Leathes? It gives an insight into the disgruntled veteran, and I suspect would be uncomfortably close to home for some of us!


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Didn't know that correspondence existed. I'll now have to try to find it.
 
I bought my first ‘Waterloo’ book when I was 10. I’d go with my mate Paul to the Nottingham Model Soldier Shop (Long since gone) where every week we would buy a Hinchliffe lead figure, paint it to match our Humbrol Authenticard and then admire it before repeating the process with the next week’s pocket money.

We were hardly the lady who ran it’s best customers, but she indulged us. She had a musket and a pistol ball from the battlefield for sale, and every week she would let us hold them. We could never buy them though, they were nearly £5, an unheard of sum to us!

Who knew that 44 years later, I’m still smuggling a YAWB (Yet Another Waterloo Book) into the house. I must be on well into my second thousand Napoleonic books by now, but I’ve still got that first one. It’s like Trigger’s broom now, on it’s second spine and third set of covers, it’s the one that accompanied the Dino De Laurentiis film by Ugo Pericoli.

More power to these guy’s elbows.


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The book of the film was my first serious reading book (i.e. no pictures) when I was at junior school.
'Achtung Scweinehund' by Harry Pearson is a sympathetic look back at the following years and in the past few years, Mark Adkins 'Waterloo Companion' filling in many Waterloo myths.
I've mentioned this guy www.britisharmywaterloo.blogspot.com on Arrse before now too for his research.
 

seanhon

On ROPS
On ROPs
For those that follow such things, this has been going rather well this year: Soldier archaeologists unearth musket balls and amputated leg bones at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site

This is the fifth year that excavations have run, and the first year in which the focus has moved away from Hougoumont. All looks pretty exciting, and more details available here: Home - Waterloo Uncovered and on the facebook page.

Not the only military archaeology project (see the estimable Op NIGHTINGALE, for instance), but focused specifically on this battle and includes a sizeable multinational contingent, though a UK-based charity. The archaeology team is first class, and both serving personnel and veterans are involved.

Not selling anything, though I do have some peripheral involvement in this: just thought it might be of interest. I'd be amused to know if any other arrsers are involved - we may have met!
brits
only
won
cus
austria
67%
Foreigners
in
britishrmy
 
Rifles by Robert Urban. Quite well written its the story of the Pennisular War through to Waterloo.
His resources are the letters and Diary's of members of the 95th Rifles in the days of Black Bob Caulfield and after.
I really recommend it.
 
Rifles by Robert Urban. Quite well written its the story of the Pennisular War through to Waterloo.
His resources are the letters and Diary's of members of the 95th Rifles in the days of Black Bob Caulfield and after.
I really recommend it.
I think you mean Mark Urban, BBC journo and author, who wargames AWI. Hence his interest in 'Fusiliers'.
 

Handlebarbleep

Old-Salt
brits
only
won
cus
austria
67%
Foreigners
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britishrmy
It was an Allied army, so the idea of ‘foreigners’ is a bit strange. One of the Corps commanders was the Prince of Orange and later to be King of the Netherlands for example. The Brunswickers were led by their Sovereign the Duke in person.

There were certainly many who would identify as ethnically German, but at this date there was no Germany as such. The Hanoverians shared a Sovereign with Britain, and whilst Hanover itself was occupied filled the ranks of the KGL. Technically they formed part of the British Army.

Austria did exist at this time, and whilst it’s not inconceivable that the odd one or two may have enlisted in one of the German speaking contingents (KGL, Army of Hanover, Duchies of Brunswick or Nassau) no formed Austrian units were at Waterloo. Completely separate Austrian forces were marching towards Paris much further south.

The Anglo-Austrian Peter Hofschroer in his book 1815 Waterloo Campaign The German Victory certainly postulated the theory. However, his subsequent convictions and his detention in an Austrian mental health institution has caused some to question many of his conclusions. He was prone to vexatious litigation and certainly defended has viewpoints robustly. He was very famously was involved in a spat with the late Duke of Wellington which led to the letters page of the Journal of The Association of Friends of the Waterloo Committee being dropped, never to return. Many now see this as being linked to his condition which casts doubt on some of his conclusions.




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Not to mention that many of the Belgian Cuirassiers who charged at their French opponents sported Legion d'Honneur won in the service of the Emperor.
Napoleon's army was a similar polyglot of French, Poles, Italian etc too. (Liguria was part of Napoleonic France ISTR).
 

Handlebarbleep

Old-Salt
Not to mention that many of the Belgian Cuirassiers who charged at their French opponents sported Legion d'Honneur won in the service of the Emperor.
Napoleon's army was a similar polyglot of French, Poles, Italian etc too. (Liguria was part of Napoleonic France ISTR).
Do you mean the 2nd Carabiniers under Lt Col de Bruijn, part of Maj Gen Jonkeer Tripp’s Brigade in Lt Gen Baron Jean Alphonse de Collaert’s Division?

As Belgium had been absorbed into Metropolitan France there were of course many veterans of the Grand Armee in their ranks. There are instances of former comrades recognising each other.

Everyone makes a big thing about Napoleon’s Polish Lancers, but remember by this time it was down to 1 Sqn under Major Jan Paweł Jerzmanowski and was composed of two companies. At just 225 strong it formed the 1st Sqn of the much larger 2nd Dutch (ie Red) Lancers, under General Pierre-David Edouard de Colbert-Chabanais, which in turn contained many Belgians.

We should also not forget that the map of Europe has been re-drawn many times since then, many of the East Prussian Landwehr coming from what is today part of Poland too.




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brits
only
won
cus
austria
67%
Foreigners
in
britishrmy
That doesn't even look like English...

The incomprehensible subtitles in the Russian movie I watched yesterday made more sense than that.

Edited to add that I bought a musket ball from a bloke metal detecting around the area of the sand pit at Waterloo some years back. 5 euros IIRC but I saw the guy dig it up.

Amazing to think that the last bloke to handle the ball would have been the chap who loaded it into his musket.

Interestingly enough I have spent days wandering around battlefields from 1870 but have yet find a spent Chassepot or Dryese bullet. I did however manage to buy a Chassepot bayonet (dated 1869) at a flea market in the village of Vionville (on the Mars la Tour battlefield) in 2003.
 
Napoleon's army was a similar polyglot of French, Poles, Italian etc too. (Liguria was part of Napoleonic France ISTR).
Certainly true of the Imperial France armies from 1805-1813, and to a lesser extent of the French armies of the 2nd Coalition which included, inter alia, Polish and Italian contingents. From what I remember, in 1815, apart from individuals, the only 'national' units in L'Armee du Nord which fought in the Waterloo campaign were a sqn of Polish lancers in the Imperial Guard and a regiment of Swiss infantry who were part of Grouchy's wing.

The 'polyglot' army at Waterloo was actually Wellington's, with British, German mercenary (KGL), Hanoverian, Brunswick, Belgian, Dutch and Nassau units, plus their allies the Prussians.
 
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Handlebarbleep

Old-Salt
Not to mention that many of the Belgian Carabiniers who charged at their French opponents sported Legion d'Honneur won in the service of the Emperor.
Like this chap?

Prosper Victor Ernest Anoult (1794-1862)

Born in Brussels (Dyle) 15 Feb 1794

Enrolled in Ecole Imperiale de Cavalerie in Saint-Germain 8 Dec 1810. Recorded as knowing the French language, arithmetic and geometry and 5 feet 4 inches tall.

Brigadier 12 Nov 1811
Sous-Officier
Sous-Lieutenent 14eme Cuirassiers 30 Dec 1812

On the 27 August he lost his older brother Jean, a Lieutenent in the 22nd Cuirrassiers killed at Dresden.

At Leipzig on 16 Oct 1813, at the head of his platoon he captured an enemy battery but was captured after being wounded by a bayonet in the right thigh, by a spent shot in the hand and a burst of grape shot to his right side, also killing his horse under him. He was then captured.

Awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honneur in 1813, he returned to France 20 May 1814 but he resigned in November 1814 and took up service in the Netherlands Army. The Royalists awarded promoted him to an Officier of the Legion of Honneur on 17 March 1815, just three days before Napoleon’s return from Elba.

At Waterloo he was a sub-Lieutenant, adjutant-major in the 2nd (Belgian) Carabiniers and was wounded again by a Biscayan or spent shot in the right hip.

Awarded Military Order of Willem as a Knight 4th Class 11 Aug 1815

He was promoted 1st Lieutenant 10 Feb 1816 and again to Cavalry-Captain 18 Apr 1818 and was pensioned from the Netherlands Army 4 Jun 1822.

Made a Lieutenant-Colonel 28 Oct 1830 in the new Belgian Army, Colonel 6 Jan 1831. Major-General 19 Apr 1841 and Lieutenant-General 11 Aug 1847. Made Commandeur of Legion of Honneur. Applies for and receives Medaille de Ste Helene from Napoleon III in 1857.

Retired from the Belgian Army on 9 Jul 1859 and died in the Saint-Gilles district of Brussels 7 Sep 1862.










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For those that follow such things, this has been going rather well this year: Soldier archaeologists unearth musket balls and amputated leg bones at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site

This is the fifth year that excavations have run, and the first year in which the focus has moved away from Hougoumont. All looks pretty exciting, and more details available here: Home - Waterloo Uncovered and on the facebook page.

Not the only military archaeology project (see the estimable Op NIGHTINGALE, for instance), but focused specifically on this battle and includes a sizeable multinational contingent, though a UK-based charity. The archaeology team is first class, and both serving personnel and veterans are involved.

Not selling anything, though I do have some peripheral involvement in this: just thought it might be of interest. I'd be amused to know if any other arrsers are involved - we may have met!
Just for one second...just for a bit...I thought you were talking about the Uni of Waterloo in Canada...I battled with those guys in a competition.
 
A bit of thread drift, but still Napoleonic archaeology, though not in Belgium.

'A one-legged skeleton discovered underneath a dance floor in Russia could reveal a centuries-old mystery about Napoleon’s favourite general.

'Researchers have discovered a body believed to be that of a general who died during Napoleon’s 1812 campaign in Russia. Now they’ve asked a French laboratory to carry out DNA tests on his remains.
General Charles-Étienne Gudin was hit by a cannonball during the Battle of Valutino on August 19, 1812 near Smolensk, a city west of Moscow close to the border with Belarus. His leg was amputated and he died three days later from gangrene, aged 44.

'The French army cut out his heart, now buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, but the site of the rest of his remains was never known, until researchers uncovered the likely skeleton this summer. According to the BBC, the skeleton, believed to be that of Gudin, was discovered in July in a wooden coffin in a park beneath building foundations — reportedly a former dance floor.'


 

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