The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18, June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. An Imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by combined armies of the Seventh Coalition, an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher. It was the culminating battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Napoleon's last. The defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French and marked the end of his Hundred Days' return from exile. The defeat of Napoleon was not only a defeat of his personal power, but also it signaled the end of French domination of continental affairs for a generation.
BYRON ON NAPOLEON
"Napoleon's Farewell to France"
Farewell to the Land where the gloom of my Glory Arose and o'ershadow'd the earth with her name, She abandons me now, but the page of her story, The brightest or blackest, is fill'd with my fame. I have warr'd with a world which vanquish'd me only, When the meteor of conquest allured me too far; I have coped with the nations which dread me thus lonely, The last single Captive to millions in war. II. Farewell to thee, France! when thy diadem crown'd me, I made thee the gem and the wonder of earth, But thy weakness decrees I should leave as I found thee, Decay'd in thy glory, and sunk in thy worth. Oh! for the veteran hearts that were wasted In strife with the storm, when their battles were won. Then the Eagle, whose gaze in that moment was lasted, Had still soar'd with eyes fix'd on victory's sun! III. Farewell to thee, France! but when Liberty rallies Once more in thy regions, remember me then. The violet still grows in the depth of thy valleys; Though wither'd, thy tear will unfold it Yet, yet, I may baffle the hosts that surround us, And yet may thy heart leap awake to my voice. There are links which must break in the chain that has bound us, Then turn thee and call on the Chief of thy choice!
RECOMMENDED BOOK #1
One Hundred Days: Napoleon's Road to Waterloo,
Oxford University Press,
From Publishers Weekly
Schon ( Trafalgar ) writes of Napoleon's escape from Elba in February 1815 and his return "like a thunderbolt" to France. Rallying the nation behind him, he mustered his army and marched off to meet Wellington at Waterloo. Schon describes the extraordinary logistical feat carried out jointly by War Minister Louis Davout and Interior Minister Lazare Carnot while Napoleon himself concentrated on mobilizing the troops. Waterloo was a crushing defeat, to be sure, but Schon argues that Napoleon's basic plan of campaign was a good one. The main problem, he maintains, was that the senior army commanders (marshals Soult, Ney and Grouchy) either disobeyed Napoleon's orders or deliberately hindered their execution. No admirer of Bonaparte, Schon describes how, "in utter defiance of the facts," his reputation rebounded after his death and developed into the Napoleon myth. This is a first-class reconstruction of Napoleon's final campaign. Illustrations. Paperback rights to Oxford. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
RECOMMENDED BOOK #2
The Battle: A New History of Waterloo,
Walker & Company (June 13, 2006),
From Publishers Weekly
This new and valuable history of the 1815 French defeat begins with a minimum of background for the non-Napoleonic student, but does superlatively well once Wellington and Napoleon have arrayed their armies for battle (and does not forget the Prussians waiting in the wings). The narrative is unusually accessible, and as experienced readers march on, they will find some novel insights and analyses. For Barbero, cavalry was not on the whole effective, but it could usefully suppress artillery, a welcome change from the usual denigration of everybody's equine forces (even the British are given credit for superior horses). The role of the Prussians, and also of German allied troops in Wellington's ranks, is studied in much more detail than in more Anglocentric accounts, and that many of the Prussians were half-trained militia is emphasized. Finally, Napoleon's army did not go off completely thrashed and in disarray, but substantially maintained order and discipline for several days. The author also does a better job than many popular historians in dealing with factors such as rate of fire, accurate range and the sights, sounds and smells of a Napoleonic battlefield. And while rejecting certain "patriotic myths," he supports the concept of Waterloo as a battle of unusual intensity. (July) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.