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  • Napoleon at Waterloo

    The following quotations/postings have been brought over from the Civil War forum on the recommendation of the moderator. They were originally a part of a discussion on McClellan, but as the comments made by the two posters on Napoleon at Waterloo are incorrect, material is added to demonstrate the incorrect comments.

    [QUOTE=Saphroneth;n5116119
    Meanwhile Napoleon famously spent most of Waterloo sitting on a stool and when he did move forwards it was only to behind a captured farmhouse; you'd have a better case if you mentioned Wellington, whose style involved riding around and personally imperilling himself a lot.
    [/QUOTE]

    Famously? Where did you obtain this information. It is incorrect and is probably derived more from the movie ‘Waterloo’ than from any credible source.
    Where did you obtain the information that you posted?

    Originally posted by 67th Tigers View Post

    Saph is correct.

    Napoleon at Waterloo

    Napoleon's main HQ was at La Ferme du Caillou. This is 2.6 km from Ney's forward CP at La Belle Alliance and 4.1 km from the Allied line. Napoleon got up and breakfasted with his generals at du Caillou at 0800. He dismissed the reports of his generals who'd been on the field that morning. Around 0900 the breakfast was over and Napoleon gave a final briefing and left Caillou sometime around 0930.

    Napoleon rode to La Belle Alliance, had a quick look at Wellington's position, and then retired to Rossomme Farm. He rode through 1er Corps en route from La Belle Alliance to Rossomme Farm, 1.5 km south of LBA (this is wrongly sometimes reported as "inspecting the troops"). He arrived there before 1000, because we know he issued an order to Gouchy from there at 1000. Ney was left in command of the field.

    Napoleon didn't visit the forward CP at LBA for some time. It was 1600 before he left Rossomme and returned to LBA. Napoleon had sat out the first 4.5 hours of combat. On returning he found Ney had launched a cavalry charge, and Napoleon ordered the reserve cavalry in as well. Napoleon then became aware of the Prussians at Plancenoit, and telescoped in on that, leaving the combat with Wellington still entirely in Neys hands.

    At 1830, Ney finally took La Haie Sainte, and there was an opportunity. Ney brought his gunline forward and sent an ADC back to have the Guard sent in. Napoleon refused, because he might need them at Plancenoit. Ney himself rode back and argued his case with Napoleon, and at ca. 1930 Napoleon agreed and released the Guard to Ney.

    Napoleon rode with Ney as far forward at La Haie Sainte, but then turned back to LBF. At 2030, sitting at LBF he returned to Rossomme Farm, boarded his carriage, and his last retreat began.
    Originally posted by Massena View Post

    Neither 'Saph' nor you are correct regarding Napoleon at Waterloo. Seems to me that you are relying on the movie version of events instead of historical evidence and fact.

    And you have not named your 'source.'

    I would suggest that if you are going to delve into the Napoleonic period you could at least view some reliable and credible source material. You might want to take a look at Andrew Field's excellent work on Waterloo.
    Originally posted by 67th Tigers View Post

    I have made no inaccurate Napoleon at Waterloo posting. However, I don't think you realise just how uninvolved Napoleon was until ca. 1600. He basically let Ney fight Wellington on his own hook.
    What is your source for this information? That has been requested more than once but has not been given.

    -Napoleon's usual place on campaign was behind his advance guard. A good example of this is Napoleon;s leading his service squadrons and one Guard horse artillery company in the pursuit of the Anglo-Allied army from Quatre Bras on 17 June.

    'It was necessary to have been a witness of the rapid march of this army [Armee du Nord] on the 17th, a march that resembled a steeple chase rather than the pursuit of a retreating enemy, to get a real idea of the energy that Napoleon infused in his troops when there were under his immediate command. Six guns of the Guard horse artillery, supported by the Service Squadrons, marched in the front line and spewed case shot on the masses of enemy cavalry immediately they attempted to stop and deploy in order to oppose our pursuit on some advantageous ground. The Emperor, mounted on a small and very nimble Arab, galloped at the head of the column; he was always close to the guns, excited the gunners by his presence and his words, and more than once in the midst of the shells and balls which the enemy artillery showered upon, was heard to shout to them, in a voice full of hatred, 'Fire, Fire, those are the English.''-Lieutenant Pontecoulant, Artillery a Cheval of the Imperial Guard.

    -Napoleon made a personal reconnaissance of the allied position at Mont St Jean upon arriving as well as supervising the emplacement of the French artillery.

    -Napoleon undertook a personal reconnaissance at around 0100 on 18 June on the French outpost line.

    -Napoleon reviewed the army on horseback at around 1000 18 June and after completing the review, dismounted on a 'fairly high mound' near La Belle Alliance. From this position Napoleon could view the entire battlefield. Napoleon's position was in range of the allied artillery.

    -Later Napoleon would take up a position on a small knoll on the left side of the main road, across from the farm of Rosomme.

    -When the British heavy cavalry routed d'Erlon's corps, it was Napoleon who ordered/directed the cavalry counterattack that destroyed the Union Brigade.

    -The Prussians were sighted around St Lambert at 1300, so Napoleon was aware of their approach. This happened before the French attacked.

    -It was Napoleon who ordered both the Young Guard and two Old Guard battalions against Plancenoit as well as deploying Lobau's VI Corps against the slow-moving Prussians.

    -Napoleon led the Old Guard battalions forward to attack the allied line, but turned them over to Ney as he had to galloped eastward to rally Durutte's divison, returning to the main attack too late as Ney had committed them piecemeal as they had come up.

