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Napoleonic Era Discuss the many wars fought around the globe around the time of Napoleon. This forum is dedicated to the memory of Ben Weider and our late friend and long time ACG Staff member, Michael Brown, better known here as Post Captain.

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  #541  
Old 11 Nov 13, 06:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
Some of Fields diatribes.



And when writing about the account of the supposed breaking of a square by Sergeant Morris, 'who by the way was not a Sergeant or even an NCO at Waterloo'. Something that was easy for the author to check if he had done a tinsy winsy bit of research on this tall story eyewitness.



Just two examples of Field's bad history writing.

Like I said; he's an opinionated twit

Paul

Are you saying Morris wasn't there? I know nothing of the gentlemen, but wonder if the "sergeant" refers to a rank he later achieved.

As I recall, the impression I got from the author was that there were no formed squares broken and he referenced French accounts saying no squares were broken.
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  #542  
Old 11 Nov 13, 12:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilinYuma View Post
It's good that you lads have been reading this, presumably in book form. I obtained the "kindle" version when it first came out, and found the presentation highly irritating. Perhaps you will tell me whether the book itself was a shambles or whether, and more likely, it was the kindle version that was messed up.
French words spelled with an accent, tend to double up the vowel, though not consistently. Prince Jeeroome is not uncommon, we have at least on geeneeral and "a", as in "a la masse" becomes "ae". There are other irritations such as wandering indentation for quoted passages, but I assume that when the author gets lost in a sentence this is his own problem, though obviously missed, as is so often the case, by the editors of niche military publications.
Field seems to be at his not very exciting best when quoting French sources with which I, for one was unfamiliar. He is at his worst when editorializing. I wonder if his editor did not push him to make "new" or "controversial" comments to give his book more appeal.
His first foray into such speculation is when he decides that Napoleon's vainglorious hectoring of his senior officers before Waterloo, in which he refers to Wellington as a "bad general" was really intended to inspire them and lift their spirits! Can you imagine how inspired someone like Soult or any senior officer who had been defeated by Wellington in the Peninsula would have been to hear that he had been defeated by a third rate commander? If Napoleon was lying, as Field implies, and it certainly would not be his last lie of the day, then he was doing so to remarkably poor effect.
And yes, Dibble, the put down of private William Morris who described the French curassiers' encroachment into the 33rd/69th square is preposterous. Later, Morris mentions the failed attempt of the 69th to pretend that they didn't lose their colour at Quatre Bras, surely a general source of merriment among the infantry, but even so, he points out that, overwhelmed by superior numbers, there was no shame in their losing it.
And so it goes.
Cheers,
Phil
My attitude towards Morris's account is serious and respectful for it was an account of an eye-witness. But, if the square was rescued by the cavalry, it changes nothing, if we are speaking about the result... The result - the square managed to hold the ground... And that's all. And if we speak concerning some historical events - "what would happen, if the situation turned in another way" - it is our fantasy only - it's already from the area of Mr.Tolkien... Fact is - they held. And Morris's account doesn't contradict this.
As well, If we'll talk about the Pilloy's account, I think, for the result it doesn't matter - was the square penetrated by the enemy cavalrymen or it wasn't - they held the ground and they restored the formation in the process of the battle (because Pilloy didn't write the square had been dispersed)... I can speak of my name only - I found no one British square, broken and dispersed at the battle of Waterloo...
Sincerely,
Paul

Last edited by comte Ouvarov; 11 Nov 13 at 12:51..
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  #543  
Old 11 Nov 13, 17:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambronnne View Post
Are you saying Morris wasn't there? I know nothing of the gentlemen, but wonder if the "sergeant" refers to a rank he later achieved.

As I recall, the impression I got from the author was that there were no formed squares broken and he referenced French accounts saying no squares were broken.
Well I do believe that Morris attained the rank of full Corporal, and if you read both the first and second renditions of his experiences ( both on Google books ) during the Waterloo campaign, you will see that it is doubtful that he witnessed all he said he did.

Of course I am not saying he wasn't there for the simple reason I have a modern rendition of the Waterloo roll that has him and his brother listed on it.

When I get home in the morning I will post the 'Field' chapter with the subject of the breaking of squares.

Oh! and your last post. Perhaps it would be more polite if you quote me in full

Those diatribes are of Field's blatant accusations dotted throughout his book (collective amnesia among others) which is more important to this discussion than what Morris did or did not see. After all, It is a critique of Field's tome, not Morris'

Paul
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Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 11 Nov 13 at 22:31..
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  #544  
Old 11 Nov 13, 21:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambronnne View Post
Are you saying Morris wasn't there? I know nothing of the gentlemen, but wonder if the "sergeant" refers to a rank he later achieved.

