Idea #583 – Visiting the battlefield of Waterloo
The battle of Waterloo took place on June 18th, 1815, not far from the locality Mont-Saint-Jean, on three localities: Waterloo, Braine-l’Alleud and Plancenoit. The name of the battle is due to the duke of Wellington, who had settled his headquarters in Waterloo, where from he drafted his communiqué of victory.
Brought in by the Elba Island at the beginning of March, 1815, Napoleon was immediately outlawed by the Congress of Vienna. England, Prussia, Russia and Austria made a commitment to walk against him. Faithful to his tactics, he wanted to win against the enemy by speed and by maneuvering in central position. Before facing the Russian army and the Austrian army stayed on the Rhine, he thus went, in forced marches, against the army Anglo-Dutch, strong of 100 000 men, under the orders of Wellington, concentrated towards Brussels, and the Prussian army, counting 115 000 men under the orders of Blücher, grouped towards Namur. He plans to beat them separately with his army of 120 000 soldeirs, which includes the imperial guard, five army corps and a reserve of cavalry. This army, formed hastily by old soldiers and by volunteers, had a burning morale but fragile nerves ; his frame was not worth that of formerly. On June 16th, Blücher was beaten to Ligny, but he managed to escape Grouchy. Wellington settleed down defensively in the South of Waterloo, by leaning so dangerously on the forest of Soignes on which Napoleon decided to attack him there from the next day. Sunday, the 18th, French troops multiplied the murderous assaults, under the orders of Ney, without succeeding in breaking the infantry of Wellington. At the decisive moment, while Napoleon hoped to see uncorking Grouchy in his right, Blücher penetrated on the battlefield, taking from the rear the French army which ran away routed. Protected by the last square of 1st pomegranate trees, Napoleon withdrew in France. He abdicated shortly after this lightning undone.
On the site of the battle, which extends in about five kilometers in the South of the center of Waterloo, is The Mound of the Lion, the artificial mound 40 meters high at the top of which thrones a lion in 4,5 ton cast iron. A staircase of 226 steps allows the visitors to reach a terrace which offers a 360 degree panoramic view on the from Brabant countryside. This imposing monument celebrates the place where the prince of Orange was hurt and recovers an ossuary. The pillar supporting the lion would be established, as it is said, weapons of the battle which we would have melted. Every year takes place, in the anniversary of June 18th, a reconstruction in weapons of the battle at the foot of the mound.
Where is it ?
Waterloo, Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium