The Battle of Waterloo

The morning of June 18 1815 saw 180,000 men, 60,000 horses and 500 pieces of artillery crammed into 2½ sq miles of Belgian countryside. In the nine frantic hours that followed, a quarter-century of central European warfare was brought to a close, leaving more than 44,000 dead, dying and wounded on the field. It was an extraordinary event.

Waterloo may have been “the nearest run thing you saw in your life” – as the Duke of Wellington famously described it – but it was also the turning point in the history of modern Europe, bringing Napoleon Bonaparte’s rampage across the continent to an end and ushering in one of the most peaceful centuries of history. Two hundred years later, it is right and fitting that we should remember a battle more brutal and more fiercely contested than any that had gone before.

The Interior of Hougoumont

The French Storm The Gate Of Hougoumont

  • Apparently, a spelling error cost them the battle:

    “A GAFFE from a French officer probably swung the battle in the favour of British and Prussian troops.

    Napoleon sent word that the battle had begun (engagée) but the officer read it as gagné, which means won.”

    Spelling: it matters.

    • eMan14

      Aaron would agree with that.

  • Frances

    If you want a clear, accurate description of Waterloo, get “An Infamous Army” by Georgette Heyer. Forget Ms Heyer was a renowned romantic novelist; she was also a meticulous researcher whose clarity of description was admirable. Though writing the historical romance for which she was renowned, Ms Heyer managed to achieve such a level of clarity and accuracy about the battle that her book became a studied text at Sandringham.