Yesterday was the 199th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Today is the anniversary of the day after.
June 19, 1815, found 15,000 Allied soldiers, 7,000 Prussian soldiers, and 25,000 French soldiers killed or wounded. The battlefield was covered with the dead who’d been plundered during the night. Their teeth had been taken, their clothing, anything of value. What was left was a sea of bodies.
A visitor to the battlefield four days later said:
This morning I went to visit the field of battle, which is a little beyond the village of Waterloo, on the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean; but on arrival there the sight was too horrible to behold. I felt sick in the stomach and was obliged to return. The multitude of carcasses, the heaps of wounded men with mangled limbs unable to move, and perishing from not having their wounds dressed or from hunger, as the Allies were, of course, obliged to take their surgeons and waggons with them, formed a spectacle I shall never forget. The wounded, both of the Allies and the French, remain in an equally deporable state.–Major W. E. Frye, After Waterloo: Reminiscences of European Travel 1815-1819.
So today let us pause and remember the aftermath of that battle. Like all battles, it left death and destruction. Let us remember the bravery of the men who fought there and the sacrifice of those thousands who died.
Most of the heroes in my books were soldiers in the Napoleonic War. Most fought at Waterloo. I suspect that battle changed men forever.
Hugh Westleigh was a soldier who fought at Waterloo. He is the hero of A Lady of Notoriety, which is on bookstore shelves right now!
By the way, go to Number One London for some wonderful details about Waterloo.