Interest and discussions on Napoleonic’s have increased recently and as this is one of my main interests I thought I would spend some time while the server was being changed compiling a run down on what happened at Waterloo. I stress that this is just a brief account of what happened and there are literally dozens of different sources of information which differ in some of the finer detail (numbers of troops involved for instance).

Jeff


The Waterloo Campaign (June 15th – 18th 1815)



The Congress of Vienna was interrupted with the news that Napoleon had escaped from Elba and landed in France on 26th February 1815 with a handful of troops. Napoleon was within 23 days returned to power with the French king, Louis XVIII taking refuge in Brussels.

The allies were alarmed and quickly united for the final campaign; a campaign, which both sides knew, would finally decide the future of Europe.

A general invasion of France is agreed. The British, under Wellington, and the Prussians, under Blucher are to advance from Belgium, and the other allies from the Rhine. The allied troops need to be spread over a long line of frontier, the British from Antwerp to Charleroi and the Prussians from Charleroi to Liege.

Napoleon decided to strike quickly, for to delay would gain the Allies time to muster vast forces and Napoleon's public support would soon evaporate.

Napoleon resolved to attack the British, Prussian, Belgian and Dutch armies before the other powers Austria and Russia could come to their assistance. Napoleon's forces crossed the border into Belgium on 15th June and despite early surprise delay and confusion slowed the French advance.

The Waterloo campaign is made up of two sets of double battles, Quatre Bras and Ligny, and Wavre and Waterloo.