As I recall, the impression I got from the author was that there were no formed squares broken and he referenced French accounts saying no squares were broken.
Not knowing Thomas Morris's Recollections would, indeed slow you down! He mentions that as a member of the occupying army after Napoleon's abdication, he was made a "non commissioned officer", probably, as Dibble suggests, a corporal. He never says that he achieved the rank of sergeant.
As an American Napoleonista (from the Chicago area? My granddaughter tells me that some snow fell in Des Plaines, today!) you are, apparently unfamiliar with the British literature of the time. There were many "first hand" reports, sometimes heavily embellished by the author's editors, such as Rifleman Harris, notoriously, George Farmer's "memoir" by Gleig, or the English translation of Petit's Marengo, but the accuracy or otherwise of Morris is not the issue; it is the implication by a British officer of field rank, who has apparently not read Morris's Recollections, or at least, read them rather sloppily, that an eye witness's report can be dismissed as the inter regimental malice of an NCO. As a former combat NCO in the British Army, I find that insufferably rude.
Oh, while I'm enjoying this rant (I haven't done one for a while!), what is this nonsense about "Jingoism" in accounts of the British defeat of the French? The French under Napoleon tried to conquer us and ruin us financially. We are supposed to say what jolly good chaps they were? In fact, I have read many more accounts of British soldiers of the period praising their French counterparts than I have heard Americans praise North Koreans, North Vietnamese, Iraqis or Afghans. Where's the love, you chaps?
Cheers,
Phil
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  #545  
Old 11 Nov 13, 22:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilinYuma View Post
Not knowing Thomas Morris's Recollections would, indeed slow you down! He mentions that as a member of the occupying army after Napoleon's abdication, he was made a "non commissioned officer", probably, as Dibble suggests, a corporal. He never says that he achieved the rank of sergeant.
As an American Napoleonista (from the Chicago area? My granddaughter tells me that some snow fell in Des Plaines, today!) you are, apparently unfamiliar with the British literature of the time. There were many "first hand" reports, sometimes heavily embellished by the author's editors, such as Rifleman Harris, notoriously, George Farmer's "memoir" by Gleig, or the English translation of Petit's Marengo, but the accuracy or otherwise of Morris is not the issue; it is the implication by a British officer of field rank, who has apparently not read Morris's Recollections, or at least, read them rather sloppily, that an eye witness's report can be dismissed as the inter regimental malice of an NCO. As a former combat NCO in the British Army, I find that insufferably rude.
Oh, while I'm enjoying this rant (I haven't done one for a while!), what is this nonsense about "Jingoism" in accounts of the British defeat of the French? The French under Napoleon tried to conquer us and ruin us financially. We are supposed to say what jolly good chaps they were? In fact, I have read many more accounts of British soldiers of the period praising their French counterparts than I have heard Americans praise North Koreans, North Vietnamese, Iraqis or Afghans. Where's the love, you chaps?
Cheers,
Phil

Yes, we did get snow. I hate it already.
I have not denigrated the British versions, although I am certain that they are every bit as biased as the versions from the French, Prussians or the other nationalities that fought at Waterloo.
Most of the histories of the battle that I have read overwhelmingly rely on British sources.
This was the first that I have read that focused on what the French had to say.

I do have a problem with calling it "The British victory" though. The "allied" army (including the Prussians) was mostly not British.

In this instance, the issue is whether Morris is a reliable reporter of what he saw or believes he saw.
He certainly could have been wrong about what he believed he saw, but I haven't been given an explanation as to why his version should be dismissed.
I think the author of the book approached the subject appropriately in that he contrasted what Morris said against what the French said.
Again, I didn't get the idea he was arguing that a formed square had been broken despite what Morris said.

I have no problem with the Brits fighting to protect their interests, the French were doing the same. (With respect to the war with England)
So that I am not misunderstood, I recognize that of all the nations of Europe that were engaged in this conflict the Brits were the most enlightened with respect to the rights of the nation's citizens.
The French were probably next in line though.
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  #546  
Old 12 Nov 13, 20:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambronnne View Post
Most of the histories of the battle that I have read overwhelmingly rely on British sources.
This was the first that I have read that focused on what the French had to say.
It is a good thing and I praise Field for bringing the French accounts to the for which to me, are a great and refreshing plus to the Waterloo saga.

What I cannot abide is his repeated accusations of collective amnesia 'lying' by eyewitnesses and in official regimental accounts of both the French and British (the main emphasis being on the British and a particular dig at their Officers). If he had any evidence of such claims (which in the book he states that he had shown this to be the case), he should have published it. He didn't and hasn't....full stop!

Quote:
I do have a problem with calling it "The British victory" though. The "allied" army (including the Prussians) was mostly not British.
The army was commanded by a British officer with a contingent of British troops who bore the brunt of the fighting along with the allies. If they want to call it a German, Dutch, Belgian or British victory, so what, they all have an equal right to.

Quote:
In this instance, the issue is whether Morris is a reliable reporter of what he saw or believes he saw.
He certainly could have been wrong about what he believed he saw, but I haven't been given an explanation as to why his version should be dismissed.
Well, what you should do is read the first hand accounts by those officers and men of the 33rd, 2nd/69th and those of the 2nd/30th, 2nd/73rd

In a letter to his father from a British officer with amnesia () who though earlier in the letter told of the tragic loss of the Kings Colour and the cutting up of some companies of his battalion at Quatre Bras, said this.

Captain George Ulric Barlow 2nd/69th
Letter No76: Camp near Paris 7th July 1815

"Such was the result of the first attack of the cavalry which I had conceived to have been a reconnaissance on the part of the enemy, but to my great surprise, this was succeeded by a second on the left, then a third and afterwards by a variety of others, during the course of these hours till 5 o'clock on every part of the division & Lord Hill's Corps, these attacks were reiterated in the most daring manner. Their officers we saw [urging them on] in the most gallant style and their men followed up the example; but the squares stood firm and not one of them for a moment was disordered. The enemy cavalry repeatedly dashed into the centre of the British centre and at each attempt were received with much destructive vollies [sic] from the surrounding squares to excite my astonishment at such useless destruction, nor were they discontinued till the flower of the French cavalry both men & horses were almost wholly destroyed and the remainder could not be brought to act with any effort at a period shortly afterwards when their services were most arguably required as will be presently related."

William Thain

To

J.Thain Esq., Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Brussels 19th June 1815

My dear father,
I have arrived here after one of the hardest fought and bloodiest battles that has yet been recorded. The French having crossed the frontier, we marched from Soignes & we attacked them on the 16th and remained masters of the field, but about noon next day retired pursued by the enemy and took up a position on some heights near the village of Waterloo about 9 miles from this place where we bivouacked and were again attacked about noon yesterday. We carried all before us until about 7 o’clock in the evening when fortunes appeared to change against us, it was about that hour that the squares were ordered to advance against the enemy’s artillery, the 33rd forming half of the front and the whole of the left face, that I received a musket ball through the left arm a little below the shoulder, but as the bone is not fractured I hope to be soon well again. We all thought from the strength of the enemy and the manner in which their artillery mowed us down in the evening that we had lost the day, but I am happy to inform you that the French are retiring in all directions. The Belgic cavalry refused to charge but a square of some Dutch infantry repulsed a charge of cavalry very gallantly. Our division which was 7,400 new is now only 1,500. Feats of personal courage were shown by every individual and the British have placed the ball at the feet of the northern allies who will find no difficulty in kicking it on to Paris. French Imperial eagles have been paraded through the streets by a party of our dragoons and columns of prisoners are marching through continually for Antwerp to be embarked for England. Never was [there] a more glorious day for our dear country. I have spoken with the Paymaster General just returned from the advanced posts who says that the French are entirely destroyed and the number of cannon which we have taken cannot yet be counted. Bonaparte’s private second carriage with all his baggage has just come in escorted by Prussians who have continued the pursuit. Our whole army has been engaged, our little brigade took twelve pieces of cannon themselves and General Halkett with his own hand made a French general officer prisoner .
My arm is very painful, I shall therefore only request you to write to Sophia to tell her I shall soon recover and to remember me most affectionately to all my friends.

Yours affectionately, William Thain.

PS

When we attacked the French on the 16th they occupied the famous
Austrian position on the heights of Jemappes. I had a horse killed under me that day.

Ensign George Ainslie 2nd/69th

The 69th having suffered so severely on the 16th ., as did also the 33rd., another Regiment of our Brigade, the two were united, and even then formed but a small body of men.
Soon after the firing had become general, the Infantry of our Army were chiefly formed into squares, on which occasion our regiment composed our front right face; the rear and left remaining to the 33rd. This formation by squares, is admirably adapted for sustaining a heavy cannonade, and for being at the same time ready to receive the attack of cavalry; for, by causing the men to lie down, a square of 4our or five hundred men is no easy object to strike with shot or shells, and on the approach of cavalry, it is ready in a moment to receive them. The experience of the whole day confirms this. The increasing effect of the fire to which our situation behind the farm of La Haye Sainte exposed us, soon forced us to lie down; a command not unwillingly complied with. This formation causes no confusion, the square preserving its form, as when the men are standing; the only difference being that that the officers spaced in the centre for the supernumeraries and colours is thus reduced.

The Regimental Colour remaining in my charge, my station necessarily was in this place. In this manner were passed several hours during which the tremendous cannonade in almost every direction plainly told us that we had no more than out share in the business of the day. The time was only marked by the occasional striking of a shot in our square…..

Among those [events] which made the strongest impression, is the grand charge of the French Cavalry, which took place in the middle of the day. After we had been exposed for hours to the heavy fire I have just spoken of, on a sudden there seemed to be a pause; and soon after rose a general alarm that the Cavalry were coming. We were quickly ready to receive them. The firing now almost ceased on both sides; the French that termite not injure their own troops; and that on our side, by the forced retreat of the guards, through the intervals of the squares. In many cases, the guns were even left; and the men and horses alone, took refuge either in in the squares or behind them. The brow of the hill was in a moment covered with Cavalry, and they then swept down, literally like a torrent, on our squares. From some cause or another, I think from our being in the direction of La Haye Sainte, our square was never charged on the 18th.

Quote:
I think the author of the book approached the subject appropriately in that he contrasted what Morris said against what the French said.
Again, I didn't get the idea he was arguing that a formed square had been broken despite what Morris said.


Martin Aaron on the Napoleon Series site said the 69th were broken by cavalry on the basis of Morris' statement. I just wonder if Aaron had ever really researched the Morris statement.

http://www.napoleon-series.org/milit...9Waterloo.html

And what I posted months back.

The beginning and part of the Author’s preface:

Quote:
I have been a soldier all my life. This work has been born out of my abiding interest in the Napoleonic wars and the Armies of Napoleon. Long hours of archive study are not conductive to a military career and family life, so I have indulged my hobby by acquiring as many of the memoirs and first-had accounts as possible. Those I have not been able to find on second-hand book websites (try www.abebooks.co.uk) or Ebay (French and Belgian sites), I have been delighted to access in the British library. As I have deliberately tried to present a fighter’s view of the battle, as far as possible I have avoided official reports from senior officers.

Virtually all French translations are my own and I take full responsibility for any errors. I have tried to retain the feel of authenticity of the original rather than to try and bring them into modern English parlance.

I do not have a long list of eminent Historians to thank, as both the research and the writing has been very much my own work…..
Then we have a full page quote by Sgt Hippolyte de Mauduit, Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, of the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Foot Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard. So here is the faithful picture of the battlefield, chosen by Wellington….
His diatribe about the British and the Duke being defensive and including Salamanca in his list of said defensive British battles is all you need to know about this, though the rest of his quotes used are very interesting


The author goes on to explain in his introduction that he is “a rare breed“, being a British soldier (Officer) with “a fascination for Napoleon’s Grande Armee” and that “it would be incongruous to accuse me of being a Francophile“. I, and there must be many others in general and on this site, who serve and have served her majesty’s armed forces who also have a fascination for said Grande Armee.

He then says that:

Quote:
in the hundred or so years following the great battle it would have been viewed as treasonous to suggest that the Duke of Wellington had not fought a perfect campaign that the French had come close to winning the battle, that the French army was anywhere near as brave or as capable as the British, that it was the Prussian intervention that was decisive or that, despite Wellington‘s army being only 25% British it was not down to them alone that the battle was won
All of course have no basis in reality. Of course people in general have a nationalistic bent towards the British/Dutch/Belgian/German during the campaign, but I have ever since on first reading the account as an ignorant snotty and spotty teen of the 70s (and I bet most others who have read likewise), have been well aware of the contribution of our German, Belgian and Dutch allies. I recall reading about how the Dutch 27th jagers for example, lost about 350 of their 800 all ranks in the campaign. Now If I, a teen snotty could pick up on it I’m sure that the more educated would have seen ‘the light’ also.

Now we get to the nitty gritty.

The author goes on to say:

Quote:
that the time is right to take a clear, objective view from the French perspective.
And?

Quote:
some French historians find it hard not to turn an account of the battle into an almost hysterical Anglophobic tirade, and it is some what strange that virtually all French accounts refer to the enemy as ‘English’, rather than ‘British’ or ‘Allied’, and making little or no reference to the many Dutch, Belgians and Germans that made up the majority of the allied army.
So what! Wasn’t it ‘and still is, what historians and accounts called those foreign contingents fighting within the Grande Armee; ‘blanket French!

Quote:
most French accounts of Waterloo are every bit as jingoistic as subjective as many of those produced by the British. However, whereas British accounts were taken as the truth on the basis that they won and British officers did not stretch the truth or tell lies (!), the French accounts have been disregarded on the basis that they were poor losers
Where is the evidence for such claims that the British 'or French' stretched the truth or lied?

We have ‘what ifs’ from beginning to end of the book.

This is one of the quotes that made me cringe:

Quote:
After two committed attacks, Milhaud’s cavalry, both horses and men, were exhausted. However, the allied cavalry did not have it all their own way when they sallied forth to push their French counterparts back. Although the British accounts portray these counter-attacks as largely one-sided, the facts seem to dispute this. Lieutenant Chevalier was a veteran of many campaigns and charged with the prestigious Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial guard Guard.

“The melee became terrible, it was a dreadful carnage, the ground was covered with dead or dying men and horses; it was the height of terror….as the Guard cavalry advanced, we were moving forward; when we saw rushing towards us, a regiment of English cavalry, which came to charge us. It could not tell our strength because we were in colonne serree par escaldron: ’Let them come’, said our generals, ’but do not use the edge of your blade, use the point, make good thrust with the point,’ They arrived on our position in their red jackets perched on their horses, drunk with their blades in their hands, slashing to the left with their poor sabres…. We opened up a little….they came in….and, in less than ten minutes, there were no red jackets still on horseback. I believe this fine regiment was of the Royal Guard and was completely wiped out.”
The above account remember is meant to be evidence of ‘fact’ according to the author. Anyone know of any evidence to support that any Household/Guard or dragoon regiment were completely wiped out?. I’m not saying that the British counter-charges were all one sided, but this type of evidence is a very poor example.

Another on the same:

Quote:
But it was not just the French that claimed to have roughly handled the Allied cavalry counter-attacks. The official History of the Kings German Legion tells us

“The remaining troops [of the 3rd KGL Hussars] were, at the same time led forward by Arenschild against the regiments of the enemy cavalry, but the contest was too unequal to admit of the hussar’s success, and although they drove back that part of the enemy’s line that was directly opposed them, they were soon outflanked and suffered severe loss….so great a number of men and horses had fallen, that on re-forming, the whole seven troops could not muster more than about sixty file [about 120 men]”
The 3rd KGL Hussars strength was 712 all ranks ( 622 were actually engaged and were the strongest Allied cavalry regiment at Waterloo) and lost 136 to artillery fire and in defending the squares.

There is also the accounts of British squares being broken.

A quote by De Brack is first used stating:

Quote:
It has been said that the Dragoons and mounted Grenadiers to our left broke several squares ; personally I did not see it - and I can state that we lancers did not have the same luck, and we crossed our lances with the English bayonets in vain
Which is just one eye-witness account, though coming from that of a famous French cavalryman, from one part of a very smoke-filled and chaotic battlefield is no proof either way.
The author uses this account to support a claim that a British square was broken by cavalry:


Quote:
that the time is right to take a clear, objective view from the French perspective.
and what of his

Quote:
that “it would be incongruous to accuse me of being a Francophile

Later in the book he tries without much conviction to show that of the 6 Colours taken, one was an English flag.


