Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ting, after dinner, over the desert and wine, the winter and the spring, and their good when he received the dispatches

containing behaviour had attracted the affection of the this important news. Marshal Blucher re inhabitants in an unusual degree. The little presented the late conflict as an affair of out- Scotch, as they were called, were the theme posts, likely to lead to no important result, of affectionate praise among the Flemings. and it was the opinion of the military men They were so much domesticated in the stationed at Brussels that the enemy was en houses where they were quartered, that it deavouring, by a false alarm, to induce the was not unusual to see the Highlander takallies to concentrate their chief force in the ing care of the children, or keeping the shop neighbourhood of Ligny, while his real in- of his host. They were now to exhibit themtention was to menace Brussels, and hasten selves in a different character, They assem. a decisive conflict with the English army. bled with the utmost alacrity to the tune of Orders were issued that the troops should be the pibroch, “ Come to ine and I will give in readiness at a moment's notice, and the you flesh,an invitation to the wolf and

the arrival of another courier was anxiously ex raven, which on the next day was too amply pected. It was past midnight, and profound gratified, at the mutual expence of these repose seemed to reign over Brussels, when brave men and of their enemies. They comsuddenly the drums beat to arms, and the posed part of Sir Thomas Picton's division, peal of the trumpet was heard from every and early in the morning of the 16th marchpart of the city. It is impossible to describe ed out, together with the other troops, under the effect of these sounds when heard in the the command of that distinguished and lasilence of the night. . A second courier had mented officer. The duke of Brunswick arrived from Blucher-the attack had be marched out at the head of his * Black come serious--the enemy were in consider Brunswickers,” so termed from the mournable force--they had taken Charleroi, and ing which they wore for his father, and which had gained some advantages over the Prus. at this moment they continue to wear for the sians. Our troops were ordered to march gallant prince who then led them. The indiimmediately to support them, and every viduals whose fate it was to see so many brave place resounded with martial preparations. men take their departure on this eventful In less than three hours every regiment was day, will not easily forget the sensations on the road to Charleroi. Many of the offi- which the spectacle excited at the moment, cers were yet in their ball dresses, which and which were rendered permanent by the neither the hurry of their march, nor their slaughter which awaited them, anxiety to occupy their respective posts, had Fears for their own safety, mingled with given them time to change. The town of anxiety for their brave defenders, and the Brussels was one universal scene of confu- agony of suspense sustained by those who sion. The soldiers were seen assembling remained in Brussels to await the issue of from all parts, in the Place Royale, with the day, was felt in the most lively manner knapsacks on their backs; some taking leave by those whose lot it was to sustain such of their wives and children ; others sitting various emotions. The anxiety of the inhadown unconcernedly on the sharp pavement, bitants of Brussels was increased by the waiting for their comrades; others sleeping frightful reports of the intended vengeance on packs of straw, surrounded by all the din of Napoleon. The friends whom he had in of war, while draught horses and baggage the city were few, and of țittle influence.--waggons were loading, artillery and commis- Reports, however, of treachery were in cirsariat trains harnessing, officers riding in all culation, and tended to augment the horrors directions, carts clattering, chargers neighing, of this agonizing period. There was afterbugles sounding, drums beating, and colours wards found, in Buonaparte's fort-folio, a list Aying.

containing the names of 20 citizens who, as Those distinguished Highland corps, the friends of France, were to be exempted from 42d and 92d, were among the first to muster. the general pillage. But whatever might be They had laid in garrison in Brussels during the case with some individuals

, by far the Еe

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Or vil

sin len. dea WO , cha

COME

majority of the inhabitants regarded the suc of a tremendous cannonade in the direction cess of the French as the most dreadful mis of Waterloo. The thunder of the artillery fortune which could befal their city, and continued, and all was suspense, alarm, and listened to the distant cannonade as to sounds agitation. Every hour only served to add upon which the crisis of their fate depended. to the dismay. The hatred of the Belgians They were doomed to remain for some time to the French is so inveterate as to be proin uncertainty, for a struggle on which the verbial, and their fears were proportionate to fate of Europe depended was not to be de

their enmity. cided in a single day. A striking contrast Upon the 16th, as we have already mento the gloom, the sorrow, and the anxiety of tioned, the left wing of the French, under the inhabitants, was presented, by a long

long general Ney, commenced its march for Brusprocession of carts coming quietly in as usual sels, by the road of Gosselies. At Frasnes from the country to market, filled with old they encountered and drove before them Flemish women, who looked irresistibly some Belgian troops who were stationed at comic, seated as they were among their piles that village, but the prince of Orange was of ramages, baskets of green peas, potatoes, now advancing to the support of his advanced and strawberries. Totally ignorant of the posts, and reinforced them so as to keep the cause of warlike preparations, they gazed enemy in check. at the scene around them with many a look It was of the utmost importance to mainof gaping wonder, as they jogged merrily tain the position now occupied by the Belalong, one after another, through the Place gians, and which formed a connected line Royale, amidst the crowds of soldiers and between the villages of Sarta Mouline and the confusion of baggage waggons.