    -Napoleon stayed with the four reserve Old Guard battalions until he rode to Genappe to see if a rally and stand could be made there. He did not leave the battlefield in his carriage, which was captured, he left mounted accompanied by his escort.

    -The idea that Napoleon did nothing until 1600 on 18 June is nonsense. He was involved in the battle from the first and did not stay 'seated' at his headquarters. The French headquarters elements were not forward at the battlefield. Napoleon's usual practice would be to divide his headquarters into a main and what is now called a 'jump' command post. That would be forward with Napoleon.

    I have no idea where the two other posters obtained their inaccurate information on Napoleon at Waterloo. You can find credible information on the campaign and battle with Andrew Field's three titles on the subject that cover the entire campaign. William Siborne's study of the campaign and battle, as well as those by Ropes and Houssaye along with the Esposito/Elting Atlas are all credible source material on the battle and campaign of Waterloo.
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

  • #2
    OTOH! Neither of you has yet to explain how and why the battle got named after ABBA's 1974 winning entry at the Eurovision Song contest......
    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

    Comment


    • #3
      Now that is an interesting point...
      We are not now that strength which in old days
      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

      Comment


      • #4
        Something I'm trying to get my head around at the moment, is the effect spending most of their adult lives on campaign and battling, had on the main bloke's at Waterloo.
        Both His Nibs, Marshal Ney and Sir Thomas Picton seemed to have visited the well once too often. Only His Grace the Duke of Wellington and old Blucher seemed to have had the 'one last fight' in them which saw them through that day of days.

        The long toll of the brave
        Is not lost in darkness
        Over the fruitful earth
        And athwart the seas
        Hath passed the light of noble deeds
        Unquenchable forever.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
          Something I'm trying to get my head around at the moment, is the effect spending most of their adult lives on campaign and battling, had on the main bloke's at Waterloo.
          Both His Nibs, Marshal Ney and Sir Thomas Picton seemed to have visited the well once too often. Only His Grace the Duke of Wellington and old Blucher seemed to have had the 'one last fight' in them which saw them through that day of days.

          Although serious doubts have been expressed about Blicher's mental stability at the time. He does seem to have previously suffered from some sort of mental breakdown in 1808 - 9 and whilst he rebounded from this there are stories of paranoid delusions later. Still in 1815 he was still physically energetic and he did have a very good Staff
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MarkV View Post

            Although serious doubts have been expressed about Blicher's mental stability at the time. He does seem to have previously suffered from some sort of mental breakdown in 1808 - 9 and whilst he rebounded from this there are stories of paranoid delusions later. Still in 1815 he was still physically energetic and he did have a very good Staff
            Blucher had a good chief of staff in Gneisenau, who had succeeded Scharnhorst after the latter died from an infected wound suffered at Lutzen in 1813. The Prussian general staff was in its embryonic form during this period and was not even close to what it would later become.
            We are not now that strength which in old days
            Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
            Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
            To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post

              Although serious doubts have been expressed about Blicher's mental stability at the time. He does seem to have previously suffered from some sort of mental breakdown in 1808 - 9 and whilst he rebounded from this there are stories of paranoid delusions later. Still in 1815 he was still physically energetic and he did have a very good Staff
              We Prussians do not have mental badness never. Blicher MUST Have fallen off horse OR taken wound to head.

              Clausewitz had also, IIRC, left the Tsar's service and was on thePrussian staff.

              The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by marktwain View Post
                We Prussians do not have mental badness never.
                Of course that might be a typical Prussian delusion - how would one know?
                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                Comment


                • #9
                  In the good old days we had some bruising melees over Waterloo with everyone volley and thundering for their own side. A rather below the belt, and typically froggy blow, was the accusation that His Grace and his Redcoats were done for and Blucher won the battle!
                  I top trumped this vile slander by inquiring whether the Boneypartists really wanted history recording the victor of Waterloo to be an old bloke who thought his mum and dad were elephants?

                  The long toll of the brave
                  Is not lost in darkness
                  Over the fruitful earth
                  And athwart the seas
                  Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                  Unquenchable forever.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                    (…) A rather below the belt, and typically froggy blow, was the accusation that His Grace and his Redcoats were done for and Blucher won the battle!

                    Yes I remeber that one, it was even suggested that the only reason the English were still standing by sunset, was they spent june 18th lying flat on their bellies, hiding behind the Irish, Dutch, Germans and Belgians.

                    Not by me of course

                    High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.
                    Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Co.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post

                      Yes I remeber that one, it was even suggested that the only reason the English were still standing by sunset, was they spent june 18th lying flat on their bellies, hiding behind the Irish, Dutch, Germans and Belgians.

                      Not by me of course
                      There were some odd Scotsmen around (or is odd Scotsman a tautology?) not to mention an Irishman or two, there may even have been some Welsh taffies lurking somewhere!
                      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by marktwain View Post
                        We Prussians do not have mental badness never. Blicher MUST Have fallen off horse OR taken wound to head.

                        Clausewitz had also, IIRC, left the Tsar's service and was on thePrussian staff.
                        Clausewitz was chief of staff for Thielmann, Prussian III Corps.
                        We are not now that strength which in old days
                        Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                        Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                        To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I find it amazing that 67th Tigers will not respond with the sources he supposedly used when composing his Waterloo counter-factual posting.
                          We are not now that strength which in old days
                          Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                          Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                          To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tomorrow is the anniversary, the 204th, of the battle of Waterloo. Yesterday was the anniversaries of Ligny and Quatre Bras.
                            We are not now that strength which in old days
                            Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                            Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                            To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                            Comment

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