Quote:
However, given the four that the allies admitted to, Mauduit's claim of six may not be so hard to believe as a recipt, signed by an ADC to Marshal Grouchy, is reproduced in a book on General Delort, published in 1906. It reads, 'Receipt of a flag from the English at Waterloo taken by the 9th Cuirassier regiment, dated 26th June 1815.' In a postscript to General Milhauld's report on the battle he states, 'In the different charges the cuirassiers have taken six flags that have been taken to the Emperor and one taken by Lt Gen Delort to Marshal Grouchy.
7? It seems that we are getting close to the 10 that Napoleon said was captured and can anyone tell me when The ADC to Marshal Grouchy started using the word 'Waterloo' in their receipts? I bet it wasn't 8 days after the battle!


From what you have read above, you may think that I am slating this book. Well I am to the point but It is still a refreshing retelling of the Battle from the ‘opposite lines’ with many good French accounts that makes this book worth the space on the bookshelf. Just be aware that contrary to what the author says, his text is far from an objective view.

Paul
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Old 13 Nov 13, 21:29
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Paul, You are very competent - everything is logical and is well-considered.
Thank You very much for Your research!

Sincerely,
Paul

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Originally Posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
It is a good thing and I praise Field for bringing the French accounts to the for which to me, are a great and refreshing plus to the Waterloo saga.

What I cannot abide is his repeated accusations of collective amnesia 'lying' by eyewitnesses and in official regimental accounts of both the French and British (the main emphasis being on the British and a particular dig at their Officers). If he had any evidence of such claims (which in the book he states that he had shown this to be the case), he should have published it. He didn't and hasn't....full stop!



The army was commanded by a British officer with a contingent of British troops who bore the brunt of the fighting along with the allies. If they want to call it a German, Dutch, Belgian or British victory, so what, they all have an equal right to.



Well, what you should do is read the first hand accounts by those officers and men of the 33rd, 2nd/69th and those of the 2nd/30th, 2nd/73rd

In a letter to his father from a British officer with amnesia () who though earlier in the letter told of the tragic loss of the Kings Colour and the cutting up of some companies of his battalion at Quatre Bras, said this.

Captain George Ulric Barlow 2nd/69th
Letter No76: Camp near Paris 7th July 1815

"Such was the result of the first attack of the cavalry which I had conceived to have been a reconnaissance on the part of the enemy, but to my great surprise, this was succeeded by a second on the left, then a third and afterwards by a variety of others, during the course of these hours till 5 o'clock on every part of the division & Lord Hill's Corps, these attacks were reiterated in the most daring manner. Their officers we saw [urging them on] in the most gallant style and their men followed up the example; but the squares stood firm and not one of them for a moment was disordered. The enemy cavalry repeatedly dashed into the centre of the British centre and at each attempt were received with much destructive vollies [sic] from the surrounding squares to excite my astonishment at such useless destruction, nor were they discontinued till the flower of the French cavalry both men & horses were almost wholly destroyed and the remainder could not be brought to act with any effort at a period shortly afterwards when their services were most arguably required as will be presently related."

William Thain

To

J.Thain Esq., Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Brussels 19th June 1815

My dear father,
I have arrived here after one of the hardest fought and bloodiest battles that has yet been recorded. The French having crossed the frontier, we marched from Soignes & we attacked them on the 16th and remained masters of the field, but about noon next day retired pursued by the enemy and took up a position on some heights near the village of Waterloo about 9 miles from this place where we bivouacked and were again attacked about noon yesterday. We carried all before us until about 7 o’clock in the evening when fortunes appeared to change against us, it was about that hour that the squares were ordered to advance against the enemy’s artillery, the 33rd forming half of the front and the whole of the left face, that I received a musket ball through the left arm a little below the shoulder, but as the bone is not fractured I hope to be soon well again. We all thought from the strength of the enemy and the manner in which their artillery mowed us down in the evening that we had lost the day, but I am happy to inform you that the French are retiring in all directions. The Belgic cavalry refused to charge but a square of some Dutch infantry repulsed a charge of cavalry very gallantly. Our division which was 7,400 new is now only 1,500. Feats of personal courage were shown by every individual and the British have placed the ball at the feet of the northern allies who will find no difficulty in kicking it on to Paris. French Imperial eagles have been paraded through the streets by a party of our dragoons and columns of prisoners are marching through continually for Antwerp to be embarked for England. Never was [there] a more glorious day for our dear country. I have spoken with the Paymaster General just returned from the advanced posts who says that the French are entirely destroyed and the number of cannon which we have taken cannot yet be counted. Bonaparte’s private second carriage with all his baggage has just come in escorted by Prussians who have continued the pursuit. Our whole army has been engaged, our little brigade took twelve pieces of cannon themselves and General Halkett with his own hand made a French general officer prisoner .
My arm is very painful, I shall therefore only request you to write to Sophia to tell her I shall soon recover and to remember me most affectionately to all my friends.

Yours affectionately, William Thain.

PS

When we attacked the French on the 16th they occupied the famous
Austrian position on the heights of Jemappes. I had a horse killed under me that day.

Ensign George Ainslie 2nd/69th

The 69th having suffered so severely on the 16th ., as did also the 33rd., another Regiment of our Brigade, the two were united, and even then formed but a small body of men.
Soon after the firing had become general, the Infantry of our Army were chiefly formed into squares, on which occasion our regiment composed our front right face; the rear and left remaining to the 33rd. This formation by squares, is admirably adapted for sustaining a heavy cannonade, and for being at the same time ready to receive the attack of cavalry; for, by causing the men to lie down, a square of 4our or five hundred men is no easy object to strike with shot or shells, and on the approach of cavalry, it is ready in a moment to receive them. The experience of the whole day confirms this. The increasing effect of the fire to which our situation behind the farm of La Haye Sainte exposed us, soon forced us to lie down; a command not unwillingly complied with. This formation causes no confusion, the square preserving its form, as when the men are standing; the only difference being that that the officers spaced in the centre for the supernumeraries and colours is thus reduced.

The Regimental Colour remaining in my charge, my station necessarily was in this place. In this manner were passed several hours during which the tremendous cannonade in almost every direction plainly told us that we had no more than out share in the business of the day. The time was only marked by the occasional striking of a shot in our square…..

Among those [events] which made the strongest impression, is the grand charge of the French Cavalry, which took place in the middle of the day. After we had been exposed for hours to the heavy fire I have just spoken of, on a sudden there seemed to be a pause; and soon after rose a general alarm that the Cavalry were coming. We were quickly ready to receive them. The firing now almost ceased on both sides; the French that termite not injure their own troops; and that on our side, by the forced retreat of the guards, through the intervals of the squares. In many cases, the guns were even left; and the men and horses alone, took refuge either in in the squares or behind them. The brow of the hill was in a moment covered with Cavalry, and they then swept down, literally like a torrent, on our squares. From some cause or another, I think from our being in the direction of La Haye Sainte, our square was never charged on the 18th.





Martin Aaron on the Napoleon Series site said the 69th were broken by cavalry on the basis of Morris' statement. I just wonder if Aaron had ever really researched the Morris statement.

http://www.napoleon-series.org/milit...9Waterloo.html

Paul




I am only going to respond to the portion directed to my comments.
It seems that your objection to the inclusion of Morris' statements is based on the following:
1) He suggests a square was broken and,
2) Others say it wasn't.

I think the presumption is that squares were not broken, therefore, Morris' statement is unique and bears examination. He suggests that Morris might merely be "mischief making" implying that the statement is inaccurate.
Pretending the statement didn't exist because it might be considered blasphemy doesn't make it go away. I feel the better approach is to examine it and contrast it with others, which is what he did.

It is reasonable to argue that the weight of evidence is against what Morris says, but unreasonable to argue it should be ignored simply because you don't like it. I believe that the author pretty much concludes that the weight of the evidence is against Morris, nevertheless it is an interesting discussion.

As far as I can tell you haven't explained why Morris should be "dismissed". It seemed you initially tried to imply he wasn't even there (unless I misread your first post) and if facts were presented to establish he could not have seen what he claims then I would agree he should be ignored. But that isn't the case here.



As for the "British victory", I only take issue with that as it implies no one else made a significant contribution. I agree it reasonably can be considered "Wellington's victory", as he was in command, but otherwise feel "allied victory" is a more appropriate phrase. The British won, but so did others and too many "others" died there for me to feel it reasonable to ignore them.
Just my opinion.
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Old 21 Nov 13, 16:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambronnne View Post
I am only going to respond to the portion directed to my comments.
It seems that your objection to the inclusion of Morris' statements is based on the following:
1) He suggests a square was broken and,
2) Others say it wasn't.

I think the presumption is that squares were not broken, therefore, Morris' statement is unique and bears examination. He suggests that Morris might merely be "mischief making" implying that the statement is inaccurate.
Pretending the statement didn't exist because it might be considered blasphemy doesn't make it go away. I feel the better approach is to examine it and contrast it with others, which is what he did.

It is reasonable to argue that the weight of evidence is against what Morris says, but unreasonable to argue it should be ignored simply because you don't like it. I believe that the author pretty much concludes that the weight of the evidence is against Morris, nevertheless it is an interesting discussion.

As far as I can tell you haven't explained why Morris should be "dismissed". It seemed you initially tried to imply he wasn't even there (unless I misread your first post) and if facts were presented to establish he could not have seen what he claims then I would agree he should be ignored. But that isn't the case here.
I never imply and I never said that he wasn't there which I made quite clear after your earlier post.

Have you read both versions of Morris' tome? You should, they are both free on google books.

when an author throws out "damning evidence" and the other statements that I red boxed above, It's not hard to see that in fact he is suggesting that British squares were broken but that the Allies covered it up by conspiracy (which is a fanboy, twin tower, tinfoil hat load of bollocks)


Quote:
As for the "British victory", I only take issue with that as it implies no one else made a significant contribution. I agree it reasonably can be considered "Wellington's victory", as he was in command, but otherwise feel "allied victory" is a more appropriate phrase. The British won, but so did others and too many "others" died there for me to feel it reasonable to ignore them.
Just my opinion.
Who is ignoring anyone! Again like I said above, each nation can say that they beat the French at Waterloo, Mont St. Jean or Belle Alliance with as much justification as each or all saying it was an Allied victory.

Paul
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Old 21 Nov 13, 18:39
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Well, gentlemen, you both overlook what I consider the most inane claim by Field:"Whilst many may argue that this is purely mischief making by a non commissioned officer from one regiment against another (in time honored British tradition),,,
First, we know that Morris was not an NCO, so it seems unlikely that Field read enough of his book (either version!) to know whether or not he was a malicious liar. I have seen no evidence of this in my own reading of his work.
Second, who are these "many" who would accuse him of such a lie? Field doesn't cite any. I suspect that this is a rhetorical flourish to support a very shaky premise: "and, members of the jury, I am sure that everyone of you will agree...".
Third; Morris does not say that the square was "broken", but "broken into". There can be little doubt that the square would have been completely broken, but, according to Morris the British cavalry got there in time and the square reformed. This must all have taken place in a matter of minutes and was only observed by Morris because he was in an adjacent square. It is no surprise to me that no one else recorded it.
As an officer, Field seems to be in the "scum of the earth" camp, when it comes to rating ORs. Sure, the RWK would chant "It wasn't the Buffs that won the war/ The Royal West Kents got there [Berlin] before", the Buffs, after my time (thanks, Disposalman!) had a little fun scragging the non-combatant REME, and my platoon was attacked by the Guards in Kenya as part of a "readiness exercise" (they lost because I was supplying booze to what Yanks would call the company clerk and he gave me advance warning). But I have never known any soldier of any regiment (how about you, Paul?) who would dishonor another British regiment's combat performance in a factual report..
Ah, I feel better, now!
Cambronne: No one, I am sure, would argue that the allied army at Waterloo was multi-national and that all -- or most -- deserved credit for the victory.
I would, however, bring to your attention two facts that are interesting, at least to me.
Though all modern sources would agree (so far as I know) that the French were fighting an allied force, the French firmly believed that they were fighting "the English". Notice that Napoleon's famous order to his artillery after Quatre Bras was "Fire! Fire!, They are English!" Not., Fire! Fire! They are an allied force comprising Netherlanders, Hanoverians, Brunswickers, and God knows what else (and English, of course)!" When you read French accounts in French, you constantly come across "English" as in "Napoleon wished to humiliate the English", never "les allies". Someone should set them straight!
Secondly, it does not seem fashionable to talk of an "allied" rather than an "American" force in modern wars such as Vietnam, where the Americans were supported by South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Canada and probably a few more that I have forgotten. Perhaps the reason for this is that these countries are not particularly eager to be associated with America's defeat.
O.K. guys, back to your debate!
Cheers,
Phil
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Old 22 Nov 13, 00:35
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Originally Posted by PhilinYuma View Post
Well, gentlemen, you both overlook what I consider the most inane claim by Field:"Whilst many may argue that this is purely mischief making by a non commissioned officer from one regiment against another (in time honored British tradition),,,
First, we know that Morris was not an NCO, so it seems unlikely that Field read enough of his book (either version!) to know whether or not he was a malicious liar. I have seen no evidence of this in my own reading of his work.
Second, who are these "many" who would accuse him of such a lie? Field doesn't cite any. I suspect that this is a rhetorical flourish to support a very shaky premise: "and, members of the jury, I am sure that everyone of you will agree...".
Third; Morris does not say that the square was "broken", but "broken into". There can be little doubt that the square would have been completely broken, but, according to Morris the British cavalry got there in time and the square reformed. This must all have taken place in a matter of minutes and was only observed by Morris because he was in an adjacent square. It is no surprise to me that no one else recorded it.
As an officer, Field seems to be in the "scum of the earth" camp, when it comes to rating ORs. Sure, the RWK would chant "It wasn't the Buffs that won the war/ The Royal West Kents got there [Berlin] before", the Buffs, after my time (thanks, Disposalman!) had a little fun scragging the non-combatant REME, and my platoon was attacked by the Guards in Kenya as part of a "readiness exercise" (they lost because I was supplying booze to what Yanks would call the company clerk and he gave me advance warning). But I have never known any soldier of any regiment (how about you, Paul?) who would dishonor another British regiment's combat performance in a factual report..
Ah, I feel better, now!
Cambronne: No one, I am sure, would argue that the allied army at Waterloo was multi-national and that all -- or most -- deserved credit for the victory.
I would, however, bring to your attention two facts that are interesting, at least to me.
Though all modern sources would agree (so far as I know) that the French were fighting an allied force, the French firmly believed that they were fighting "the English". Notice that Napoleon's famous order to his artillery after Quatre Bras was "Fire! Fire!, They are English!" Not., Fire! Fire! They are an allied force comprising Netherlanders, Hanoverians, Brunswickers, and God knows what else (and English, of course)!" When you read French accounts in French, you constantly come across "English" as in "Napoleon wished to humiliate the English", never "les allies". Someone should set them straight!
Secondly, it does not seem fashionable to talk of an "allied" rather than an "American" force in modern wars such as Vietnam, where the Americans were supported by South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Canada and probably a few more that I have forgotten. Perhaps the reason for this is that these countries are not particularly eager to be associated with America's defeat.
O.K. guys, back to your debate!
Cheers,
Phil
Yes, the word "broken" in this situation could have a various meaning. "Penetrated" square doesn't mean the "broken" square and doesn't mean the final defeat of the formation, but only temporary danger in the process of the fight... It's enough to remember the deeds of 42nd at the battle of Quatre Bras.
After Paul posted the first-hand accounts, the serious doubts about Morris's account appeared... But, in general - the mystery still present.
Sincerely,
Paul
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Old 22 Nov 13, 12:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
I never imply and I never said that he wasn't there which I made quite clear after your earlier post.

Have you read both versions of Morris' tome? You should, they are both free on google books.

when an author throws out "damning evidence" and the other statements that I red boxed above, It's not hard to see that in fact he is suggesting that British squares were broken but that the Allies covered it up by conspiracy (which is a fanboy, twin tower, tinfoil hat load of bollocks)




Who is ignoring anyone! Again like I said above, each nation can say that they beat the French at Waterloo, Mont St. Jean or Belle Alliance with as much justification as each or all saying it was an Allied victory.

Paul


As I have said, it was my impression that the author did not believe that Morris's apparent statement was accurate. I have not gone back to find the passage I have referred to, but I recall that the author later indicates that the weight of the evidence is against what Morris said and referenced French sources that no squares were broken. The conclusion is, therefore, "no squares were broken".

Including evidence to the contrary (particularly from a british soldier like Morris)and then discussing it is far more appropriate than pretending the statement didn't exist.

As for Morris's presence, your initial statement that "he was not an NCO at Waterloo" didn't seem terribly relevant unless you were trying to suggest he was not present.
If he was present, (as he was) then we must accept that his statement is an accurate reflection of what he believed he saw, unless it is otherwise established that he is completely unreliable.

I haven't seen anything to establish that he is completely unreliable.
The fact that I have not read anything else about Morris isn't relevant as we are discussing how the author in question dealt with the statements.
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Old 02 Dec 13, 23:10
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I was so interested in a discussion of a book here, that I've finally got the Field's book.
First of all, a reverence and many thanks to Mr. Field for his work and for placing accounts of French eyewitnesses of the battle!
But I think, there is a problem of some researches of the battle of Waterloo. Not enough the detailed study of the eyewitnesses' accounts and regimental histories of one side of the conflict.
On my modest level (cavalry clashes) - very surprising the account, claims Duboi's cuirassiers wisely tried to escape the fight with a Household brigade and retreat, whereas there are numerous accounts of the British eyewitnesses report that the cuirassiers nevertheless engaged in battle, and they fled only after the fight (in the sector of the 1st Life Guards and the KDG).
An account of the British regiment in red jackets, wiped out by Mounted chasseurs of the Guard is unreal also. Such episode (not with the whole regiments, but with separate troops and without Mounted chasseurs of the Guard taking part) could happen in the earlier stage of the battle - cavalry clashes near the battery with the regiments of the Union and the part of Household brigade.
If Mr.Field studied in detailes British accouns and regimental histories, he would never makes such mistakes. No, he was right to place all the accounts to his book, but he had to underline the mistakes. If he gave the accounts only (in a "Glover-style") without his own comments, it would be correct - the only eyewitnesses accounts. But using accounts in his own historical research, he had to study British sources much better.
For me, as before, much more valuable (as researches) the works of "old good" Mr. Siborne and Sir Evelyn Wood. Modern attempts to "make a revolution" in history - Barbero with his rough mistakes, Mr.Field - showed the lack of studing the Allied sources of the battle of Waterloo...
Sincerely,
Paul

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I swore I wouldn't get interested in Napoleon's battles -- just the French Revolution, only! -- but that went the way of all things, and the Stephen Coote hundred days got me interested in Waterloo. By his account, Napoleon's generals seem to have been working against him!

I have the Hilaire Belloc Waterloo (free and well reviewed) -- but which modern account in English of Waterloo would people here recommend?
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Old 19 Dec 13, 14:14
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Originally Posted by Phebe View Post
I swore I wouldn't get interested in Napoleon's battles -- just the French Revolution, only! -- but that went the way of all things, and the Stephen Coote hundred days got me interested in Waterloo. By his account, Napoleon's generals seem to have been working against him!

I have the Hilaire Belloc Waterloo (free and well reviewed) -- but which modern account in English of Waterloo would people here recommend?
I have read so many accounts that I find it hard really to recommend a single book. Mark Adkins Waterloo companion book is the best so far if you want to know what was happening at what time and where individual regiments were at those times.

http://www.amazon.com/Waterloo-Compa...ref=pd_sim_b_3

The Battle A New History of Waterloo by Alessandro Barbero is about the best of its type but it has no maps but if you read it in conjunction with Adkins tour de force, the battle will become as vivid as frosted glass 'with clear spots' instead of mud.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Battle-New...le+of+Waterloo

I have a book that I had given to me as a freebie on its release back in 2001 which I had on my shelf for years thinking that it would be just another run of the mill Waterloo book with lots of lovely pictures so forgot all about it. But one night I was a bit bored and decided to have a read and my eyes alighted on this book. I took it off the shelf, sat down and started reading it; It was called A desperate business by Ian Fletcher. The reason for liking the book is because Fletcher draws on first hand accounts throughout the book, the illustrations are good the maps are just passable, but the end-papers come to the rescue as they are maps of Le Bataille de Waterloo, by W.B Craan.

http://www.amazon.com/Desperate-Busi...erate+business

Personally, I'm beyond reading of the battle in general, I prefer the first hand accounts, post battle reports and letters home as they widen the picture way beyond what an historian can bring. I prefer the Editor rather than the historical author.

Paul
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