Quatre Bras. The latter farm house, Before eight in the morning the streets, lage, derives its name from being the point which had been filled with busy crowds, were where the high road from Charleroi to Brusempty and silent; the great square of the sels is intersected by another road, at nearly Place Royale, which had been filled with right angles. These roads were both essenarmed men, and with all the appurtenances tial to the allies. By the high road they and parapharnalia of war, was now quite de- communicated with Brussels, and by that serted. The Flemish drivers were sleeping which intersected it, with the right of the in the tilted carts that were destined to con the Prussian army, stationed at St. Amand. vey the wounded: the heavy baggage wag. A large and thick wood, called Le Bois de gons ranged in order, and ready to move Bossu, skirted the road to Brussels, on the when occasion might require, were standing right hand of the English position: along under the guard of a few centinels, and some the edge of the wood was a hollow way, officers were still to be seen riding out of the which might almost be called a ravine, and town to join the army. The duke of Wel- between the wood and the French position lington had set off in great spirits, observing, were several fields of rye, which grows in that as Blucher had 'most likely settled the Flanders to an unusual and gigantic height, business himself by this time, he should per In this situation it became the principal haps be back to dinner. Sir Thomas Picton object of the French to secure the wood, mounted on his charger in soldier-like style, from which they might debouche on the with his reconnoitring glass slung across his Brussels road. The prince of Orange made shoulder, gaily accosting his friends as he every effort to defend it: but, in defiance of rode through the streets in the highest his exertions, the Belgians gave way, and the spirits, left Brussels never to return. After

After French occupied the disputed post. At this the army was gone Brussels assumed the ap critical moment the division of Picton, the pearance of a perfect desert

. Every counte-corps of the duke of Brunswick, and shorily nance was marked with anxiety or melan after the division of the guards from Enghien, choly, every heart was filled with anxious came up, and entered into action.

66 WVlat expectation. About three o'clock they were soldiers are those in the wood ?" said the still more powerfully alarmed, by the sound duke of Wellington to the prince of Orange.

Vali the the Bri tion ter hou pos

evei nica batt bout

of I

ade

lane by s who the

Belgians", answered the prince, who had' Colonel Macara promptly ordered the reginot yet learned the retreat of his troops from ment, which was advancing in column, to this important point. “ Belgians!" said the form itself into a square. In performing this duke, whose eagle eye instantly discerned evolution, two companies were left out, or what had happened : “ They are not Bel

They are not Bel- rather, were in the act of falling in, when the gians, but French, and are about to debouche lancers charged upon them, and in a moment on the road. They must instantly be driven overwhelmed, and literally annihilated them. out of the wood.” This task was committed Encouraged by this, they charged on the to general Maitland, with the grenadiers of square, and though repulsed with loss, sucthe guards, who, after sustaining a destructive ceeded in cutting down great numbers of the fire from an invisible enemy, rushed into the Highlanders. The brave colonel was among wood with the most determined resolution. the killed. The French, who were supposed to be unri Lieutenant-colonel Dick now assumed the valled in this species of warfare, made every command, although he had been wounded in tree, every bush, every ditch, but more espe the shoulder by a musket bullet. He rallied cially a small rivulet which ran through the the regiment, formed them into a diminished wood, posts of determined and deadly de- square, and awaited another attack. The fence, but were pushed from one point to lancers again rushed desperately on them, another till they were driven out of the posi- and although once more repulsed, did too tion. Then followed a struggle of a new and much execution. The lieutenant-colonel singular kind, which was maintained for a fainted from loss of blood, and was carried length of time. As often as the British en from the field. The next senior officer asdeavoured to advance from the skirts of the sumed the command. Not a man thought wood, in order to form in its front, they were of retreating or yielding. Again the lancers charged by the cavalry of the enemy, and precipitated themselves on the Highlanders ; compelled to retire. The French again ad- and it was not until the gallant regiment was vanced their columns to force their way into reduced to less than a tenth of its original the wood, but were compelled to desist by number, that the enemy was put to flight. the heavy fire and threatened charge of the The prince of Orange, advancing too far, British. In this manner there was an alterna- in the ardour of the pght, was surrounded tion of advance and retreat, with great slaugh- and made prisoner ; but a battalion of Belter on both sides, until, after a conflict of three gians, seeing his danger, rushed to his relief, hours, general Maitland obtained undisputed and in a moment rescued him from the enepossession of this important post, which com my. The prince tore off the insignia of his manded the road to Brussels.

order, and threw it among the soldiers, exMeanwhile the battle was equally fierce in claiming, “ There, my brave fellows! you every other part. Profiting by their nume

have all deserved it." They immediately rical superiority, the French attacked some fastened the star to their colours, and shoutbattalions who were separated from the main ing, “ The Prince for ever!" swore to defend body, and almost annihilated them, A corps it to the last man. They were at that moof Belgians was ordered to advance with the ment exposed to a galling fire, and

many

of forty-second Highland regiment to support them fell as they were pronouncing the oath. a detachment which was briskly pushed by Protected by their numerous cavalry and the French. Whether occasioned by the artillery, the French succeeded in forcing the ardour with which the British rushed to the British positions, and penetraied to the vilfight, or the slowness and reluctance with lage of Quatre Bras. The duke of Wellingwhich the Belgians followed, the two batta ton was undismayed. He stationed himself lions were separated. A column of French in an open part of the plain, in the

very

hotlancers, who were lying in ambush, concealed test of the fire, where he could be distinctly by some hedges and high standing corn, and seen by both armies, and there issued his orwho could not be seen till they were close on ders with as much coolness and precision as the British, suddenly rushed upon them. if his troops were mancuvring at a review.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

As they

[merged small][ocr errors]

Some squadrons of Brunswick horse had bers, the duke of Wellington had obstinately
in vain attempted to stem the torrent. They contested every inch of ground. By the ar-
rapidly retreated along the high road through rival of the guards he was enabled to act on
the village, and were closely pursued by the the offensive. The enemy was driven from
French cuirassiers, when the ninety-second every position which he had gained. The
regiment, which lined a ditch bordering the whole French line was intimidated, and
road, poured on the French, who were almost could with difficulty preserve itself from be-
at the muzzles of their guns, an unexpected ing broken. The danger was imminent.
volley which destroyed every man in the Ney sent in haste for the first corps, when,
direction of their fire, and made a complete to his utter astonishment, he was informed
chasm between the front and rear ranks of that Napoleon had already disposed of it, to
the squadrons which were galloping by. The enable him to carry the position of the Prus-
few who were in advance dashed on. They sians at Sombref.
reached the spot on which the duke was post For a moment he

gave
himself

ир

to deed, and rushed on him and his staff; but they spair. All his plans were disordered, and the were, to a man, either killed or taken. The

day was inevitably lost : but recalling his rear of the enemy, disconcerted by this un- self-possession and skill

, he brought into acexpected reception, turned their horses and tion the whole of the reserve of the second ted. The ninety-second now leaped from corps, and led them himself to the charge. the ditch to charge in their turn.

The French cuirassiers advanced with much rose, a volley was poured upon them by a courage, but they were unable to withstand mass of French infantry at a little distance. the cool intrepidity of the British troops, and The staff of the regimental colours was shat- receiving a galling and murderous fire from tered to pieces, and the ensign shot through some infantry who lined the wood, they the heart. The British infantry cheered and turned their horses and fled. advanced. A little further on was a house, The twenty-eighth regiment now distinwith a garden on the opposite side of the guished itself. It was attacked by a numeroad. These were occupied by the enemy, rous body of cuirassiers and lancers, and bewho, protected by the enclosure and the ing promptly formed into a square, long conwalls, kept up a tremendous fire on the Bri- tinued to fire from three sides at the same tish as they approached. The impetuosity time, on one of which the lancers presented of the ninety-second was not to be restrained; themselves, and on the two others the cuithe garden and the house were speedily rassiers. În vain the cavalry repeatedly and cleared, and the enemy pursued to the skirt desperately charged upon them. As the of a wood. But in this short space of time front ranks were pierced by the sabres or they had sustained a loss of three hundred lances of their horsemen, their places were

Four commanding officers were suc- instantly supplied, and as their numbers dicessively wounded and carried off the field, minished the square was gradually lessened; and the regiment was now separated from but not for a moment were they disordered ; the rest of the line, and reluctantly compelled not one opening was left for the cavalry to to retire.

penetrate, and at length, by their incessant, The guards again advanced to the attack deliberate, and murderous fire, they succeedof the infantry, which had now occupied its ed in completely repulsing their assailants

. former ground. Again the enemy was un- Many squadrons of the enemy, however, yet able to stand before them; and once more hovered round them, and it would have been pushing on too far in the eagerness of pur- dangerous to have deployed. They theresuit, the cavalry rushed on them as before, fore advanced in square against a mass of mand drove them back to the wood. A corps fantry, and in an instant pierced their centre of Brunswickers now joined the British, and and routed them; then deploying, they advancing together, they finally succeeded charged in line, and cleared the whole front in compelling the enemy to retreat.

of a cloud of skirmishers, which covered the Although overpowered by superior num. retreat of the main body. The terror of the

T but

[merged small][ocr errors]

men.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ПретходнаНастави »